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Chip Kelly on QBs, Mike Davis, offensive line performance, more following 49ers preseason opener

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Check out what the 49ers head coach had to say about the team following the preseason opener against the Houston Texans. We have the full transcript, and you can watch video here.

You talked about how huge these exhibition games were to that competition, why keep QB Colin Kaepernick out of this game?

“Colin isn’t a hundred percent and it wouldn’t be fair to put him in and then judge him on that type of competition. So, we’re just trying to get him healthy and see if we can get him ready for this week against Denver.”

At this point, is there concern that he won’t be able to practice against Denver?

“That’s not what I’ve been told. But, it’s really a day-to-day thing. It’s nothing that’s a long-term thing. It’s just a day-to-day thing. He says he feels better as we go, but we’re not going to push him so that we can make a proper evaluation of him.”

How did you evaluate QB Blaine Gabbert’s performance and the first team offense all around?

“It was up and down in both Blaine and our first team offense. I think that first drive, a couple balls, he probably wants back. Kind of get us on track. But, I think once they settled down and got in a rhythm I thought they did a really nice job of executing. But, I think that really the concern for us, and in this league you just can’t turn the ball over. We turned the ball over twice in the first half, once was returned for a touchdown and the other time we turned it over on our 2-yard line going into score, so that’s a 14-point swing that we need to win those if we’re going to win games this season. So, that was our biggest concern. I thought we moved the ball. At times we ran the ball well. I thought [TE] Vance [McDonald] showed up a little bit and it was good to get some production out of the tight end position. But, overall there are things that you can be excited about, but there are certainly a lot of things we have to clean up.”

Does Gabbert getting the extra practice reps the last few days and these reps, where Colin is not, give him a leg up for the starting job?

“I don’t look at it as a leg up because we’re going to judge them on their opportunities to get in there and go. So, if Colin gets in there and does a great job when he gets in there, I’m not going to say ‘Well, he didn’t get as many snaps as Blaine.’ It’s still going to be judged on who moves our offensive football team the best. Who protects the football the best and gives us an opportunity to win games.”

If Colin is healthy in practices during the week, do you want to see him start a game so that you have that base--?

“Again, we’re just going to take Colin day-to-day. I’m not an ‘if’ guy, in terms of hypotheticals. So, I don’t really know and for me to talk about it and then to find out that Blaine rolls his ankle on Thursday, [QB] Jeff Driskel is starting and then we’re having a whole different conversation. So, we’ll just take it day-to-day as we go with those guys. That’s the only way I know that’s fair to do it.”

Was the Kaepernick decision made today?

“No, we felt yesterday after seeing him we weren’t going to force him to go. So, we were just going to use this as a rehab day. He was over here early getting his rehab and seeing if, trying to work on his shoulder. To see if we can, to hopefully, see if we can get him back for Denver.”

And was QB Thad Lewis pulled because of the injury or we’re you going to pull him at--?

“Yeah, we had planned on taking him out around that time, so it was kind of both, to be honest with you.”

What’d you think of his performance?

“Again, I felt kind of like Blaine, I thought it was a little up and down. I thought some things we really liked out of Thad that he did and then there are a couple others I think he wants back too. I think there are some positives to build on from it though.”

You said that Colin’s shoulder issue is not a long-term deal, did you come to that through an MRI?

“You can talk to Colin about what he does. It’s up to him to talk about his full medical disclosure. It’s not fair for me to do that.”

On the first series, Blaine had RB Carlos Hyde wide open and he misfired on those. The second series he had WR Quinton Patton on a slant, those were really easy passes--?

“I am going to put you in there and rush you.”

Do you think there was nerves going on or what was happening?

“That’s a good question for him. The good thing was he did settle down. I thought the ball he threw to Vance was outstanding. Again, like I said, there is some real positives that you can build on, but there’s some throws I’m sure even if you ask Blaine I’m sure he’ll say, ‘Geeze, I wish I had those back.”

DL DeForest Buckner played almost entirely the first half, maybe even into the second half, were you meaning to get him a ton of reps and what did you think of him?

“I thought DeForest has had a really good camp so far and I thought he did some really good things today. It’s really for him, and for all those rookies, their first time playing in the National Football League game. There’s still some things I think he needs to clean up, but he’s obviously pushing to get a lot of playing time right now. So, we’ve been impressed with him, but again there’s still some things, a lot of things he can continue to work on.”

How do you think the offensive line played and how fluid is the situation within the starting five there?

“Second question first, I think it’s very fluid. Again, this was our first game. We had a good day with Houston on Friday that we felt good about that group. But, we’ll continue to try to figure out exactly who we’re going to plug. Obviously, there are some guys, [T] Joe [Staley] is going to play. You kind of know where he is with that, but just trying to work the rest of it out in terms of how those guys fit. Some of the guys in the second group could have an opportunity to push. I think when you look at it, when [RB] Mike Davis and Thad and those guys were in there, I thought we ran the ball well with that group too. So, really going to have to look at the film and evaluate and see where we are. But, I think we have some guys to select from, so it’s not one of those situations where I’m nervous about where we are with the offensive line. I’m really positive about where we are from an offensive line standpoint. But, trying to find out which the proper five is, will be kind of what these next couple of weeks are when we go against Denver and Green Bay.”

T Anthony Davis gave up that one sack, but overall what were your first impressions of his play?

“Again, some protection things, there was a linebacker blitz inside and we had to kind of make sure, there were some assignment questions going on. Exactly where do we call the point? Who is he working too? Part of that is this whole process, you finally get to play in a game, and then who’s communicating, how did we call it and who’s exactly responsible for what we made that call and what came out of it. Sometimes it’s not, it looks on film - it’s this guy, but it may not be that guy. It could have been called a different way and then he came out late and didn’t realize he had the guy.”

What did you think of your defense, particularly the first half?

“I thought they played well. And, I think it was kind of unfair, the offense, they did a really good job, especially on third down by getting them off the field. Our battle of our ones against their ones, I was impressed with how our defense played. We had a play count, not a series count in terms of who was going to play. So, you kind of look out there and go, ‘It’s the third series and the first defense is out there.’ That’s because they played really well on the first and second series, so there wasn’t any real long drives, so they did a good job and what we’re preaching is for our defense to get off the field and to get stops and I thought they did that. Really, the only points they had in the first half was the fumble return for a touchdown that the offense gave up, but by and large I thought that first group played well.”

CB Chris Davis had a couple of those third down I think pass defense, third down and fourth down, what have you seen out of him and how is he excelling?

“I think he’s really grasped the nickel position in terms of what [defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil] Jimmy and [defensive backs coach] Jeff Hafley are doing, in terms of how they want the nickel to play and he’s taken advantage of the opportunities he’s had. I think he’s really sharp. He’s very sharp as a football player. He’s physical. He’s not the tallest corner we have, but he’s thick and he’s strong and he’s physical. He matches up well and he also does a good job blitzing from that position because he has a little bit of size to him. So, he’s done a nice job so far and we’ll continue to see if we can expand his role.”

The offense in the first half, I think you finished with 300-yards, 18 first downs. Really got in a rhythm. Were you overall really pleased with that?

“Honestly, I was not very pleased with the turnovers and that was the biggest thing that really stuck out to me in the first half.”

Were you using a tablet, or do you like to use a tablet?

“I use the tablet, yeah. We don’t have it after this game though. It just goes back to stills. I think it’s a great teaching tool on the sideline. As you’re talking to your players you can say, it’s funny when you get out there, there’s a lot of times where players will tell you things happened that really didn’t happen. Sometimes there’s a rookie, ‘There’s a guy in my head and a guy over here and a guy up here and a guy out here,’ and so I told them call a time out and tell them that they’ve got 12 guys on the field. Because, they can’t have that many people in front of you. Then when you show them the tablet and say this is the look you got, they kind of settle down.”

So you can run video?

“You can run video. From my understanding we only had one game with it, so it’s, again, technology is moving in everywhere here. We have stills and will continue to have stills that are on the tablet. That’s what we had last year in the league. So, you get a still photo of what it was just before the snap and what it was post snap and you’ve got to kind of figure out if he was here and moved to here, I think he moved. I personally would like to the video, but I don’t vote.”

Does Mike Davis look different to you now than what you looked at on tape from last season?

“Yeah, he’s a lot bigger in person. I try to look at the positives with all those guys. When I looked at film when we got here, it was just give me a feel and a flavor for what he’s like. I knew that he was a physical runner. I knew that he ran behind his pads really well and he’s shown that. He’s really put himself in a position for a spot. It’s like I talked to some of those guys in the locker room, you guys have a chance to play tonight. You’re battling and what you put on tape is really what we’re judging you on. Some guys really stepped up and really took advantage of that opportunity and some other guys were kind of looking around and kind of caught up in the moment. So they need to kind of settle down, take a deep breath and then hopefully everybody has a little bit better, kind of let’s get going we have to get ready to go play Denver.”

LB Nick Bellore had a little bit of time too, what did you see out of him today?

“Nick’s just such a productive special teams player for us. It was really good to see him make some big plays at the linebacker spot for us. You kind of in your mind, your saying, ‘We’ve got [LB NaVorro Bowman] Bo and we’ve got a couple other guys, but when you have a guy like Nick and you’re saying alright now there’s actually some things we can do with him from a linebacker standpoint.’ Really impressed with him, he made a couple plays where you saw him key and diagnose it very quickly and shoot the gap and make a play in the backfield. Those are things we’ve seen, but we haven’t had pads on, especially in the spring-time, so we really couldn’t tackle. But, I think he’s one of those guys on defense in the second half that showed up today.”

From an operational standpoint just getting plays in and keeping the tempo, how did Blaine do tonight?

“I thought he did a good job. I thought he managed what we were trying to get accomplished in the first half. I think that part of it procedurally, kind of how we were doing things, getting guys lined up, making sure we’re in the right things. A couple of times we had to make some checks and make sure the line was on the right call in terms of where we were going, but I thought he handled that aspect of it pretty well.”

Any other injuries beside from Lewis?

“Again, I came right in, I wanted to see you guys so (bad), I did not even go to the training room. [Vice president of communications Bob Lange] Bob said, ‘Let’s go to the training room.’ I said, ‘No. We’re getting in here as quick as we can and let’s hash this thing out.’ But, because I did that I don’t have any opportunity to give you any information on injuries.”

Your thoughts on Driskel?

“Very athletic with his feet. Kind of sometimes a young quarterback will do that all of a sudden he doesn’t like it, because he knows he can run and take off and run, I think he kept some drives a live. Really, was kind of the one guy in that third group that stood out overall. You wish we were a little bit more accurate in some of those throws, but that’s stuff he’ll continue to work on. A lot of young quarterbacks that are athletic like Jeff is, when things get a little shaky for him, he knows he can take off and go and he did a good job when he did that. I think that it’s a weapon, we’ll continue to see what he does. But, I know that he’d like to be a little bit more accurate with some of those throws he had in the second half.”