What were you doing before you reported here for the offseason program?
“I was just in L.A. training out there. I initially went to Chicago for a little while, saw my family and everything and then got out to L.A. and right back to it.”
Have you set up shop here? Are you now a Northern California resident?
“Of course, yeah. I don’t think I’m technically a resident yet. There’s some stuff that goes into it. But yeah, currently looking for a place and everything. I’m starting to experience a little more of it. Went to my first Warriors game the other night, they beat the Spurs. Slowly but surely, we’re getting there.”
Obviously, you’ve got a lot of playbook stuff to do and learn the offense, all that stuff, but is learning about the region important to you? The status you have now as the franchise quarterback for the 49ers.
“Yeah, and I kind of enjoy that. Everything is new to me up here. I’ve been in Southern California a couple times in the offseason, but everything up here is pretty new. So, getting up to the City, experiencing that. I’d love to get to a Sharks game soon. There’s a bunch of stuff going on. But yeah, the priority is football right now, but there’s a little downtime this time of the year.”
Is your offseason work different as you go into a season as the incumbent starter?
“Not so much. I’d say the biggest difference is the new playbook. Still picking stuff up and critiquing the little things, but having the film from last year and going off of that has really helped a ton. But, as far as the physical work, different strength coach and stuff like that, but basically the same.”
We all know how you were kind of force-fed the playbook. This is a little more natural evolution where in the offseason you actually get to study it. How different is that now that you really get to get into it deeply?
“It’s weird because certain things that I thought during the season are a little different or there’s more to it than they were telling me at the time, just because we didn’t have the time. You find out the little finer details to each route concept, things like that. It’s been good though. A lot slower than during the season. That was a bit of a whirlwind.”
The team continued to build around you. Have you had a chance to work with RB Jerick McKinnon or C Weston Richburg?
“Oh yeah. Yeah. We’ve got little throwing sessions during the week. We’ve hit them up on the weekends a couple times. Those are good guys. They fit what we’re trying to do here and they work hard, so when you bring that to the table it’s always good.”
When you think about guys saying Jimmy was a reason why I decided to come here, CB Richard Sherman even saying that, what does that do for you as far as people recognizing what is happening here?
“I think it’s a team thing, really. It’s always nice to hear that, but the way we turned it around at the end of the year and got a little bit of momentum going into the offseason, it was recognized throughout the league. But, now we’re back to square one. This is a whole different team than last year. New guys, we lost some guys, so that’s the evolution of the NFL season-to-season. You’ve got new guys, everyone’s learning new stuff and we’ve got to rebuild from the ground up now.”
What are your expectations for the team this season? You haven’t lost as a starter. Do you try to temper expectations or run with it?
“To be honest, we have so long to go still. We haven’t even gotten into OTAs. We’re still in Phase 1. It’s a long road ahead of us, for sure, but that’s what makes the final product so good, is that grind that you go through as a team, the experiences, the brothers, it brings you closer together.”
I’ve only seen a few pictures, but it seems that you guys are having a lot of fun with this workout program. There seems to be a lot of team-building kind of things and guys are going pretty nuts. I was wondering if you could kind of give us a glimpse of what is going on?
“Yeah, the conditioning is never fun, I’ll say that. But no, [head strength & conditioning coach] Ray [Wright] and his staff, they’ve done a great job with us mixing and matching different workouts, different types of workouts and they always end it with a competition. It’s offense versus defense versus special teams. I love that stuff. You see the competitor come out in guys or it doesn’t. You kind of see who you want in your foxhole with you.”
Is the beard a new thing? Is it something you do every offseason? Is that a playoff hockey beard?
“I don’t know. It’s kind of happening. Everyone keeps telling me I’ve got to get this beard oil so I’ve got to get on that.”
When the schedule came out, you guys obviously had a bunch of primetime games which is pretty stark contrast compared to the last few years. A lot of that is because of you and the eyeballs on you. What were your thoughts when you saw the schedule and now knowing that this team is going to be under a big spotlight next season?
“I don’t think the spotlight really changes anything. The pressure that you put on yourself is always going to be greater than any outside person or whatever it might be could put on you. I think we’re looking up to the challenge. It’s going to be exciting, but like I said earlier, we’ve got a long road ahead of us. A lot of work to put in. Practice hasn’t even started yet. One step at a time, but I like the direction we’re going.”
What’s going into these throwing sessions you guys have got going on the weekends? Who is showing up? Who set that up? What’s the goal of those and have you guys enjoyed them?
“Yeah, we had our first one this weekend. It’s just something that I like to do. It kinds of gets us away from the coaches and everything, and allows me to talk to the receivers about specific things, or the tight ends or running backs. We try to get everyone out there that we can. I understand people have things that they have to get to. But, we had a great showing this Saturday. It was good. Just to be on the same page with those guys, talking through route concepts and how they see it versus how I see it, it just gets us on the same page.”
How do you structure it? Is it like a walk-through and getting into the minutia of it or are you going full speed and letting it rip a little bit?
“Yeah. You’ve got to take care of their legs. They’ve got us working pretty hard during the week, so you’ve got to be careful with that. But those guys, our receivers, tight ends and running backs came back in great shape. The conditioning part of it, it always makes my job easier when I can throw forever because those guys are willing to run. It’s nice to have that luxury.”
There’s a video out there of you using a lot of the same phrases as New England Patriots QB Tom Brady going back and forth. Have you seen that video and what do you think of it?
“I did see that. It kind of creeped me out. I don’t know. We were always kind of similar. Obviously, I picked up some stuff from him. But, I don’t know. I saw it and I was like, ‘That’s a little weird.’”
Where do you guys meet for the throwing sessions and how many more will you plan to have?
“Well we can’t go here. The NFL has some strict rules. So, we find a field that allows us to throw and we just try to do it whenever. You’ve got to be careful with it because we’re conditioning four days a week. You don’t want to overdo those guys’ legs. But, we’ll find a happy medium in there.”
Is that a Tom Brady idea? Did you take that from Tom?
“No, I’ve done that since high school. It’s one of those things, when the coaches aren’t there you kind of see a different side of guys. They open up a little bit or tell you how they see a concept compared to how it is written in the book. Just a little bit at a time for us to talk through things, I guess.”
Was WR Pierre Garçon part of that this past weekend?
So that was the first time you’ve thrown a pass to Pierre?
“No. Throughout the whole week, we throw. So that was probably last Monday.”
Do you expect to do one after the Draft and bring in a rookie if you draft a skill position?
“Yeah, I mean at some point. I’m not sure exactly when they get here if it’s over the weekend or what. Yeah, we want to get those guys going as quickly as possible. I remember how it was as a rookie. You kind of just get tossed in the fire and you’re expected to catch up as quickly as possible. Whatever we can do to help him.”
You built a good relationship with Miami Dolphins C Daniel Kilgore very quickly last year. Can you talk about how you’re going to build one with Weston?
“Yeah, it’s a special relationship, I’ve said this before, between the center and quarterback. Just being on the same page. You spend so much time together, talking through protections, run game, whatever it may be, that it just takes a little bit of time. We’ve started that a little bit and we’ll keep working into OTAs. But, I’m excited to work with him.”
How do you watch draft day? How do you kind of monitor what’s going on? What’s your flow like on that day?
“I don’t even have one, to be honest. Whatever’s on the schedule type of thing. I don’t have anything specific, really.”
What do you remember about that day?
“I was in New York, so it was pretty exciting. My first time there with my family and everything. It was one of those life-changing days, so it’s a special day for those young guys.”
What field do you guys practice at?
“I can’t say that.”
A few years ago, a television crew went to your home and it was all decked out in Patriots gear. Is the Chicago house now switched over to the red and gold?
“Big transition. Big transition. We had a lot of stuff to give away to Goodwill. Yeah, my mom’s a big decorator so it took her a little while to get all that, but it’s a lot of red and gold throughout the house now and that’s how it should be.”