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Kyle Shanahan talks Brian Hoyer, Tim Hightower, cross-training defensive players

The 49ers head coach met with the media following the first practice of training camp. We’ve got a transcript, courtesy of 49ers PR. Watch video here.

What happened with DB Jimmie Ward, to sustain that injury?

“He did it in our conditioning test, which was unfortunate for him and for us obviously. He tweaked it halfway through it. I don’t, we don’t think it was a full pull or anything, but we want to be smart and safe with it. You never know with those things how long they’ll take. Don’t think it’s anything too serious, but want to definitely be safe with it.”

Is S Jaquiski Tartt the guy that steps in to either of those spots if S Eric Reid or Jimmie were to go down?

“Yes, and we’re trying to train all of them like that.”

What do you see from Jaquiski?

“I think he’s come a long way since we first got here. He’s gotten into great shape. He did that throughout phase one, two and three. He came back yesterday even in better shape. I’m really excited about him. He’s a guy who can run and hit and we’ve got to see how he plays in the system and how fast he can play once he gets out there.”

Was LB Ahmad Brooks okay today?



“Yeah, Ahmad was good. He was good to go and no set backs at all.”

It seemed like LB Eli Harold was getting a lot of the first-team reps. Is that just a 30-something?

“Yeah, definitely and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t, I’ll see when I watch the tape, but that’s not something I noticed. I bet it will be more balanced towards the whole practice, but we don’t really look at that as much right now, so I wouldn’t make a big deal of anything like that.”

RB Tim Hightower has kind of flown under the radar a little bit. It seems like he was out there a bunch. There’s some rookies that you like, but this is a veteran that you know well. Are you looking for him to get an opportunity?

“Yeah we’re giving Tim as much of an opportunity as everyone else. Very similar to what [NBC Sports Bay Area reporter] Matt [Maiocco] asked about Eli, we didn’t do anything, there was nothing different. It might have seemed like he was out there more. I’ll see the numbers when I get inside, but it was the same rotation that we had in OTAs.”

You guys got DL Solomon Thomas done. How happy are you to have it done and also what’s the plan for getting him integrated?

“We’re ready to go tomorrow. If he would have gotten in a little bit earlier today we would have had him go out there today. Solomon’s a guy who’s in shape. I’ll talk to [head strength & conditioning coach] Ray Wright because he came out towards the beginning of practice, so I know Ray worked him out. I believe he took him through our conditioning test. We’ve seen Solomon. We’ve seen his workouts and stuff. He’s a guy I believe is in shape. When I talk to Ray, I think he’ll confirm that and I expect to see him out there tomorrow.”

What were your impressions of LB Reuben Foster?

“I was excited. It was good to get him out there, get him on the field. I know he’s been chomping at the bit for a while now. It was good to see him go through it full speed, deal with getting aligned right and stuff. I think he got an interception out there today, which was good for him. It was a good first day.”

Is the plan for him to work at WILL or focus at WILL and be cross-training at MIKE?

“Yes, but that’s where we’re starting him but I can’t, we’re going to mix around a lot of stuff. It’s a challenge we have to try to find the best 53, the best 11 on the field. We’re not going to be real consistent with that, but today he definitely got his reps at WILL linebacker.”

Regarding Hightower, he had the injury and then it seemed like he was out of the NFL I think at least three or four years. You figure, okay we’re never going to hear from him again and then he returned. I know you weren’t coaching him, but did you think Tim Hightower would no longer play in the NFL? Was he even on your radar?

“I had Tim in Washington for four games and he did a real good job for us in those four games and had a real bad injury tearing his ACL. The next year, the surgery or something didn’t go right. I forget exactly what it was. It didn’t heal the right way. We came back next year and he ended up, you could tell into camp that it just wasn’t right, so I think he got it redone. You’d have to ask him the exact story of it, but he had to do it a couple of times. I remember when I went to Cleveland I tried to get him out there for a workout. I don’t think I could, but I definitely tried. I tried the same in Atlanta too. So, he’s a guy that we’ve been waiting to look at. I want to say we might have gotten him to work out, I think it took a while for his knee to come back. So, he never looked like the guy I had. Obviously, New Orleans worked him out and he made their team. So, I’ve seen him on tape and I’ve been playing against him twice a year for the last two years. So, I’ve seen him look good. His knee healed. Usually when you take a few years off or a couple years, whatever it was, and your knee is like that, it’s very hard to come back. But, if anybody knows Tim he’s a guy you never count out.”

He’s gotten very high marks for professionalism?

“Yeah, he’s as good of a pro as I’ve been around. I mean, it’s his job and he treats it like that. You know what you’re going to get from Tim every day.”

T Joe Staley yesterday said that QB Brian Hoyer was one of the most competitive people he’s ever been around in the NFL. Is that something that you noticed in Cleveland and how does that sort of manifest itself this time of year when you’re just practicing?

“Just being around Brian, I think Brian believes in himself. Brian wants an opportunity and that’s what he’s looking for year in and year out. For him to come here, he’s moved his family a bunch and to come here, I know why he’s doing it because he wants an opportunity to play. He’s not a guy who’s happy with just sitting on the bench and being a comfortable backup. A lot of people get like that in this time of their career, but not Brian. He wants to play. He wants to be out there and I think guys feel that. When guys know that guys are doing everything they can to get in the game, get in the battle, those are guys people respond to and play hard for.”

There’s a lot of chatter, obviously Brian signed a two-year deal. People talk about the idea that you guys don’t have a long term solution at quarterback. How do you think he’s dealing with that and how difficult is that position to be in for someone like that?

“I think the more you’re in the league you get used to it. Almost everyone is in that situation, regardless of what your contract says, players and coaches. So, I think the more you’re in that situation, you know how to deal with it. Brian has been through a lot of tough situations. I think he feels like he’s in a pretty good one right now. I don’t think any time in the league you can really look to the future for anyone. Brian has a great opportunity this year to prove that he can be our guy. You go through a whole season with him like that and you do this with every player and you always have the future in mind but you can’t control that. You’ve got to focus on now and when the season ends and we all evaluate and we will see what happens. I just know that I’m happy to have him here and I think we have a quarterback who gives us a chance to win.”