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Brian Hoyer, NaVorro Bowman and more 49ers players talk about Panthers loss

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Several 49ers players were made available to the media following the team’s loss to the Panthers on Sunday.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

49ers QB Brian Hoyer

How are you doing?

“Okay.”

What do you think kind of took you guys out of offense early? Was it the pressure you were getting and inability to hit those deep strikes?

“I think we missed a few opportunities early and you’ve got to take advantage of those when they’re there. The penalties, shot ourselves in the foot with a few of those and you’re behind schedule which is tough against a defense like that. We were battling uphill and a lot of it had to do with our own mistakes and not so much exactly what they were doing. Obviously, you got to give them credit, they played tough all game and made it tough on us. So, it’s a combination of those things.”

Had that catch been made on the first series, do you think the game is different from then on?

“It’s hard to look back hindsight and say, ‘Hey, maybe he catches it and we score.’ Who knows? They played us tough. Obviously it would help to get the rhythm going. But, there’s not going to be just one play that we look to and say, ‘Hey this was it.’ There’s going to be a lot of plays that we look to and say, ‘Hey we all got to be better.’ We got to improve. We got to do it quick too because we have a tough challenge next week.”

What happened to the play you were intercepted, could you take us through that?

“I just didn’t see [Carolina Panthers LB] Luke [Kuechly]. Knowing him, we tried to hard play action sell. Usually we throw that route to a receiver so we were thinking maybe he would go the other way. I came off and I know we got the first guy, I just didn’t see him. It’s tough. You come off the play action and you just have to know. When you’re playing a guy like him you got to make sure. I thought we had it and we didn’t.”

He didn’t bite at all?

“We thought he would go the other way based on his previous times playing and his smarts. Usually he would drop under the receivers instead of the tight end. Like I said, I just got to make sure of that and see him.”

When you’re dealing with pressure in the middle, is there anything you can do to get the ball out quicker?

“Well you always try to for sure. They did a good job playing a lot of zone defense. They didn’t play much man until the end. That’s when we hit [WR] Pierre [Garçon] on a few of those plays. We hit [TE] [George] Kittle on a play when it was man. When they’re playing zone they’re going to take away some of your quickies you throw. So, you got to try to make your read through the defense. It was tough, give credit to them. They gave us a big challenge and we know we got to go tomorrow and watch the film and correct it and get ready to move on.”

LB Reuben Foster leaves the game on a cart, obviously a serious injury to a teammate. Does that reverberate onto the offensive side even though he’s a linebacker?

“We talked about this with [LB] [Donavin] Newsom in training camp. When something serious like that happens, you feel for your teammate. Especially a guy like Reuben who we all love. I don’t think that that reverberated as much as you say, ‘Man that sucks for him and it sucks for us,” but you got to move on. It’s next man up. It was good to see him walk back out. Maybe, hopefully, it wasn’t as serious as we previously thought. When we’re going through a game we’re so focused on Carolina’s defense, you see it and you say, ‘Aw man that sucks.’ Then you try to get back to what you need to handle.”

The 4th down where you got the delay, were you aware of the clock?

“I thought the reason we were going back out there to run it was – because the clock had been running down, I thought they had reset it. I just was absent minded and thought we had enough time. That’s on me. It’s something that I don’t usually let happen. So, I got to do a better job at that.”

Did you hear Head Coach Kyle Shanahan yelling timeout, timeout?

“No, I didn’t. They gave us kind of a funky look for that play. I was thinking about getting back in the shotgun and then I said, you know what I’m just going to run it. I wasn’t really focused on the clock. So, that’s on me.”

Time ran out on you also at the two-minute warning in the first half, what happened there?

“We were just running a play. We weren’t in two-minute mode. I think we were still in a base offense type play. We were trying to get one last play off and it was a check with me type play. So, you had to wait to see what the defense was doing.”

I noticed TE George Kittle in motion a lot on 1st and 2nd down, what was the offense trying to achieve with that movement?

“They are going to set their front to a particular way. So, we had to do something with that. Also, with George, with his skillset you want to be able to move him around. So, that had a lot to do with it too.”

How were you feeling generally with plays coming in via radio? Were there some times when it was a little late?

“No, I don’t think so. I thought it was good.”

Is important not to get shut out? Or, does that matter to you?

“Yeah, obviously it matters. It was probably as disappointing as it could’ve been. Obviously it’s always good to get points on the board. But, when you get it handed to you like that you just got to go in, figure out what’s wrong, make the corrections and move on. We got seven more days until our next game. We’ve got to make the corrections and get it right before we go up to Seattle.”

When this roster was trimmed down obviously TE Vance McDonald was traded, but you have a rookie starting at tight end. You have WR Trent Taylor getting playing time. WR Kendrick Bourne got some playing time. Were you surprised initially when the roster was trimmed down? How young your offensive weapons are?

“No, I don’t think so. I think we’re a young team in general anyways. Obviously they drafted George and they drafted Trent for obvious reasons. Guys like Kendrick and [WR] Victor Bolden, I know he wasn’t active today, but they earned their spot, [RB] Matt Breida. Those guys all earned their jobs, and earned the right to be here. I feel just as confident about them now as I did when they made the team. It’s a learning process. They’re always going to be learning, just like everybody else is too. It’s my ninth year, you’re still always learning. I think that’s the attitude you have to take. I wasn’t shocked at all. I knew those guys had don’t a great job and had earned the right to be on our team.”

A lot of pressure coming right up the middle, how much is that just attributed to the Panthers defensive line and how much do you think you guys need to work on that?

“It’s always a constant work in progress, but this is the NFL. You have to give the other team credit too. They have [Carolina Panthers DT] Kawann Short. The two linebackers they have in the middle, they blitzed them a few times. I know the one, I had to get rid of the ball early, [DL] Julius Peppers wrapped in there. They’ve got a tough front seven. We knew it was going to be a tough challenge for us. We’ll go back, watch it and get as much corrected as we can and get ready to go towards Seattle.”

49ers LB Ray-Ray Armstrong

If San Francisco 49ers LB Ruben Foster is out for some time, do you feel comfortable stepping in as the starter with this defense?

“Yes. I was a starter last year. It is nothing new to me. We just have to go back and continue to do what we do and play fundamental football and we will be fine.”

What did you think of their offense today? Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton wasn’t running wild out there or anything but he seemed to be pretty balanced?

“They are a pretty good team. They have some good athletes on that side of the ball. There are always areas where we could have been better, but they are a good team and they have good players over there. They gave us their best effort.”

Does Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey give them a different dimension when he is out there?

“He is a good player. He is a dynamic player. He makes good cuts. I’m looking forward to seeing how he is going to play for the rest of the season.”

49ers LB NaVorro Bowman

Can you talk about San Francisco 49ers LB Reuben Foster going down to injury?

“You just don’t want to see that. You prepare so much with one guy and then it being his first game, a lot of things went through my mind for him, personally and us as a team. That is the worst part about this game. Injuries are 100 percent and the next man has to be ready, but he seems fine.”

So much has been made about the brotherhood that has been made here and how you have to pick each other up, so now you get a real quick test to that. How do you approach this week and get ready for a rivalry game in Seattle?

“Competitors get excited to always get better, always come back and prove themselves, to whoever thinks less of you. I think that is what this team has to do. Get right back in the lab and not let this hamper us as a group, as an individual, at all. We have to come back to work ready to go and understand that it is a long season.”

49ers DL DeForest Buckner

What was your impression of the game today?

“A bunch of us still have to watch the film and come back in ready to fix the things tomorrow that we messed up. As a whole, we kind of controlled the run game throughout the game. We just have to get home on passing downs. Like I said, we’ve just got to watch the film and learn.”

What was your reaction when you saw San Francisco 49ers LB Reuben Foster go down?

“Injury bug. I told him when he was on the bench take it a day at a time. The competitive nature in all of us makes us want to get back out there and play. I told him it’s a long season, so he’s just got to get that thing right.”

What was your reaction when he came back on the bench?

“He’s a competitive guy. He couldn’t be out there with his brothers so he wanted to support. I respect him for that.”

It’s just one game, but it was similar to stuff that happened last year. Is it alarming or concerning to you?

“No. I can see the direction this team is going to go. Obviously there are things we’ve got to fix, but as a defense we did all right. Like I said, there’s stuff we have to fix, but I like the direction this team is going. I know [49ers head coach Kyle] coach Shanahan is going to get that offense going. We’re trusting in the system and we’re going to come back next week rolling.”

You held them to 114 rushing yards. Was it encouraging to you how you guys played the run?

“Compared to last year, yeah, of course. Obviously they still got over 100 yards. We’re shooting for less than 100. Like I said, we’ve got to watch that film and see what happened. We’ve got to take it a day at a time. Next week we’re going to come out rolling.”

49ers LB Reuben Foster

The game seemed to start off great for the defense and for you in particular. Before the injury, how did you feel about the way the defense was playing?

“I felt great. It’s sad that I had a nick in the ankle. That was disappointing. Overall I think the defense when we came out, we had the right mindset.”

It looked like you were in quite a bit of pain. Was it scary when you were down there on the ground?

“It was hurting, but as the game went on it started getting looser and better.”

How important was it for you to come out of the locker room and spend the rest of the game on the sideline?

“It was hard watching the players out there, having fun and playing football. But at the end of the day, like a lot of guys harped on me about it, it’s a long season. You’ve got to do what’s right and what’s best for yourself and the team, just knowing they’re going to need you in the future.”

It looked like you were doing some minor drills on the sideline. Did you lobby to go back in?

“Yeah, I wanted to get back out there. You know how it is when an injury occurs. When a couple of hours start passing by, you start getting that feeling back.”

A near pick again. When are you going to get one of these?

“I need to get more. It’s calling me. It’s calling for me. It was a great game plan, how we prepared for it. I knew it was coming. Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton is great at checking down. When he sees something, he has great reactions to do something else. I really wasn’t expecting the ball to go straight to me.”

How do you think you were playing?

“I don’t know, I guess we’ll see how the tape goes. I know I had some missed opportunities and miscommunications. We could’ve played better as a whole.”

What was the reaction when you came back on the field?

“The reaction was thank God, we thought it was your knee. The way the landing was and the plant was, they thought it was my knee.”

49ers WR Marquise Goodwin

How do you move past this game? Will it bug you for a while?

“Twenty-four hour rule. I have a beautiful wife and a great family that I get to go home to tonight and get my mind off of the game and the loss. I’ll come back tomorrow, watch the film and prepare for Seattle.”

When QB Brian Hoyer went deep for you later in the game again, did that signal anything to you that he’s going to keep going to you?

“I can’t speak for Brian. He’s a great friend of mine, but I can’t speak for him. He did throw the ball to me. I know we’ll have many more opportunities because I’m fast, and I’m going to keep running fast and keep getting open. We’re just going to get the timing right and work on little things. It’s just playing together as a team and keeping our morale and energy up. That’s what I think will be a big difference maker.”

You seem particularly upset after this game. Is it just the loss in general or bad play?

“Nobody likes to lose. I’m humbled by this. I needed this to get this out of the way early. I know how to work coming in tomorrow to prepare for Seattle. Like I said, you don’t want to lose in this situation, but you win some and you lose some. I have to come back stronger. I will come back stronger. The team will come back stronger. We’ll dominate and do what we need to do.”

49ers C Daniel Kilgore

Is there a single point of emphasis to take from this game?

“I think the offense as a whole needs to execute. I can speak for the offensive line, but [QB] Brian [Hoyer] got hit too many times. I think anybody standing back there would be uncomfortable. He just got touched too many times. I don’t think there was any confusion on the gameplan. I think everybody was dialed in. We’ll look at it and watch the film to see what the problem was. After looking at it, I’m sure there will be technique and some things that we can get better at this week. It’s game one, but we have to get it right for game two.”

Everyone knew you guys had a long way to go after last season with a new staff and a lot of new people on the roster. Despite all of that, were you surprised today that you guys hadn’t come further?

“Anytime you step on the field, you are playing to win. That’s the disappointing thing, just walking away with a loss in Week 1 in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s first head coaching game. Our priority every game is to win. Regardless of what season we’ve had in the past, it’s 2017 with a whole new roster, whole new coaching staff, and our goal every game is to win. So yes, I’m upset and surprised. We have to get ready. Our goal is to win every game.”

Kyle Shanahan showed a lot of faith in the offense going for it on third and fourth down a couple of times in the first half.

“That’s big time from your head coach. As an offensive lineman, you want your head coach to do that. We didn’t do it. It’s very upsetting when you don’t get the job done. When he puts the trust in the offensive line’s back, it’s hard. We’re going to have to check ourselves and get prepared for this week. There are going to be some humbling experiences the next couple of days.”

49ers TE George Kittle

This is obviously not the way you guys wanted to come out and perform in your first game.

“We’ve got to come back together, look at the film, try to get better and look at our mistakes. It’s on to the next one. One day at a time. You’ve got 24 hours to think about this one, then you’ve got to flush it and focus on the next game. We’re looking forward to playing Seattle and looking forward to getting on to this next week.”

It looks like the timing may have been a little off between you and 49ers QB Brian Hoyer. How much has the fact that there are about 30 new players on the team and you are just starting to gel been a factor?

“We’ve been together since the spring so we’ve gotten chances to run routes together, get on timing. We went down to Texas and ran routes there before camp. I think for timing, we’re working on it and I think it’s going to come. I think it is there for a lot of things. We’ve just got to keep grinding and keep pushing.”

As a rookie, it looks like there was one formation issue with you and just little things. As someone who is just getting accustomed to all of this, were there challenges on the field as far as making sure you were at the right place at the right time?

“Yes and no. I’ve got to know my stuff. They’re relying on me. I’m not going to use me being a rookie as an excuse. I take full responsibility for wasting a timeout on that one drive. That’s on me. That’s just something that I have to focus on. I have to get back into the playbook and into our game plan so that mistake never happens again.”

How did the penalties and sacks kill you in the first several drives?

“Sacks are drive-killers. We’ve just got to try to do better. That’s all you can do. You’ve got to come together as a team like you said. You’ve got to look at our mistakes, what they capitalized on, and make sure we don’t do that again.”

You guys went for it on fourth down a couple of times in the first half. Does it show that San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has some confidence in you guys to pick up those yards?

“One hundred percent. The fact that Coach Shanahan keeps us on the field to do that mean he believes we’re going to make those and we’ve got to. He’s putting his trust in us so we’ve got to perform for him. We’re going to look at what we did wrong and we’re going to come back and get those next week.”

49ers S Jaquiski Tartt

This was not obviously the way you guys wanted to come out and play?

“We have to go back and watch film and see the mistakes that we made and try to get better.”

Tell me a little about your pick at the goal line?

“First I want to thank god and thank the 49ers for giving me the opportunity to play and to be able to start. It was just a good defensive play call by [defensive coordinator Robert] Saleh. We expected pass and I just was able to make a play.”

There are about 30 new players on this team. Do you think maybe that has something to do with it, this team still needs to build that chemistry and work together?

“Like I said, we just want to get back and watch film to see where we made mistakes and correct them.”

Overall how would you grade the defense’s performance?

“I feel like we played really well and also we gave up some big plays. Once we look at film we will see what happened and get better.”

49ers DL Solomon Thomas

How was it playing against your old teammate Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey and getting a hit on him?

“It was great to play against Christian. He’s a great player, and he obviously showed it today. They have a great team. I’m glad to get the first game out of the way, and now I know what I need to improve on. It will be fun getting better this next week and getting ready for Seattle.”

I think your first NFL hit was against your old roommate Christian McCaffrey. Does that seem right?

“I didn’t even notice. I was just trying to do my job and play for my team. After the game I’ll talk about it with him, call and laugh about it and have a good time. Right now, it’s just time to improve on this game and improve on myself and my play and how I need to do better for this team.”

Can the defense take solace in the fact that you didn’t give up any long drives today? The two touchdown drives were pretty short.

“I thought the defense played well as a whole. We definitely need to do better on turnovers, but we’re a great defense. We can prove it and we can show it. It’s going to be a long, fun year with these guys.”

What was the atmosphere like for the rookies like yourself coming into this game?

“You know, I was nervous, but it’s a blessing to play this game. It’s a dream come true. I always get nervous excitement.”