San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media Thursday, and had plenty to discuss about the week that was, and the 49ers upcoming matchup with the St. Louis Rams. Coach Harbaugh had an interesting comment about a Frank Gore run this past week. He also talked about what the 49ers might do with now free agent Kassim Osgood. And he of course had a few comments about Jeff Fisher and the Rams. Check out the transcript below.
What do you see when you've looked at the Rams here? The last two weeks couple of close games coming off of a win before that. What kind of challenge do they pose to you guys?
"Big challenge. Have always had knock-down, drag-out games with the Rams. Expect this to be the same."
They have only gotten one sack this year, and I know that can be deceptive as far as their pass rush. What do you see from their pass rush?
"That's the strength, strength of their ball club. It's a pass rush that can change the game. Great players. Have tremendous respect for them. Played against them before. They're good across the front."
Have they been getting close and just not getting the actual sack?
"The teams have respected it and they're very conscious about getting the ball out quick. You see that on tape. Opponents of the Rams understand how good that front is."
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher was saying how good your wide receiver corps is. It's the best that he's faced in the last few years as the Rams coach with you guys. In terms of all those guys that you have, how do you keep them happy in terms of spreading the ball around?
"As the guys have said, they're concerned about winning football games and doing what's best for the team. The great thing about, in terms of the receivers, is, pretty much every game here, they have stepped up when the ball has come to them and made the big play - [WR] Michael Crabtree, [WR] Stevie Johnson, [WR] Anquan Boldin and [WR] Brandon Lloyd this past week and then also [WR] Bruce Ellington. He is ascending, he is a live football player. All of those receivers have stepped up when the ball has come to them. We've had very little dropped balls. They have gotten open and made the big catch. That's been very good for our team."
Have you had any problem pumping WR Quinton Patton up at all? He's the No. 3 towards the end of the last season and now, he's having a tough time even suiting up for games?
"There's nobody working harder in practice than Quinton Patton. I am really excited about that. He's not getting down. He's not hanging his head. Not getting his dobber down at all. He is working extremely hard, taking darn near every rep. His time will come and we'll be excited when he is in there."
Do you expect to have TE Vernon Davis available Monday?
"We'll see. We're taking it day-by-day there."
Against the Kansas City Chiefs, it seemed like on a lot of RB Frank Gore's longer runs, it seems like he wasn't being touched until he was eight, nine, 10 yards down field. Did that pop out to you and is that just simply a credit to the offensive line and what they were doing?
"Yes, and [FB] Bruce Miller and the tight ends. [TE] Derek Carrier is really asserting himself in the passing game and also as a blocking tight end, [TE] Vance McDonald the same. I've seen something I've never seen in football on one of Frank's long runs, a 15, 20-yarder, where Bruce blocked his man and then Frank ran between Bruce and the defender he was blocking, and then came out the other side. It was really something to be seen. Almost like those car racers, when they drive through the smoke of an accident. He just went right through it. No, he didn't get touched. He was missing by the narrowest of margins. I can honestly say I've never seen a runner run between a blocker and a defender until now. Frank Gore."
When Miller hit Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson and knocked him down? No. 52?
"Yeah, I can't recall who the defender was."
So it was because of the force of Bruce's block?
"He just gave just enough room for Frank to get in between. As I said, it was the narrowest of margins."
Does that speak to the chemistry between those two guys? It seems like they know each other very well at this point.
"That's as close as a relationship as I've seen - a running back and full back. And if you can't get along with Bruce Miller, then there's something wrong with you. He's just one of those great guys."
Is Frank getting better?
"I think so. I really do. We've talked about it before. He is playing at the highest level. When you look at Frank game-after-game, he keeps doing it and doing it and doing it. He's done it and done it and done it. He keeps doing it."
Kind of a silly thing, but FB Bruce Miller says he's the best ping pong player on the team. That's a new addition with the ping pong table. What does he do to sort of keep the mood light on a busy football day, just having that ping pong table in there?
"It seems to be in use every time I walk through there. It's good. Ping pong is a very good sport. It can be very competitive. You can improve your competitiveness playing ping pong. It's a good thing."
You took part in the 2012 World Series parade with the San Francisco Giants. You'll be in St. Louis and at the same team hotel as Bruce Bochy and his team. What did you learn from Bruce Bochy or anything, maybe, during that time that something you might have incorporated or picked up with your team?
"Well, really just like all of us fans, a great respect and admiration for their organization and what they've been able to do on the field. I haven't had that many conversations with Bruce, but I'm a big fan."
Will you look for him this weekend at the team hotel?
"I would love to run into him, yes."
Will you go to any of those games in St. Louis?
"No, not planning on it."
Next week would be the end of the sixth week, so RB Marcus Lattimore or some of the guys on the lists could start practicing. What's the update on Marcus Lattimore? Do you envision him practicing sooner than later? Where is he in his progression?
"He's done very well. The way we're thinking about it is, he'd be eligible after the sixth week, he could have a week of practice and then we have a bye and then he'd have another week of practice. But the other option is to wait until after we come back from the bye and then have a 21-day period that is very similar to a training camp type of experience for Marcus. That's the direction we'd like to go because I think it's the best for Marcus. He hasn't played football in a year-and-a-half and if we can simulate a good, three-week training camp period and then activate after that and turn him loose. But giving him the best possible scenario to help the football team and for him to be at his best. Right now that seems wise. The other, as you mentioned before, you start him for a week and then now he's not doing anything for a week and then he's doing something for the week, kind of gives you that (start-stop-start) kind of feeling."
So you feel good about where he is physically and everything checks out, everything's been fine, no setbacks or anything?
So, that bye week would count as one of those three weeks?
"Yes. It's a 21-day window where the bye would count in his days. Good plan you think?"
Assuming he checks out and goes through those three weeks, or however long it is, fine, he'll be on the 53-man this year? Is that accurate, safe to say at this point?
"That's the hope. That's the plan."
You had high praise for WR Kassim Osgood and he got released. Is he coming back at a future point?
"Very hopeful of that, yes. We're going to make some mid-week transactions and we're very hopeful that Kassim will return imminently."
Rams LB James Laurinaitis was saying that he thinks QB Colin Kaepernick is seeing the field a little bit better, going to a third read more than he did last year. Is that your assessment as well?
"I put Kap, really, in the category of Frank Gore. He just keeps doing it and doing it and doing it at a very high level. We're very pleased with the way Colin's playing."
Would that Osgood thing, transaction, would that happen today?
"It's imminent, hopefully."
Can we ask why it had to go down that way? It seems odd to cut a guy early in the week to bring him back later in the week.
"We've got a little plan here to try to get [S] Bubba [Ventrone] in, which he is. Bubba Ventrone is in, practiced yesterday, will practice today. We want to see where he's at and see if there's a possibility that he could also play Sunday. And we'll just have to let the transactions speak for themselves. I'm hopeful of a plan working out that will help the football team."
Is that someone possibly going to IR?
"The transactions will speak for themselves. Everybody we have, we want on our team."
It's kind of a rarity coach, but for a 24-hour period, you're going to be sharing the same hotel on the road with the San Francisco Giants.
"How about that [KPIX 5 reporter], Vern [Glenn]? Very exciting. Very exciting."