How much care and thought went into your depth chart yesterday?
“I think [49ers vice president of communications Bob Lange] Bob’s a very thoughtful and caring person. I think he did a great job.”
Where do you stand as far as that goes? Is it there’s no depth chart in your mind?
“No, we’re just getting reps right now. We have a big week. We’ve got this today, training again tomorrow and then Friday against Houston in a good two hour session. So, that’s what our sole focus is right now.”
On the radio the other day you said that you reached out to some notable alumni when you first got the job. What was your thought process in that? Why make that effort initially when you were hired here?
“I just think they’ve been so successful here, you want to be able to tap into why they were successful, how they were successful and learn from those guys.”
What kind of feedback did you get? Is there a theme to what you found?
“I wouldn’t say a specific theme, but just the fact that they spent as much time as they have and a lot of those guys have been back through. I think [49ers vice president of football affairs Keena Turner] Keena does such a great job at getting the alumni back here. So, to spend time with [former 49ers OL] Jesse [Sapolu] and [former 49ers CB] Eric Wright and [former 49ers LB] Charles Haley and [former 49ers QB] Steve Bono, there’s a ton of guys that have been back, [former 49ers WR] Dwight Clark that have given a lot of time talking to our rookies, specifically in our rookie program. They do a great job with it. It’s just awesome to see that many alumni giving back.”
Have you decided yet who’s going to start Sunday’s game?
“No, again, we have a big week. You can say, ‘Hey, this guy is going to start,’ and then he sprains his ankle in Friday’s practice and then you’ve got to reevaluate. So, we’ll wait until after Houston’s practice to evaluate everybody at every position because you don’t know where you’re going to be until you get there. So, normal weeks you kind of understand what you’re going to get from a practice situation, but because we get that practice with Houston, we won’t do anything until after that practice.”
What do you think you can get out of this practice, this public practice? What does the crowd bring that you can take advantage of it?
“It obviously gives you a lot of energy and a lot of juice. I think we’ve got a unique situation just because we’re kind of landlocked in terms of our practice facility. So, a chance to get out here in front of the fans is awesome for our players and our coaching staff.”
How much are you looking forward to the chance to practice with the Texans and what are the benefits of seeing another team?
“I think it’s always good. It’s a great way to gauge yourself. I’ve done it in the past a couple times with the Patriots and once with the Ravens. We thought it was quality work in the three years that we did it. We’re going to do it twice this year, not only with the Texans on Friday and then play them on Sunday, but then next week when we go out to Denver.”
It’s more of an aesthetic thing than a football thing, but to be here, the roots of the 49ers, what does something like that mean to you and the players?
“I just think it’s cool. The tradition at this franchise is unbelievable. The fact that they’ve won five Super Bowls, they’ve got six NFC championships, they’ve won 20 or so divisions and this is the roots of it, it started here. I got a chance to spend some time with [former 49ers LB] Dave Wilcox in the spring time. I knew him from when I was at Oregon and he spoke so fondly about playing here and what it was like. So, I think our guys are jacked up about it. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Back to the Texans, do you want that to be more physical since you’re not hitting your own guys?
“It’ll be the same as we normally are. I think our practices are pretty physical right now. The only thing we don’t do is tackle to the ground and we’re not going to tackle to the ground against the Texans either.”
How do you lay those practices out, do you get together--?
“Yeah, we’ve spent a lot of time. I’ve known [Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien] Billy for a long time, so back and forth, what they want to get out of it, what we want to get out of it. Then our coordinators talk on each side of the ball, so [Houston Texans offensive coordinator] Romeo Crennel talking to [49ers defensive coordinator] Curtis [Modkins] and [Houston Texans offensive coordinator] George Godsey talking to [49ers defensive coordinator] Jimmy O’Neil and [49ers special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II] Swinton getting together with [Houston Texans special teams coordinator] Larry Izzo. It’s kind of a give and take on both sides, what everybody wants, what they want to get out of it, what we want to get out of it and they’ve been great. It’s a great organization to work for and again, I’ve known Billy a long time. He’s a hell-of-a football coach, so we’re excited about that opportunity coming up.”
Do you have to tell them to keep their tempers in check, so that fisticuffs don’t take place?
“No, I don’t think, they understand that you have to play with emotion, not let emotion play with you. It’s the same rules that you have in a game. If you get in a fight in a game, you’re not going to be around. So, it’s the same thing. We’re trying to get a good quality practice. We’re not trying to turn it into a WWE wrestling match.”
You’ve been fair with the quarterbacks giving them equal reps. Would you expect in the preseason games before the decision is made, that each will get first-team reps in each game?
“Yes, no question. That’s the only way to evaluate them.”
DL Arik Armstead, is he going to practice today?
“Yeah, he’s here. He’s going.”
That shoulder isn’t much of a concern?
“No. I was told he was going to go. So, he didn’t think it’s a big concern.”
Regarding T Anthony Davis, in the beginning of camp, you said he has your respect and eventually earn trust. Has he taken steps to earn trust?
“Yeah, he really has. I’ve just been very, very impressed with him in everything he’s done since we’ve been back. How he’s been in the weight room, how he’s been in the meeting rooms with [offensive line] coach [Pat Flaherty] Flats and what he’s like in walk-thrus, what he’s like on the practice field. He’s all about football. He’s all about getting better. He’s all about improving. He’s been fantastic so far. So, we’ll continue to grow with him, but I’m really impressed with him so far.”
Have you had a chance to talk with him or just kind of off the field stuff, get to know him a little bit?
“Yeah. I met with him before we even started. I talked to him extensively about what he was doing, what his thought process was, why he wanted to come back and play and we’re really happy with him.”
You mentioned you want both quarterbacks to get first-team reps in the preseason. Does that mean there’s a good possibility that both will make starts in the first two preseason games?
“Again, I have no idea who’s going to be injured or not or whatever. So, not into predictions. But, to make a fair evaluation, they have to both get reps with the ones.”
What was your impression of G Joshua Garnett at left guard yesterday and what was the thinking behind giving him some reps over there?
“My same impression of him at right guard. I think he’s doing a great job. So, we’re just trying to move our guys around. A lot of guys got moved around yesterday and Flats is just trying to find combinations where guys feel comfortable. Josh played on both sides in college. He seems to feel comfortable on both sides. So, just trying to figure out who’s who and where we’re going to be able to plug guys in.”
Will you make those decisions, who starts on Sunday, on Saturday?
“Yeah, that’s what I just said earlier. We have practice on Friday against Houston. So, after this one, tomorrow will be a little bit light and then we have a big one on Friday against Houston and that’ll be a big deal. And then find out exactly who’s healthy going out of that and after talking to our training staff, who’s going to be available to play on Sunday in that game.”
WR DiAndre Campbell, perhaps he’s still a longshot, he was certainly viewed as a longshot coming into camp. Has he done anything to open your eyes and increase his chances?
“Yeah. He’s done a nice job. I think the last couple of days he’s kind of stepped up a little bit. Every day’s an evaluation and it doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from, were you drafted, were you not drafted. Our job is to put the best team on the field. So, if he continues to play and push, then obviously, we’ve got to start to make some decisions. But, we’re so far away from that. Again, we haven’t even played in our first preseason. So, we’re not thinking about what our final roster’s going to be like. We’re just trying to come out here every day. We’re learning them as a coaching staff. They’re learning us. We’re putting in new schemes not only offensively and defensively, but special teams also. So, it’s a combination of all those. And for someone like him, special teams will be a huge factor because if you’re not the starting one or two receiver, then it’s how well do you contribute from a special teams factor. So, that’ll weigh heavily in the decision on who’s the third, fourth, fifth and sixth wide receiver.”
You were probably only a few years old when the 49ers were playing in Kezar, but do you have any recollections, any memories of this stadium when it was functional?
“No, I do not. Sorry.”
Any big surprises so far a couple weeks in? Any big surprises that you’re happy with?
“No. I’m happy. I don’t think it’s a surprise that I’m happy, but just how these guys have approached every day. We’ve had real good quality work every day we’ve been out here. Obviously, with the energy and the juice you feel right now, I think we anticipate having another good one today.”