Do you have any update on LB Nick Bellore’s condition?
“I have not met with [vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg yet today. We got back late and some guys were scheduled to see the doctor today. I have a meeting scheduled with Ferg at 2:30.”
Does that mean you don’t know how QB Colin Kaepernick is doing either the day after he threw all those warmup passes?
“I think Kap is fine. I saw Kap. He’s fine.”
And so what is the plan for tomorrow?
“He’s going to throw some more.”
In actual practice?
“In actual practice, I think.”
OK, so like seven-on-seven and team?
“I don’t know that. We’ll see how it goes when he gets out there and starts throwing. So, don’t put me and say I said this. I don’t know. He’s going to start throwing tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes, see how he progresses.”
You said early in training camp that the outside linebackers were looking like one of the position groups that stood out. Has that followed through with the games? How would you assess how that group as a whole played yesterday?
“As a whole, I thought they played well. I thought they did some good things. We got some good pass rush out of, obviously, [LB] Marcus Rush. I thought [LB] Eli [Harold] had a good day himself. [DT] Tank [Carradine] was very productive, so I think that group did really well yesterday.”
Eli, did that turn out to be just getting the wind knocked out of him?
And what about the wide receivers, you had said you’re looking for more consistency from that group. Did you see that from any of those young guys in the game yesterday?
“Yeah, and I meant by consistency when the ball is thrown to them, they catch it. So, I thought they did a good job from that standpoint.”
Does the WR Bryce Treggs injury look like it’s going to be long-term?
“I don’t know yet. Again, I’m going to meet with Ferg here at 2:30. So, I don’t have any information on that. When we get the information, we’ll get it to you.”
When you looked at the game again, what areas were you pleased with specifically?
“I liked our energy. I liked how competitive we were against a good football team. I think defensively after that first series, they kind of settled down a little bit. And, obviously [S] Eric Reid’s pick was a big spark for us. That second and third group did a good job of getting after the quarterback. So, I think there are some positives on the defensive side to build upon. I thought we ran the ball well. We still could have run it better. I thought our quarterbacks were very accurate. We were 19-of-24 and did a nice job of not throwing a pick, so they’re doing a good job from that standpoint. And, I thought we protected the quarterbacks by and large, for the most part.”
Do you have a plan in place as far as, I asked you this after the game, but have you talked about where T Anthony Davis is going to be playing this week?
“No, we haven’t talked about that yet. We just graded the film and just met on personnel. We’ve got more meetings later on today and intotomorrow.”
After the game, QB Christian Ponder talked about his time with the Vikings. He felt like he pressed a lot, felt a lot of pressure and his mission is now to really have fun. I don’t know if you’ve been able to speak with him much beyond the X’s and O’s and getting him ready, but do you have any sense mentally, his changed mindset?
“No, because I never knew Christian before, so I can’t speak to what his mindset was before I met him. Really the first time I met him to say hello was about a year or two ago in a social setting. But, this was the first time I’ve ever spent any time with him, so I thought he did an unbelievable job to come in here Tuesday like he did and play full in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and then play in the game 20-plus snaps, go seven-for-eight and then run one in from 22. I thought he did a really nice job.”
Do you usually do your starters about the whole first half of the third exhibition game?
“It really just depends on how the game goes. Sometimes you want to get an X amount of snaps. If you don’t get enough in the first half, you may continue into the third. Sometimes you get enough in the first and second quarter that you’ll sub them out the second quarter. So again, just depends on the work and how the game itself goes.”
Does the way that QB Blaine Gabbert and the offense, they’ve taken a little bit of time to get going these two exhibitions, do you want to see them play longer to see how that rhythm gets going?
“Yeah. You want success right out the gate no matter when you’re playing. So, that’s something that we need to get better at and will continue to work on.”
After watching the film, what stood out to you about the three guys battling to start next to LB NaVorro Bowman and where does that battle stand right now?
“I think they all had their pluses. They all have done some really nice things. [LB Gerald Hodges] Hodgy had a fumble recovery and was very productive. [LB] Ray-Ray’s [Armstrong] done a really good job in coverage in some of our dime and our sub-packages. [LB] Mike’s [Wilhoite] just really steady in terms of how he plugs and plays and probably could play both positions behind NaVorro if NaVorro were to be injured and play the WILL. So, they all have their pluses and they’re all doing a good job. So, I think it’s a positive situation for us.”
Have you been communicating with NaVorro in terms of getting his feel for each guy and how chemistry is going on that front?
Regarding QB Jeff Driskel, he said he wasn’t exactly thrilled with his preseason opener. He obviously got a lot more reps in practice and he thought that helped. Could you see in practice that he was developing and making improvements and what was your assessment of how he played Saturday?
“Yeah, I think Jeff has improved every time he’s gotten an opportunity. The more he’s out there, the more comfortable he is with what we’re doing. And then obviously he was better in Week 2 than he was in Week 1. But, I thought he did a nice job in our two training sessions with Denver during the week and is just continuing to take advantage of the reps he’s getting now.”
We’ve heard running backs coach Tom Rathman throughout training camp yelling at his players to squeeze the ball. That seems to be emphasized quite a bit in practice. When you look at these fumbles, is there a common thread? Is it something different every play? Is it just a matter of holding the ball too loosely?
“No. Unfortunately, there’s not a common thread that you can say, ‘Hey, it’s this. Let’s fix it.’ But, there are opportunities for us to secure the ball a lot better and part of being a good player on the offensive side of the ball is that you have to be able to secure the football and that’s all taken into effect as we put this team together. But, everybody understands how important the turnover battle is in the game of football and if you’re on the plus side, you have increased your chances of winning the football game. It’s something we’ve emphasized and continue to emphasize. I was really impressed with our defense in terms of them creating turnovers because we didn’t in the first game. But, we can’t turn the ball over like we have in the last two games and expect to be very successful during the regular season.”
Why was RB Shaun Draughn held out of the game?
“Got hit in the ribs in practice with Denver. So, we expect him to be back this week.”
With Marcus Rush, you talked about guys kind of taking advantage of opportunities when they arise. Do you see NT Garrison Smith as a guy who was able to do that too last night?
“Yeah. I thought Garrison played an outstanding game. I think between him and Marcus, if you picked two standouts, and I thought there was a lot of other standouts, but those two really from a production standpoint kind of jumped off when you watch the tape, when you got a chance, you’re flying home last night, just watching the tape. The two of those guys were around the football a lot and causing a lot of disruption in Denver’s offense. So, both those guys had really, really good games in Week 2.”