San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke made his regular Tuesday appearance on the Damon Bruce Show on 95.7 The Game, and had plenty to talk about following the team's loss to the Denver Broncos. I've posted a transcript below, and you can listen to the audio HERE.
The most notable information was probably about linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Baalke said that Bowman is starting to do a little cutting to go along with his regular running. Bowman remains on schedule, although we don't exactly have specifics as to what that schedule is. Matt Barrows guessed Week 14 as a potential return. The 49ers have a few more weeks before they even have to get him back on the practice field, so there is no rush.
Baalke also talked about Aldon Smith's suspension. Baalke mentioned the team getting him back for Week 10, but I believe he misspoke. He was referencing his current suspension, which is 9 games. It is my understanding that Aldon's suspension is 9 games and not 9 weeks, which means he would miss Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints. However, Baalke did say, "Whenever the league chooses to lift the suspension..." Ian Rapoport reported that the potential for a week or two being shaved off was negotiated into Aldon's settlement. We'll see how quickly he gets back.
Naturally, Baalke talked about the Broncos loss. While it was an ugly loss, as Baalke said, young players got some valuable reps. Injuries forced quite a few young players into the lineup, and while they struggled plenty, just getting that opportunity will be valuable as the season moves along.
Damon Bruce: Trent, how are you?
Trent Baalke: How do you think I'm doing, Damon?
DB: Probably not good. Can I send you, can I fedex you some BBQ from Kansas City to make you happier?
Baalke: Ah, no, but I do wish the Giants well over there, and hopefully they can get the W.
DB: Hopefully they certainly can. Last night, you could just tell they started fast, you started slow, short handed to begin with for several reasons. When did you feel the game kind of slipping away from you? Because I know you go into all of these optimistic, thinking you can win. When did you know that wasn't going to happen last night?
Baalke: I don't know that you ever know that it's not going to happen at any one point. Obviously toward the end there, but we had our chances early on. We missed a field goal early. We dropped the touchdown pass and had to settle for 3 there. And against a good football team, you just can't give away points.
DB: When you're facing Peyton Manning, having problems in your secondary and losing a defensive leader like Patrick Willis, you're just stacking the chips up high and against you. Without Culliver, Ward, Cook gets hurt, you got Brock and Cox, Johnson, they give up the touchdown in the night. Manning is feasting. I know you went in optimistically...I don't want to say I saw this coming, but I thought you guys were really up against it, based on the depth and how you were being tested going into this game.
Baalke: Well, I mean they're a tough team to play at full strength. They're a well coached team, and obviously Peyton's Peyton. He's a great football player. He's accomplished an awful lot in this league, and hats off to him. He was on fire last night, and they were clicking on all cylinders offensively. And defensively, they played a whale of a game as well. They beat us on both sides of the football. No excuses. Back to the grind and the work, and get prepared for the next one.
DB: If there were ever a time that a team could use a bye week to bail them out of a bad spell, I think this is it. Are you happy that you get a bye week this week, and what would you like to see happen to your roster this week, in terms of just getting better, getting healthy? I know that you've got Anthony Davis back last night. Vernon played, that's good. Hopefully you are getting healthier during this bye.
Baalke: Well, it's come at a good time for us. The guys need a break and it'll give us a chance to get guys healthy. Get us re-focused a little bit, you know, get us ready for the second half of the season. There's no easy games in the National Football League. We've seen it too many times, and every one of the games going down the stretch are going to be critical. We've got to be at our best, and hopefully we can get some guys healed up, use the other night as a learning experience for the young guys. They got a lot of valuable reps against an awfully good football team, and a well-prepared football team. And I think they see the significance of preparation in this league, and how important it is.
DB: It's Week 8 coming up in the NFL, so we're getting close to adding players back into the mix time. Can you tell us when Aldon's suspension is up, how quickly will he be assimilated back into the...will he be playing the week he is released from his suspension? I'm guessing so?
Baalke: Well, that remains to be seen. Obviously he hasn't been able to practice with the team. He's lifting, he's working hard, he's in great shape. Whenever the league chooses to lift the suspension, right now we're gearing it through Week 9, that's on our calendar as his return date. You know going into Week 10. We're preparing for that, and if he's ready and he shows up at practice ready to go, there's a good chance he'll be playing in that game. But until he gets out there and we see exactly where he's at, those decisions haven't been made yet.
DB: What will you tell us about NaVorro Bowman?
Baalke: He's progressing. He's progressing well. He's in the, I guess you'd say the third phase of it. He's starting to do a little cutting, and running. Has been running straight ahead for a while now. Looks good, but that's really in his hands, and the trainer's hands. But I would say on schedule at this point.
DB: In sports, one thing that catches us off guard is when anything catches us off guard. Everything is reported three days before it happens. Sources suggest that this is all...and we're told about the transaction four days before it's even finalized or sent to the league office. And that's kind of how it works these days, with leaks and reporters, and I know you love those things. The Percy Harvin trade. Now, that one surprised us. That one came out of nowhere in terms of public perception. Was it something you thought might happen? Were you hearing the inklings of something wrong up in Seattle's version of Camelot, and it was he that was stirring the pot wrong? Did Harvin's reputation reach your desk?
Baalke: First of all, once again, we've got our own things to deal with internally. So what happens, and so often it's falsely reported, or misrepresented. So for me to put any stock in what's coming out of other buildings via the media. You know you don't know what's true, what's not true. I guess the rule of thumb that I use: if it's not coming or happening in my building, in our building, then I'm not really concerned with it.
DB: Are you happy that as you prepare to play the Seahawks in your building, Percy Harvin's no longer on your list of things to be worried about?
Baalke: He's certainly an explosive football player. Statistically, this season, you wouldn't look at the statistics and say you have to worry about him, but anybody who's lined up and tried to defense Percy knows that when he's on the football field, anytime he touches the football, he's got a chance to score. He's a dangerous player, but they've got other guys. He's not the only guy on that football team. I think yesterday they had over 400 yards of offense against a pretty good defensive football team. They're more than capable with him or without him. He's no longer someone we have to concern ourselves with, at least until playoff time. He's out of sight, out of mind for us.
DB: We were talking about the Niners offensively. A lot of the criticism with this team comes from the lofty expectations, and the fact that everyone sees the talent, everyone sees the potential of this offense. And everyone wants a video game to break out every series. And that just doesn't happen in the NFL. It doesn't work like that. When you look at your offense, what frustrates you the most? What's the area you'd like to see your team improve in before any other area was really addressed? What do you think is the No. 1 thing holding your team back offensively?
Baalke: I think just in general, when you talk about football, what you'd like to see is consistency and balance. Those are the things you like to see. And unfortunately last night, when you get behind and you get behind early in a game, some of that balance is taken away from you because of necessity. Now you gotta score, you gotta catch up, you gotta get quick points. So, when you look at teams, when you're trying to defense teams, the hardest teams to defense are the teams that have good balance. And I think on the other side, when you have good balance, you create situations that put the defensive side of the ball in tough predicaments. I think those are the things we have to continue to work toward.
DB: Last week you said you didn't listen to much music. I'm going to give it another try this week. What do you watch on TV? What do you like besides sports? What do you like besides football? Take me into 10:30 p.m. Baalke living room. What's on the tube?
Baalke: I don't know, I haven't been in my living room at 10:30. It'd be kinda hard to tell you that.
DB: Offseason, you might be home, have a sprained ankle, can't leave the house, and are forced to watch television. What would be on the television, should that instant occur?
Baalke: Probably the Discovery Channel, or the Shark Tank. I do like the Shark Tank
DB: I like it. Idea presented, either good or bad, shot down or funded right there. It
Baalke: I'd like to see you in the Shark Tank?
DB: You got a product for me to pitch?
Baalke: I mean a real shark tank!
DB: Thank you, thank you. I was going to say, my product would be an extension of 5 years for Jim Harbaugh. I would pitch that to Cuban and see what he felt about it.
Baalke: OK, alright.
DB: Now you definitely want me in the Great White shark tank.