San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Friday to wrap up the preparations for Week 9 vs. the St. Louis Rams. He provided some injury updates, and talked about Bruce Ellington, but the best part was his discussion of Stevie Johnson.
He was asked how Johnson was handling his role as the third or fourth receiver, as opposed to his No. 1 work with the Buffalo Bills. He was quite complimentary of Johnson, and even went into some detail about Johnson's moves and unconventional style as a wide receiver. He sort of showed some of those moves, which you can see in the GIF above. You can also watch some video HERE. Fast forward to just after the 5-minute mark to see that portion of his press conference. There are two chunks, one around 5:15, and one I believe after the 6-minute mark. Either way, you've got the GIF above. Enjoy!
"Hello. Happy Halloween."
Which pirate are you?
"Just a normal pirate."
Not Captain Hook?
"No, I don't think so."
How did LB Patrick Willis look in practice this week? Does he look ready to play?
"He's working hard every day. He says he's feeling better every day. Questionable right now."
Is that the type of injury, I know it's not turf toe per say, but is it something that you risk him coming back too quickly and it turns into a bigger situation?
"That's the kind of risk you do everything you can to avoid, when it's the kind that can get worse. With any injury."
Was RB Marcus Lattimore out there on the field today?
Was that precaution or did he have a setback?
"He hung back in the training room today."
Did he have a setback?
"He hung back in the training room."
Is that to be expected for somebody who hasn't had contact for two years? Did it give him, like, some soreness on the third day?
"Yeah, we'll see what exactly it is, (when) we have some more information for you."
This is the first week where you've had your offensive lineman, your starting guards and tackles in practice, everybody healthy. How'd they look?
"Good. I think the offensive line's progressing very well. In terms of practice and the last game, I think it's progressing very well, noticeably."
You guys have been so consistent on the line these last few years. This is going to be your fifth different starting offensive line in eight games. Has that been a problem for this offense, I guess a natural problem, knowing that you don't have the same consistency that you've had?
"We're striving to improve in all areas. I see real good improvement and progress in the offensive line. And they played well, too. I haven't been keeping track of the different starter combinations, but our guys have looked good and really ready to play."
What progress have you seen from WR Bruce Ellington in the return game?
"Boy, he's a live football player. He really understands the game. He makes good decisions as it relates to the return game. Got a good feel. He's been rock solid. Now, he's learning even more in terms of how other players play - what their techniques are and scheme, so many things. He's not a rookie anymore. I wouldn't consider any of our rookies any more at this point."
WR Stevie Johnson was the No. 1 wide receiver for a long time in Buffalo. He obviously doesn't have that role here. How has he handled that?
"I would just say he's handled his business outstanding, so let's put it that way. His role is a valuable football player on our team and he's shown that in games and on a daily basis. Been around him hourly, daily, every day. It's been A-plus, plus."
I just meant as far as ...
"That's how I'd say it. He's handled his business extremely well. Playing at the highest level. Doing a great job."
It seems like he's kind of your ace in the hole on third down. A lot of his production has come on third down. Is that a role you envisioned for him when you guys brought him in?
"Feel like we've got a lot of fine receivers. They're all playing at a very high level. They're all doing a great job. Everybody's running, everybody's alert on every play knowing that the ball is being spread to the open receiver. I think we're doing a good job with that and hope we continue to and strive to get better and better."
I think QB Colin Kaepernick described him as unconventional during this offseason. It took him a little bit longer to get a chemistry with Johnson. What makes him different than other receivers?
"He's got a shake. He's got a wiggle. He's got a upper-body, torso, the mid, the legs. It's different. You probably see it, don't you?"
Tough to transcribe that.
"Tough to transcribe that?" [Laughing]
His body motion, would you say is different than any other receivers?
"Yeah, I think a picture is worth a thousand word there. It's tough for me to really describe it, as well. So, I'll leave it up to you to transcribe it. Just when I see it, that's what I see. Probably a good dancer."
Yeah, but you wouldn't know what to expect from him.
"Maybe defenders wouldn't either. But as a quarterback and I think what Colin's saying, I can relate to that, that you see it enough, you get enough time on task and you watch it, then you get a feel. You read the body language. So, maybe that's it. He's got body language that takes some time to read and it's a good thing. It's an asset for him, makes it harder for him to be covered. I feel good about the way I described that." [Laughter]