Yesterday, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula held a press conference following team activities and there's a few things of note. It was one of the first press conferences of his I've actually watched and I gotta say, he looks pretty relaxed and that's great at this stage. He also seems to be able to handle the media, which probably isn't news for anyone else but again, I'm writing this post so you guys are subject to my whims. I could talk about, say, how Mortal Kombat X is still taking up all of my free time and you can't do anything about it because you're already here.
For the record, this is just what happens when Fooch makes me write press conference posts while he's off doing whatever it is Fooch does.
Anyway, Tomsula talked about linebacker NaVorro Bowman and running back Kendall Hunter, and what they have to do to limit those guys' touches throughout organized team activities and into training camp. He didn't get into too many specifics, but he did say that Hunter is a guy the team has "strong feelings" for and I think that's an interesting statement. The team did re-sign Hunter to an extension shortly after his most recent injury, and I think that says a lot about what kind of impact he can make next season.
When asked if running back Carlos Hyde was sitting out due to a hamstring issue, Tomsula was quick to dispel any notions that Hyde is anything serious ailing him. Tomsula called Hyde's ailment a "muscle pull." Anyway, I've posted the full transcript below.
This was our first time to see LB NaVorro Bowman out there in team drills and he was looking pretty good. He even got an interception in the end zone there. How's he coming along and just what's he like having out there in the team sessions to kind of get everybody in the huddle?
"It's great. It's NaVorro, first of all. So, I mean it's great having him back out on the field. Then also the road he's traveled here in the last year and a half. It's just awesome to have him out there and I think he's really enjoying himself."
With a guy like that, do you have to get him to do less than he wants to do to take it a little bit easier?
"Yeah. We've got a few of those. There are a few guys that we just take off the field to give them a blow, to limit them. But, Bo's definitely one of those guys and quite frankly that's a good problem to have. We're not in season yet. So, we want to get going and it's a little bit different for everybody. Bo's working really hard. It's really great to see."
You had mentioned LB Nick Moody a couple of weeks ago. Are there any other inside linebackers, it looks like LB Shayne Skov has been getting some reps?
"Yeah, the whole group, the whole group. I'll just tell you that. You're seeing practice. You're watching it. They're all getting their reps and the whole group is really working hard and there's some good football being played by them. Again, we're in May. We're not in August. And we don't have shoulder pads on and we're running around. But, everything that we're asking them to do at this point and the way they are moving has been, it's a really good group."
Bowman doesn't much like that brace, which he knows is a necessity right now and said that as soon as he can he'll be faster without it and he'll also have a celebration to burn it.
"Yeah, he is not, they are not friends. But, we really want him to wear it. Just why not, that's all. And you know what, he's doing great with it, he is. But, you know Bo. He's something else, just pushing, pushing, pushing."
Is RB Kendall Hunter another guy you have to kind of put the brakes on?
And how's he coming along?
"Kendall, he's coming along great. I think he's one of, I think we all have strong feelings for Kendall. He is, you see him out there moving. He's moving around great. But, we do, we definitely have a rep count on him. There's a rep count on all of those guys. And you have to, you have to. You've got to keep him corralled. But, he's moving around really quick."
With former 49ers RB Frank Gore leaving and that starting position open and you have three or four guys that are capable of starting possibly, do you say, "this is up for grabs or we're going to be rotating or RB Carlos Hyde this is yours?"
"No. All those guys, again I'm not talking depth charts or anything right now. But, they're all getting after it. Carlos is, look, we're not in a hurry with him right now. It's nothing serious, but let's be at 100 percent when we get to training camp. He's in all the meetings and he's here and he's working out and he's doing his stuff. It's just more on the cautious side of just making sure we've got everything healed and then we move forward."
Is that a hamstring with him?
"No. It's not even a hamstring. It's a muscle pull. You talk to our medical people, different time of the year, Carlos would be pushing through. But why? That's my whole point on everything. Why do that now and take any kind of chances on things? Let's just get it healed and get going."
My point was that are they trying to become the workhorse running back or are they going into this figuring it's going to be a running back rotation?
"We haven't determined any of that yet. We haven't even discussed that. We're just looking at it as a whole group of running backs that we're really excited about."
Have you talked to T Anthony Davis as far as why he isn't working out here?
"No. We haven't. And again, guys that aren't here, we don't really get into anything. I stay away from that because I don't want to do anything that's wrong. But no, we haven't."
TE Vernon Davis had been here all week though so that's nothing-?
"No. Vernon's not going to be on the field today. Vernon, you've all seen Vernon running some routes and the way he's gone. Just a fantastic offseason."
And you told him to stay away?
"No, I didn't tell him to stay away. But no, he wasn't going to be on the field today. Today, he wasn't going to be out there repping. We get some of these guys, we just give him a blow."
P Bradley Pinion got quite a leg doesn't he? What are your early impressions of this guy?
"I mean you're seeing the same thing we're seeing. He's booting it. But again, you don't have a live rush. We're not going to christen anybody anywhere right now. Good guy to be around and working hard."
You talked last week a lot about the tempo of practice. This was the first time I'd seen where defense was on one sideline, offense is on the other sideline. Is that going to be a regular thing during team drills?
"That was that way last week, I believe. Just working the whole mechanics of everybody on the same side because when you think about a game day, when the defense is up, the offense is back sitting down. So the guys that are up on the sidelines, but if we put everybody on the same sidelines, it's just for organizational reasons. We're just trying to work through the mechanics of a game day on the sidelines, yellow lines, the organization of that. Substituting, substituting at a pace and just the way we operate."
And is that pretty standard?
"Yeah. There are drills there that you see, 7-on-7, where we've got people behind the drill. But when we get into moving the ball periods, those kinds of things, that's a dress rehearsal. We're trying to make sure that's at least up every day. I can't tell you there's a starchy blueprint, but I think you'll see that daily."
I understand it's voluntary, I understand it's May, but you don't have the right side of your starting offensive line here. When you're putting in a new offense, does that cause any sorts of anxiety for you?
"No sir. No sir. Guys that are here right now are really working hard and doing a great job. We're just excited and focused on that."
Another offensive line question, G Eric Pears, obviously he's a guy who's been around, been in the league a long time, started a lot of games-?
"Love the guy."
"I love the guy. Just walking through the door, I'm talking the guy. That guy comes through the door and he's one of those guys, family guy, but that toughness, doesn't say much. Just when you talk to him, you feel like he gets it. To watch him work, that guy, 11 years ago he was in the NFL Europe. And here he is, that guy has lined up and played tackle in this league. He's played guard. Just to see his body and how it's changed since he's been here with the weight room and the way he's working. That guy's a neat dude. "
Did you cross paths with him in the NFL Europe or do you remember?
"No. He was with, I'll tell you he was with Cologne. So I know that. I was right up the river in Düsseldorf."
Do you guys bond over that at all?
"No. Then? No."
"Now? Yeah. We've had a couple of good laughs about it. It was a cool deal."
Somebody asked Bowman whether he was going to take a vacation or any time away next month when you guys break and he said, "no fun is worth it right now with what we are trying to accomplish the next several months." What kind of an example is that?
"That's what I mean. The group of guys, and it's clearly noted that this isn't mandatory, none of this is mandatory and you see the guys that are all here. There are a lot of people here and a lot of people working really hard. So yeah, it doesn't surprise me. That's Bo, in terms of an example, that's Bo. He's working hard at something. He's got something in mind and he's going after it."
What have your impressions been of the two corners coming off injury, CB Kenneth Acker and CB Keith Reaser, and how have they asserted themselves?
"They are moving along pretty good, aren't they? You saw it today. That's why you're asking me. That one inside move and Reaser came back and jumped on that thing. Those guys, they are doing good. We are talking about all this evaluating and we don't have any pads on. But everything that is being asked of them, the way they are moving around, the running, all that stuff, good. Actually, those are two guys that you are talking about right now, where we've slid back on the rep counts. So we aren't as tight on rep counts on those guys because they are doing so well."
Can you tell that they were here a whole year?
I mean they didn't play much but can you tell that they are more advanced than a rookie would be?
"Yes. I can also tell that their bodies are different. It's not new to them. The whole approach, the nerves that you see with a young guy coming in, there's none of that. So absolutely you can tell."