Monday afternoon, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke conducted his regular weekly call-in to the Damon Bruce Show on 95.7 The Game. You can read the transcript down below, or listen to the audio HERE.
The interview did not contain a ton of specifics, which is par for the course for Trent Baalke. That being said, he did provide some details about NaVorro Bowman's recovery. He said that Bowman recently ran his first full-speed 40 yard dash. Baalke said Bowman ran it in the 4.5-range. In college, Bowman ran a 4.70 at the Combine, and a 4.62 at his Pro Day. Not too shabby!
Baalke also talked about Aldon Smith's eventual return, as well as the work he has been doing in his community service. Baalke said the team has not heard from the league yet about an early return to action.
Damon Bruce: We spoke with GM Trent Baalke last week, and we're thrilled to have him back here an hour early, certainly better late than never...even better early than never. How are you doing Trent? Good to have you on again.
Trent Baalke: I'm doing good. Thanks, Damon
On what he does during bye weeks:
TB: It's a chance to get caught up on a lot of things. I'm actually on the road right now. I left early last week, this past week, and hit the road scouting, and still on the road, in Ohio heading toward Kentucky. And get back into town early Friday.
On what he is looking at during the trip:
TB: I was at the Michigan-Michigan State game on Saturday, and prior to that made a stop, now I'm headed to Kentucky. Going to make a stop at the University of Kentucky, Louisville, go to that Louisville-Florida State game on Thursday night, then head home.
On Louisville-FSU having a lot of talented players:
TB: There's a lot of talent out here right now. It's been a pretty good swing. There's been some teams playing pretty good football, some individuals playing pretty good football. It's been good.
On the offensive explosions in college football, and will we see return to generation of defensive football players controlling pace of the game:
TB: I don't think so. You look at last year's Super Bowl. I think that's a pretty good indication that defensive football is still an important part of this thing. You had the No. 1 defense going up against the No. 1 offense, and who prevailed? I think there's obviously still a place for defense, good defense in the National Football League, just as there is in college. And there's teams that are playing it, and there's teams that aren't. It's a tough game right now because they don't allow to make a lot of contact with receivers. They're able to run free, uncontested a lot of times, unless you can get them at the line of scrimmage. So it makes it more difficult.
On the imbalance in offensive vs. defensive football:
TB: Well I think anytime you change the rules, in any sport, it takes the athletes a little time to adjust. And the first year as we've seen in the past, when rules have changed, it's taken some time. The second year is always better than the first. It's better for the officials, and it's also better for the players. They tend to learn what they can and can't get away with as players, and as referees and officials, you learn when to throw it and when not to throw it a little better. I don't think big changes need to be made, I think everyone needs to get comfortable with the new rules. And once they do I think you'll see things settle down.
On upcoming game against Rams, and Austin Davis:
TB: I think you can look at the statistics, and the statistics would say he has leveled off. But stats can be deceiving as well. Anytime in the National Football League a new player gets on the field, I don't care what position, it takes a little while for the people playing against him to kind of get the book. And to get a feel for what they do well, what they maybe don't do as well. And it takes coordinators a little time to get to know these players as well. There's always an adjustment period, and that's the gamesmanship within the game. Now that there is a little more known about him, and there are some things you seem to be able to take away, what adjustments is he gonna make, what adjustments are they gonna make? And vice versa. That's always the fun part of this, and that's why coaches coach and players play.
TB: Well, anytime you get a bye week, you get some guys that have some nicks, they have a chance to heal up. It's always good. For us it came at a much-needed time. We had some guys that were playing a lot that had been getting banged up and worn down a little bit because of the guys that were missing for other reasons. We're going to start getting healthy here, have some guys coming back onto the roster. I think as a whole, we're fresher, we got a chance to get a little bit of a break mentally as well, which is just as important as the physical rest that we get. And the coaches got a little time to rest up and study their tendencies, and get ready for their next game. So it's been good all the way around.
On NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis injuries:
TB: That remains to be seen. I think Pat's coming along real well, and so is NaVorro. I talked to him the other day in the weight room before I left, and he was all excited because he had gotten to run a full speed 40 for the first time in a long time, and broke the 4.5...it was in the 4.5 range. He was all excited. He's coming along very well. When he's set to return remains to be seen. But progressing well, as is Patrick.
On Aldon Smith:
TB: That was reported, and every time I see something that's reported and they say source or whatnot...we've heard nothing. We know it's 9 games, that's what the league told us at the outset, and that's what we're planning on. And anything that would happen earlier than that would be a blessing, for us and him. We're on the same schedule we have been all through this fall, looking forward to his return Week 9 (I think he means after 9 weeks).
On Aldon Smith's suspension:
TB: The most important thing is that he's happy with it. He's the one that's worked very hard. He's done a lot of community service, and the reports back from all the people that have worked with him during the community service couldn't be any better. He's done an excellent job working at the children's hospital, working with youth groups in several different communities in the Bay Area. And he's done an outstanding job. Very pleased with where he's at, but continuing to grow. And that's what we're hoping for, and I know that's what he's hoping for.
On how Seattle and Arizona have performed:
TB: In all honesty, Damon, I don't know if I'm surprised by anything anymore in the National Football League. You see it week in and week out, you either show up ready, or you don't. And any team can beat any team on any given day. I know that's an old cliche, and people don't want to hear that, but it's the truth. Look week in and week out at the teams that go into a game, and the experts, or so-called experts say it's a can't lose situation, and the team ends up losing. It happens every week. So you gotta be prepared. It's a matchup league, and some teams just match up better with other teams. So, am I surprised that Seattle's where they are? Slightly. Am I surprised where we're at? Slightly. Am I surprised where Arizona is? I could go on and on. But at the same time, we are what we are. We are what the record says we are. We're 4-3, Seattle's 4-3, and right now Arizona's 6-1. All we can do is handle business from this point forward. Can't worry about the other teams. If we handle business, we'll be fine.
On NFC West coaching:
TB: Very impressed. Very impressed with the coaching, very impressed with the level of play, with the players on an individual basis, where you're scouting and doing the write-ups on these guys. There's a lot of talent, both in the coaching ranks and the player ranks. Coach Arians has done an outstanding job. The one thing he doesn't lack is confidence, and it shows. And I mean that in the good sense. They attack you, they attack you in every phase. I think if you watched the game last night, they might have brought nine. I think they two, maybe three back in coverage. That's his mindset and that's the way that team plays. If you're going to go into those environments and win, you better be able to handle that mindset that they're going to bring to the table.
On whether he misses games for college scouting:
TB: I've not missed any games in the years...I always catch up with the team. The bye week just gives you an 8-day, 9-day stretch to really get out and get a little further away. During the week, unless you're traveling with the team and can hit some places on the way, it's hard to get to the east coast and back from a Saturday game in time for our own game. It allows myself to extend the travel a bit, and get my eyes on as many guys as I can in 8 to 9 days.
On his per diem:
TB: Hahahaha. It's pretty tight.