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49ers-Chiefs transcripts: Jim Harbaugh, Phil Dawson, Frank Gore among the many Q&As

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The San Francisco 49ers improved to 3-2 on Sunday with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs. We have a rundown of all the post-game player and coach transcripts.

Thearon W. Henderson

The San Francisco 49ers held off the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, taking home a 22-17 victory. There was plenty of chatter after the game, so let's get right to the transcripts. We've got Jim Harbaugh to lead things off, then plenty of players to follow.

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

On the fake punt called there, was that strictly a call from you or was that a look-call?

"We practiced it all week. Brad checked to see if we could do it. I said, ‘Go for it'. It would have been called it off if we didn't have the right look."

Did you feel you needed to change the momentum there? Pretty big call there - 30-yard line or your own 29?

"Yeah. Thought it was an important call, important play in the game. Strong, important win for our team. Thought it was a great team win. Thought the players really excelled in all phases today, against a really good football team."

You guys were getting pushed off the ball defensively in the first half. That changed in the second half. What was different at the half?

"We got our stops. I thought we played really up the middle starting with [NT] Ian [Williams]. Both [LB] Patrick Willis and [LB] Michael Wilhoite, I thought, had superb games from where I was standing. [S] Eric Reid and [S] Antoine [Bethea], I thought were really good in that regard and were really good in team defense. Made some good adjustments at the half that got their running game slowed down. It was a good, really good, running game."

Even in the passing game, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith seemed to pick up a lot of third downs there early in the game. And then late in the game, the defense played a lot more like you guys played last week. Anything in particular you saw just from the pass defense and getting those three-and-outs?

"Both offenses were moving the ball in the first half. They had the long drives to score. We also had the touchdown drive, the two field goals. Then in the second half, defenses got a little stingier on both sides. Really strong performance by our guys. Pretty much penalty free, no turnovers. Really good football."

QB Colin Kaepernick seemed to show a lot of faith in WR Brandon Lloyd on that pass down the sideline, the 29-yarder. What did you see? You were right there as it was happening. Just kind of give us the play-by-play from your angle.

"It was a great catch. It was well defended. Brandon stopped, leaped and didn't interfere and really just came right up and went from being out leveraged to jumping and leveraging the ball and making a great play. Contorted his body to change the leverage, I mean, that's what it looked like to me. Colin trusted him and threw the ball up and gave him a chance to make that play."

There's been so much talk over the last week about your situation and all the outside noise. Has the team gathered, banded together with all that talk? How do you think the team has been responding to all the talk that's out there?

"The team doesn't have to respond. The team has to do their job and play football. It's my job to love them - those players, those coaches, everybody in our organization. It's their job to love each other. They don't need to respond in any other way than their job. The football team has done good. And the better you do, the more you do, then the more people try to trip you up. Whether you're getting praised, whether you're getting criticized or whether it's silence, all three have their obstacles. All three have things that have to be addressed. But they also all three add, any of the three, can add to the competitiveness, add to the determination. And our football is very determined and very competitive."

Basically, don't you find winning teams ignore all this stuff? In other words, whether it's cold, whether it's hot, whether people criticizing, if they're any good, they win?

"Like I said, I think it's already a very competitive team, a very determined team. Some of those things can add to it. Like I said, did a heck of a job. We got football players. That's what we got. Guys who can stand in front of the mirror, look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘I'm a football player'. That's a heck of a feeling. If you've ever done that."

I bring this up only because your owner Jed York responded. There was a report this morning on the Internet that you would not be the coach here next year. I guess it was the writer's speculation based on his information from the inside or whatever. And your owner basically tweeted out a message, ‘Jim Harbaugh is my coach, and we're not here for a popularity contest, or a personality contest, we're here to win the SB,' so, any comment?

"My destiny lies between these walls with these men."

How much does it expand your options as a coach to have a kicker like Phil Dawson, who you feel comfortable with even into the mid-50s?

"No expiration date on Phil Dawson. Let's put that down. There is no expiration date on Mr. Phil Dawson. Put him in some real tough situations kicking the 50-yard-plussers. And he just stepped up and knocked them down. Excellent again on the kickoffs. He made some real, strong, important kicks today that won us the football game. If he doesn't make those it changes the game, changes the field position. He stood up there and knocked them down like a Hall of Famer. I feel awesome for Phil, he can stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I'm Phil Dawson. I'm a football player.'"

Have you guys sent a message the last two weeks that your running game is back, full-force with RB Frank Gore over 100 (rushing yards) both games, and so forth?

"Like I said, strong, important win. Thought our guys played really well on their assignments. Very few penalties in the game. I think we had maybe one or two penalties on us. Of course, Frank, his running behind his pads. He can stand in front of a mirror and say, ‘Frank Gore, football player,' and feel real good about it. And also want to talk about [RB] Carlos Hyde, too, because I thought Carlos really leveled his shoulder pads to the goal line and ran hard at the beginning of the run. He's a tough back to bring down. I thought he was extremely effective doing that.  Nice job securing the football. Playing good. That's about all I got to say about it. Really, the guys in the locker room are the ones you need to talk to. It was a heck of a game by them."

How would you characterize QB Colin Kaepernick's game today?

"Outstanding. Thought Colin, again, in situations where it was just a really strong pass rush, really good defense, as you've seen. As we were watching on film, this is an outstanding defense. Kap, again, had some pinpoint throws and bailed us out on some scrambles to pick up first downs. Thought he was efficient. Thought he was really good."

Before you leave, Alex Smith, did you get a chance to talk to him after the game or before the game? What did you see in his performance today?

"I thought he was outstanding. He was good, cool, in charge. He's playing really good football. Alex Smith can stand in front of a mirror. He's a football player."

QB Colin Kaepernick and RB Frank Gore
Press Conference - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Can you walk us through that pass to WR Brandon Lloyd? The 29-yarder on the left sideline, what you saw and what you were thinking?

Kaepernick: "He had said that he thought 21 [CB Sean Smith] was hurt, thought we could take a shot and gave him a chance. He made an amazing play."

How much fun was it to go up against a former teammate and a guy that you have a lot of respect for?

Kaepernick: "It was great, going against their defense, but to have that head-to-head matchup was a great opportunity."

You guys got the win, but can you just talk a little bit about the struggles with the red zone?

Kaepernick: "As long as we win that's all that matters."

On the Lloyd play, were you able to see the result? Did you see him come down with the ball?

Kaepernick: "Yeah, I did."

Can you talk about the trust that you have in him? Just the chemistry you've developed over the course of the season so far in Brandon Lloyd, just to throw that ball up and trust that he's going to be the guy that comes down with it?

Kaepernick: "He's a great receiver. He has a proven track record. And he's been talking to me that we need to take a shot and he's going to go up and get it. So, at some point you have to trust them and just give them a chance."

Both of you guys, if you could address this, just the balance of the offense. You guys made plays in the passing game, plays in the running game, is this kind of how you envisioned this offense for the rest of the season?

Gore: "Wow. Well, like I said before, we're willing to do whatever it takes. If we have to run the ball, pass the ball, we all are going to fight for each other, and we made plays in both. So, that's a great thing for this team."

Colin, could you address that as well, just the balance of the offense?

Kaepernick: "Yeah, we're going to do whatever it takes to win. It's a lot easier to throw the ball when you have [RB] Frank [Gore] and [RB] Carlos [Hyde] running the ball as well as they did today."

Having to come off the field and let K Phil Dawson come on, are you frustrated or are you excited to see what he can do?

Kaepernick: "We always want to finish with seven points, but when [K] Phil [Dawson] comes on the field we're confident we got three."

Colin, what'd you think of that fake punt and how big a play was it to convert it?

Kaepernick: "That was a huge play. Allowed us to go down and get three points at the end to force them to try to get seven and it took a lot of time off the clock."

Pretty gusty play because it's deep in your own territory?

Kaepernick: "Very much so, but our special teams did a great job of executing and got us the first down."

Frank, maybe you can answer this? Big difference then last week, some unquestionable and some questionable offensive penalties with hand placement in some blocks and what not. Anything significant that changed this week? Anything you guys practiced this week, as far as techniques with that, to avoid those?

Gore: "No, we didn't, we didn't."

Frank, what does it mean to you to be able to dominate a second half on the ground like that? What does it say about this team?

Gore: "We some dogs. Our o-line, they played great. We have to give it up to them. Like I said, 49er football, do whatever it takes. We knew that we had to eat up the clock and we did. Me and Carlos did a great job on the ground, and like I said earlier, Kap did a great job in the air. So, we just played great team ball."

Frank, obviously, if you guys had the answer you'd fix it, but can you put your finger on anything yet as far as why you guys slow down inside the red zone?

Gore: "I can't answer that. We have to get better. Watch the tape and clean up whatever it is. We just have to get better."

You're a Miami guy, but how hot was it out there?

Gore: "Oh man, it was hot, but I like it like that though. I like it like that."

Colin was saying you definitely want to finish with seven points, but when you move forward and you have some primetime games coming up what do you change, if you can, to assure that as opposed to bringing out the field goal team?

Kaepernick: "That's just execution. You have different schemes for different teams. You have to go out and make plays."

Colin, it would be interesting to get both your and Frank's feelings about Head Coach Jim Harbaugh because he's so demonstrative, so emotional it's fun to watch him on the sideline. He reminds us so much of a college coach. What's it like playing for a guy who is not going to hold back anything, you know where you stand with him?

Kaepernick: "I love [Head] Coach [Jim] Harbaugh. I'd go to war with him any day of the week. He's a competitor, he wants to win and he's going to do anything to put this team in a position to win."

Colin, it looked like a lot of things tightened up today, special teams, defense, plus the offense was solid. Can you talk about how the team came together today?

Kaepernick: "We played all around, good team ball today. Our defense played great, special teams played well, offensive line, running backs did a great job and our receivers made plays."

Seems like, in the running game, you guys were able to get them outside and inside. Did you feel like you'd be able to exploit that versatility during the week or was that something you guys kind of adjusted to on the fly?

Kaepernick: "A lot of it just depends on the looks were getting and what they're seeing. They're going to see a crease or see they can bounce them they're going to take it."

Colin, one more for you? When a fake punt is called are you given an alert, like hey stand by you could be going right back on?

Kaepernick: "Nope."

S Antoine Bethea
Postgame Quotes - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

How would you describe this defense?

"This is a stern defense, a stiff defense. Obviously that first drive, we let them drive and put some points on the board. I'm not going to take anything away from Kansas City, they did a great job driving down the field, but there were some things on defense we could have done better. This is a good defense that we have."

You've made a name for yourself in this league. What about guys, especially on the defensive line, who are now making a name for themselves?

"It's all about hard work. I had to do that coming into the league, to make a name for myself. Like you said, week in and week out you have to prepare."

What did you think of the fake punt from the 30-yard line?

"They work on it during the week. When an opportunity presents itself, they're going to run it. They did a good job of executing."

G/T Alex Boone
Postgame Quotes - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Your perspective on going up against QB Alex Smith. You guys know Alex, he played well in this game but you guys took control in the second half. The defense did a real strong job.

"The defense did great. They always play great, they're tough guys. You can count on them for 60 minutes. Proud of everybody today."

Do you guys talk at all about limiting LB Justin Houston and LB Tamba Hali? These guys can really get after the quarterback if you get to third and long.

"Yes, they're a great team. Their front five are by far the best on their defense. We knew going into the game that we were really going to have to solidify them, and if we did, then we could have big plays. There's some pressure here and there, a couple sacks, but at the end of the day, we knew it was going to be a fist fight, it was going to go 60 minutes. Great team, happy we won."

DT Dontari Poe is a monster inside, 350-pounds. What's it like going up against a guy like that?

"It's like going up against a monster. He's a beast. He hit me with a fake inside-outside club, never seen anything like it."

What can you say about RB Frank Gore's performance? Back-to-back 100-yard games from him when it seems like everybody else was counting him out.

"That's just Frank. I think that's why everyone was trying to count him out, that's classic Frank. He runs so hard and so well, a 100-yard day is like nothing. Excited for him, happy for him, and have to keep going."

S Craig Dahl
Postgame Quotes - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Were you a running back at any point in your college or high school world?

"I had played quarterback, option quarterback, so I had run the ball in high school and been on teams where we had plenty of fakes before."

Is there a call-off if you don't get the look you're looking for? Do you switch out of that?

"I hate to get into the details of it to give away our game plan, but they showed a light box, and no one was in the right A gap and [LS] Kyle [Nelson] made a great snap to me, and I just put my head down and went for one yard."

How do you guard against being too eager? A lot of times, you'll see the guy moves too soon. How do you not tip it off?

"We just went through our normal calls. We knew it was on and everyone executed. It's one thing where you have to have ice in your veins in those pressure situations and just execute. It's real easy, catch the ball and run and protect it when you have it in your hands."

When's the last time you did something like that?

"That was my first fake that I've actually run with the ball. I've been a part of other fakes where we would throw the ball or hand it off to someone else."

What's it like when you get three yards and you know you've got the first down?

"It's a great feeling that you've extended a drive for our offense, and it turned out to be a key drive in the game. Had we not gotten it, it would have been almost disastrous for our team. You just have to execute in pressure situations like that and make a big play for the team when we needed one."

So you have to have at least two guys with guts, [assistant head coach/special teams coordinator] Brad Seely and head coach Jim Harbaugh.

"Absolutely. They put the trust in me as the caller, as the fullback on the punt, whether we're going to run it or not, and I can't say enough about the guys up front. They executed, and blocked them up, and Kansas City gave us the look we needed to run it."

When you know that it's going to be a fake punt from your 29, are you thinking this could be the play of the game?

"Absolutely. You guys could go back on when I was on St. Louis, we ran two fakes against the 49ers here in San Francisco, and it doesn't matter where they're called on the field, you just have to execute. Once they give you the right look, you know it's on."

Did you see the hole immediately when you go the snap?

"Absolutely. They left the right A gap wide open, so I knew I was going to go right in there."

K Phil Dawson
Press Conference - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

What was your range today?

"It's not always a matter of just how far you can kick it. It's how confident you are that you can make a long kick and control the accuracy. I would say that 55-yard was pretty much the range today. There is always a little wiggle room like those situations at the end of a half where you need to put a little extra into it. It is kind of a moving target. A lot of communication takes place during the course of a game, especially here where the wind isn't always consistent. What may be true in the first quarter isn't always necessarily true midway through the third quarter. There was good communication over there, and I appreciate the opportunity to go out there and make kicks."

Do you feel like this is your home now, as far as the turf and the wind conditions?

"I joked with you guys earlier that it only took me about 10 years to get comfortable in Cleveland. I still have a lot of work to do. Today was a good day. My existence is one kick at a time. Even if you have good results, you have to get ready for the next one."

Did you feel really confident lining up at 55 yards?

"Yeah, those are fun to me. Those are kind of the difference makers in a lot of games. Sometimes, when it is a lower percentage kick, it frees you up to go out there and let it rip. One thing I do know throughout my career, whether it is a long one or a short one, if I go out there and freely trust my technique, the ball generally goes where it is supposed to go. It is those kicks where you get out there and maybe you are not quite sure. It is kind of like golf - I hope I hit it here. Those are the ones that get you in trouble. Maybe on those longer kicks, with people not expecting you to make it quite as much, it frees you up to just let it rip."

How did you feel before the one you didn't kick, the 54-yarder?

"I appreciate the confidence the coaching staff showed there. I believe they [Kansas City] were in a similar spot in that part of the field and chose to punt. I feed off that confidence. Today was a day I was out there a lot and kind of in the flow of the game. Those are the fun games. They aren't always that way. Sometimes, you spend the whole game on the sideline and late in the fourth quarter you have to go out there and make a big kick. Those days are a little tougher. Today was a really good day."

I am sure you were concentrating on your own job, but did you notice the Chiefs had some confusion there?

"No but when I saw the flag, I immediately looked up and kind of counted and knew what it was. I didn't think we moved or anything like that. Generally, when there is a flag coming from back there, that's what it is."

What has the field been like the last few games?

"It plays very well. Those guys deserve a lot of credit. It is well documented the struggles we had early. For the field to be as good as it is now is incredible given where we started. Hats off to those guys. Hopefully with this sunny California weather, it will keep growing and we can keep it playable the rest of the year."

You mentioned you enjoyed getting out there and the opportunity to have five kicks. Is that a good thing actually for you to get in a groove?

"I'm sure the coaches would say five extra points would be better. There are days like this where you are out there and everything is going well, and there are days when it's not. It doesn't really matter. It's not that romantic. It's pretty simple. When they say go kick a field goal, I trot out there and try to make the kick. That is pretty much what it is."

[inaudible] On Head Coach Jim Harbaugh's quotes.

"I did hear that. At 39 years old, I don't enjoy looking in the mirror very much. I'll pretend to be a football player without looking in the mirror."

Can you give us your reaction to ‘no expiration date?'

"Well, that means a lot. I believe when I signed with the 49ers I said I bring an intensity to my position that isn't often associated with it. I take my job seriously and I work extremely hard at it. I've been told my whole career that I work too hard and that I'll wear myself out and lose my leg. Maybe they are right, I don't know. Here I am, still plugging away. It's the only way I know how to do it."

As a new guy, with all these rumors and discussion and chaos swarming around that Jim is this or the team doesn't like that. Do you get any feeling of this or is this something that happens to a lot of teams?

"There is zero problem in the locker room. Zero. We are all focused. The team is completely unified. We believe in our coach and love playing for him. All this noise, honestly I don't understand it. It is certainly not the read I get. I see a bunch of committed guys who believe in their coach and playing hard. Look at our last two victories coming right down to the wire. Our guys are giving everything they have so that is certainly not consistent with some of the noise you are hearing outside of the locker room."

WR Stevie Johnson
Postgame Quotes - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

On your touchdown reception, you were wide open. Did CB Marcus Cooper take a different route?

"Just beat him, that's it. We had the 1-on-1 matchup. Either he's going to win or I'm going to win, and you saw what happened."

The offense struggled early on third downs, but then you, WR Brandon Lloyd and WR Anquan Boldin came up with big catches on third downs. What shifted for you guys?

"We're a tight group. We work together, no matter what it is, from the offense line to the receivers. We work together. Whether we have a bad play, we know we'll get back at it and say: ‘come on guys, let's turn it around.' That's what we did."

Even though the offense struggles in the red zone it's able to finish games. What do you attribute that to?

"Yeah, we shouldn't be struggling in the red zone. I don't like to hear red zone and struggles together, because that's where we earn our money. That's where we get the wins. That's where the Super Bowls come. We've just got to continue to get better."

WR Brandon Lloyd
Postgame Quotes - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

That catch brought the house down. Take us through it.

"It was just a go route. Nothing much to it."

How did you outmaneuver the DB on that play?

"The ball was thrown in a position where I was going to need to stop and go up and make the catch. I wasn't really thinking through it, just using instincts and trying to come down with the play."

Do you appreciate the confidence that QB Colin Kaepernick obviously has in you to throw a jump ball for you to go get?

"I think we're still developing our confidence and our chemistry with all levels of routes. The short routes, the intermediate routes and the deep routes."

It was more of a lob than a direct throw, and you left the ground even before the DB had a chance to turn around. Is that something that you guys are timing and working on between the two of you?

"I think that was just more of an in-the-game, instinctual kind of play as opposed to something that we've practiced. I always like to think of those lobs, whether they're in the red zone or in the field, as football's version of the alley-oop. It's the quarterback understanding the ability of the pass catcher and putting the ball in position where the guy can make the play. I think it was more of just a feel for how he was playing and [QB] Colin [Kaepernick] throwing the ball to where I could catch it and the DB couldn't make the play."

When the fake punt works, are you thinking that I'm going to have to keep this momentum going and come up with a big play at that point?

"No. I'm just playing within the offense and whatever plays come. Definitely feeling like I need to step up, and I think we all felt that way, whether we were rushing the ball or whether it was [WR Michael] Crabtree or [WR Anquan] Boldin or [WR Stevie] Johnson, whoever's number was going to get called. I'm sure that we were all thinking the same thing that we needed to come through at a crucial point in the game."

You know you're going up against a guy who is 6'3", so what approach do you take when the ball's in the air? Are you cognizant that's CB Sean Smith?

"No. Just want to use instinct and take advantage of the opportunity to catch the ball. None of that really crosses my mind."

You've made a lot of those types of catches in your career. Do you just know when the ball's up there, you expect to get it?

"I don't expect it. I just know that I have the instincts and the athletic ability to make a play on it, and that's what I rely on."

How do you go about making that chemistry happen? Is it more than just practice and games? Are there other times that you guys get together and gel?

"Definitely meeting time, sideline, the stuff in the heat of the battle helps, just talking at lunch. It all factors in as far as personality and understanding what we're both capable of and all of us are capable of as pass catchers and the quarterback. It's all there."

LB Aaron Lynch
Postgame Quotes - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Talk about your intensity because you really bring it when it's on the line.

"I prepare during the week. I know there's the saying that practice makes perfect, and it really does. If you don't practice hard, you're not going to play hard in the game. It doesn't work out that way. If you prepare well during the week, when game time comes, everything just comes and you bring it."

In the opening drive the Chiefs went down field, QB Alex Smith was 7-for-9 passing. But after that, yards were a lot harder to come by.

"This defense, we don't let anything phase us. One play doesn't put us down; it just brings us up to work even harder. So we went out there and worked even harder. We worked hard each and every drive."

LB Ahmad Brooks got the hit on Alex Smith on the CB Perrish Cox interception that sealed the deal.

"Ahmad Brooks is a great player. Perrish Cox is a great player. As everybody can see, we have really great players on this defense at every single position. When we all work together, as you saw on that last play, we're successful."

FB Bruce Miller
Postgame Quotes - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

What did you think about RB Frank Gore's run and how you did on the running game today?

"It was great. We controlled the line of scrimmage and controlled the time of possession. We got Frank going and that's when we're rolling. We did a great job running the football and the guys up front did an awesome job."

Did you know beforehand that [the fake punt] was called?

"We were looking for the right look. [S] Craig [Dahl] did a great job of receiving the football then getting up the field and not wasting any time. We were able to pick up a huge first down. We were looking for the right look in a big point in the game."

Was being able to attack the edges and inside, part of what made you successful today?

"[We are] very balanced. [We have] really, really good players inside and out. We tried to keep them off balance which way we were going to attack. I think we did a great job of doing that, cutting the defense and giving Frank and [RB] Carlos [Hyde] lanes to run in."

Was Frank okay at the end of the game? He wasn't in for the last few plays.

"Carlos was carrying the football really well. So, if you've got a hot hand, let that guy finish it out. He's a tough runner. That's what we were trying to get done - pick up some tough yards, drain the clock, keep the chains moving, and those guys are a great one-two punch."

LB Patrick Willis
Press Conference - October 5, 2014
San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick, what made the defense so efficient in the second half compared to the first?

"I just thought in the second half we came in and we made some minor adjustments. [Defensive Coordinator] Coach Vic [Fangio] just pretty much told us that the first half was okay, but it wasn't good enough and we had to go back out the second half and play a lot better than we did the first half. Then we just took that as a defense and said that's what we have to do because we felt the same thing."

You said minor adjustments, was there anything specific in the second half?

"I don't know if I can tell you all the adjustments." 

Did some of the adjustments have to do with [QB] Alex Smith not being sacked at all?

"No, it wasn't really that. You know it is always nice when your defense can get five sacks, three sacks or a sack but sometimes the sacks don't fall and the ball doesn't fall in your hands. You just have to take what you are given and we got the W today and that is most important to us." 

You go into St. Louis and then Denver next week. Those are two tough games. Are you guys right where you feel you need to be as a unit?

"I feel like today was a big step for us because something I talked about earlier in the week was being consistent and if you don't come out today and play the kind of football we know how to play, then that wouldn't have felt as good. So we came out today and we certainly stepped in the right direction."