San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman met with the media Thursday afternoon following defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. As is often the case, Coach Fangio was a bit more forthcoming than Coach Roman. That being said, there were a few little nuggets from which we can try and squeeze something.
For example, he talked about Bruce Ellington's multi-dimensional ability. He did not go into specifics, but given the way the 49ers used him frequently in the preseason, could he become a bit of a regular feature for this offense? Or maybe not a regular feature, but it would not surprise me if we saw the 49ers develop some packages to take advantage of Ellington's unique skill-set. The 49ers have plenty of wide receivers, but Ellington seems to be a potential unique sort of option.
Will Greg Roman get a little creative with Ellington, or do we end up frustrated in his use?
"Afternoon. Lot of excitement for the start of the season, nothing like opening day. We're getting ready to play a very good Dallas Cowboys team. They've got a very experienced and well-recognized coaching staff. I think they've done a very good job, their starting players, in the preseason. We've got our hands full in our preparation. We had a great Wednesday, looking to have a great Thursday. Anybody have any pertinent questions?
You talked a lot in the past about being multiple on offense. Do you feel like this collection of talent that you have on offense gives you that opportunity more than any other time you've been here?
"I really like the players we have. The biggest thing we got to do, [CSN Bay Area reporter] Matt [Maiocco], is execute. Our focus is really more on execution, all 11 guys getting their job done. I think that's when we'll reach out potential. I think we've got a lot of players in our offensive room that can contribute to a win every Sunday."
Where do things stand with T Anthony Davis and your right tackle situation?
"Well, funny you should ask. Getting to ready to go meet with the trainers here and get an update. Day-to-day at this point."
Was it one of those situations where a guy has a long time off and comes back and strains the hamstring?
"I don't know that I'd characterize it as such. It's something minor that he's working through, and I'm getting ready to kind of get the details on it today."
If he can't play, are you comfortable with T Jonathan Martin, who seemed to get better with each preseason game, at least from our perspective?
"Your perspective is exactly right. He did. Jonathan is a guy that I had the opportunity to work with at Stanford. Really, really glad to have him on the team, but I'm ready to roll with anybody we put out there."
Does he look stronger to you?
"Getting stronger, yeah, definitely. Especially coming off the mono in the spring. I think he's definitely made strides there. He lost a bunch of weight and a lot of the gains he had put together, he had to start back at square one once he got over that little illness."
How daunting a transition is it for C Daniel Kilgore at that position to go for years of not playing very much to being the starter, and center, specifically, as opposed to others?
"I think it's much - I don't want to use the word easier - but it's much smoother a transition to be in the role that he has been in and jump into that role as opposed to getting right off the bus as a rookie and having to do it. So, I think Daniel has prepared himself well for that job and really pleased with what he's doing."
Do you have any updated on WR Michael Crabtree?
"Again, that's day-to-day. Funny you should mention that. I'm getting ready to go meet with the trainers right now."
You imagine him being pretty geared up to go back to Dallas for the first time and play there.
"I think he's geared up to play anywhere, really. But I'm sure Dallas has a little special something to him growing up in that area and having family there. He's ready to go. He's a true professional. Mike played last year when he came back in a tough situation for some. He went out, gutted it out and helped us win a lot of football games. And that's what we're looking forward to this year."
Is G/T Alex Boone going to start at right guard?
"You know, that's a good question. We'll have to wait and see."
How has he looked physically?
"Looks good. He missed some time, but he looks good. I think he's jumped back into the offense. We've cut way back on some stuff, so the stuff we're doing is pretty manageable for him."
Assuming he's in decent physical shape, what would prevent him from being the starter?
"We just got to see, evaluate it and make the best decision at the appropriate time. To sit here and say, ‘Hey, we're going to do this and do that,' without all the information is not very prudent. When a player rejoins us, we have to consider where he is physically as well as fundamentally and see where that goes at the appropriate time. Anything else would be probably not advisable."
Will you know something like around Friday or so?
Is the Cowboys' scheme similar to what Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli had two years ago when you faced the Chicago Bears?"
"It's opening day, you never know what they're going to do. It's a new defense for them. Been very impressed with them. Their starting unit, I think they've done a very good job of keeping people out of the end zone. I don't want to characterize them as a bend-but-don't-break, but during the season, people can look at mindless numbers like yards, but they did a great job of keeping people out of the end zone. Coach Marinelli has had a great career and is a great coach. But it's opening day, so, you never know."
When you bring up mindless numbers like yards, is that something that you guys get attacked a lot about with your passing offense. Yard-wise you were 30th in the league last year. Do you see that as deceiving of what this passing offense could be?
"We were top-5 in the league last year in pass offense. I think we had the third or fourth most wins in the league."
Top-5 in pass offense?
"I think we were in the top-4 in wins."
What's your measure of passing offense?
So, run offense you're top-5 as well?
"We made it. Top-5 in every statistic. Trying to improve it, though. Trying to get it better, guys working hard, working hard every day."
You guys have so many established wide receivers on the roster. How do you work in a guy like WR Bruce Ellington, who showed some nice things, can do a lot of different things in the offense?
"Bruce is a guy that every day he gets better, and while he's young, I think he's a very instinctive guy. He's going to be a guy that can really help us in a lot of different ways, I think. He's got a little multi-dimensional ability to him. We'll see. We'll see how it goes."
Part of your offense regularly has been able to kind of physically dominate some opponents. If indeed, you've discussed, you pass more, is that still possible to kind of physically dominate people with your passing 35 times a game?
"We're looking for one kind of domination and that is on the scoreboard. And if that happens via running or via passing, it really, big-picture wise, it doesn't really matter. It's all about execution. I think we all see there are teams out there that can live in the extended handoff world, i.e. the short passing game. How efficient you are either running that style of offense or a power-type of offense and what not. I think the key thing is to put your players in the best possible position relative to the team winning. And if that's running or passing, it doesn't matter to us as long as we're getting the results that we're looking for, and that's helping the team win."
What are your thoughts of RB Frank Gore's workload early in the year and also giving yourself a chance to see some of the other guys, like RB Carlos Hyde?
"Yeah, that's a tough one because Frank doesn't want to come off the field [laughs]. He's a team guy and he's been on a really good plan this summer. We'll just see how it goes because once the game starts, we're going to do whatever it takes to win the game. At the same time, you don't want to wear out a particular player. We just got to work together on that. If somebody's hot, we've got to stay with the hot hand and try to have a plan ahead of time, though, to where we can utilize each player in a specific manner. Things change in the course of a game, so we'll see how that goes. It's a good question, though."