Do you have any preliminary word on LB NaVorro Bowman’s injury?
“I haven’t got anything. Sorry. I literally just finished with the team and just walked in here, so I’ll go see [49ers vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg right after this. But, I did not get anything.”
The way you guys started offensively, converting third downs then kind of fell back into what plagued you guys in Seattle. What do you--?
“I don’t look at this like Seattle. I thought we did a really good job early on the two opening drives and then just did sustain. We had two other drives in the first half. I think we only had four in the first half. So, we didn’t stay on the field like we wanted too. Those are the things you have to clean up to be consistent. I thought early on we did a nice job. Then we came out the first drive of the second half and did a nice job moving the ball down the field, kind of stalled in the red zone and then ended up with a field goal. Against a team like this, we’ve got to do a better job on the offensive side.”
On the interception, it seemed like the quarterback, receiver weren’t on the same page on that?
“No, I think we were trying to throw a post route over the top. We ran two deep routes and the first route the free safety jumped the first route. So, go to the second post over the top. I don’t know, I was looking at the route, it looked like it was under thrown but I don’t know if [QB] Blaine [Gabbert] got caught up in the pocket, because usually he throws that ball. He’s got a very strong arm. He was just throwing a post down the middle of the field.”
I know you never want to focus on one person individually, but do you have to start looking at Blaine Gabbert as the starting quarterback?
“No, I thought Blaine played well today to be honest with you. Besides that one throw and again I have to see the film. I don’t know if he had a chance to step up in the pocket and make the throw, but besides that I thought Blaine played a good game.”
On the unnecessary roughness penalty, what did you see there and did you feel a change in the way the game was going at that point? You had a chance to get off the field.
“Which one was that?”
It would have been a sack. It was third-and-six in the second quarter, and then they stay on the field.
“I think we had two mistakes. We had the penalty and then the short punt resulted in their two scores in the first half. We talk about all the time, penalties that keep drives alive are things that hurt you. I didn’t see it. They said they blew a whistle, I didn’t hear a whistle on the field. I don’t think anybody heard a whistle on the field. But, if they called it then it happened.”
After the interception WR Torrey Smith came off and threw his helmet. I don’t know if you saw that. Do you sense any frustration?
“No, I think when a receiver is open he wants the ball. Again, I don’t know what happened with the protection in the pocket and did the quarterback have an opportunity to step up and make the throw.”
LB Gerald Hodges didn’t play on defense, why was that?
“We were trying to get [LB Michael] Wilhoite involved a little bit. He’s played really well for us in practice and in games and just trying to get Mike in there as the WILL linebacker. He’s really worked very hard in practice and that’s what we thought we were going to go. That was a decision we made early in the week, to get Mike out there with NaVorro.”
LB Nick Bellore?
“Bellore is always the back up MIKE, so that’s kind of how that works. So, Nick plays the backup MIKE. Gerald and Mike play the WILL position and Bo and Bellore play the MIKE position.”
On how the linebacker position will change if Bowman is out for an extended period of time:
“We’ll have to talk about all of it because if Bo is out, we have to figure out exactly what we’ve got left at inside linebacker and then we’ll go from there.”
What did you tell the guys in the locker room afterwards?
“That I thought they competed and I thought they did a great job on the goal line stand and sometimes the ball doesn’t go your way. We have to come right back tomorrow morning and get ready because we have a game on Thursday. So, probably the best thing for us is to get ready to go play a football game again very quickly on a short turnaround.”
Is DL DeForest Buckner’s injury--?
“Again, I haven’t talked to Ferg. I really talk to our team and then [49ers vice president of communications] Bob [Lange] brings me in here, so I did not get any updates on any player whether it be [WR Jeremy] Kerley or DeForest or whoever else left the game at any point in time.”
After the Seattle game you said you weren’t throwing as much on first down generally because you didn’t want to get behind the chains. Today, was there a more aggressive offense approach?
“No, it just depends on how they are playing us. There was a stretch there that I think we ran seven straight on first down, but we were having success on first down. You’re always trying to stay in positive, stay out of the negative yardage plays. So, if it’s incomplete on first down you’re in second-and-10. I thought overall they did a good job. We just didn’t convert on that last drive and that hurt us obviously. We moved the ball. We have to make a play there on third-and-six and fourth-and-six.”
What determines whether Blaine has a big game running the ball? It seemed like week one, this week, he did a lot of it.
“It just depends on how the defense is going to defend you. If they are going to try to take away one aspect, if they have one extra defender on you, then the quarterback has to become an option in some of our run schemes, not all of our run schemes, but in some of our run schemes. If they are going to try to have the end take the running back out then now someone has to be responsible for the quarterback. If you can block the person who’s responsible for the quarterback then you have an opportunity to gain some yards.”
You don’t go into the game thinking this is going to be a bigger opportunity for Blaine?
“We just practice and then it depends on how they defend us. Sometimes the defensive end sits and allows you to hand the ball off and then they rally down. You don’t really know. They had done both going in. Sometimes the defensive end sat. Sometimes the defensive end chased the ball carrier. It kind of went back and forth.”
We talked a lot about offense, but defensively you’re going against a team that was playing a rookie quarterback without their best receiver, without their left tackle. Were your guys in the right positions?
“I think so, but I think there’s other weapons there too. They’ve got a Hall of Fame tight end. They’ve got an outstanding running back. They have three other offensive linemen that I think are really good, so I wouldn’t shortchange them from a talent standpoint. I know [Dallas Cowboys WR] Dez [Bryant] didn’t play but it wasn’t like if Dez is out there’s no one else to go to. We knew the matchup with [WR] Cole Beasley is a difficult matchup. [Dallas Cowboys WR] Terrance Williams is another really good receiver. We didn’t feel bad that Dez was out and they had nobody over there. I think they’ve got a lot of weapons. That’s one thing that makes them such a viable group on the offensive side of the ball because its not just one player. There’s multiple players on that offensive side of the ball that are pretty good.”
What did CB Rashard Robinson do to win that starting job and how did you feel he played today?
“He just had a really good week of practice. We kind of put it on practice and then the other thing is we asked [CB Keith] Reaser to play some nickel. So, we’re kind of asking Rease to kind of go back and fourth. So, with Rashard, we just left him at one spot and obviously like we said we were going to watch how the week of training went and he did a really nice job in the week of training. We felt like he deserved the opportunity. I thought he stepped up and did some really nice things today.”
As you know, Blaine’s taken a fair amount of criticism for throwing short of the sticks on third down. On the final fourth down play--?
“We had two guys, there were actually three guys vertical on the play. A couple of them were grabbed. I don’t know what happened after that and then obviously Blaine got flushed in the pocket, so now we’re into scramble mechanic. Torrey was actually running an in route, but when the quarterback scrambled he stuck his foot in the ground and went back outside. I can’t tell you from where I’m standing what happened with the other guys deep. I know that two of our receivers were grabbed immediately right at the start of the play, but I don’t know what transpired after that. We had three guys going vertical on the play and just one guy underneath it.”
So given the situation, you thought it was an acceptable decision?
“Again, if I can see the film I can tell you what I think the decision is. But, I know what we started with play with. We had three vertical routes on the play with a tight end on the backside and the two receivers over here and Torrey was coming back underneath on a squirrel route. You can’t send all of them deep. You’ve got to have some options in there especially if they are playing in zone coverage where you have to high-low somebody. Again, it was six yards, so we have to be able to convert them, but Blaine got flushed. And then we turned into scramble mechanics, so kind of the routes are off when it’s scramble drill. It’s who can uncover and who can get open. But, obviously I think Torrey separated from his guy but he was short of the sticks.”
The S Jaquiski Tartt penalty there in the second quarter, what did you see on it and did it really change the game?
“I think it changed the game and we have to do a better job avoiding that. I didn’t see, I really didn’t see. He said he blew the whistle to stop the play. I don’t think anybody heard a whistle. I know no one on our sideline heard a whistle, but if the referee makes a call then it’s correct. That’s the way we always approach it.”