Can we get an injury round up?
“Yes. Yesterday we had, [RB] Raheem [Mostert] had an AC sprain, should be good to go after this week. [DB] Adrian [Colbert], he ended up breaking something in his hand, part of his thumb. He's going to have to get a procedure here, so he'll be questionable for Seattle.”
Is that a thing where he could have a cast after the Seattle game?
“I believe there is a chance. We don't believe he'll be out too long. He did it early in the first quarter. He played through the whole game with it. It was extremely tough of him. But, it's something you have to get fixed right away. You don't want to play with it or it could heal wrong, so you we’ve got to get that fixed right away. Possibly could miss the Seattle game, but feel pretty good about him after that.”
How about QB C.J. Beathard?
“Same thing. Pretty banged up. He'll be sore throughout this week. It will definitely help to let him get some rest because nothing's broken or anything. Make sure no one runs into it over the next week will help and it should be better next week Monday.”
We didn't find out about what happened with WR Marquise Goodwin yesterday until after. Can you take us through the process of when you found out and the conversations you had with him, and his group decision to play as well?
“I haven't talked to Marquise exactly what he wants to share publicly. He called me Saturday morning before we had meetings and stuff in the morning and walk-through and he called me knowing he had to be with his wife because they were having some complications with that stuff. So, he missed our meetings and stuff Saturday. I saw him at the hotel Saturday night where things had gotten better. I believe he got a call lateSaturday night that he had to go in and help her out because some of the stuff she was going through. Then I found out early in the morning on Sunday what had happened, and then I just met him up here and a few of us did and talked to him. He was struggling with it for obvious reasons. He decided to play, which we were very grateful for. I think he did a hell of a job for his wife yesterday being there for her and helped out his family from that aspect, and also helped out his family here too. I think he helped out every side and was pretty impressive yesterday.”
I know I asked you this yesterday, but you’ve had a chance to look at the tape, have you decided who your quarterback will be after the bye and did Beathard make that decision harder or maybe even easier for you?
“No, we'll see how practice goes next week. C.J. played pretty well. I thought he had his best game. I think he’s gotten better each week in practice, and I think it showed in the game the most. I thought the guys played around him their best game too, which definitely makes it easier to keep everyone out there and keep that going. We'll see how [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] responds this week. We'll get to work more one-on-one with him, get a little extra practice on Monday and see how it goes. We'll have our game plan done Monday and Tuesday and we’ll start practicing our game plan Wednesday.”
You mentioned rotating coaches would be working with Jimmy this week. Can you just kind of lay out how that's going to work?
“It's mainly just our quarterback coach. I know [quarterbacks coach] Rich [Scangarello] and myself will come in here too, and both of us, but mainly Rich doing most of it. I know we've got a number of players here too, some of the guys who have got to stay back for rehab. Guys like [TE] George Kittle and [WR] Trent [Taylor], and I know [WR Louis] Murphy's going to stay around a little bit. So, we’ve got some players who can catch some balls for him and stuff like that.”
Do you view this decision as a good problem to have?
“Yes, I do. Since we were able to get Jimmy. Been excited about C.J. since we drafted him. Been very excited about Jimmy since we had the opportunity to get him. So, having both of those guys here, I'm very excited about our room.”
The 10-game sample, I know you guys have been mostly reluctant to extend or have discussions about some of the upcoming free agents you have, with the exception of CB K’Waun Williams, but is a 10-game sample and now the bye week, does that give you an opportunity to have some of those discussions with players and their reps?
“Yeah, I think. I try to leave the discussions when it comes to contracts and stuff to [general manager] John [Lynch] and [chief strategy officer & executive vice president, football operations] Paraag [Marathe] upstairs. We talk a lot about where we see these players, and a lot of the guys here I know for sure that are guys that I want back here. I definitely have seen enough of that to realize that. But, there is a business side to all of that stuff. There is a market and things like that. So, you've got to be smart for your organization, for the player, and for the future of how we balance things. But, a lot of our free agents that are up, I'm not going to speak about any of them individually, but there are definitely a number of guys that we haven't obviously redone yet but they have shown that they are guys that we want around.”
Is Monday after a win any different?
“Yes, it is. It was easier to wake up this morning. It was more fun coming in just knowing that it was fun to see the guys today. You go through the tape. You've got to address the team every Monday, and it gets tougher and tougher after losses. It was nice to come in today just looking forward to addressing the team. Didn't have much to say. We just watched a lot of the tape together and a lot of clips. It was just fun to watch each other. We did some good things on special teams, defense and offense. I always try to show that as a group so the other sides of the ball could see each other, and I think the guys enjoyed it. I know it took a while to get our first win, and you've got to move on pretty fast, but it was also nice knowing we have a bye week this week. So, I think it lasted a little longer today than usual.”
Why did it feel natural? I know that you didn't want the first win to come in Week 10, but when it did, there seemed to be just a huge release and a huge celebration. Did that kind of surprise you with how you reacted and how the whole team reacted to the win?
“Not really. Yeah, I think it's been a long few months. I think you build up and you go through a lot, a lot of emotions through all those losses. Guys really trying to compete and constantly being disappointed and to try to get up each week and try to fight again and come up short a number of times, and we started over last week again. We came in for those Wednesday meetings talking about there are four days left in our season, and we've got three days to prepare for four hours. And that's really all we wanted to talk about, all we wanted to see. I felt like the guys went about that all week from Wednesday on. And to act that way still doesn't guarantee you anything. Playing hard doesn't guarantee anything. All of it to me just gives you a chance. But, to act that way all week, to go through that game where that game was not perfect at all, some of the turnovers, some costly penalties in some situations, but to be able to recover and rebound from all that stuff and overcome some adversity in those games, just to put everything in that week and to get rewarded with a win, I think, that's just how guys felt. No, it didn't surprise me at all.”
You never hear, I’ve never heard players say we have a bad locker room and guys hate each other here. So anyway, the fact that guys say you have a close locker room isn't surprising. But, the number of guys and the specific way they describe it, there does seem to be something about it. Is it unique in your experience in any way, any sort of bond that the team has formed?
“I think that's what we're going through. I've been on, every team's different each year, wherever you are. I think you form that closeness or that brotherhood, whatever it is, you form it from the beginning and all the way to the end. When things go good, I've been on a lot of teams where things are going well and everyone talks about how tight they are, and then you lose two games in a row and you start to realize some of the people you were tight with you didn't know them as well as you thought. That happened with us from the beginning and it’s gone on for a long time. By no means is everything perfect and every relationship perfect, but you battle through things together and I think to come close with people, usually you build a brotherhood or things like that through shared sacrifice and going through things together. It makes you rely on each other, and be able to fight through times with each other. If everything's just good, it's hard to get close with people. We've had a lot of good and bad here, and I think the guys really do believe each other. I think the guys, you can't get through this stuff unless everyone's pulling each other or helping each other out. Not one person could change this. We needed everyone to change it. I think that's why guys have relied on each other hard, and I think that's what you saw on Sunday. I think that really helped us, and I think the guys were happy with each other for it. And, I plan on that making us better. I hope we can come back next week and be better from it and continue to get better throughout the year, and I hope that leads into something for next year.”
Was yesterday the first time you’d used RB Matt Breida and RB Carlos Hyde at the same time and is that maybe a way to mitigate some of the injuries you've had?
“No, we've used them a number of times this year. We've put two running backs out there. We dress three for all the games. So, we have a few personnel packages where we have two halfbacks on the field at once. Sometimes we’ve have two halfbacks and our fullback on the field at one playing tight end. We've done that sporadically throughout the year. Definitely these last few weeks we've been carrying a number of different personnel packages in the games just in case certain things happen, which have happened over the last couple of weeks.”
Getting back to Marquise for a second. Give us some of your personal reflections on what character of a player is able to perform as well as he did given the stress and emotions he was under?
“I think every individual is different. I've been around and I've been a coach for a while. I've been with players who lost one of their parents the days before games and stuff. I think everyone reacts differently to that stuff. So, I don't think you can judge or expect anything. I've had some people who a death happens and they can't see anyone, and they have to go home right away. You totally understand that and respect it. I've been around some people who that happens and they need to play the next day. They think that's what someone would want and that's very important to them and helps them. So, my experience over stuff like that is you can't judge someone or really anticipate how anyone's going to act. You just try to support them and help them clearly make the best decision for them and their family. I know Marquise was hurting bad, real bad, and I know he will for a while, and I know his wife will too. To get him in here, I don't know how sure he was right away, because I think he was up long throughout the night. Then he got here, and pastor [team chaplain] Earl [Smith] who worked with him a lot and comforted him a lot did a great job with him. By the time I was able to talk to Marquise, he was hurting, but he was adamant he wanted to play. That's something as a coach you respect. You don't want someone just to tell it to you because that's what you want to hear as a coach. You want someone to tell it to you because they mean it. And you could tell ‘Quise meant it. And he helped us out a lot yesterday too. For a guy to go through that, to have those emotions, to go the whole night before, really not sleeping very much, and to come out there and have some very pivotal plays in that game and make a huge difference, it says a lot about the guy. Regardless whether he played good or bad, the fact that he was out there and tried his hardest and tried to help us was the most important.”
How tough was that for you to not get caught up in the emotions when you know how much extra that touchdown may have meant or that block on TE Garrett Celek’s meant to him?
“A lot. That's why right when he scored I knew we were going to get a delay of game. I knew he was going to be in that end zone for a while, so I planned for it. Fortunately the refs gave us a little more time than usual, so we got to kick off the extra point with a second on the clock. But, it was cool. Marquise made a bunch of big plays for us this year. That was the first one that he was able to get fully in stride and was able to stiff arm the corner and finish it. It was a big play. We've had some explosives, but we haven't scored touchdowns on them, and to get that first one, and then that led to Celek later, which Marquise had a huge block on that play and got the wind knocked out of him on it. I thought he was hurt until I saw him smiling on the ground, trying to breathe. But, it was pretty neat. Very happy for him. I think you guys could see the whole team was too.”
You mentioned on the broadcast that you used T Trent Brown's boombox at halftime. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
“Yeah, I don't have much to do with any of that stuff. I know the players, they like the music. It gets them going, which I don't disagree, I do too. Sometimes when it gets quiet, it gets a little dull, so they like the music going. There is a quiet time from when they leave the locker room and they have to sit in our hallway before they come out where it's just, I guess they say it's awkwardly quiet for them for five minutes, so they wanted to bring a boombox around. I think they enjoyed it.”
Another big game for LB Rueben Foster at the WILL. I know he's being focused on eventually playing the MIKE, but is it possible that's his position long-term?
“Yeah, I think it's possible. I don't think it matters much for Rueben. I think wherever he stays at and gets work at, he's going to be pretty good at it. It's just where do we think he can be the most effective? He played MIKE linebacker throughout college. I do think he’s a natural MIKE. He has the natural charisma and command of the huddle of the defense. You know, missing a lot of time this year and getting thrown in there, I think it makes it easier for him to play fast, not having to worry about all the communication and help everyone get lined up and make the calls and stuff. So, I think right now it helps him play the most freely at WILL position. I think we'll evaluate that in the offseason and see where he's best. The more work he gets, I know MIKE will become second nature to him. We'll see how it is with our roster next year with all the other linebackers and we’ll do what's best for our team, which I think will also be best for Rueben. He gives you options.”
If Adrian can't play against Seattle, do you have options on the roster at free safety at the moment?
“Yeah, we signed [DB Antone] Exum [Jr.] last week, so I think he would be the next man up.”
DL Ronald Blair III had a pretty good game yesterday after spending some time not being able to play. Can you talk about that?
“Yeah, I was really happy for Ronald. He's worked to get back to this point. I know he's disappointed with us putting him on IR earlier in the year with his surgery. He's worked hard to get back. He's come out and it takes a while to get your legs under you. We always say they have fresh legs and stuff, which he has. I think he's gotten better each week. I think Ronald is huge for our defense because he can help us out at all the positions. He really plays everywhere and wherever it is needed. The last few weeks we've had some depth issues there with some of the injuries. So, he's been able to step in and fill a lot of holes and to make the plays that he made yesterday were huge differences in the game. For him to get that sack that turned into a fumble, turned into a turnover, and I believe it was after we just turned it over too. So, I know it was a big change in the game.”
I don't know that a coach has ever said the Bye week came at a bad time. Obviously out of your control, but would you have liked to have had it maybe during that stretch where you were on the road so much and had all those injuries?
You said C.J. Beathard has been making strides. Where exactly have you seen him make his strides the last few weeks?
“I think he’s just gotten more comfortable. He got thrown in there versus Washington. He got thrown in there in the middle of the game, and you come out and don't have much to think about. You just play. Then you’ve got the whole week to start the next week versus Dallas. I think that's big. No one realizes, but the first time you get a start, just coming in the building differently on a Wednesday where everyone's looking at you. You’ve got to go out there and run the whole walk-through, hear it all for the first time. You’ve got to go through the whole week. I know we didn't have a very good game that Sunday. Then the next week going to Philly where we had one of our worst games, got the most beat up and then we had it again versus Arizona where I thought he had his best week of practice versus Arizona, I thought he played his best versus Arizona. By no means perfect, but we still struggled as a team. He came in this week and really rebounded also. Just the consistency of throwing to the receivers, going to the right spot, playing in the pocket, making the right calls in the run game. He's always understood it, but just going through it for a few weeks in a row, most people who are working hard at it, they're smart, they're tough, and they can handle the pressure. You obviously get better from reps. So, that's what C.J. has done. The game's not too big for him. I don't think he's a guy who worries a lot about things he can't control. That's why I think these reps have helped him.”
Now that you've had two full weeks to see Rueben in action and he hasn’t missed any time with injuries, is he the type of talent when you watch on tape that the other linebackers have raised their level of play just because he has such an impact on the plays?
“Yeah, I think the more talent you get out there, the more speed, the faster people move, the more violent they hit. It picks up everyone's play. The field gets smaller, not just for one person, but for everyone. Especially when you play in a zone defense and one guy is in a certain area, and they know that guy's moving faster, everyone else can move faster. It goes to the D-Line. It's a chain reaction across the board. I think in football, every position affects another position here. Your linebackers can't play, your linebackers and secondary can't play very well unless you're getting a pass rush and holding those gaps up front. If you're getting a pass rush and holding the gaps up front in the run game, it's really not going to matter if people are getting open very fast. So, everyone ties together with the more talent and more speed you can get out there, the more it will continue to help everyone.”
WR Kendrick Bourne had just three catches for 42 yards, not huge numbers, but they were all big catches. I think all of them were all third-and-long situations. Is that a confidence builder for a young guy like him that he knows he can do it a little bit?
“Yeah, I think that was huge. It was huge for Bourne. I think it was huge for C.J. making those throws to him. Bourne's a guy who’s got a lot of talent. He's a guy that missed all of OTAs with the semester issue. Same one that [DL] Solomon [Thomas] had. So, he got a real late start to this. He was a little bit behind throughout training camp. But, he showed us some talent throughout the preseason and stuff where we were nervous to put him on practice squad that we could lose him. So, that's some of the risks you've got to take so you don't lose guys. He's gotten thrown into some situations where would have liked to have given him some more time, but you don't always have that luxury in the NFL. I think with this time that he's gotten, he's gotten better each week also. So, for him to make those plays, especially when he made them, I know it's not huge stats, but it was. Making those third downs, that keeps you on the field. We were able to be our most balanced this whole year in this game yesterday. I thought just from a system standpoint, we were able to run our offense the best. Just everything we want to do, mixing in drop-bock, play-action keepers, running the ball, and to me that starts on third down. When you make those plays on third down, you stay out there. You get 10 more plays, you get to move the chains and get to find ways to keep defenses off balanced. If you don't make those three, it's a totally different game.”