You said last night that you were going to look into everything after last night’s game. When it comes to the quarterback specifically, how hard did you break down each one of his throws, each decision?
“Well, we’ve graded the tape. I watched it. We all watch the tape individually and then we get together as staff. I just finished watching it with the offensive staff and now I’m in the process of finishing the defensive side of the ball. So, you’ve seen it at least twice now. We’ll spend a little bit more time this afternoon as a staff kind of talking about what we need to do to improve on the offensive side of the ball and kind of go from there.”
Is it safe to say that you have not made a decision about who is going to start--?
“Yeah, we haven’t talked anything about who’s starting at any position. Really, what we did is just, you grade the tape yourself and then when we sit down as a staff it’s just, what’d we do well on this play? What’d we do poorly on this play? Why was this play successful? Why was this play not successful? What were the reasons behind it? And then, we’ll spend a little bit more time this afternoon kind of going on what’s our plan going forward.”
Where is QB Colin Kaepernick as far as strength and weight? Is he close to where he needs to be and how close would he have to be for you to make a decision?
“I couldn’t tell you exactly his weight today. I think he’s in the 215-range I would say. He was in that a couple days ago, so I don’t know what he was. I haven’t checked in the last 48 hours. He’s continuing to work, continuing to get stronger, continuing to get better. Again, as we talked about, he came back from three surgeries so it’s just to get him the process of getting back into where he is. The only thing, I’m just saying, there’s not a weight limit on what he has to be to play it’s just what he is right now is he’s not the 2013 version of himself where he took a team to the Super Bowl from a physical standpoint.”
He spoke in June though about maybe changing his body type a little bit, not being quite as muscular as he had been. It sounded in June as if he would never be the 2013 Kap, just because he’s made some choices in his life, being more flexible versus powerful for example. I’m just trying to figure out if that’s the case--?
“That’s not the conversation we’ve had with him, so I’m unaware of that conversation that you may have had with him in June.”
You outlined this last night pretty good. But, in terms of general manager Trent Baalke’s involvement with the roster and coaching decisions, you said that’s all yours and Trent--?
“Yeah, Trent doesn’t come in. Trent assembles the 90 and Trent assembles the 53 and then after that he doesn’t come down and say, ‘This guy starts. That guy doesn’t start. I want to make this guy the corner and that guy the nickel and I want this guy to play left tackle.’ He doesn’t get involved in any of that stuff once we have the 53 set.”
In a follow up to that, is there any reluctance to play Colin because of his contract situation?
“No, I’ve never, that doesn’t, I mean I played him in the first game. Right? So, that kind of answers that question.”
Given that the Cardinals like to bring pressure, why not give QB Blaine Gabbert more max protection plays so he wouldn’t have to throw to the hot receiver on say third-and-long?
“He didn’t throw to the hot receiver on third-and-long, so we were protected on third downs there. I think the only time they brought a zero blitz was when we were in the red zone once and I think it was a second down play, maybe, where they brought everybody and he threw it hot to the flat. But, that was really the only hot throw that we had on the day. Then they zero blitzed us again on the fourth down play and they ended up getting a holding penalty. But, we didn’t have any hot throws on the day.”
When you go back and look at those sacks, was it, obviously a lot goes into, but was it mostly offensive line breakdowns or was maybe Blaine holding the ball longer than he needed too?
“The biggest thing on the offensive line where we didn’t do a good job of, and I said it last night, was in the twist game. I think they did a really good job in the twist game. We had enough people to pick them up. You look at the last one, it was a two-man twist inside. We had three guys on them, so it was three on two offensively against a two-man twist and we got beat on the sack. Sometimes it may be the quarterback holds the ball a little bit too long and we’ve got to get it out a little bit quicker, but you would think with a four-man rush or a five-man rush we should be able to at least get a hat on a hat and not have any free runners in there, but it was the twist game really specifically that hurt us last night.”
How did G Joshua Garnett play in his snaps that he had?
“Josh was OK. I think his first significant snaps. I think we had him in for 18 plays. He did some nice things at times and then some other things that I’m sure he wants back, but that’ll come with time with him.”
Did he go into the game because of an injury or was it just--?
“No, we had talked about trying to, he’s getting better and he’s progressing each week so trying to get him some snaps out there and see what he can do.”
On that safety that you gave up right towards the end there, did Arizona Cardinals DT Calais Campbell just overpower him or did they have a game on?
“They had a game on. It was a twist game with the two inside guys. So, it was Josh, [C Daniel] Danny [Kilgore], and [G] Zane [Beadles] with the three on two situation for us. But, it was a twist game.”
Is QB Christian Ponder in the discussion when you’re looking at what quarterback is going to start against Buffalo?
“Well, we haven’t had a discussion, so no one’s is in the discussion right now.”
Will Christian Ponder be in the discussion when you have that discussion?
“We’ll see when we have the discussion.”
When you were looking at the film with Blaine, those two overthrows in the first half, any way to explain it other than--?
“He just missed the throws. I don’t know there’s mechanical things, and not having watched the tape with him to see what he saw. ‘Let’s go through this and what was your thought process in terms of where you are.’ I think a lot of that happens when we get the players back here and we meet with them of, ‘What’d you see here and where were you going with the ball and how’d we get to this point?’ Trying to figure out the solution to the problem.”
Just how well WR Jeremy Kerley played yesterday and just how he’s more than a safety valve almost that he’s able to make plays in the open field when he gets the ball?
“Well, he’s a dynamic player. I think the first thing when you notice Kerls is he can get in and out of cuts very quick. He’s sudden in terms of what he does. He can make people miss. He’s got real good short-area quickness and he’s got outstanding hands. I think he’s, Blaine seems to find a comfort level with him. He wasn’t 100-percent last night because he did get banged up in the Dallas game, but came back and obviously contributed. I think he had eight catches for us and did a nice job in there working it, working the inside, working against a nickel defender, working against a linebacker.”
What is it about him that’s allowed him to get comfortable as quickly as he has just as a guy--?
“Well, there was a carryover for Jeremy because, I think I said this earlier, he played for the Jets under [New York Jets offensive coordinator] Chan Gailey and when Chan was the head coach at Buffalo [offensive coordinator] Curtis [Modkins] was his coordinator and [wide receivers coach] Bob Bicknell was his receiver coach. So, a lot of the things that we do, if it’s close to what he did when he was with the Jets, we can explain it because we know his language. So, we may have called it California and you guys called it New York. So, he understands and has got a pretty good feel of, ‘Hey, you ran this route for Chan. This route is similar, but we do this at the top of the stem.’ So, I think because of the correlation and because Bob and Curtis could speak Jeremy’s language of where he came from in a former system, I think it’s helped him transition. But, he’s also a really smart football player. He’s got a really good feel and good knowledge of how to be an inside receiver in this league.”
Has Christian Ponder received any reps outside of the scout team?
“No. So right now, you’re limited when you’re out there. So, right now it’s either Blaine gets the reps or then Kap gets the reps. So, to try to get a third quarterback involved when you’re working your first team offense is kind of difficult because who do you take those reps away from? He has not. He has done a really good job for getting in here late, acclimating himself to what we’re doing and then he’s done a really really good job at running our scout team. And, I think part of what people see in practice is that’s what he’s been doing. And he has done a really good job of that, but he hasn’t gotten reps with the first unit since we’ve started the season.”
These last couple weeks has it been the same rep distribution with Gabbert and Kaepernick?
So, Gabbert is getting three quarters of the throws?
When you got to Philly, you guys started 1-3 and 3-5 and not to necessarily compare these situations, but is there any stuff you can trace back to you adjusting the personnel and vice versa, adjusting to your system? Just getting the feel of it?
“I think there’s part of that, us getting the feel for what they are capable of doing. Our job is to put them in position to make plays and obviously if you’re 1-4 you’re not doing that. That’s part of the whole process. The more we’re around them, the more we get to know them. The more they are around us, the more they get to know us and kind of working together. I like where you’re going because the outcome worked out pretty good. So, the optimist part of us. We’ll see if we can bridge that gap, but every game takes on its own individual personality. And, I know we always try to say, ‘This is like this,’ so maybe this time hopefully it is because we finished 10-6.”
Up until last night, you had fairly unwavering support for Blaine. The fact that you’re looking and acknowledging--?
“No. Don’t read into anything. You’re going somewhere where you shouldn’t be going. I said our entire offense didn’t play well. So, it’s got nothing to do with unwavering support for anybody or anything. So, when our offense isn’t playing well, I’ll be very honest and tell you our offense isn’t playing well.”
I think it’s fair to say at the beginning of the season you said Blaine Gabbert will be starting the next game or that was certainly implied. Right now, it doesn’t seem like you’re saying that.
“I said last night, don’t read into anything else. We didn’t play well offensively. We need to evaluate everything we’re doing offensively.”
Will Blaine start against Buffalo?
“I don’t have any answers for anybody. So, I don’t know who’s going to start against Buffalo. Our entire offense didn’t play well. So, we need to get something straightened out offensively.”
My question which is where I guess I shouldn’t be going, but do you worry about the message to the rest of the team, the rest of the offense that--?
“I don’t worry about any message to our team. I think we’re pretty straightforward. I don’t send messages through the media. I think that’s one thing they understand. We talk man to man and face to face in our meeting rooms and in our position meeting rooms and in our team meeting rooms in terms of where we are. So, I don’t worry about any message that’s being sent. So, the message I always tell those guys is don’t read the newspaper. So, hopefully they get that message.”
“Yeah. Blogs are the best. Let’s go there. Just read blogs. Just read blogs.”
I don’t mean to imply you’re trying to send a message through the media but--?
“But, you asked me about implied messages. So, I was just finishing it for you.”
Right. The unintended consequence could be that, ‘Hey, he’s not naming Blaine Gabbert the starter for Buffalo. So, therefore--?
“I’m not naming any starters for Buffalo. Just don’t rule anything out is what I’m saying, OK? But, I guarantee the headline is I didn’t name this guy the starter. I didn’t name any starters for the Buffalo game. That’s what I’m saying.”
So T Joe Staley is on notice?
“Everybody’s on notice.”
And that trickled to the defensive side too. Are you just kind of stunned at how these last four games have gone defensively for--?
“I wouldn’t say stunned, but we’re not happy, I can tell you that. I mean, I thought we played well in our first game and really, I think specifically it starts with our run defense. We need to shore that up. We did an outstanding job against one of the top backs in the league in [Los Angeles Rams RB] Todd Gurley in the opening game and then after that in the next games we played, we have not done a good job in the run defense and that’s what starts everything in this league. If you can run the football, then things become a little bit easier. Now you can get into play-action passes. Now you can get into the throwing game. People have got to dedicate more safeties down into the box to stop the run game. When you do that, it opens up things in the backend, but we haven’t done a good job in the last four games of stopping the run and that’s the biggest problem we have on the defensive side of the ball right now.”
Did DL Glenn Dorsey suffer a setback or was it just a short week?
“I think it was the short week. We obviously monitored Glenn and he’ll tell us exactly where we are. He’s the ultimate professional and he just didn’t feel he was going to give us, be able to give us a good enough effort. So, I think that’s one of the tough things when you transition and play a short week is sometimes guys like that that are coming off of injuries that are a little bit older, it’s a difficult deal. I would imagine if we had a chance to play, if it was a Sunday to Sunday deal, that Glenn would probably be ready by the time we got to Sunday. But, we’re usually very cautious with him at the beginning of the week and then as we get going during it, he can get going. So, and the one thing I’ll give Glenn credit is he’s very honest and open with us because it’s very difficult if you have a guy active and then all of a sudden he only gives you a couple snaps in the first quarter and says, ‘I can’t go.’ Now your rotations are really screwed because you don’t have a guy in there that you were counting on to be in there. So, hopefully with this longer break coming up into the Buffalo game then we’ll give ourselves an opportunity to get Glenn back.”
How are you guys approaching DL DeForest Buckner’s recovery? Is it a day-by-day thing?
“Yeah. It sounds like it’s a day-by-day thing. So, we’re hopeful to get him back this week and we’ll see where he is from that standpoint. Again, he was another guy, because of the injury just with the short week, I don’t think we would have been and obviously we weren’t able to get him up to speed for a Thursday deal. But, hopefully we think here with these 10 days off, you know, it’ll be two weeks from the Dallas game will be the Buffalo game. So, hopefully we’ll be able to get Buck back in the mix on the defensive line.”
How did LB Aaron Lynch do in his first game back?
“I though he did some, made a couple plays. You could see there’s some things that obviously he needs to work on. Lost contain once on a run where he did a great job of knocking the tight end back, but didn’t keep his outside arm free. So, the ball, when it got spit out because we did a good job of posting a wall inside defensively, the ball spit out to the perimeter where he’s supposed to be. So, it was good to have him back. It gave us added depth. So, we’ll see how he continues to grow. But, I don’t think, when you look him from a conditioning standpoint, and that’s the biggest thing you’re always worried about when a guy’s had that extended layoff, where he’s going to be. But, it wasn’t evident to me, at least watching the film, saying, ‘Hey, it looks like Aaron’s gassed here a little bit.’ I think he was pretty good from that standpoint.”
Do you have updates on CB Chris Davis and LB Tank Carradine?
“No. Chris and Tank, was there one other? And [S Jaquiski] Tartt. We just haven’t heard on any of those guys. I know Chris and Tank maybe I think went to get MRIs. Tartt hasn’t gone. But, there was a little bit later treatment today. So, I think they’re probably in there now, to be honest with you.”
Trent Baalke and a lot of your coaches have talked about every day you’re the same guy. At least from what we see, you kind of have the same demeanor after the Rams win and after these losses. Is that difficult for you? Are you often upset at some point or are you just even keel?
“I think I’m upset. I’m not, we’re not happy where we are right now. But, I think you have to be consistent in your approach and I’ve always believed that. I think if you get too high after a win or get too low after a loss, I think your players respond how you respond. You’ve got a bitter taste in your mouth and you’re not happy. You’re disappointed in the outcome. We’re disappointed in where we are. But, I also think you need to go to work and understand the process that we’re involved in and wrap your arms on trying to find the solution, not trying to place blame anywhere.”
Is your ear OK?
“My ear’s OK.”
If I may pry, what happened?
“Just day-to-day. Just had a slight injury. I was OK. I was a bleeder for a little bit pregame, but I’m good.”
That was a long time.
“I’m OK now.”
Going back to the first question. When you went back and you relooked at the game, was it as bad as the feeling coming off the field or did you find things that make you think--?
“I really believe this and I learned it a long time ago, and I certainly didn’t come up with it, but you’re never as bad as you think you are. You’re also never as good as you think you are because there’s times when you come out of games and you’re like, ‘Wow, we just kicked their tail.’ And then you look at it and go, ‘We actually didn’t. We lucked out on a couple things and this happened and we benefited from it.’ But, I think from the first look, it’s always really not exactly what you think the first look is. So, there’s some positives. I thought Danny Kilgore played a really good game for us, did some really good things for us up front. There’s some things when you look at it and go, ‘Wow, that’s a little bit better than I thought it was,’ and then there’s other times where you’re just not happy. So, it’s not really what you think it’s like on game day. I never understood that early in my career when someone would say that, but it would always seem to play both ways. So, you’re not as good as you think you are and you’re not as bad as you think you are. You’ve really got to kind of look at it. The other thing that helps is I think with the time before we get back with our players is to be able to continue to watch the film and take it because I think sometimes you look at it through your eyes and you have a preconceived notion of what you’re going to see. So, you can make yourself kind of see things some way. You need to kind of take a step back. Let’s be very analytical in our approach, let’s make sure we’re looking at trying to find the proper solutions as we move forward here and try to get this thing straightened out.”