Was that about as much as you could expect from your season opener?
“Yeah, I mean, obviously for the first game of the year there’s a lot of things you’re not sure of going into it. But, I think the most telling statistic for us that you’re really proud of going into the first game is that you have two penalties for 10-yards. One of them was mine because I screwed them up with the formation and the other one - our guys thought they jumped so they tried to touch them. So, to play that type of disciplined football, I thought was big. We also had created two turnovers and not only did we create two turnovers, we talk about response after the turnovers and to turn those two turnovers into 14 points was really big for us too. It’s a good day overall. There’s a lot of things we need to do better and that we need to build on, but it’s a lot easier when you win than when you lose to make those corrections.”
The Rams D-line is seen as one of the best in the game, they didn’t have a ton of plays with big impact. What was the key in neutralizing them?
“Well, I thought our offensive line did a nice job and again we knew going in that that was one of the better D-Lines in the NFL. [DT] Aaron Donald is probably the best inside defensive lineman in this league and we thought that was going to be a huge deal for us and I’ll give our guys credit for sustaining. There were some times there in the third quarter where they made some plays and split some gaps on us. We had some negative yardage plays, but I thought the coaching staff did a really good job of making adjustments and then turning that into 14 more points for us. For the first game against that front, until I see the film I would say I was pleased with how the O-line played.”
Somebody just tweeted that it was the first shutout in a season opener in 49ers history. I don’t know if that’s true, but whether or not, how about for you just to start your career here with a shutout win over a traditional rival?
“I think the credit goes, it’s not me. It’s our defense and our defensive staff. I think our defensive staff did a great job and I’ve thought our defense, we have to go against them and we’ve been going against them since April. I thought our defense is pretty good. I think we have a formidable front, probably one of the best inside linebackers in the game in [LB] NaVorro Bowman directing the show back there. I think our safeties, [S Jaquiski] Tartt showed up today, [S Eric] Reid showed up today, [S Antoine] Bethea. I think [CB] Tramaine Brock and [DB] Jimmie Ward did a really good on the corners. We felt good about our defense going into this game, but you never know until you get a chance to go out there. To hold [Los Angeles Rams RB Todd] Gurley, who I think is one of the top backs in the league, to under 50-yards, I think that’s a good day for us defensively.”
That first series, you guys pretty much dominated. Your linemen and your linebackers.
“Yeah, they did a very nice job. Again, it’s something for us to build on. We have a short week here. We’ve got to get ready. We’ve got a very tough (game), going against the NFC representative in the Super Bowl in Carolina, at Carolina. So, we’ve got to get to work pretty quick here.”
You said there’s some things you needed to work on, can you be more specific?
“Yeah, we didn’t run the ball very well in the third quarter. We were in a little bit of a rut there. I think we can cover kickoffs a little bit better. Some of those kickoffs got out a little bit farther than we thought. The first two come to mind for me. Those are obviously things we’ve got to work on.”
What’s your assessment of QB Blaine Gabbert’s performance?
“I thought Blaine did a nice job. There’s probably a couple throws like you always want, you want back. But again, I thought he was very efficient with the ball. He did not turn the ball over, did not put the ball in harm’s way. I think he kept drives alive with his feet. Threw some real nice balls in some critical situations there when it looked we weren’t getting going. We got going throwing the ball there. I thought [WR Jeremy] Kerley played well. The ball he threw to [TE] Vance [McDonald] was nice. The two side line throws, one to [WR] Torrey [Smith] and one to [WR Quinton Patton] QP was big for us. He got a lot of different guys involved in the passing game and I thought overall he did a good job.”
When we last talked to you OL Anthony Davis was your starting right guard, what happened since then?
“As I looked at it going through it, it was really my decision and I told AD that we were just going to start [G Andrew] Tiller going into this game. We knew that was a pretty formidable front. We’ll continue to grow A.D. Again, he’s missed a lot of football and he’s coming back. And, I’ll give him credit, handling it like a professional. But, it was my decision in terms of starting Tiller in this game.”
But, why didn’t he practice on Saturday?
“There was just a miscommunication, but he was back on Sunday and he had a real good Sunday for us and was good today. Got a chance to get a couple snaps in there at the end.”
There’s obviously a report he was thinking of quitting the NFL, retiring again.
“It was just a miscommunication. I had a long talk with Anthony on Saturday and everything has been ironed out. He’s good to go.”
It was nothing more than a miscommunication?
“It was a miscommunication between myself and Anthony and we don’t have a miscommunication any longer.”
Regarding the Kaepernick situation. Before the game there was a somber scene. The story continues to move on and there has been support for his stance all ove the country. What are your thoughts on that?
“I think again, like we’ve said from day one, we recognize their right to do it. It’s their constitutional right. Our president said the same thing. That’s part of what it’s like to be an American, that you have the right to choose and that’s what he’s choosing to do. So, I think it’s a very, kind of cut and dry situation to be honest with you.”
DL Arik Armstead was pretty much in just third downs in the first quarter and you kind of worked him in more the second quarter. Is that just working him back?
“Yeah, just trying to work him back in, in terms of where he is. Obviously, he missed a little bit of time in camp and was really playing well for us before he got hurt. So, it wasn’t like we were going to bring him back and throw him in there and give him 65 snaps. We feel like we’ve got some depth in our defensive line so to be able to get him back out there was a positive thing for us. I think he had a sack, so it was good just to get Arik’s feet underneath of him. Obviously, he’s going to be an integral part of what we’re doing this season, so it was good just to get him back out on the field and obviously he produced in the limited amount of snaps that he had. So, hopefully we will continue to add snaps to him as we get him back full.”
In the first half you guys went for it twice on fourth down. How much of that was just trying to be the aggressor and set the tone, or was it just field position?
“Field position mostly, we’re not into that aggressor, non-aggressor. I don’t think like that. I just knew what [K] Phil’s [Dawson] distance was. The wind, it’s unique and I’ve only been in here a short amount of time, Phil gave me a very good education on the wind patterns here as they kind of come off. If you look at the flags up high, they are blowing real high, but if you look at the ones in the corner, they aren’t bad, but then when the wind comes in it hits the other side and starts to swirl and come back. Phil is great and one of the things, he’ll tell me exactly and he’ll tell me in pregame because during the game he thinks he can hit every kick. So, we have a very calm, rational talk in pregame exactly where do we need to get the ball too. We were just a little shy of it. In that situation, just felt like if we went for it was a little better. I didn’t want to punt. If you punt the ball is in the end zone. You’re netting 13-yards or whatever the heck it is. I didn’t think very long about making those decisions.”
And on the one, Kerley made a nice catch. Did you expect him to be as involved just with the short period of time he’s been with the team?
“I did, just because day one when he got here he just kind of kept showing up and you kind of say to yourself, I thought he was pretty good. And then, is it too good to be true? Obviously, losing [WR] Bruce Ellington like that and knowing that Bruce is out for the year, I’ll give our personnel department credit for going out and finding a guy like that that kind of stepped in seamlessly. I think there was one route today that kind of screwed up on, but for the short time that we had him, for him to be able to kind of pick up everything we did, be our punt returner, be our kickoff returner and I don’t know how many catches he had, but to go out there and contribute like he contributed, key fourth down catch there. I know he had a couple others. He probably had four or five on the day. How many did he have? Seven. We picked the guy up two weeks ago and he had seven catches. If we picked him up last week, he’d probably have 10 if we didn’t screw him up.”
On the first touchdown run RB Carlos Hyde had, how well executed was the blocking and obviously the running?
“It was both. Again, I thought we did a really good job of blocking it up. That play takes a little bit of patience. A lot of backs try to rush that and that’s just Carlos. If you watch him, he kind of leaned and made it look like it was going outside and got the linebacker to go and then here came the guard and here came the backside tight end. So, it’s a combination of both. But, I thought we got a really good push up front running behind [T] Joe [Staley] and [G] Zane [Beadles]. They got a good push. Tiller was on the pull and then the second tight end (Garrett Celek) pulling through. I thought Vance did a really good job on the linebacker and then Carlos to fit right up inside. It’s kind of like how you draw it up.”
Is Carlos Hyde OK?
Carlos was looked at by the trainers.
“I wasn’t aware of that. So, maybe you can ask him.”