The San Francisco 49ers face an old rival on Sunday when they welcome John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens. The game is not quite the same without the Jim Harbaugh vs. John Harbaugh matchup. The Ravens head coach chatted with 49ers media on Wednesday, and naturally there were plenty of questions about Jim. John talked about his brother's success at Michigan, and shot down any ideas the media had that he knew what exactly went down in Santa Clara.
I've got the full transcript below, but there was a particularly amusing exchange at one point. John had attended the Michigan-Maryland game on the Michigan sideline, and talked about how fun that was. Someone asked him if Jim had attended a Ravens game, or if he had plans to in the future. John asked if he meant if Jim was coming to this weekend's game. He said there was no plan for that, and that Jim was kind of busy.
I have to admit, it would crack me up to no end to see Jim Harbaugh show up on the Ravens sideline this Sunday. It would be WWE-style entertainment. "GOOD GOD! THAT'S JIM HARBAUGH'S MUSIC!" I can't even imagine the fan reaction if anybody noticed Jim on the sideline. I'm pretty certain the 49ers in-stadium cameras would not show him on the big screen, but if he was there, we'd know.
On status of Steve Smith:
Status will be revealed with the injury report after practice, but we're anticipating him to practice to some degree today. I just don't know to what degree right now. We start at 1 our time, so we'll know more after practice.
On WR corps without SS and Torrey Smith:
Well, we've had new guys in there. Kamar Aiken has stepped in and made some plays for us. He's a tough hard-nosed guy who's done a good job. Marlon Brown has been working in there, and I think he's capable of doing more than he's done. He's got some talent, works hard. Darren Waller has done a good job for us. He's a young guy, he's a rookie guy, but if he plays for us it's been kind of a surprise guy. We're still waiting for our first round pick, obviously. And that's pretty much where we're at. We lost Campanaro to an injury two weeks ago, so he's out. And we brought in Chris Givens from St. Louis on a trade, so we're working him in.
On role of Shareece Wright this week:
Well we'll see. It's gonna depend on his ability to come in and learn what we're doing. One good thing about corners, pretty much all the coverages around the league are similar. There's nuance things, but nothing he can't handle. It's just communication, making sure you're on the same page back there. That's the biggest challenge.
On Steve Smith and Anquan Boldin playing "angry":
I don't know. I wouldn't want that to be my quote. I think they're both real competitive guys. There's not too many more competitive guys out there than those two guys. And they do, they play with great intensity, and fire. I love the way both of them play. Definitely you could compare them that way, as far as how they compete, and get after it. I loved Anquan when he was here. Love Steve while he's here.
On large number of injuries:
Probably not in the NFL. Had 14 years in college, but that seems like three lifetimes ago, so I can't really remember having quite so many to so many key guys. But you know what, that's just how it works, and we have lots of good young players. I've told the guys, I've got a lot of confidence, I know we have the players to do the job. And we just need to keep improving as a football team in the meantime. Get better than the day we were before. It's not like we haven't been competing in games, and we haven't had a chance to win every single one of these games. We've been our own worst enemy in not winning the games. We'll keep doing it. We just gotta go do it.
On 49ers turnover:
Yea, I mean, they got a lot of the same players out there. You look at the offensive line, those two guys on the left side. They just love, just going against them in practice and stuff. And Colin is there. I love their young running back, Carlos, he's just doing a great job, even if he is a Buckeye. We can live with that. He gets behind his pads and a real physical guy, a featured guy. Of course, Torrey and Anquan. And Vernon Davis, sounds like he's gonna be back this week. I like their other tight ends as well. They have good hands. Defense is very similar. They've got the young pass rushers in there now. Well, the one side. There was Lynch, and of course Brooks is still there. So, it's the same team in a lot of ways from a talent standpoint. It's a very challenging group to go up against.
On Hyde being a Buckeye, and Jim being at Michigan:
Well, we grew up, you guys know the story right? I've kind of been a Michigan guy, we both grew up that way. So, it's a reference to, I'd say all of the above.
On motivation given Jim's departure:
You know, no, you really don't have time for that. I know it's a good question, a fair question. Hopefully, you asked about Carlos Hyde, I hope you know that's all in humor, it's good humor. But yea, there's too much to worry about and too much to prepare for. Too many things that we're dealing with to even think about that stuff. It really is very much irrelevant to what we're trying to accomplish. We got our hands full with what we're trying to do as a football team right now to even think about any of that stuff.
On if helpful to not think about it:
Yea, exactly. It's not tough at all to not think about it. It just never comes to mind. It's not part of the equation at all. Life moves on. I've said this before, many times, but Jim loved his time there, he loved the players, loved the fans, loved being a 49er. And they had four great years, and you know, everybody moves on to the next thing in life. And I think once you realize all that, it's bigger than worrying about anything besides that. And that's how he feels about it. He feels great about it, I feel great about it. Other than that, I'm not involved in that, never was.
On surprise Jim departed 49ers given success:
Nah, because I don't really know too much about all that. I think you look at the success and feel like that was a great chapter in your life, and move to the next thing.
On impressions of Jim Tomsula:
You know what, I don't know. I think I just look at the tape, I don't follow too much closely specifically, but I like the way they're coached. I think that they're a physical, hard-playing group on both sides. You can tell on defense what they're trying to accomplish. They're doing a good job of it. Offensively, as far being physical, what they're trying to do on offense, you see it. It's a testament to what they're trying to get done.
On surprise of Michigan success so quickly:
Well, they won a couple tough games there. They almost beat Utah, but then they came back and got BYU, which was a big one, then they went out and got Maryland. But this last one against Northwestern, I can't say I thought they were gonna win like that against a top 15 team. So, they're doing good. I was on the sideline there at Maryland a couple weeks ago. It was a fun experience to be part of it. I hadn't been to a college game since Jim coached at the University of San Diego, against Princeton. Back when I was with the Eagles. So, it was a pretty cool experience.
On Ravens roster turnover and how quickly things turned over:
Yea, that's really a great question. I got asked the same question by our media. I didn't really know how to answer it because I'm not sure it compares to the rest of the league. I haven't had a chance to look at the research on that. I would be interested to see, just as a side note, it was obvious for us why we have turned over so many people, where our roster was at the time. But, it definitely is a major change from what it was just a short time ago, that way.
On if he'll talk to Jim about what 49ers are doing now:
You know, I don't think so. He's busy, I'm busy and really I don't know what he could add to it that way. We watch them on tape and we see the schemes, and there's not really too much I think that we could learn that way.
On difference than Thanksgiving game as far as going up against brother:
I'd have to say yes. I'm trying to find a way to answer that, there's only one way to answer that, it's yes. It's different, but I don't think it's something to give too much thought to. We have a game against a good team, we've gotta travel all the way out to the west coast to play them in a hostile stadium. We've just gotta become a better football team. We've gotta execute better in all three phases. We've gotta learn how to finish games. We've gotta learn how to extend drives, and not be coming off the field after three plays on a more consistent basis. We've gotta score in the red zone, although we've done a better job of that lately. We've gotta stop on third down. That's something we've been good at over the last few years, but our young defense has to really learn how to do that. We're just kind of looking at ourselves, and there is stuff, you just don't have all that much time to make the comparisons. I know they're great, honest questions, but you just don't have too much time to think about that because you've got your hands full with what we're trying to accomplish.
On learning to win close games for young vs. veteran teams:
There's probably some truth to that. I'd love to see if there was a study on that, I'd love to see it because I would assume that is probably the case. We found a way to do it in Pittsburgh, and we were close in four other games to finding a way to do that, but no cigar. That's just really important for us as a football team.
On if Jim has seen Ravens or plans on seeing them:
Umm, no. Is he coming out there, is that what you're asking me? [I guess in kind of a round-about way]. No there's no plan that way. He hasn't seen us yet. He's kind of busy.
On Torrey Smith film through 5 games:
Well, it was a big loss, he's a very good player. He brought an element to our offense that was a big part of us for many years. Plus, he's just a great person, great leader, family guy, you guys know that. There's not a better human being than Torrey Smith. So, that's been tough for us. I see a good player. I see him doing all the things that he did here. He's even improved on some of the routes he's running, and continuing to improve as a football player.