Your wide receiver corps has been battling some level of injury with WR Pierre Garçon and WR Trent Taylor and obviously WR Dante Pettis and WR Marquise Goodwin. How hard has that been just not always having guys at practice, having guys at other positions? How much has that affected their lack of production?
“It definitely makes it a little bit tougher just not having the same guys getting the same reps every week. It’s nice to have a routine, same guys in there. Obviously, it would help to have everyone healthy as it would at any position, but that’s part of football and you’ve just got to go with the guys that you have in there and trust in them.”
What do you do at practice? I don’t know if anything’s different this week, but what do you do at practice generally to focus on holding onto the ball and not turning it over?
“Nothing really any different than what we do. I think a lot of stuff goes into that. We do what we do in practice, focus on trying to take care of the ball and watching film and seeing their tendencies and which players are good at getting their hands up and reaching for balls and kind of having that in the back of your mind.”
Obviously, the defense has struggled getting the ball as well. On the practice field, have you noticed any increase in tenacity on their part, trying to rip the ball out or trying to pick you off more?
“Definitely. We’ve put an emphasis on it. [Head coach] Kyle’s [Shanahan] put an emphasis on it. You can definitely see it out at practice, guys going for the ball and trying to punch balls out.”
So, it kind of works both ways?
“Yeah, obviously it does, but I’m not necessarily going against our number one defense in practice all of the time. We go against them for some reps, but not all of the time.”
Last time you guys played Arizona, Arizona Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones obviously was getting back there. Are you more aware of him now?
“Definitely. Definitely more aware of him and know his range and his length and the kind of player he is. Definitely more aware of him.”
Have you noticed a different sort of feeling whether it’s in the huddle or the locker room, when you play on the road, just in terms of the urgency you have or how you react to the atmosphere away from this place?
“I don’t really notice anything different. We go out there with the same mindset every game and try to win whether it’s home or away.”
What is it about TE George Kittle that makes it easy for you guys to connect on the field so much more?
“I think he’s just a good route runner. He’s talented, he’s athletic so he can turn little plays into big ones. Obviously, we’ve had chemistry going back to college so I can kind of read him and know what he’s doing pretty easily. But, he’s just a really talented athlete and player and he’s doing really well.”
Is that history with you, obviously that’s part of it, but do you feel like you’re building that more with your other receivers? I know it’s been hard because you had less consistency with who’s been out there?
“Definitely the more reps you get with guys, the better you feel with them, the more consistent you feel with them. It’s tough sometimes when those guys aren’t practicing or not getting the reps and they’re out a week here or there. But, like I said before, it’s part of football. You’ve got to go with the guys you’ve got and I’ve got all of the faith in those guys and that’s how it is.”
In terms of your turnovers, do you feel you need to alter your game to be more cautious or do you need to keep doing what you’re doing and the luck will come?
“I feel like a lot of them are just unfortunate plays. There’s a couple that are bad decisions. Green Bay, I wish I would have put the ball out more. But, a lot of them aren’t bad reads, they’re just unfortunate plays. But, obviously I’m going to work on taking care of the ball better, whether it be in the pocket or throwing the ball.”
You talked about Marquise and his speed and how that kind of keeps a defense honest. Do you see Dante Pettis and his return something similar?
“Definitely. Dante’s a big-time guy to have back for us. He poses threats whether it be his speed or route running. He’s got good hands. So, it’s nice to have another good receiver thrown in the mix, a guy that we haven’t had for however long it’s been. It’ll be nice to get him back out there practicing today.”
When you’re watching the Cardinals film, did Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson jump out at all on tape as a quarterback?
“Yeah, he’s just one of the best corners in the game. He’s a guy that you’ve got to be aware of when he’s out there, where he’s at. He’s got a lot of experience so he knows quarterbacks’ tendencies whether it be quick-game feet, five-step feet, good with eyes. He’s seen it all. So, he’s a veteran player at that and he’s just a good player.”
He announced that he no longer wants to be traded so he’s going to play for them Sunday.
“I figured he would. I wasn’t thinking anything else.”