San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke made his weekly radio appearance on 95.7 The Game Monday afternoon, and he had plenty to discuss. Given all that has gone down through the first quarter of the season, I thought I would transcribe the comments. The link above has audio, but here are his full comments.
Baalke got a couple questions about the locker room talk from Sunday and Monday, but he also had a chance to discuss the win over the Philadelphia Eagles, preparing for Alex Smith, and some of the things he does in a given week. There isn't anything big to come out of the interview, but it is still an interesting discussion. Give it a read.
Trent, thanks very much for joining me for your weekly radio conversation. How you doing? Gotta feel better than when we spoke last week.
Winning cures all, doesn't it? At least for a week, at least for a week"
Questions on dissension:
That's a good question, Damon. And to be quite honest, I find it a little ridiculous when people outside the locker room are talking about it. For me, let's get back to football. Let's talk about the game itself, let's talk about the performance of the guys, the way they grinded through things, the coaching staff included. It's a good victory, and those are the things we should be talking about.
Offensive story lines and return to run game:
I think it was. Once again, the coaches game plan, and you're looking at tendencies, you're looking at personnel. You're trying to put the best game plan together you can to move the football. And at times on Sunday we were very good at it. Obviously the clock management that's been well discussion, and I'm sure coach has addressed that as well. And I know he did in his press conference. But, each week you just try to go out there and find a way to win. That's the most important thing. Sometimes it's through the air, sometimes it's through the ground. Usually in the National Football League, if you can run the ball effectively, the chances of ending up on the right side of the scoreboard increase. And we were able to do that. And on the other side of the ball we were able to keep them from running the ball. They had 22 total yards running, I think 1.7, 1.8 average. When you can run the ball and you can stop the run, and you can make teams one dimensional, that always plays to your favor.
Kap TD pass to Gore:
We did see Frank open on the other side, but never thought Kap would come all the way across back to him. There's not much you can say about plays like that. It's a player with a unique talent making a play. When you end up on the right side of it, it goes against all common thought, all coaching principles to make a decision like that. It goes against all common thought, but that's the unique thing. He made a heck of a football play, and Frank finished it off.
How many arms can make it:
There aren't many. It was a heck of a football play, no doubt about it.
Vernon/Anthony Davis update:
They both got injured during the course of the game. The extent of the injuries not fully known yet at this time. And if I did know I wouldn't tell you anyway. They both came in today with good attitudes, positive mindsets, and now it's going to be day-to-day.
Boone moving to left tackle when Staley went down:
It's a small sample. He was over there for a few plays. Alex does some nice things, but like all of us, there are things we can improve in. It's good to have him out there, he brings a good energy to this football team, and we've just got to continue to get better. Everybody has to look at themselves, me included, what can I do better, what can we do better as a group. And we're going to continue to do that. It's a marathon, it's not a sprint. We just got to keep grinding.
On what Baalke can do better as team's GM:
There's so many different things you do in this role, from start of the week working on the Kansas City Chiefs. Looking at the potential free agents that may be coming off that team moving forward. Looking at them, looking at how we balance up against them from a personnel standpoint. Sharing those thoughts. Then transitioning into the college game as we move along. Because I'll be making a trip out, usually leave late on Tuesdays, early Wednesday and start the scouting process at the college level. Getting that stuff, staying on top of that. And staying on top of the scouts as they're out in the field. And staying on top of the information they're sending back. There's always something to do, and there's always a way to get better.
How many scouts:
We've got 7 on the road, some in regional roles, some in national roles, and a director. And then 3 on the pro side. So we're constantly looking at film, looking at the advance of the opponents that are up next. The scouting process never ends.
Any time you hold a team like Philly to 213 yards, I think 9 of their 11 possessions were either 1-series or 2-series possessions. A lot of 3rd and long situations. Anytime you do that, that's a team effort. And any time you have a team effort like that, you're going to have individual performances. And there were a lot of them. Perrish Cox had an outstanding game. Antoine Bethea coming off of a tweaked ankle mid-week had a heck of a game. And I can go on and on. And obviously Aaron is getting more comfortable in the role, and he's only going to get better as time goes by. There were just a lot of very good performances, and as a group, very disciplined. Their gap discipline in the run game was exceptional, there coverage in the back half was very good. Players just making plays and having fun doing it. It was fun to watch.
On Special teams:
Not concerned. Very confident in that group. Obviously you'd like to have those two plays back. On the one play, on the long return, we got out of position a little bit, with the gunners going down. They ran by things a little too quick, and we lost a lane assignment on one. That's the play Eric Reid tweaked his hamstring on. He pulled up and got knocked out of position. So there were some things that went against us on that play. They're all correctable. I've got great faith in the guys on that unit, and great faith in the coaches.
You go back to the comment you made, Damon, about the turnovers. The one thing that was emphasized all week on the defensive side, and I think the coaches did an outstanding job of emphasizing it, is attacking the ball. Whether that be in coverage, or when they're tackling, especially when it's 2 guys tackle. One guy's going in for the rip, the other guy's going in for the clean-up. Those are all situations that are coached and I thought our staff did an outstanding job during the week doing that.
On where "losing the locker room" comes from:
I don't even want to speculate on all that. All I know is this team is fully committed. Everybody from the head coach on down. We're all in. And we're all in it together. And we've got to continue to grind. It's not easy winning games in the National Football League. As we see week in and week out. As long as we stay together, stay focused, we can't worry about what the outside world is saying. The only thing we can control is what takes place in our locker room, and within these walls in this building. And that's all we try to focus on. So for me to try to speculate on what keeps driving it, obviously there are people who are saying stuff that have never been in this building. So, when it's coming from people who have never been in this building, or unnamed sources, it's not even worth the time of answering these questions, especially when there are ten follow-ups to every question that's given.
On Alex Smith returning:
I don't know that Alex is looking at it as a revenge game, nor are we. He was a great member of the 49ers. There's a lot of respect for Alex in this building and in this community, and there should be. He was a great teammate, and a dang good football player for us. I don't know that he looks at it that way, nor do we. I know that he's leading a very good football team in here on Sunday. They're a well-coached football team. We're going to get a chance to see them first-hand tonight. I'm sure the guys are going to be locked into that, as am I, and we're looking forward to it.