The San Francisco 49ers are getting ready for their final preseason game later this week, but Saturday saw some wrap-up from Week 3. Chip Kelly had his regular conference call the day after a game. During the regular season, it will usually be a normal Monday (or Tuesday or Friday) press conference, but the regular season schedule means mostly conference calls.
Chip Kelly got numerous questions about Colin Kaepernick, and you can read that portion of the transcript here. I wanted to separate that out because he got quite a few questions about Friday’s game, the team’s roster cuts and trade on Saturday, and some player development. Here you go.
Do you have any injury updates on DT Quinton Dial or S Eric Reid?
“Yeah. Well, Eric went back in the game. I don’t think there was anything with Eric. [RB] Carlos [Hyde] is in the concussion protocol. Waiting back on Quinton Dial and [WR Bruce] Ellington, went to get some precautionary MRI’s but haven’t heard anything back on those two.”
And NT Mike Purcell?
“No updates on Purcell.”
WR Jerome Simpson was one of the cuts that you guys made today. Do you feel comfortable rolling ahead with the group of receivers you have if Ellington is out for an extended period of time?
“Well, we’ll cross the bridge with Bruce when we get to it. Wanted to give Jerome an opportunity if we released him today to see if there’s an opportunity for him to catch on with another team between now and Thursday. The difficult part of the cut being on Tuesday is that if you get cut Tuesday afternoon, there’s not a really good chance of you getting picked up to play in the last preseason game. So, a couple veterans that we did release, we just felt like, and I talked to Romie about it, to see if he has a chance to catch on with someone else and that’s really where our thought process was with Jerome at that point in time.”
You made a trade today. Was it the same with CB Kenneth Acker that, give him an opportunity now because of the competition there at the cornerback position and how things were stacking out?
“Yeah that’s exactly it. And our goal is for everybody to make our team, but there’s honestly 37 guys that are in that 90 aren’t because we’re only going to be able to keep 53. So, our second goal for them is if they’re not going to make our team, we want you to make another team in this league and if we can assist you in any way, we will. There was some interest in Ack. We feel like we’ve got some depth at the cornerback position and felt like it was a positive for him. It gives him an opportunity to go to Kansas City and play for [Kansas City Chiefs head coach] coach [Andy] Reid and [Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator] coach [Bob] Sutton and we get a draft pick in exchange for it. So, happy for him. Ack was great here. Loved coaching him. But, I look at it as a positive for him.”
What is that conditional pick?
“I don’t have that right now. I just know we just executed that trade. So, [general manager] Trent [Baalke] has all that information.”
I apologize for my math skills, but are you guys at that 75 limit right now?
How many more have to be?
You said yesterday that you guys would assess T Anthony Davis’ performance today. What did you find when you looked at the film?
“We were happy with what AD did. You know, first extended playing time in a game at guard. There’s some positives that I think we can build on with AD and you see that obviously there’s a really good football player there. It’s just how comfortable can we get him because he has played his career at tackle, being comfortable in there on the inside. But, there were some real positive things that you can take away from AD’s work last night.”
Just back to Jerome. He’s obviously one of the few wide receivers on the roster with a decent amount of NFL experience. I guess we interpret that this means you have confidence and feel comfortable that some of those younger, more unproven wide receivers stepping up?
“Yes. Again, I think the timing with Jerome was to give him an opportunity to see if there’s something out there for him with the other 31 teams.”
Was there any wide receiver that you saw last night other than Jerome or Bruce or WR Quinton Patton that stood out to you?
“On our team?”
Yeah. For your squad.
“I thought you were talking about Green Bay. No, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for those guys. We threw a couple more balls inside caught to the tight ends. I thought [WR] Torrey [Smith] did a nice job in his route running, didn’t get him the ball though. It wasn’t an overall productive day for us on the offensive side of the ball. So, there wasn’t a lot of opportunities for those guys.”
Has that kind of been an issue or something that’s thrown a bit of concern how little Torrey’s been targeted in the preseason?
“No. That’s not a concern for us.”
Can you just briefly describe WR Aaron Burbridge’s progress up to this point? Obviously, he hasn’t been targeted that much, but do you guys mainly see him as an outside wide receiver or can he maybe slide into the slot, especially in this fourth preseason game?
“Well, he’s an outside guy right now. I think they’re two entirely different positions and I think it’s difficult for anybody in their first year to learn both and to be real comfortable at it. It’s no different than as we eluded to earlier with Anthony playing guard and tackle. And there’s a guy who’s a veteran of the National Football League and has played in a lot of games. To take a rookie and to make him be an inside receiver and an outside receiver, sometimes that’s asking him a little bit too much. So, you know, really what people don’t realize also with our receivers is how much special teams work that they’re trying to get down and learn, because if you’re not one of the starting wide receivers and you’re going to be part of the 46-man roster, you have to be an integral member of the special team units. Burb is doing a good job with that along with playing outside receiver.”
Can you talk a little about what you’ve seen from DB Jimmie Ward?
“Yeah. We think Jimmie’s transition to corner, he’s done a really good job with it. You can see him get more comfortable as the days go by playing out there. He still has the ability to play inside and does that a little bit in practice. But, because we’ve transitioned him from safety and nickel to outside corner, we really wanted to keep him out there and I thought he’s done a good job. He’s matched up with some really good receivers, you know, in Houston and [Houston Texans WR] DeAndre Hopkins, [Houston Texans WR Will] Fuller and those guys in the Houston game and then to play against [Denver Broncos WR] Demaryius Thomas and [Denver Broncos WR] Emmanuel Sanders last week against Denver and then some good receivers again this week in Green Bay. But, we’ve been really pleased with how Jimmie’s been playing.”