"The injuries, [WR] Reggie's [Bush] been working,. He's looking really good. We haven't had him in practice, but we've had him in our workouts. I'm going to, we're going to see exactly where that is today and then we'll let you know. What I don't want to do there is we could probably do one of those 80-percenter things and I'm not interested in 80 percent. To me, 80 percent starts to linger. If he's really rolling and feeling really good then we will move accordingly, but if there's anything there, we're not going to do it. [WR Bruce] Ellington and [TE Vance] McDonald have practiced all week. We've had them in a limited role, but they have practiced. They've caught balls and done the things. So again, we'll see how that is today. So, I don't know what those, we'll get those ranking things, that's not me, that's [49ers vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg. Anyway, what do we got?"
Is Reggie veteran enough that he wouldn't need to practice during the week in order to--?
"No, everybody practices. I mean, we want everybody practicing during the week. Reggie is obviously going to have some days. We gave [LB NaVorro] Bowman a day. I mean, it will be different days like that, but we are looking for people to practice. Make no mistake about that. But, those older guys, in his situation particularly, punt returning and things like that, he's got that stuff. So, it'd be a very specific role."
So, I mean, do we know whether he's going to practice today?
"That's what I'll find out. I mean, what they do is, you see them over there working them out and then they do that and then you see some guys come to the field and some guys don't. That's what we're doing day-to-day, finding that out."
In his time here, have you ever seen WR Anquan Boldin take a Wednesday off?
"No, Anquan doesn't. I've talked to him about it. He doesn't. That's not his forte."
So, you asked him to take a Wednesday off?
"No, I asked him if that was something he would need for his body and things like that. And, he said, no he doesn't have any injuries. Guys coming off injuries and things, I'll be more involved in that decision. But, guys that aren't coming off anything like that, I let them ,it's up to them. They know what they need. You've been doing this for 14 years, you know what you need. The ultimate thing for me is making sure everybody's got what they need to get ready for the game."
What's his reaction when you have suggested that?
"I can't, I mean it's been a while ago. So, I mean, but it was nothing. Just, ‘No, I'm good.' Nothing for an article."
Come on. You know what we do for a living right?
"Sorry guys. I know you're looking for something really good there and I don't have anything."
You're obviously running a lot more out of the pistol this year. From an opposing defensive coordinator perspective, with QB Colin Kaepernick in the pistol, does that give defenses more to think about? Does it make defensive ends less aggressive, all those things?
"We hope so. I mean, I hope so. Again, you, all we're trying to do is utilize everything that's there, all the pieces and with the schematic, utilize what everybody has to try to give us an advantage to win the football game. So, I mean, we hope that it does."
As far as the Steeler game goes, there was a sack in there where it looked like maybe half the guys weren't moving at the snap. Was that just a snap count issue? If you know,I think Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier had the sack on that one.
"Yeah. That was a bad play."
CB Kenneth Acker obviously won your cornerback competition. I don't think we've ever asked you what allowed him to win that? What does he do well? What do you like about him?
"He's a competitive son of a gun. He plays, he's obviously got some talent. He's young, but works his tail off. And he, I mean I won't, I'll speak for me, he won that position. He performed at a level that he won the spot."
Do you want to see him get his hands on guys more, slow them down off the line of scrimmage?
"Yeah, I mean there are defenses where we do want to, depending on splits, depending on leverages we want to be able to do that and then have our help over the top and be able to slow things down that way."
Was that an issue in the Steelers game? It seemed like S Eric Reid was arriving but was just maybe a half second late on a couple of plays that if the receiver had been held up a little bit, the timing might have been a bit better for you guys.
"Yeah, well, we didn't play well in the Steelers game. That was last week. It's like last year to me. So, we attacked that at the beginning of the week and we're onto the Arizona Cardinals."
Right, but they're a similar team.
"Well, everybody can throw deep. But, we've got to clean that up as a defense. We do. And I don't mean to be disrespectful to you, but I'm not, it sounds like you're singling a guy out there and that's really not the case."
I'm more talking about how one thing can lead to, disrupt the timing of an overall defense.
"Yes. You're absolutely correct in what you're saying there. Yes it can. And we all need to play those things better. It's max protection and I understand that too, but somebody needs to drive their screws through their chin and push that pocket down. And we need to get over the top and we need to get hands on it. I mean, there's a whole lot of things during the course of that play that can affect it."
You've got young backup offensive linemen, G Brandon Thomas and G Ian Silberman and T Trent Brown. Do you think at some point this season, I know you've talked about you don't want to throw guys in before they're ready and kind of mess them up mentally and whatever. But, do you view any of those guys as maybe being ready to step in at some point this year?
"We obviously have been biding our time to give them as much experience in practice, as much preparation going into games. We talk about all the preparation and learning our offense or our defense or our schematic and doing things the way we do them. And then there is a whole nother learning curve when you start talking about preparing for an NFL football game. That's a whole nother step. Those guys are going through that process right now. Yeah, we'd like to buy some time and let them keep going through that. Our whole idea there is to prepare like you're going to be the starter and play all the snaps. But, we're exciting about our youth. We're excited about the guys we have. Those guys, Brandon Thomas, we've got some guys here that we're excited about for the future."
The offensive line got fairly rave reviews in Week 1 and didn't have as great of reviews in Week 2. Where do you feel about that starting five?
"It's just like I said about our team. After Week 1, I didn't believe anybody. A lot of people that were sitting here talking about how great we were. And after Week 2, I don't really believe everybody on how bad we are. We're a work in progress and we're on it. That's what I keep going back to is the way they approach it. The way the coaching staff approaches it. The way everybody in this organization is approaching it. Come to work. It's day-to-day. We've been saying that since the start. It's day-to-day and you've got to maximize today to get to tomorrow. Tomorrow can be better because of what you do today. And that's the way our approach is. All the way through and it ends up being game day. And that's where the proof is in the pudding. The results are there for all to see."
The energy level of the team seemed fantastic Week 1. It seemed like the players were really up for the game. And Week 2 it seemed not at the same level. Would you agree with that? If so, what would you attribute that to?
"That was actually something I was really looking at. I thought the preparations and the practice level and the temperament in practice was really good. I did. And I thought the day of the game, I thought we were in a good place. So, I didn't see that. No. As I'm talking to you, no I didn't see that. I didn't."
I was going to just ask about Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell. What, as a former defensive line coach, what makes him standout?
"He's just a long, rangy guy that plays hard. He's a talented guy. The length on him. He's got a lot of length. He can get things rolling on you, get you out of balance. And he knows how to use it. He's coached well. He's a really good player. But, those specific things, when he comes flying off the ball and all that length is coming at you, you're looking for a target to get your hands on. And that thing's so long, it can get you out of position. So, and then he's got the power to go with it. So then, when you're trying to feel your way through it and then boom, and you're natural reaction when you're getting a lot of push is to go at something and now the length gets you in trouble. He knows how to utilize all that stuff. So, a really good defensive lineman."