What did you do for those three days that you’re not out on the field practicing?
“Yeah, well we came in, what did I do?”
Yeah, what did you do?
“This was kind of unique because we wanted to get on our normal week schedule. So, instead of having our normal day after the game, Sundaywe had our off day as that’s mandatory, part of training camp. So, that day just came in, watched the film, got a little workout in and then tried to spend as much time with my family as possible. And then, yesterday we came in and did our normal day after the game routine, watched the film with coaches and get a workout in and kind of start looking ahead to the next week. And then, yesterday, usually my Tuesday routine is come in and watch a few games of the team we’re playing, get a little workout in and that’s it. And then, try to get ahead on the game plan, wherever the coaches are at that point.”
Talking about Carolina as your next game?
When are you guys going to start getting into Carolina in-depth other than--?
“I think the coaches are, but for us as players, we’ve got to be worried about what we’re playing against this week. The good thing is the last game is that Thursday and then you have, it’s almost like playing a Thursday Night game and having extra time to get ready for that first week. So, right now we’re concerned about Minnesota. I know the coaches are probably doing some of their own stuff, getting prepared for Carolina, but I think, especially this third preseason game, we really want to be focused on the Vikings.”
What’s your biggest benefit out of exhibition football?
“I think, especially coming to a new team, it’s just playing in games with guys. I think that’s the best thing and go out and you practice so long against your own defense, to go out there and play in a real game and get to know your guys and how they do on game day and then just start coming together as a unit in that way.”
The fumble obviously got a lot of attention the other night. But, if you were to take that away, it seemed like you played fairly solidly. Did you come away with that impression of your performance?
“Yeah, I mean, it’s hard. I kind of thought about it when I came up here and talked to you guys after the game. It sucks to feel like you didn’t do well, but really when you go back and watch the film, the only third down we didn’t convert was the first one of the game and after that it was just turnovers. We really never gave ourselves a chance to have a sustained drive. We had some plays where we moved the ball, threw the ball down the field, so I felt good about that. The ball slipping out of my hand, I literally can’t tell you the last time that happened to me. It’s just a freak play and hopefully it never happens again. I wasn’t really too concerned about that either. Glad it happened in the preseason and not the regular season. I think you just try to look at the negatives, correct those and then look at the positives and keep building on that.”
You guys have been especially efficient on the play action. You’ve obviously played with head coach Kyle Shanahan before. Is that a testament to him calling those plays at the right time because the running game really wasn’t clicking?
“Yeah, no doubt. I think it’s not even such a thing as the right time. I think Kyle understands defenses really well and he knows when you run a play action, as long as a team is honoring the run, even if we aren’t running the ball that well, if the team is a sound defensive team and they honor the run and Kyle knows where to attack with the play-action game. Even going back to the other night, hitting [WR] Marquise [Goodwin] on that play, it was a well-designed play. We knew where the hole would be in the coverage and you’ve just got to make sure that they don’t totally drop back when you’re giving a run fake. So, it’s been really fun to come around this second time with Kyle and have a better understanding of who we’re trying to effect on play-action passes. Last time I would just do the play action and throw where number one and now to understand what player he is trying to effect with a certain action, it’s been pretty cool.”
Kyle has talked about not showing much in the preseason. But, are you even on the same page now with this offense that you know that what you’re showing in the preseason, how it’s going to impact what you do in the early weeks of the season?
“Yeah, I think and the other thing too is this being a new year, a new staff, a new team, I think teams don’t really know necessarily how we’re going to play. So, when you play in the preseason, you definitely want to go out there and play well. That’s for sure. You don’t want to go out there and just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to hold everything back,’ because if you hold everything back then you don’t really have much else to go out there and do. I never want to use that as an excuse for anything, but I think where we’re at, where we’ve been practicing, I think practicing against the Broncos those two days really helped and running some stuff that we wouldn’t necessarily run in a preseason game. I feel pretty good with where we’re going to be when we get to those regular season games as far as what will be in the game plan.”
You mentioned that night and after the game that this was the first time you were going to be facing adversity as the 2017 49ers. Was that emotion or has this team really had to do some of that?
“Well, I think when I talk about that it’s just everything’s kind of been smooth sailing. When we practice against each other every day we have ups and downs, but that’s not really any adversity. I think it’s just you go and you look at that game and really on the offensive side of the ball, you never really give yourself a chance to do anything when you turn the ball over that many times. So, to come back and put the work in that day after, the day after the game, get the corrections made and now move onto the next week. I think that’s a big thing and I really like how we’ve responded and people are excited to go for this week.”
I’ve been covering the team for the last few years and we haven’t seen a young quarterback develop maybe as quickly as QB C.J. Beathard has. Are there things that are unique to him and his work ethic that you see behind the scenes that maybe you haven’t seen throughout your career from other guys?
“I think I mentioned it before. I think C.J.’s biggest advantage coming in was playing in a pro-style offense in college and calling plays in the huddle and knowing a game plan and dropping back from under center and doing the types of things that we do here. I think guys who maybe play in a spread-type system would have difficulty coming in and doing all those things. So, I think he was already ahead of the curve having that experience at Iowa. And secondly, he comes in and studies and asks a lot of questions, takes a lot of notes. So, I think that’s always a positive too. Like I said, his biggest thing was the preparation that an offense that a Big 10 school like Iowa really gave him coming into this system.”
You broke your arm last season, your left arm. Can you take us through maybe, was there any surgery you had to have? What was the process like coming back from it and did you have any flashbacks in these early exhibition games being back in live action?
“No, not at all. I think, to me, the injuries that I’ve had have all been kind of freak things. When I hurt my knee, my cleats got stuck in the ground, I got twisted up. When this happened last year, I’ve probably been hit on my forearm 1,000 times and this time it was just a direct helmet on there. So, yeah I had surgery, they put a plate in there and really it was kind of a boring rehab, because you’ve got to just let the bone heal. So, you do stuff to try to keep your fingers moving and stuff like that. You just waited for the bone to heal and then you were cleared and everything was back to normal. It was actually pretty easy compared to when I had to do ACL rehab.”
Is the plate still in there?
“Yeah. Yep, so it’s reinforced now.”
We’ve seen you throw a lot of deep passes in practice, but we haven’t seen you throw one in the preseason yet. Is that something you’d like to get a few reps in before the regular season starts just so you can work on that at game speed?
“Yeah, we’re trying to do what we’re coached to do. We talk about what we’re playing out there. We had one called last week and we just didn’t get the right coverage for it. So, sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way you’d like to. But, I think having hit the ones that we had in practice, I feel pretty confident with the guys that are running them and how we’re throwing them and I think it’s something that’s part of this offense and eventually you get the right look and you let it go and let those guys run underneath it.”
WR Pierre Garçon is not necessarily huge, he doesn’t have blazing speed, but obviously been productive for a long time. What have you come to appreciate for how he’s been able to do that?
“Well, just because he’s not tall, doesn’t mean, I mean Pierre is solid and that’s the thing that I’ve noticed. He uses his body really well to get open. He runs really good routes. He’s an experienced receiver so he knows how to win. That’s the thing about Pierre, even though he’s not tall, he’s not 6-4, I think Pierre uses his body really well. To me, he knows the system really well and he knows the routes that we’re running. He knows, like the other night, the pass that I threw to him across the middle, how to come flat in front of the safety. That’s a veteran, experienced receiver who has played a long time, played a lot of good football. To be able, for me, to throw the ball with confidence, I have to trust Pierre that he’s going to come across. He’s done it every time and I think we’ve built some good chemistry there and to have trust in a guy like that it’s invaluable, because there’s going to be a lot of times where you just bank on him winning and protecting the ball and coming at a good angle. It’s something that he’s done from day one.”