What’s RB Carlos Hyde’s status today?
“He’s not going to go. We’ll monitor him during the week, but I think he would be a stretch to play this week.”
Do you have the diagnosis or prognosis? How long?
“No I don’t. It’s a day-to-day thing, but he’s not going to go today. So, I don’t know, I would imagine if he’s not going to go in the next couple of days he’s not going to be ready to play on Sunday.”
And then, judging from what we’ve seen in the last few games, it seems like RB Mike Davis would be the sort of the every down--?
“No, I think we’d rotate all of the backs. In that case, Carlos is our every down back. Mike had gone in depending on the situation. [RB] Shaun [Draughn] still played a little bit the other day. But, if Carlos can’t go you’ll see both those guys.”
What is your situation at kickoff returner? Obviously WR Torrey Smith got a shot in there. Do you have a settled kickoff returner?
“Well, it’s a couple guys. [WR] Keshawn [Martin] is back there. Torrey has been back there. Mike Davis has been back there. We’ve used [WR Quinton Patton] QP back there. So, it really depends on what return we’re running depending on who we want back there. Right now, there’s not one set guy I would say.”
You’re just kind of mixing and matching trying to find maybe that guy?
“Yeah, we’re trying to settle on a guy. We would love to settle on guy that you feel consistent that’s going to give you a great opportunity, but right now we haven’t found that.”
Do you have to remind these guys about the touchback rule for kickoffs now that it’s 25-yard line rather than risk taking it out sometimes?
“To remind them? I think they understand the rule. They’re a pretty intelligent group we got right there. So, they understand it.”
How’s RB Kelvin Taylor looking in practices?
“Kelvin’s done a nice job. Like any young player first year in the league there’s a learning curve that goes on. Especially I think with running backs transitioning from the college level to the NFL with just protection because obviously, and [University of Florida head coach] Jim [McElwain] does a good job. He came from a really good system when he was at Florida with Jim McElwain, but the protections are a little bit more intricate here and there’s just more of them. So, that was the big thing coming out of camp just more consistent in the pass pro pickup and things like that. But, he’s done a nice job and he’s really, when you watch him as scout player, really embraced that role and done a good job of imitating the good backs that we’ve had an opportunity to face in the last couple of games.”
Is that something that once the season starts, you’re only in pads one day a week, can you really improve on it or is it more mental?
“Yeah, you can. It’s both. It’s mental just because of the volume of the protections. But, there’s still an opportunity one day a week to kind of get that done and obviously when he’s giving the look for our defense, our guys are coming. So, he’s getting an opportunity to block whether it be [LB] Ahmad Brooks or [LB] Aaron Lynch or one of our inside linebackers coming on a blitz, he’s got to stand in there and pick them up. So, he’s gotten some quality work at it and he’ll continue to get quality work at it.”
What are the next steps for G Joshua Garnett? Where do you think he needs to improve in this second game?
“I don’t mean it be disparaging, but he needs to improve everywhere. I mean, he’s just really has played in two games for us so far. You do see improvement and that’s the positive thing with Josh. I think he’s got a great work ethic. He’s got a really good grasp of just football in general. Now learning the specifics and nuances of the 49ers offense are part of it, but he can grow in every area and I think he played better in Buffalo than he played in the week before against the Cardinals and you’re hoping he continues to grow on that in every aspect of pass pro and the run game and hand placement. All of the little teeny things that it takes to be a really good offensive lineman in this league.”
Have you seen Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston grow just over the last year or two just being in the NFL?
“Well, yeah he’s only been in two years, but I think anybody in year two in a system is more advanced than they are in year one in the system. He’s had, even though there was a change in the head coach, [Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach] Dirk [Koetter] was his coordinator a year ago. So, the offense hasn’t changed in Tampa. I just think you see him feel more comfortable making checks at the line of scrimmage, getting guys lined up. A lot of times when you’re a rookie you’re just worried about what the play call is and what’s your progression and what are you going through. Now you can kind of see him getting other guys lined up in terms of what they’ve called and what they’re doing. I just think you see a little bit more of a comfort level right now from him in his second year in the system.”
Does he have a similar skill set to some of the quarterbacks you’ve faced recently?
“In terms of?”
What he can do, escape the pocket, mobility?
“Yeah, I don’t think he’s as athletic as [Buffalo Bills QB] Tyrod [Taylor] in terms of speed and things like that, but he’s not a statue back there by any stretch of the imagination. He’s still a pocket quarterback. I don’t think you look at Jameis coming out and saying, ‘That’s a guy that you want to run the ball with,’ kind of like Buffalo does with Tyrod. So, I think he’s different from that standpoint. But, he could be similar to some of the other guys that we’ve faced.”
If indeed Carlos can’t play, do you bump RB DuJuan Harris up?
“Yeah, we’ll just see where the rest of, there’s nothing, and I’ve always said that we have no idea what’s going to happen between the next couple of days of training. So, you’d like to be able to get DuJuan up if Carlos isn’t going to be able to go at all because you want to have three backs on game day. But, you also don’t know what happens at any other position so you wait until you get to the end of the week and we’ve got the bulk of our training done and then you kind of know who’s healthy and whatever maneuver we make probably won’t be done until Saturday.”
Are you running plays at the same pace you ran them when you were with the Eagles?
“Probably not, no.”
What’s the rationale for that?
“Again, I think the biggest misconception is that we want to go fast all the time. That’s never been, trying to get the proper plays run, make sure that our guys know what they’re doing and execute. So, how fast we play or how slow we play I don’t think has ever been our mindset or our moto or mantra so to speak.”
But, wouldn’t that be an advantage if you did run them quickly as far as wearing down a defense, not letting them catch their breath?
“That’s one advantage. The disadvantage is that you don’t know what the defense is in and you call a play going to the right and they have six guys over to the right and you end up in a negative yardage play. So, there’s give and take. There’s not just a brush you can paint and say, ‘Hey we’ve got to play fast.’ Well, if you play fast and you’re not in the right play, then you’re behind. So, you’re trying to stay away from being behind in football. We talk about converting on third down, you want to be in manageable third downs. So, if you go fast and your first two plays get you negative yardage, then it’s not an advantage for you. They may be tired, but it’s third-and-16 tired as opposed to third-and-two tired.”
That never seemed to be a disadvantage when you were at Oregon and in Philadelphia. Are you saying that defenses have caught up and are playing better and that you need that extra time--?
“No. I’m saying when you face multiple defenses. If people sit in one defense and you have an understanding of what they’re going to do for the entire game, you can predict what you’re going to get on first down, second down and third down to pretty good standards and you know what you’re going to get out of them. A lot people just, if you play fast, they just line up in one defense. Well, if they’re going to line up in one defense, you want to keep them in one defense. When people are going to be multiple on the defensive side of the ball, you want to make sure that you’re in positions to execute what you’re trying to execute.”
One last one. Doesn’t going fast mean that they can’t be multiple, that they’re sort of locked into--?
“No. Not at all.”
I heard you use the phrase ‘growing pains’ on the radio yesterday with KNBR radio hosts Tom Tolbert and John Lund.
“I was talking about being on the radio. The pain part.”
I was wondering if you could just elaborate on that and whether it’s kind of changed your coaching style?
“I don’t even know, when I talk with those guys, I mean, we talked basketball yesterday for a while with Tom. So, I don’t know exactly what the reference to growing pains was.”
Just starting the season being 1-5, has that had to change, maybe you’re more sympathetic in your coaching style? Maybe more teachable moments?
“No. I don’t think the word sympathy comes involved when you’re 1-5. I think you’re trying to be the same thing and we’re very consistent on our approach whether we win or whether we lose in terms of how we approach what we did, how we really look at what transpired the day before with very clear eyes and what corrections do we have to make. There can be games where you win but you actually have to make more improvements than when you lost. There’s sometimes when the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. But, to us, it’s about constant improvement. So, we don’t change our style from a coaching standpoint. I think you can ask our players. We’re very consistent in how we go about our week, how we go about our training sessions, how we go about our meetings in terms of what we’re going to do. We’re always looking to improve and that’s our daily goal is how do we get better than we were the day before and that’s how the process works. But, I don’t think we’re sympathetic. I don’t think we look at it from that standpoint.”
In terms of the sideline laptops, the Surfaces, what kind of feedback have you gotten from players and staff on how those are going?
“I think sometimes they’re not, you know, you have the pictures to back them up that are printed out and those don’t change. Just there have been times when there are some glitches in them and I also think there’s some times when it’s really sunny out that it’s tough to see the tablet. So, I haven’t had any issues with them where they just don’t work or anything. But, it’s like any, sometimes that doesn’t work perfect, you know what I mean? So, you’ve got to shake it a little bit.”
What’s the genesis of the three-man weave thing you guys do in warmups?
“The genesis of it?”
Where does that--?
“Because the Boston Celtics did it.”
But, how long have you been doing that?
“Since I watched the Boston Celtics play. We’ve been doing it ever since I coached. Just trying to get our guys warm and touch a football. That’s the best way to get multiple guys to touch a football in a very short and efficient amount of time and it’s a span of 30 seconds. Everybody touches the ball multiple times and they kind of get loose. It’s just a way to get loose. If it was good enough for [former NBA head coach] Red Auerbach and it got him however many championships he got, I thought it was good enough for us. So, I’ve done it for probably 20 years now.”
It seems like the players have fun with it. Is that part of it too?
“Just to touch a football and get loose. Number one is touch the ball and number two is get loose and that’s about all we read into it. But, I felt like when I implemented it about 20 years ago, if it was good enough for [former Boston Celtics PG] K.C. Jones and Red and the whole group, [former Boston Celtics C] Bill Russell, then if they can do it, we can do it.”
Have you tried a five-man weave?
“We have tried a five-man weave. We’re limited space-wise, you know, in terms of where we are. If you look at it, it’s pretty constricted. The DBs are right to our left, the linebackers are over here. So, they’ve got to really kind of stay between the hashes. So, we look at everything and we’ve done different variations, but really three probably works out the best, especially numbers-wise with what we have dressed on game day.”
Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil referenced yesterday, I don’t want to misrepresent what he said, but I think it was something you talked to the team about, maybe consistency of effort or focus. Was that something you touched on?
“I think all of us, coaches, players, reporters, can talk about consistency in our effort and our approach. So, I don’t think that’s anything new in terms of how I talk to our guys and what we’re emphasizing with our players on a daily basis is that you need to be consistent through the course of game to be successful and when you look at our games, there have times when we’ve played really, really good stretches of defense. There have been times where we’ve played really good stretches of offense. It’s the team that can lump it together on a consistent basis is the team that ends up winning on Sundays.”