San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman met with the media on Wednesday. We got a bit of the Jim Harbaugh from him, which is often the case. Roman does a good job making it sound like he's giving you some information, but in reality there's not a lot to work with. Here is the transcript.
"Afternoon. Had a great practice yesterday, a lot of spirit. Looking for another one today. Got a lot of things going on right now. Our offensive staff, just got to commend them. To a man, they do a great job, very fortunate to work with this group. It's our fourth year together for the most part with a couple of guys here and there. To a position, I think they do as good a job as anybody in the NFL. So, looking forward to having a great day today. Any questions?"
How does it sit with you that your team, although it doesn't count in the standings, got shutout on Sunday?
"Not good at all. But, we've got to improve. Again, a lot of very good individual performances, a lot of good individual moments, not enough collective cohesion, precision by the offensive unit to play winning football. You go through the tape, a lot of great things. But, it serves as a great tool for us to understand that football is the ultimate team sport and it takes 11 guys on the field to get the job done. So, we've got to do better."
Why would you commend the coaching staff right now? Are things going on behind the scenes? Why would you make that a point today?
"Well, probably could do it every day. But, they do a great job day in and day out, work tirelessly. It's a staff with absolutely no motives other than to help the players and to win. Probably should do it more."
Are we going to see as much or more of the three-four wide receiver sets or even empty?
"That remains to be seen. It's week to week. It's all about how does that matchup against a particular team. We play quite a bit of empty. We probably used more tight formations than some people and we haven't played a lot of, haven't lived in, three wide receiver sets like some have. And, you know there's really, really good teams that play in three wide receiver sets, but there's a lot of teams that do the same and don't enjoy the same success. So, it'll be very specific to us, our personnel, how it matches up against the other team."
Is your personnel more suited for that now than before?
"I've always felt really good about our personnel. And, a guy like [TE] Vernon Davis you can split out. Some of the tight ends we have and have had we will split out and create those distributions, three wide receiver looks, etcetera. I like where our wide receivers are. I think they're working hard and there's a good chance that you see more of them."
How do you get an assessment of QB Josh Johnson so far in the preseason? It just seems like there's not a lot of cohesion out there. How do you evaluate your quarterbacks when that's the case?
"Well, we've got some history with Josh and I feel really good about that. I think there's a couple of things that have happened in games that he would like to take back, maybe do over again. Those are things that are very fixable. He got us going into a nice rhythm and tempo in Baltimore and then we had the fumbled snap. Those are things that just can't happen and I think he understands that. We see him for umpteen number of snaps every day in practice and that serves as a really good barometer. And then, game day is when you've got to put it all together as a player. So, we've just got to as a unit do a better job on game day."
Head coach Jim Harbaugh had talked about like it's time to stop experimenting and go with the guys who are going to be playing. How much do you guys look at your third receiver, your fourth receiver and how those guys fit into who you project to be on the active 46?
"I think if you look, or at least, we've gotten a tremendous amount of opportunities for really almost all of our players in situations that we are hoping to evaluate them in. So, that's been a very, very positive thing for us. And, that's really the crux of this time of year."
I know you made some comments the other day about WR Brandon Lloyd. What about WR Stevie Johnson? Have you seen enough from him to really know how he can fit into your offense?
"Yeah, I think we definitely understand how he can fit in. I really believe [CSN Bay Area reporter] Matt [Maiocco] that we just need to keep working to develop the level of chemistry that we want. And that's an ongoing process. That's not something that'll never stop. Hopefully it peaks the last day of the season. That's something we have to improve upon every day. That's really everything, every player and the unit as a whole. So, I think, really happy to have Stevie and I think he'll bring a lot to the table. Have a good feel for his skillset. I love his energy out there and just us as a unit need to continue to work every day to develop that chemistry."
Is he your number three guy?
"We don't put numbers on them. We don't put numbers on them."
If you have three receivers out on the field, would he be one of them?
"It depends. It depends. I think we'll have some flexibility there."
Are there difficulties in evaluating players in the preseason when the game plan and the complexities of the playbook are at a different level than they would be during the regular season?
"To your point, yes in a way on game day, but during the practice and whatnot, we're working on things that reflect the regular season. So, you get a good chance and a good feel there. Yeah, there is a little bit of a question mark, but I think we try to set things up so that we can get that evaluation as much as possible, without getting too specific."
Do you expect to have TE Garrett Celek at all?
"Yeah, he's coming along. I am not aware of the exact day that he'll be back but looking forward to him getting back out and competing."
Talk about your backup offensive line. It seems like every time you look at it it's a different composition - different guys playing right tackle all the time. I imagine that's a good, I don't know if you want to call it a problem, but it seems like you've got a lot of different guys that play multiple spots on that second-team unit?
"That's been a real positive for us, getting guys opportunities at different positions. The ability to show position flexibility, I think, serves us well and serves them well as players. I think our second offensive line has done a very good job, thus far, throughout camp. They need to keep it going. Think they've done a nice job in pass protection and in run blocking. There's always things to get better, but these guys have really done a good job. Really coming together as a unit, too. It's been pretty neat to watch."
Will you stick with the offensive line and talk a little bit about C Marcus Martin and your assessment of him and the progress he's made the last couple of games?
"Marcus missed the first couple of weeks of camp, so he's behind. He did a very good job in the game. Was very excited to see him carry over what he's been doing in practice to the game. Really excited for him because he can have a very bright future."
Do you think he's progressing slowly or do you think he's accelerating, he's doing well, he's ahead of the curve?
"Well, he's got a great attitude. He comes in every day with a great attitude. Thus far, it's been very good. He's behind. He missed some time, valuable experience, so, he's got to catch up. You can't stay behind, you got to catch up. I'll let you know when he gets caught up, but he's working really diligently to get caught up. Just to reiterate, I think he's got a bright future if he continues to work the way he's working."
Where's RB Marcus Lattimore at in his recovery?
"He's looking good. Our training staff are the people to ask on that if you want to get specifics. [vice president of football operations] Jeff Ferguson, in particular. They're putting him through a lot of change of direction stuff, hard-type cutting. He's looking good. But I would ask Fergie about that."
Head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the Baltimore game that G Joe Looney got a little high at times. Has he improved in that area?
"Yeah, he's improved that every day. Think there's a couple plays he could've done better on. He improved tremendously in that area. Joe's a smart guy. He tends to put two-and-two together. A wise coach once told me, ‘The number one axiom in football is the low man wins in the trenches.' He's figuring that out. As a first-time starter, every day you've got to be on the details of things every single day, every single play. It's a little different when you get put into that role than being in the backup role. Every play there's pressure on you to do your job and to do it in the way that you're being coached to do. Players that respond in that fashion generally do well and he's doing that."
T Anthony Davis said yesterday that he didn't need any preseason work in order to get ready for September 7th. Do you agree with that? Do you think that September 7th is realistic for him?
"Well, I think it's really according to what our training staff, how they organize that and what's best for the player and his health and where he's at. I think Anthony is getting there and he's starting to take part in some of our P.A.A.C.T. practices, which is good to see. We'll just see how it goes in conjunction with our training staff. But I think you definitely want to have as much practice as you can relative to your health. But sometimes, hey, that's just how the cookie crumbles. You do the best you can and get ready the best you can."
If he does come back and starts practicing with the first-team unit, will T Jonathan Martin then start getting some snaps at guard? Do you want to see what he can do on the inside as well?
"I think John's a guy that can play probably four positions on the offensive line. And at some point you'd like to be able to get him some work in those areas. We'll see how that goes."
You're now able to carry 10 players on the practice squad. How is that being received by the coaching staff?
"Great. It was a great decision by the National Football League, really is. Just gives guys, more people, more players, a chance to develop and have a job, but develop. Selfishly, gives us a chance to develop a couple extra guys. I think it's a great thing. In this day and age, bravo, great decision."