Pretty efficient today. You seem to be having a pretty good camp.
“It’s only five days in. I think we have a long way to go, but I think where we’re at, we keep getting better each day and I think that’s, when I talked to you guys before we started practicing was to, not start over, but pick up where we left off in the summer. And, I think we’ve been able to do that. And, get better each day. I think two days ago, offensively we didn’t have our best practice, but it was good that we finished with a good period and come back out today and have some good plays. I think every day just trying to stack the bricks and keep getting better. That’s what training camp is all about.”
Your teammates have said that you throw the deep ball better than they thought. Is that just something you never had a chance to really show off?
“Well, I just try to do what I’m coached to do. I think you go back to the year I was with [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan], I think we lead the league in yards-per-completion or something like that. So, it depends on what offense you play in. some offenses like to only take shots here or there. I think Kyle has made it pretty apparent we want to get big plays. So, he’s going to call them and it’s our job to hit them. You just try to do what’s coached to you and depending on what system you’re in, that’s what you’ve got to do. I’ve always loved to throw the ball deep, even going back to high school. Who wouldn’t want to?”
WR Marquise Goodwin said he’s evolving as a receiver and is not just a deep guy. How much have you seen him change from that standpoint and how much did that previous session you guys had in Texas?
“Yeah, he’s been awesome. I think the one thing about Marquise for me other than knowing that he had been in the Olympics and he was really, really fast. That’s what I kind of knew about him when he came here. Then he got here and you can just tell that they only used him to go deep and no one ever really coached him. I think he’s taken that coaching really well. He’s worked his butt of towards it too. I could tell a difference from when we left in June ‘til we went and got there in Dallas. We worked those three days. I could tell he’d been working at it. And, I can tell he worked at it from when we left Dallas until now and it’s paying off for him. I think the one good thing, the good decision he made was to come here, because Kyle knows how to use guys like that and he’s willing to put the work in and he’s done a great job.”
RB Carlos Hyde’s run--?
“That was awesome. That was awesome. That’s another guy I didn’t really know much about other than that he went to Ohio State, because I’m from Ohio and Big 10, watch him. To see Carlos’ transformation since we’ve been here, to see how hard he’s worked has been awesome. He’s putting in a lot of time, a lot of effort to change his body, really. From the time we got here until now, he’s in such good shape. He knows what we’re trying to do and I think he sees the opportunity ahead of him too. He’s in the right scheme. Kyle knows how to run the ball. We have a good offensive line, a good fullback, receivers who block their butts off. I think he sees what’s in front of him and he’s getting better each day too.”
You have guys like DL DeForest Buckner and DL Arik Armstead who are so tall. Do you have to be aware of them being on the field just in terms of how high you need to get the ball?
“I never really think of it in that term. If you start to think about D-Linemen when you’re throwing, you’re already behind the eight ball. There’s so much other stuff that goes into it. So, I mean, to me it’s sometimes you can tell when you’re stepping up in the pocket, you can tell where people are and you have to find a window to throw around them. Other times, they aren’t rushing hard and are just sitting back. That’s just the luck of the draw. That’s part of their game. That’s why you want big tall D-Linemen because they can get their hands up. But, for me, I don’t ever take into account, one guys over there, one guys over there. Usually you can find a window in-between them, around them. Sometimes you’re throwing over the top of them anyways. If anything, it’s more of a problem when you’re looking in an area to find a guy and you can’t see him because, I call them the twin towers, they’re just standing there and all I can see is the top of the helmet of some guys. It’s definitely tough having those big tall defensive linemen in there.”
Theoretically, that makes it easier when they’re not in there or you’re facing other teams that doesn’t have guys like that? Because, not many do.
“Like I said, it’s not something you go into the game thinking about. You go and you’re going to play your game. And, you’re reading off coverage, you’re reading off reads. If they get to get their hands up, then you just tell your linemen, ‘Just hit them in the stomach when they get their hands up.’ Then they won’t do it again. But, we’re not going to do that to our own team.”
You said on day one that you’re excited about this camp because of your position and you’ve been around enough to have a little bit of perspective. I know it’s early, but can you characterize how you feel about things after roughly this first week now?
“Like I said, I think it’s good to go in and not be wondering, ‘Okay, what reps am I going to get today? Who am I going to be, what center am I going to be with? What guys am I throwing too?’ To go out and know what the plan is and just focus on football, it makes it a lot easier. There’s no doubt about it. So, to take ownership over something, not have to worry about stepping on somebody else’s toes, worry about anything like that. To take ownership, to be the guy in the huddle and command the offense, I think there is something to be said about that.”
WR Pierre Garçon, I realize he’s not getting hit in these practices. But, he apparently lives over the middle on those routes, which a lot of wide receivers probably don’t want to specialize in that. Is that unique in that to his toughness, his ability, to slide over the middle?
“I think that’s part of Pierre’s game and he knows it too. That’s why he’s a tough, big, physical receiver. The good thing about Pierre is he does come through there hard. We’ve hit a few in-cuts these past few days. One of them two days ago that he’s come roaring through there in the middle and he catches and he takes off for a 60-yards touchdown because of the speed that he comes in there with and I think that’s part of his game. That’s why I think I’m excited about it, because when you get with Kyle, Kyle has a vision. There’s a vision for each player and to have a player that is, he had a vision for Pierre to be in this offense for that reason because we do have routes that come across the middle and we know that a guy like Pierre is going to come through there and not have any fear, catch the ball, break a tackle and go to the house. He’s been that way since he got in the league. He’s a fearless receiver and as a quarterback you love that because you know that you can give the ball to him in the middle. He’s going to catch it, protect it and take a hit and sometimes even break it and go for the distance.”
QB Matt Barkley was telling us yesterday that Kyle does not use wristbands. Is that, how much more of a challenge is that or is that something you welcome?
“It was a challenge my first year. I remember [former Cleveland Browns QB] Johnny’s [Manziel] first game, he got a wristband. I said, ‘I’ve been playing 13 games, where was mine?’ No, but I think the way, being around Kyle, he’s a unique play caller and for him to put plays on a wristband, it would limit him and now I understand that. Now having a better understanding of the offense, I don’t need it. My first year, I would have loved it because it would have been a lot easier to get those play calls out. But, now with a better understanding and a full offseason under my belt with a ton of reps going into training camp, hearing the play calls come in, I’m already starting to visualize what he wants and unless there’s one of those 18-worders in there, it’s been pretty good.”
You would go into each week with the whole playbook is at your disposal, is that right?
“I think you’re going to, Kyle’s greatest strength is game planning what’s going to attack the defense best. So, we have a lot in this offense and then you know what attacks the defense best and you kind of narrow it down for that week. For us, I always get nervous when we get these move the ball periods that are unscripted because you never know what might come out because right now the whole offense is available so you’ve got to be on your toes. I can just tell my second time around being with him, knowing when a play comes out from the headset into my ears, I’m ready to call the play knowing what he’s looking for.”
For a rookie like QB C.J. Beathard, better question for him obviously. Is his head swimming, because even for you--?
“Yeah, I mean, you’d probably have to ask him. But, he’s one of the few quarterbacks who actually called plays from a huddle last year. So, he’s used to having to call a play. Now, there were arm signals from the sideline or whatever. But, that’s one thing that I think, you can see C.J. is used to getting a play call, calling it in the huddle. As opposed to a guy who looks over to the sideline, never has to say anything to the offense and then goes and runs the play. I think if you were to come from a system like that and do this, you’d be swimming no matter what you did. To have to hear a play, repeat it, break the huddle and then remember all that. I could see it being tough.”