What have you seen from QB Jeff Driskel in the time you’ve had him and how he’s been able to adapt to what you’re asking him to do?
“I think he’s done a really nice job. He’s really intelligent. Picked things up conceptually very quickly. Was exposed to a couple of systems because he was at Florida and then Louisiana Tech. Sometimes guys that are just coming from one system, I think he’s already been exposed to multiple systems at the college level, so we’ve been impressed with him. He’s very athletic. I think he was the fastest quarterback at the combine. He’s big. He’s got a good arm.”
Do you see the wheels turning?
“Oh, yeah. He’s really smart. Very, very good football IQ. He processes it really well.”
Do you appreciate his willingness to help out with look team defense and special teams and the more he can do?
“Yeah. We talked to him about it in the draft process. It was something, he’s just a football player. He just wants to play football and whatever he can do to make a team, he’s going to try to do it.”
Special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II was just saying you’re often in the special teams meetings. Is that something that you’ve always done or anything different with your routine this year?
“No. I’ve always been in special teams meetings. I think it’s an integral part of the game. Everything is so close in this league that the biggest chunk plays that occur in a game are in special teams. You know, you look at the Super Bowl. The biggest play in the Super Bowl was the punt return. It’s a key factor and I think I’ve always put a huge emphasis on it, whether I was at the college level or in the NFL in terms of what we can do and it’s really, a lot of times, the determining factor in winning and losing. So, I think it’s integral to be in all of those.”
Will you give Derius, when it comes time to trim the roster to 53, will he have a certain number of guys that he can keep on the coverage?
“No. We’re always going to keep the best 53 for the team. But, he always certainly has input. So goes [defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil] Jimmy, so does every coach on staff in terms of how we’ll figure all that out. And special teams are a factor. If you’re not the starter at your position, then you’re going to make this team by being a special teams player. So, it’s not because Swint says that. It’s just because that’s the way I think the teams are made up.”
Swinton obviously isn’t very old particularly for a coordinator and he’s never been a coordinator. What convinced you that he was ready for this?
“Well, I think first and foremost, the people that I trust in this league that recommended him. He came very, very highly recommended. At some point in time, it has to be your first job. And then we interviewed and interviewed him extensively and was just really impressed with him through the interview process. He’s kind of from the same special teams tree as my coordinator was when I was in Philadelphia. So, we spoke the same language and see the way teams are supposed to be played the same way. So, philosophically, we were on the same page and just been impressed with his ability to teach. So, very impressed within the interview process and has done a great job in the short time we’ve been together.”
He mentioned that if RB Carlos Hyde goes back there and even takes one rep returning, that that can be a nice example for young guys, that we all do a little bit of everything if we need to. Is that your take on it too?
“Yeah. I think everybody understands if you can help contribute to us winning, then they’re going to do whatever it takes for us to win. So, it’s just part of the deal of being in this league. Especially when you get to game day, you only have 46 guys available to you then everybody has to have a role.”
Did the fact that QB Colin Kaepernick went through all those mental reps when he wasn’t out there 7-on-7, did that help him just kind of seamlessly step into this week of practice?
“That’s a question for him. But, I believe he’s really stayed on top of those things. So, he didn’t show what I would think would be the normal. He was very quick in the decision-making process. There may have been some timing issues and that was expected just because he hadn’t thrown. But, he was better on day two than he was on day one. But, I think that it’s a credit to him in terms of what he did when he wasn’t out there going full speed from a physical standpoint, he was from a mental standpoint and that’s benefitted him. It’s a credit to him. I was impressed. He actually did more on Tuesday than we thought he was going to do, but it’s really listening to his body and what his comfort level is. For two days, I was really impressed with it.”
If he comes to training camp at full health, how do you juggle the reps on the first team?
“We have enough reps. We get enough reps during the course of training camp and during the course of our training where it’s never been a concern for us in terms of, ‘Geez, we’re not going to get enough looks out there.’ So, we have enough reps for everybody.”
So, he’ll get time with the first team as well?
“Everybody will get time with them. That’s not a big deal to them.”
Is he full-health right now?
“No. He’s still coming back from, I mean, that’s a better question for him in terms of where he is from a percentage standpoint. But, the goal is to make sure he’s full-go when we get back here at the beginning of August.”
How will you spend your time before training camp?
“Just like everybody else. I mean, you take a little bit of time off, but you’ll prepare for camp and make sure your schedule’s are set, do a little research and development in the offseason. But, everybody kind of has the same schedule. Everybody says the new CBA, it’s actually the older CBA now. You’re five years into it. It’s the same schedule for everybody. So, it’s not like you say, ‘Hey, we’d like to get back a little sooner and do this, this and this.’ You can’t. So, we all understand the schedule and when we’re going to come back and what we’re going to do full-go and go from there.”
Any coaching clinics on your schedule?
“I’m not hosting a coaching clinic.”
A lot of the guys are wearing kind of their own deal out here. They’re all wearing different items. I know Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy had an issue with everybody having to wear the same thing. Is that something that you’ve changed this year?
“No. As long as it’s issued by the league and you don’t get in trouble from the league, that’s the only rule we’ve had and that’s what those guys do.”