Talk about how this has been, because every report out of San Francisco including what's coming out of the mouth of Chip Kelly and players is things are going great for you.
Yeah, I'm just trying to take it day by day. Being in a new system and a new offense this year, it's just the same process I've gone through multiple times in my career. It's just one step at a time, consistent improvement, there's ups and downs throughout the summer but you need to look at the big picture and try to improve every single day.
When you were let go from Jacksonville (Jaguars), how tough did you think it was going to be to re-establish yourself? From your class, Jake Locker is no longer in the league, Christian Ponder is trying to get back into the league. You've been in a situation where you could start to get a chance to play and do well, but after you left Jacksonville, how tough did you think it was going to be.
When I got traded here, I was just happy that they wanted me. I was happy to get another chance to play in this league. I knew it wasn't going to be easy to start again. You just gotta hold faith and trust the process. You really have to trust your talents. I knew I was good enough to start in the NFL and I had to make the most of the next opportunity and keep fighting every day.
That's one of the unfair parts of the National Football League. Quarterback driven league, expectations so high, guys might be rushed in and you're only on a four year window with the new contracts to get things done with the team and in so many ways, you see the casualties through the years, it's an unfair system for quarterbacks.
It's just part of the business now. Good, bad, indifferent, it was a tough situation in Jacksonville and it didn't turn out the way anyone wanted it to. I'm the first to admit that, I didn't play well at all. But I wouldn't change anything. I think I learned a lot coming in as a 21 year old starting as a rookie. Fighting through some injuries my second and third years, there were a lot of downs. I think those downs made me a better player and a better person on and off the field.
So let's take it step by step. You're back in San Francisco, you get the opportunity to play when Colin Kaepernick gets injured, people are saying "Gee, he's doing pretty well, look at this, he's doing some good things" So, you as you take it step by step, take us through those steps of getting out on the field last year and succeeding.
I just wanted to go out there and have fun. Lead the guys to the best of my ability and if you can provide that spark, that little bit juice to the team, where everyone goes out there, lets loose and plays ball; we did some good things, we were competitive in every game for the most part, pulled some out at the end, had some chances to win at the end of games but, thing I saw was improvement in the last weeks for the football team. Guys were having fun, got their mojo back. Hopefully we can take the good things that we ended the year with last year and carry them over to this season.
One of the tough parts of any quarterback in college, especially coming out of a spread system, is trying to make that quick adjustment. But now on the flipside, getting into a Chip Kelly offense, how familiar is that to what you had in college and how helpful is that for you?
I think every offense I've been in, there's going to be similarities. There's only so many concepts you can run. But being familiar with this offense and a spread system in college like you said is definitely beneficial. You just have to re-train yourself in to that mindset. Every offense is going to be different and every offense will have similarities here and there. But it's been fun so far, Chip Kelly puts a lot trust in the quarterback, Coach Day, Coach Modkins really trust us to make the right decisions and keep the offense on task.
How fun is it to be in an offense where you can run 24 plays in about four minutes? 20 seconds a play. Is that hard to keep up on or are you comfortable?
No, we're comfortable. Goes back to the point where the quarterbacks job is to keep the offense on schedule. Minimize mistakes, minimize negative plays. You go out there and execute, never make a bad play worse though when plays can be made, make ‘em.
How different is Chip's system from any that you've experienced or is it pretty familiar?
I'd say it's familiar, but at the same time, there are drastic differences. Every offense, like I said have similar concepts, that's consistent throughout the league, but at the same time how you run those concepts where your progressions are leading from a rungame standpoint. Every offense will have its nuances that's doctored the way our coaching staff wants them. IT's just the quarterback's job, players job to learn it as fast as possible and take what you learn in the meeting rooms and put it on the practice field.
That's the one thing with Chip's offense even if it's a spread offense. When he was at Oregon, what he did was he had the quarterbacks process plays which helps you when you get into the league. We saw that last year with Marcus Mariotta, and the other thing is he does emphasize the run at that quick pace.
We are going to take what the defense is giving us. We aren't going to throw the ball 100 times, we aren't going to run it 100 times. It's a very balanced offence. We have our very specific ways we get into certain plays. It's been great so far, did a bunch of good work throughout OTAs against our defense which gave us a myriad of looks and it's been a lot of fun.
I know that Garrett Celek was the first of the 49ers players to talk about how controlled you are and how comfortable you are out there on the field. How great is that to get players to endorse you like that?
I just try to go out there and be myself every day. Not gonna change, gonna go out there and have fun. Enjoy the time I have here. Really, that's what the guys look to. They look to the quarterback that enjoys it, loves being around the guys. He's there every day and trying to help everybody get better.
Did any of the Jacksonville experience take away some of the fun of the game for you?
I wouldn't say so. Football is such a great sport. You're competing against the best guys in the world. If you aren't having fun doing that, it's not the right profession for you. There's a lot of talent there like I said, but at the end of the day it's just a game and you got to enjoy it. If you're not enjoying it, it's not worth doing.
It seems like the one thing through all this thing you maintained your confidence, you haven't lost your confidence. Which sometimes that's hard to do, does it seem like a challenge for you to not lose your confidence?
Yeah. Quarterback you always have that moxie, that confidence in yourself. When you have that the guys feed off they see that, they feel that, it raises the player in everybody on the football team. That's what I try to bring every day to the office; confident, knowing what I'm doing, if guys have questions, I'll be the one they go to, to ask, just get everybody lined up on the same page and go out there and play ball.
It's kind of fun, you go back to Philadelphia [Eagles], quarterbacks have been very successful in this offense. I remember that one stretch a few years ago, Mark Sanchez was averaging 30 points a game and you go "wow look at that", because he was getting 70-75 plays off, things were going great. This is an offense you can do some great things.
Yeah and it's been a lot of fun. And the explosive plays happen. Coach Kelly and the offense have done a tremendous job throughout the last three-four years getting explosive plays and they just come naturally. It just comes back to the quarterback, staying on schedule, letting the plays develop, letting the plays work, and taking the shots when they're there.
How have the receivers been adjusting into Chip's system?
Oh, they're doing a great job and they're having a lot of fun because we're playing fast and catching a lot of balls. Everybody is rotating in and out and everybody is getting a lot of reps. And that's what you need, you need to have guys out there with a lot of juice on the field that run fast, play hard, and just love the game and our guys are doing a tremendous job so far.
Is it nice having a guy like Torrey Smith kind of going at that fast pace?
Yeah it's been wonderful and Torrey has been doing a great job. Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, DeAndrew White, our tight ends, Eric Rogers, DeAndre Smelter stepping up after his knee injury. The guys top to bottom are really enjoying themselves and playing fast and making a lot of plays.
How are you keeping the offensive linemen without panting at that pace? Because that is an incredible pace. Its fun for the receivers, it's a challenge for the O-linemen.
Yeah, they are doing a great job. That speaks volumes for our strength staff here and the way our coaches prepare us. To be in the right shape at the right frame of mind. To go out there and be able to execute at a fast pace. But when you're going at such a fast pace you still have to be on your job and be fundamentally sound and know where you're going to be able to do that at this stage in the install process, it's been great and those guys are doing great jobs so far.
It seems like a type of offense for Carlos Hyde can really succeed and the other running backs.
Yeah Carlos is doing a great job and our running backs like I said top to bottom are explosive top Shaun Draughn, DuJuan Harris, Mike Davis, Kelvin Taylor, the guys are doing a great job and there's a lot of stuff on their plate from a protection standpoint, run game, catching the ball out of the backfield, and they are picking it up very nicely.
When this team takes the field during the preseason and into the regular season. how surprised do you think you're going to be at what you're going to do?
Usually you go out and play against a different team. There's going to be ups and downs throughout the preseason. That's the process where you go test yourselves against another team. We're ready to roll week 1 versus the Rams.