The San Francisco 49ers had their first player availability on Wednesday, and Colin Kaepernick was among the players to speak with the media. Kap was fairly limited in his answers, but they did seem a little more detailed than what we've seen in-season in the past. It will be interesting to see if he remains at least a little bit expansive during the coming regular season, or if it will be back to shorter answers.
Kap touched on everything from the Seahawks, to Vernon Davis and Alex Boone, to changes in the playbook. It was interesting to hear him discuss the holdouts. He was asked whether or not he expected Davis to report on time, and he responded that "Vernon is not the type of person that's going to walk out on his team like that." Naturally, an Alex Boone question followed, and he said, "Love to have him here, but not going to speak on another man's business. That's his personal decision." Whatever he intended to mean with his comments, it comes across as a bit of a dig on Boone's choice to be absent. It's not surprising to sense disappointment that a prominent member of the offensive line is not around, but it's still interesting to hear.
It also sounds like the playbook has been cleaned up a bit, and stripped down to some extent. Apparently other players mentioned that. Kap said, "Looks great to me. I think we cleaned a lot of things up from last year. Took out a little bit of the indecision in some of things." He did not go into any detail, which is not really surprising given the secrecy behind the playbook.
And of course, there was a question about the Seahawks. Someone asked about the Shermn-Crabtree stuff, and the rivalry between the two teams. Kap said, "I think this team, and all of us, don't take the approach of talking about it. We want to go out on the field and handle our business that way, go about it that way. We get to see them twice this year." That's pretty much the best way to handle it.
Was it a relief to see TE Vernon Davis walk through those doors today?
"Always great to have Vernon on the field. Looks good. Excited to have him back out here."
How do you enter training camp? Are you feeling about what you saw in the offseason, where do you feel this offense is right now as training camp gets about ready to start?
"I think we're further along than last year. Going into camp, we have a lot more weapons and a lot more health on offense. So, something I'm excited about and I think this team is excited about."
I said training camp ready to start, it's already started for you. What do you get out of the first few days of training camp with just the rookies out there and the other quarterbacks?
"You get your feet wet. You get the opportunity to come in, get a little bit ahead of the game physically and mentally as far as what we're going to be doing in training camp."
Anyone catch your eye out of those rookies?
"Got a lot of people working hard, a lot of people trying to look good out here. Excited to see what happens once we really get pads on."
You've worked with Vernon for a couple years now, in terms of him getting caught up to speed and maybe stuff you've been doing this offseason, how much does he need to do to get back to where he needs to be?
"Vernon's a Pro Bowl tight end. He's one of the best in the league. There's not going to be too much of a fall off for him. I don't think anyone is concerned about that. We're just happy he's here."
For the first time in a while, it seems like you guys have legitimate depth at the receiver position. Just talk about how that makes your job easier, and what you're expecting out of them this season.
"It does make my job easier. You don't have to worry about match-ups as much, necessarily whose running what part of the route. To me, I'm very excited about it. I want to get the ball in their hands and see what they can do with it because I know they're going to be competing just the way everyone else is."
This team has been so close three years in a row. Is that a motivational thing? When you come back kind of a chip on your shoulder coming into training camp to say, ‘We've been so close we kind of want to get to that last step'?
"Yeah, it's always motivation when you don't finish the season the way you want to. I think this team has the talent. We have the coaching staff to win a Super Bowl. Now it's just time to go out and do it."
Did you expect Vernon to be here today?
"Yeah. Vernon is not the type of person that's going to walk out on his team like that. He's a good guy. He's done a lot for this organization and he's made a lot of great plays for us. We're happy he's here."
Was Alex Boone here today?
"No he wasn't."
Do you have any thoughts on that?
"Love to have him here, but not going to speak on another man's business. That's his personal decision."
Do you get an opportunity to work much in the offseason with Stevie Johnson?
"Yes, during OTA's we got a lot of time to work together."
Quick reaction or quick thoughts on how it was building a rapport with him, learning about what he's like as a receiver?
"It was pretty easy. He's another guy that's easy to throw to because he creates so much separation. Very quick, very deceptive, and I'm happy he's on our side of the ball."
We heard about a new playbook. Supposedly it was stripped down a little bit, leaner. What's your views on how it looks so far?
"Looks great to me. I think we cleaned a lot of things up from last year. Took out a little bit of the indecision in some of things. I think everyone is excited with what we've done and the strides we've made."
What about getting the play called into the huddle? Is that cleaned up? Is that going to be stripped down a little bit quicker?
"I don't think that's something that's necessarily cleaned up or stripped down. It's a process you have to go through as far as getting the right play for the situation, the down-and-distance, wherever it may be. You have to give the coaches and the people that are calling the plays time to think about all those things and put together what they feel is the best play."
What do you mean by cleaning up and stripping down? What was done to the playbook?
"I can't really speak specifics."
"Generally, we cleaned things up." [laughter]
About the new stadium over here, your thoughts on that? Are you guys going to draw a little edge from this new venue?
"Very excited about the new stadium. I think it's an opportunity for us to start our own legacy. There was a lot of tradition, a great legacy at Candlestick and this is an opportunity for us to really make this our home and start something new here."
Have you guys moved into your new lockers over there?
"No, not yet. We're still in this locker room right here. I don't know when the move will happen or anything like that. Just here to practice now."
Beginning with the last game you played last season and continuing on throughout the entire offseason, [Seahawks CB] Richard Sherman's had a lot to say about Michael Crabtree, including, I think the show that you were at. What are your thoughts on that particular rivalry and how those guys are handling it?
"I think this team, and all of us, don't take the approach of talking about it. We want to go out on the field and handle our business that way, go about it that way. We get to see them twice this year."
You've been a coach on the field now. How has your leadership evolved on this team over these last couple of years?
"I think it's evolved a lot as far as me being comfortable with what we're doing, our players having confidence in me, everything I'm doing as far as giving directions and seeing coverages. Things like that so we can operate smoothly and try and get bigger plays or a few more yards here and there with what we're doing."