clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trent Baalke on 49ers linebackers, Chip Kelly offense, Laremy Tunsil, Aaron Burbridge

The San Francisco 49ers general manager had an interview with KNBR on Thursday. He talked about Myles Jack and the 49ers linebackers, the differences in Chip Kelly's offense, his personal fandom of Ronald Blair, and more. We've got a full transcript, and you can listen to audio here.

The most important comment to come out of Baalke's interview? He was asked about going with back-to-back cornerbacks even thought a lot of people thought there were other needs to address. His response:

Well, I guess I don't really listen to the criticism. That's not what generates our decisions.

Time to shut down the comments, folks.

Here's his transcript.

On no linebacker picks:

Well, you know, the draft's the draft. You go through the process and you stack the board, and if the timing's right, you make the pick. And this was a time when, two things, 1) we feel really good about the group that we have. Ray-Ray Armstrong's done an excellent job this offseason, as has Gerald Hodges. Michael Wilhoite coming back, and Bo looks like he's returning to form, pre-injury form. So, we felt good about the group, and 2) we just didn't feel at any point during the draft that we were in any position to pick one that would have come in and been better than the guys that we currently have on the roster.

On Myles Jack evaluation and his knee:

I'm not gonna get into all the medical, but he was still on our board. It was something that we had some concern over, as did a lot of teams obviously. But he's a rare talent, and we wish him nothing but the best and hope that he makes it through his entire career healthy.

On who will be 49ers starting quarterback:

Well, that remains to be seen. We've got some guys out there that are going to compete for that job, and the coaching staff is high on all those guys in that room. And it's going to be an open competition, like it is at every position right now.

On how Colin Kaepernick is doing with new coaching staff:

I think really well. He's rehabbing, he's working hard. I think coach has mentioned it several times when he's been interviewed. He's in all the meetings. He's taking as many mental reps as he can out on the field. He's finally gotten the opportunity to start throwing a little bit. When he's going to be allowed to do that in the practice sessions, I think that's coming up down the road here. But he's out here with the rehab crew, and throwing and slinging it around, and getting better every day.

On the flirtations with Denver, and how it affects building:

This is professional sports, so how that gets handled is on a personal level. These guys know the business, and there is a business side to this thing. I think all that's in the past, and we're moving forward.

On Laremy Tunsil and expecting him to be gone before the bong video:

We had a strong inkling that he would have been off the board, and certainly when something like that comes up last minute, everyone sees it, everyone has to make quick decisions. So I'm sure that factored into his fall to some degree. But I can't speak for all 31 other teams.

On how it was in the 49ers war room with Tunsil:

Well, I'm not gonna go through the whole process. He's certainly a guy that we had valued at our pick, and certainly a guy that was in consideration at that point. How much that played in us bypassing him? I'll leave that internal. But we're excited about the player that we got. Obviously we have great knowledge of him, working knowledge of him. Coach Kelly and his staff recruited him up in Oregon, A+ character guy who is very talented. We were excited to add him to the mix at that point, because we didn't honestly think he was going to be there either when we picked.

On how heated it might have gotten in the draft room:

In all honesty, the draft room is very relaxed. All the work's done. The hay's in the barn, the board is up. We've maintained many times that we're gonna stay with the board. It usually comes off fairly clean, and when it's our turn to pick, or we're getting in a position where we want to make a move up or back, the board kinda speaks to you, and kinda lets you know what decisions you need to make. And that's one of the reasons we moved up to take Josh Garnett. That's one of the reasons we moved back a year ago and picked Arik Armstead. The board kinda just speaks to you, and as long as you stay true to it, and trust the 365 days of work that went into it, usually good things can happen.

On cornerback additions with the depth and other areas of need:

Well, I guess I don't really listen to the criticism. That's not what generates our decisions. At the same time, you have to look at where the NFL's going. 67 percent of our time is spent in nickel and dime, the last three years on average. We're in base defense a lot less than nickel and dime. We're playing a lot more 3- and 4-WR sets. We're even playing teams that are going empty quite a bit. You can never have enough cover people, and as long as you can match good cover people with a good front seven, you got a chance to play excellent defense, and that's the goal.

On waiting until 6th round on wide receiver:

Well, you can't force it. You really can't. We tried that once, and it didn't work as well as we had hoped. The board is the board, and this was a year that we figured there were about five-to-six guys that we really thought we had strong interest in. Four of them went off the board fairly early. The other two followed suit not too long after in the second round. From that point, we just felt there was a slight drop off, and we were never in position again. And Aaron kinda fell to us in the latter part of six, and excited to have him. That's a young man that had a lot of success. I think a lot of people figured he would be off the board by then. For whatever reason he wasn't, and he's a young man that's gonna come in and compete. Had I think 1,300 yards or 1,258 yards with Michigan State. And does an excellent job on first and second down in the run game as well. So we're excited to have him, we're excited about the group that we have, especially when you mix that with the tight end group that we have. And I know the coaching staff is excited to go to work with these guys.

On Chip Kelly offense being dramatically different in the recent past:

Well, I would think it's gonna be different, for sure. There's different tempo to it, but one of the misnomers, and coach has mentioned it, I've mentioned it, is that this is a pass-happy offense. This is really a run-oriented offense. Coach Kelly, going back to his days in Oregon, and back to New Hampshire, wants to run the football, and is going to run the football, and get the quarterback in as many manageable situations as possible. Try to stay on the field on third down, and get to that next first down, and try to keep the defense off the field as much as you can. But he likes to do it quick, and the team adapts. And one of the criticisms has been on the defense and they're on the field too much. Like Bo said, and I agree with him, we kinda laughed, if you're a defensive player, you want to be on the field. What you have to be able to do is get off the field on third down. And if you can get off the field on third down, you can play dang good defense in the National Football League.

On Ronald Blair and why analysts like him:

Well, he's played at a high level for four years throughout his career. He's a guy who came in and played against Clemson, and I think that's really what caught a lot of people's eyes. He lined up at four different techniques in that game, made plays from all for techniques. Versatile guy that can move across the line of scrimmage, high energy, high octane guy, with A+ character. He's a guy that a lot of people thought had value to go off higher on the board than he did. Why he was still there, I don't have that answer, but we were glad to see him. But he was one of my personal favorite players as we went through the process. And the coaching staff really liked watching him play. And the scouting staff that went in and did the evaluation on him was really high on him as well. He's just a young man that has a lot of energy, and a lot of raw, natural ability.

On report of friction between Trent Baalke, Chip Kelly:

It's not even worth commenting on. It's ridiculous, so we'll leave it at that, and move on and have a great day guys.

On Beyonce September 17 show. Is he gonna go, any concern about field:

As far as, am I going to go, that's a no. And as far as the next, relative to events taking place in NFL stadiums nowadays, that's just life in the NFL, and the good thing is we've got two weeks in between her performance, and when we have to play again. Matt Greiner and his staff are as good as there is in the business in getting that field ready to play. I think the criticism of that field has been way overblown. We had some early issues with the field, it's been addressed. Last season I don't think that the field could have played any better, and we're looking forward to getting after it again with another year under our belt in the stadium. Once again, Matt and his staff will have that thing ready to go.

On plans for field turf or anything like that:

None.