"Injuries: [LB Michael] Wilhoite, [DT Quinton] Dial and [S Jaquiski] Tartt all missed practice yesterday. Expect Tartt to be on the field today. Dial and Wilhoite, I don't expect. Again, Dial's got that muscle. And I don't have an update. I'll let you ask, but on [RB] Mike Davis with what we're doing there, I don't have an update on that yet. And we'll get you the game status report after practice."
I missed what you said about Dial.
"He's got that muscle thing. I don't expect him out at practice today. If he is, it'd be really limited. But, he is moving around a lot better. He's gotten a lot better and we do know that it's nothing within the spine or anything like that. It's muscular. So, you just keep working on that and try to get that daggum thing released, you know what I mean."
In the likely event that he wouldn't play, who do you expect to fill in for him?
"They're all available. Depending on nickel, dime, base, we feel good there with those guys."
Would you be eager to see your first round draft pick play a more--?
"Yeah, he was playing more last week. He had a leg and different things, but he's been playing more. A little dinged here and there, you know what I mean?"
How much have you thought about and evaluated what you want to do for next season as far as the coaching staff goes?
"I'm not going anywhere with any of that. That's next week. We're St. Louis. Players, anything, that's all next week."
There was a report out of Southern California reporting that linebackers coach Clancy Pendergast was going to accept the job--?
"I figured that's what we're getting at."
What do you know about that and has he talked to you?
"Clancy's, again, any conversations if I did have them would be private. And Clancy's in there in the meeting right now and we've got the St. Louis Rams and we're fully onboard with the St. Louis Rams and any of that stuff we'll talk about next week."
From your experience being in the league, at this time of year when the playoffs aren't an option, is it difficult for a coaching staff to keep focus on the St. Louis Rams in this case when there's uncertainty?
"No. I think the guys are very focused. The guys that we have in there right now are very focused. Very focused on us getting better day-to-day and very focused on the game on Sunday and today's practice, getting better."
When you coached the season finale five years ago, obviously playoffs weren't going on then either. So, what do you kind of expect out of the plays and just how they approach the game?
"I fully expect this team to approach the game and go out and compete to win a game. Again, we haven't had a problem with guys working and things like that and we don't have a problem this week with it. They've been consistent throughout the year. Our biggest problems have come on game day and getting it done game day."
I know K Phil Dawson's a kicker, but being a veteran and being as good as he's been for as long as he's been, how do you think he's received by his teammates in terms of admiration for a veteran like that and the way he works?
"Oh, I think not only this team but I think the entire league admires Phil Dawson. Consummate professional and attacks every day. Very serious about what he does, very serious about his job, very serious about his craft. The way he works at it, the way he works in the offseason at it, as engaged as he is in the entire team, I think everybody admires Phil Dawson."
Safe to say you'd want him back next year?
Do older veterans, have they come in to ask you just what you think their future holds and whether they should continue their careers or not?
"No. Again, those conversations, have I had them in the past? Yes, but after the season. We'll all meet with our players. I'll meet with guys. It's what we do. That's when those conversations, usually they don't start and end in one conversation. They'll be started with anybody that's talking about that or thinking that way. But, if anybody ever did come to me with something like that in the past, I always let them know, ‘Woah. Just stay on track. Do your thing. That thought is for when the season's over. You don't go through a season doing those things.'"
Who won your guys' Len Eshmont and Bill Walsh Awards?
"We'll announce those on Monday."
Why do you want to wait? Why don't you do it--?
"We just want to have the team meeting and announce the winners and that's what we're doing."
Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst began his presser yesterday by citing a few players that he thought deserved to be recognized for what they did this season. Anybody that you feel maybe hasn't gotten the recognition he warrants this season?
"No. I mean, our wins and losses are not one in which you talk a lot of, you walk up and if everybody was playing great and coaching great and everything was great the record would be different. So, in that context I will say guys like [T] Joe Staley and [TE] Blake Bell. We've talked about guys that are developing. We were all excited about [RB] Jarryd [Hayne] the other day. You saw the stuff that he's been working on in practice that [running backs coach] Tom's [Rathman] had him doing and you saw that show up on game day which it wasn't before. But, that's just something you have to do and keep doing. So, that was something you felt really good about. Seeing [G/C Daniel] Kilgore back and seeing him competing in there. That's a really exciting thing. [G Andrew] Tiller coming in here, the story of him to where he's at right now. Needs to continue to get better. You talk about [TE Garrett] Celek and the tight ends and things that are happening there. You've got guys that, again, we had [TE Vance] McDonald the other day. I thought he did a nice job. He had a tough day a couple weeks ago and came back and locked his jaw and did some good things. [QB] Blaine [Gabbert], Blaine has I think represented himself. You've got guys, I think we've been sharing it with you. There's some things that we really see. Defensively we see the same thing. A lot of the younger guys, particularly in the secondary coming along. You're seeing that maturation process and starting to complete each other's sentences. You're starting to see those things happening defensive line-wise. [NT] Ian Williams, Ian Williams has played his tail off. That group there has played their tail off. Anyway, you see those things happening. [LB] Eli Herald, you see him developing. So, I think the biggest thing that we're all seeing is the development of guys, guys that are growing."
Is that mostly practices do you think because it really doesn't seem that way necessarily during the games that guys are standing up and playing well. Is this a peak behind the curtain of what you--?
"Yeah. That's what we see going on. That's the parts that we're feeling good about. They need to translate into Sundays. There's no mistake about it. Again, I look at [CB] Dontae Johnson the other day. I thought Dontae played a nice football game. So, that did show up. [DB] Jimmie Ward is showing up. Tartt, showing up. Tartt's going through it. He's working through that leg. You know, he's on his 20th week from when we started playing games. I mean, down there at that college they play 10 a year. He's finishing his sophomore year. You know what I mean? So, you see those kinds of things happening. Those are exciting things."
You mentioned two of your offensive linemen, Tiller and all of those guys growing together. Would it be good for them to get one final test against St. Louis Rams DT Aaron Donald and that talented front?
"Oh yeah, absolutely. A very talented front. And we've got to show up playing our A-game. Make no mistake about it. We've got to get after it."