It kind of seems like the same thing that you’ve talked about in the past, the self-inflicted wounds. Why do these things continue to happen?
“Well, when you’re playing this team and you’re minus three in the turnover category, probably you’re not going to win the football game. It’s very rare statistically when you look at it, to be minus three, and think you’re going to win the football game and obviously critical times. We had moved the ball to get up 7-0. It’s inside two minutes when we turn it over on the tip pass to make it 7-7. Then to open up right in the beginning of the third quarter there and have the fumble on the kickoff and then I think all three of our turnovers occurred in the red zone which is even worse. It took them 41-yards to get 17 points out of it so against a good team like Arizona that’s just not going to cut it.”
Do you see any improvement in the offense? Have you guys taken any strides?
“Sporadically. If you look, there’s a couple drives that I think we did a nice job on, but not enough to win a football game. So, the entire offense, it’s everybody. I don’t think we protected well enough. I don’t think we threw it well enough. We had too many drops, too many interceptions. It’s the entire group.”
Did you expect this to be a transition year or is this frustrating to start 1-4?
“I don’t know about a transition year. I just got here, so I’m not transitioning from anything. We expect to go out and compete and play each week and there’s certain things that you need to do. We had two critical penalties that also really hurt us and good teams don’t do that. We’re not a very penalized team, but when the penalties occur, they are huge for us. We just had a first down, we got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. We’re holding a team to a field goal and then we get a roughing the kicker penalty that extends the drive and results in points. So, both of the penalties resulted in points also and that’s the part that, we can control that. We only had four on the day, but two of them were critical penalties for us.”
Last week you said QB Blaine Gabbert played well except for maybe a couple of throws. Would you say thing about this?
“No, I wouldn’t say the same thing. I don’t think anybody played well on offense. Nobody did.”
Do you believe in maybe a quarterback change just to get--?
“I don’t think tonight we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to go look at everything. We have a couple days off here in terms of getting ready for Buffalo and then we’ll asses the film and we’ll move from there. But, we’re not talking about who’s playing or whatever in a game that’s 10 days from now. So, I understand that you have to ask the question. I understand that, but right now that’s not a conversation right now.”
Players come in tomorrow?
“No, they’re off.”
They’re off until Monday?
“They’re off, yeah, until Tuesday. That’s the start.”
And will you be meeting with coaches about--?
“We’re working. Players are just off. That’s what happens. They had a real short week. You’re trying to play a game and obviously you played on Sunday. You have to play again on Thursday. They need some time and we’ll get back here on Tuesday.”
Saw a lot of the offense getting to the line and then looking to the sideline. Have you been doing that more this week?
“It was just who we are playing. Trying to make sure we get to the right place and checks that we have with them. We’ve done that in the past in every game that we’ve played this year. If a team is a little bit more multiple on defense, we may do it a bit more. Just trying to make sure we’re in the right look and can run a play that’s going to get executed. Trying not to run it into an overloaded defense, if they are in an overloaded defense, and kind of checking around doing a lot of different things that way.”
I get you say you’re not going to discuss the quarterback situation tonight--?
“I didn’t say I wasn’t going to discuss it. We’re not discussing it as a staff. Not that I’m not discussing it with you guys.”
Oh gotcha. Oh great.
“Great. Like we’re not having a staff meeting tonight after this. That’s what I meant.”
I guess over the course, at some point over the next 10 days, is that a position that you’re going to look at and assess?
“I think we’re going to look at everything. I mean, we’re 1-4. We need to make sure we’re going out there and giving us the best chance to win, so we’re going to look at everything.”
Was there any consideration to making a change tonight?
“During the game? No.”
The interception Blaine had to start the fourth quarter, what was your view of that one and was that--?
“It was behind the receiver and it looked like the DB undercut it. So, it was pretty good coverage by [Arizona Cardinals CB Marcus] Cooper on that play.”
Have do you improve stopping the run? It’s been an ongoing theme.
“Well, part of it is tackling. We have to do a better job tackling. I think there’s times when we’re there. The first guy to the dance isn’t getting the ball carrier down. And, we’ve got to do a better job tackling, first and foremost. That’s what I think the biggest thing that I look at and we’ll look at the film and see all the other things and kind of work through that. But, the first thing that I notice on the field is that we’re not getting guys down when we get there. We have to do a better job as a group tackling on defense and part of that is gang tackling, getting more than one guy to the ball. Getting off the blocks and getting there and then making sure everybody is running the football so we can corral the ball carrier.”
Seeing in the locker room now after four straight losses, how are the players reacting and how do you stop them from snowballing this?
“Well, I see a group that’s hurting because they’ve invested so much in this. So, I think sometimes you worry in those situations when you see a bunch of guys that seem like they just don’t care. If they don’t care then they probably haven’t put a lot into it. I think this group, since we’ve been with them, has put a lot into this and it’s very, very important to them and they work extremely hard at it. So, I see a group that’s hurting right now and as they should be. I don’t think anybody wants to be in this situation. I think we have a bunch of guys who want to be part of the solution not part of let’s blame somebody else for it.”
WR Torrey Smith has been targeted with just three passes with just one catch in the last two games, presumably your number one wide receiver. What’s going on? Why hasn’t--?
“I think part of it too, we’re playing against, I think in the last couple of games he’s faced a couple of good guys. But, we do have to get him involved more and try to get him the football more.”
Seven sacks is uncharacteristic of your team so far. What was the difference tonight?
“I think there was a little bit more twist game going on upfront and then we didn’t do a very good job of handling that, from where I’m standing. We have to go through that because a lot of those pressures that occurred on the quarterback occurred in a four-man rush. So, they have a lot of guys in coverage and there for the quarterback has to hold the ball a little bit to make sure that we’re getting the ball out to the right receiver and then he doesn’t have a lot of time because of the pressure that they got. But, they did a nice job in their twist game with four guys, just four men rushing, creating pressure on the quarterback. Obviously, mathematically, we should be up there. There’s five offensive linemen and four defensive linemen. We should be in a good situation.”
You get only so many opportunities in a game for a big play. Sunday, you had the one at Dallas, the interception. Early today you had a shot down field, it was missed. Is it more of a technique thing with Blaine? Is it more of a pace thing? What is it that he’s so off target with these deep balls?
“Yeah, I’d have to look at that one specifically. I know on the one that we watched in the Dallas game, he was behind the receiver and I think he kind of didn’t follow through on the throw. We got a chance to look at it in film and follow up through it. I don’t know, I can’t specifically say, I’m looking at a lot of things while it went on. I know I looked and the receiver was open and the ball wasn’t there. So, I’d have to look at the tape on that one. In the Dallas one, it was just setting your feet, having a good base, and following through on the throw and that’s not what happened in the Dallas game.”
You’re switching quarterbacks?
“I didn’t say that, so let’s not go there.”
When you guys discuss that, is that a coaching staff thing or a you and GM Trent Baalke thing?
“No, any decision that’s made with the current roster is a coaching staff thing. Trent has never come in and said, ‘This guy has to play or that guy has to play.’ Trent does a great job of acquiring talent and getting players on this football team, but he’s never once told me who has to play where and what the lineup is and all that.”
It’s been reported various places that Blaine is outplaying QB Colin Kaepernick in practice.
That in practice it’s been clear. Is that true?
“Yeah, Blaine’s done a really nice job in practice. Yes.”
Better than Kaepernick for sure?
Is it safe to say that he hasn’t quite carried that practice performance over to games?
“Oh, obviously, yeah. For all of us. It’s the entire offense is like that. But, I would expect us to execute in practice. It’s a controlled environment. You’re in a lot of trouble if you’re not having any success in practice either. I think that’s what we have to make sure we can do is can we take it from the practice field to the game field and we’re not doing that right now on the offensive side of the ball.”