Do you kind of sense that everything gets amped up a little bit when a different colored jersey gets out there on the field?
“Oh yeah, for sure. You know that you’re going to go out there and you’ve got to compete. It’s also nice. You’ve been going against the same guys over and over again for four months. You want to go out there and see what you can do against someone else. Obviously for us as the starters last week we only got six plays. So, this was a good chance for us to come out and get a bunch of plays against a really good defense and just see where we’re at.”
Were there a lot of different looks today?
“It’s different coverages that you haven’t seen in a long time. Obviously different guys and how they play things. So, you’ve got to go out and react. And it’s not like we’re just totally game planning for them. They have a new coach too. So, you watch their first preseason game and kind of see what they’re trying to do. It was good to just come out and play football against a really good defense and read and react and go through the plays.”
How do you think it went, ones versus ones particularly?
“I thought it went well. I think for us, like I said, going against a different scheme, different players, I thought it was a good challenge for us. Obviously for our receivers, to go against a really good secondary. They play a lot of man coverage. Far more than our defense has against us all training camp. And, just to see if we can get open against those guys. Because those are two really good corners. When you go to nickel personnel they bring in [Denver Broncos CB Bradley] Roby outside, and [Denver Broncos CB] Chris Harris goes to the nickel. Across the board they’re playing man, those are three good guys to go against and just kind of challenge ourselves and see where we’re at.”
Can you give us your scouting report on your tight ends?
“They’re all a little bit different, I think that’s the thing. They all have their strengths, whether it’s run blocking, pass catching, getting open. I don’t think I’m going to go down the list of each guy. I think they all bring a lot to the table. The good thing is, in this offense you need a lot of different types of tight ends. You need guys who can stay in and block, who can run block. You need guys who can split out and get open. I think we have a variety of guys that can do collectively what we ask them to.”
Is one emerging as the top receiving tight end?
“When you look at the receiving guys, you look at obviously, [TE] Vance [McDonald] and [TE] Blake [Bell] and [TE George] Kittle. I think they’re all doing a great job. I think, you know we ask a lot out of them. It’s hard to say, are they just pass catchers? No. Those guys have to go in there and run block too. I think they’re all doing a great job. It’s obviously a very deep position. To be honest, I’m happy with all of them, where they’re at. However it pans out, I feel confident with the guys that we have.”
You seemed very vocal today during practice. Do you see yourself as a vocal leader on this team and who are the vocal leaders on this team?
“I think that comes with being a quarterback. If that’s not who you are, it’ll come across as being false or whatever and guys will see right through that. I see myself as a vocal leader when I feel like I need to. If I don’t feel like I need to say anything then I’m not going to say anything. For us today, I just wanted to make sure that we came out and we were ready to go. Because some of the times in these joint practices, I’ve been involved in a few, you’re not really sure what the tempo is going to be or how far the play is going to last. I just wanted to make sure our guys came out ready to go and if anything, we’d have to get pulled back a little bit. You know, especially going against this defense that Denver has. I knew it was going to be a challenge and I wanted to make sure that our guys were ready to go.”
After only getting a few plays in the game, are you looking forward to getting into a little bit more of a rhythm with the first team offense?
“Obviously, you want to play football. The one cool thing about when you do a joint practice is you can go out there and play football and people aren’t getting hit and taken to the ground. So, you can still stay relatively healthy, I think. As long as the two teams are practicing really good together like we did today, staying professional and still just getting good work in. Sometimes you can get more work in in these practices than the game because, let’s just call it like it is. In the preseason you don’t want to give away your scheme. But, no one’s going to see this practice other than the 49ers and the Broncos. We can run some more of our stuff that maybe we’re going to save for the regular season. It’s good to see how that’s going to look against a really good defense.”
WR DeAndre Smelter had a tough couple of first years here between injuries and not being healthy. It looks like he’s really taking advantage of the opportunity. Have you seen him continue to get better?
“Yeah, no doubt. We talked about the tight end group. You go to the receiver group and it’s the same thing. A very deep group with a lot of guys who are different skill sets. If you want to talk about Smelt, from the moment I got here I thought that he’s gotten better. Learning the system and for his size and the things that he can do, getting in and out of routes, using his size, obviously he’s done a great job, as have all those guys. Everybody who has been here, I think, has really worked really hard to understand the system and how they fit in the system and how they fit in certain plays. I think that goes all the way across the board, with all those guys. I think the one thing that I can say confidently about our team is we work our butts off. And, that’s just following what our head coach does. Kyle’s the same way and it’s just a trickle-down effect. I think unfortunately for me, I’ve been on a lot of teams, but I always see that teams take on the personality of their head coach. I can see that with us. I think, we all know how hard Kyle works, how much he knows about football and we’re all just trying to absorb that and do the same thing. When he stands up here and explains plays to us offensively, defensively from all these views, you can take that and become a smarter player. You know that just doesn’t come by him looking at it one time and saying oh. You know he’s watching the play over and over and over again. I think, as a team we just try to buy into that mentality and you can see it.”
Does WR Marquise Goodwin have the chance to be something special?
“Yeah, I think so. I really do. I’ve really enjoyed working with him. You talk about a hard worker, I was just out there with my family for 30 minutes and he’s still catching balls on the jugs, running up the hill. That’s the one thing is when you see guys who are really talented that are willing to work that hard, they obviously always have a chance to be something special.”
How is it for someone like QB C.J. Beathard coming in as a rookie, his biggest adjustments and just getting comfortable in the system? Is there something between his work in the film room or on the practice field, specifically one area that’s allowed him to get more comfortable?
“Yeah, I think for me if I was telling a rookie quarterback coming into this system, the thing I would say to work on is just learning the offense. Being able to call the play and then going out there and executing it. I think he’s done a good job. I think the more reps you get the easier it becomes. But, there’s also a large volume of stuff that we have. So, you’ve always got to keep learning and always got to keep trying to get better. Our quarterbacks coach does a great job of working on our fundamentals. That’s the one thing that I’ve really worked more on here. Even going back to my time in Cleveland with Kyle, we always work on our fundamentals a lot more than in other places I’ve been. I think it’s paid off for me and it’s paying off for those other guys too.”
Marquise had some bigger bodied guys covering him today in man to man. How did he do with that?
“I think sometimes it’s better when he has bigger bodied guys because he’s so quick if they don’t get their hands on him sometimes it’s better. You look at these bigger corners in the league, they can lock down the big receivers. But, when they get some of these little, quicker guys it’s a little tougher for them. It’s a different skill set. So, I think the key is obviously not let them get their hands on you off the line of scrimmage. I think with Marquise’s quickness he should be able to do that. I thought he did a good job today.”
Through most of the offseason, the guard position seemed to be a little bit unsettled. G Joshua Garnett is out for a while. What can the rest of the offense do to make things easier on whoever is at those guard sports?
“I think those guys are doing a great job. I think the scheme helps those guys out too. For me, to evaluate the guard you evaluate the whole offensive line because they work as a unit. It’s five guys working as one. Throughout this training camp I thought they’ve all done a great job, especially with a lot of the different looks that we’ve seen against our defense. Then you come in here and now it’s a whole total difference. There’s a different front, different blitzes, everything. I think they’ve done a great job.”
As a quarterback going against a rookie like LB Reuben Foster, have you been able to notice his development and things that he’s gotten better at?
“Yeah. He’s been awesome for a rookie. I was just doing another interview on the radio and I was in New England when [New England Patriots LB] Dont’a Hightower came into the league. I can see some similarities. Both Alabama, well coached guys. Athletic. Big. Really good football instincts. I don’t want to put the pressure on Reuben because that’s a really high comparison, but it seems to me going against him he’s gotten better each day. When he makes a mistake, he doesn’t make it twice. When we get him for a play action pass, the next time he’s standing there waiting for it. I think he’s probably leaning on some veteran guys. He’s got a great guy to learn from in [LB NaVorro Bowman] Bo. He’s learning the system and he’s just a natural football player. So, another guy who’s very talented who puts a lot of hard work in and has a chance to be successful.”
You’re a veteran quarterback. You’ve played for Kyle before. How much work do you feel you need or want in preseason games generally?
“We always want to get work. Because you always want to play football. I mean, practicing is practicing. Playing in a game, when you can get hit and there’s live bullets flying, there’s no comparison to that. So, you always want to play and get good work in and always feel good coming off the field. The one cool opportunity, like I said, when you get these joint practices you can basically have that same effect, but no one should be getting injured out there. There’s no risk of that, in theory, as long as both teams are practicing the right way. I think that’s what you saw today out of both teams. Two very professional teams just trying to get better. When it comes to games, obviously, you want to play and get a rhythm. So, when you go out there the first week of the regular season it’s not something that hasn’t been done yet.”