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Trent Baalke talks Colin Kaepernick press conferences, delay of games, and whether 49ers are playoff contender

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off an ugly Week 14 loss to the Oakland Raiders. That made for a fairly interesting radio chat for general manager Trent Baalke on the Damon Bruce Show.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke made his regular weekly appearance on the Damon Bruce Show, and Bruce did not pull many punches. Bruce asked about the various issues, including the continued delay of game problems. Where it got particularly interesting was in the discussion about Colin Kaepernick's press conference demeanor, as well as the Harbaugh-Baalke relationship, and the problem of perception.

Bruce asked Baalke if the 49ers have talked with Kap about his press conferences. Baalke acknowledged they had, but tried to couch it in the notion that they talk to all of their players about them. Jim Harbaugh has generally defended Kaepernick saying he is as professional as can be, so seeing Baalke at least acknowledge that they recognize something is up was interesting. Tre tweeted out some thoughts on that last night. I don't anticipate anything changing at least the rest of this year, but maybe it will, who knows.

Here is the full transcript, although the audio is pretty interesting at times.

What was wrong with 49ers in Raiders game:

Obviously it was a disappointing performance. But you gotta take your hat off to Coach Sparano, his staff, and those players. I mean they came out, they shook off a 52-0 defeat the week earlier, and came out, played inspired. You gotta give credit to them.

On continued problems with delay of games:

The mechanics of how things are called, I think that's a question you can speak specifically to the coaching staff on, if you ask those type of questions. There's a lot of things that go into it. We can sit here and point fingers, and make all kinds of excuses, but the bottom line is we have to do a better job. And consistency on that side of the ball. As a team, it has to improve. If we want to win games in the National Football League, we have to get more consistent in what we do.

What's the first thing you think needs to become more consistent:

I think when you look at us overall, there's times that we run the ball extremely effectively. There's other times where we don't. There's times where our passing game produces some big plays, and then there's times where it doesn't. On the defensive side of the ball on Sunday, we weren't able to generate enough of a pass rush. And gave the quarterback just too much time to sit back there and make some plays. Each week, there's been something a little bit different, a little bit off. What that magic is to improve it, I can assure you we're working on it. It's not like we're sitting here not trying to improve the things that we're not doing well. And the things we're not executing well. But there's just a lot of things that aren't coming together, and we gotta fix it.

Why is Kap having such a poor season:

I think you've seen throughout his short career to this point, plenty of opportunity and plenty of signs where he's performed quite well in those situations. So to hang it all on Kap I think is unfair. I think there's plenty that goes into it, to getting offense, the timing, the rhythm, the confidence, the swagger, whatever you want to call it, to consistently move the ball. The defenses are getting better. We've got to match up on that side of the ball, no doubt about it. But once again, you go back to work, you try to come up with solutions, and I'm confident the staff is doing that right now as we speak.

On Kap's media dealings:

We've addressed it with him, like we do with all of our players. Like anything, when we talk to our players, any of those discussions, what we say and what their responses are, that's between the player and the organization. We address this with all of our players, and there's a responsibility that we know we have. What people have to keep in mind, this is a highly competitive game. And emotions run very high. Everybody handles those situations differently, and I think as you grow as a professionally, you learn to deal with situations a little bit differently as well. So we'll continue to work on that, but this isn't all about Kap. This is about the San Francisco 49ers, and this organization. We'll do our best to correct the things we feel we need to get corrected.

Is Kap ignoring advice, is this concerning:

Some people say by talking less that's disrespect. I'm not going to get into a debate about how he needs to behave in front of the media [Bruce: There is no debate, it's awful]. He knows what the expectations are on this end, and we'll continue to work with him, as we do with all our players, and try to make it so that it appeases you, Damon. How does that sound?

On Vernon Davis's continued struggles:

As you look it, there's opportunities that have been missed, and yet there's defenses in certain games that do an awful lot of things to take Vernon out of the game. So it's a combination of things. We've missed some opportunities, and defenses play Vernon a specific way. A little different than they have in the past.

On tension between Baalke and Harbaugh:

Once again, I think a lot of it's a fabrication. We continue to work hard to try and figure this thing out, and you know, losing isn't fun, we all know that. Been on both sides of it. Been toward the top of the mountain, and the bottom. When you're not performing to the level of expectations, emotions run high. But to say there's a lot of strife and friction, people that work here day to day view it a little bit differently than what's being reported.

On uncertainty around coach taking down the season:

I think that's an opinion that you have, that may be shared by others, and may not be.

You do not share that opinion?

Do I share that opinion? No I don't share that opinion. We haven't performed to the level of expectations in a lot of areas. Obviously, offensively we haven't gotten ourselves into a rhythm. Defensively, we've played very good football at times. Sunday wasn't as good a performance as we're accustomed to. On special teams, we've had some games where we've had standout performances, and then there's other games where we haven't. For whatever reason, we just haven't been able to play consistent football, 60 minutes of football, on a consistent basis, with all three phases of the game. And when you don't do that, it really limits your ability to walk away in the National Football League with Ws.

Still a playoff contender?

I think in the National Football League, until you're out of it, you keep that mindset. I look back to a few years back when Green Bay won the Super Bowl. They had to win their last two games just to make it into the playoffs. The year we played the Giants in the NFC Championship Game at our place, they had to win their last two games just to make it into the playoffs. And both those teams went on to win the Super Bowl. So, until statistically you're eliminated, you still have as good a chance as anybody else. And whether that's what you want to believe or not, that's the way we believe internally. And so, right now we're mathematically alive, and so for that reason and that reason only, we're gonna keep grinding.