A couple months into the offseason program, I know you guys are basically down to your last week with minicamp coming up next week.
“Yeah. It’s been good. I think the team is making a lot of progress in a lot of different areas. It’s been good competition between the offense and defense, which you love to see this time of year.”
WR Kendrick Bourne is a guy who looks really confident right now. You’re pretty tight with all of the receivers, but it seems like you’ve connected with him a few times. What have you seen from him in the time you’ve gotten here and his growth to now?
“Yeah, growth is a great word for it. Last year, when I met KB he was a rookie, just coming along, but this offseason has made some great strides. I think our whole receiver corps as a group has really come a long way. They’re moving in the right direction, working hard, putting in the extra time and I think that’s going to make a difference.”
In terms of the long ball, where are you on chemistry with your guys? Is that usually the last thing that sort of comes together with the receiving group?
“There’s not a certain order of what comes together faster. It’s all coming together slowly, but I think we’re doing a good job of getting on the same page as one another. We obviously have some extra time now. It’s not just get ready for Sunday and learn this in a week. We can break things down, we have film sessions where we get to just talk to each other without the coaches, which is always good. I think it’s really coming together well.”
Is that something you do during the Saturday sessions, figuring out who each of these guys is?
“Yeah. That’s some of my favorite time because you get to see, when coaches are out here, guys might act a little differently or whatever it might be. When you get them just the players, you really see a different side of guys and it allows you to connect with them in a different way. Just talking to each other, we get on the same page and I think we have a very open group and a very willing group.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has talked about you having a full offseason to understand the why’s of all the calls and not just memorizing information. Can you elaborate on why that helps you and how that translates out on the practice field?
“As the quarterback, you want to be able to answer any question that is asked to you. You want to if you get put in a tough spot on the field, be able to get the team into the right play. Last year, not that I was handcuffed, but I just didn’t know some of the reasons of why we were doing things. It was just kind of get this by Sunday and we’ll tell you everything else in the offseason type of thing. I think learning the why’s has definitely helped me. I still have a long way to go. We’re not even through OTAs yet. It’s a work in progress, but it’s coming along.”
Can you talk about C Weston Richburg and how your chemistry with him is coming along?
“It’s been good. Wes is a great guy. Very hard working. We get along great. We joke about when we took the first snap together it seemed like we were doing it for years. It’s great working with a guy like that. He helps me a lot.”
You’ve had a chance now to be in the Bay Area without being in the scope of the season. What’s it been like? What’s the reception like when you go out in public? Has it been hard? What’s it been like for you?
“It’s exciting. People are really looking forward to the season. A lot of excitement in the air. Really getting to know certain areas of the Bay a lot better, which is cool. I never got to do that last year. I was pretty much here 24 hours a day. It’s nice to get out and experience some of it.”
T Joe Staley said that it is crazy going out in public with you because there are cameras everywhere. Has that made it difficult? Have you had trouble going out in public?
“It is what it is type of thing. I don’t really know. I think Joe attracts more of the cameras than I do personally, but he’ll tell you different.”
Running backs coach Bobby Turner just said RB Jerick McKinnon is a guy that really likes to play without the football. As a quarterback, I know it’s just practice and you’re not in pads yet, but can you feel that? How much can that help you?
“Yeah. Jerick, he’s a talent man. He does some things that you don’t even know how he does them, is the best way to describe it. He’s like a jitterbug back there, but he’s savvy and smart at the same time, which is a great feeling as a quarterback having a guy like that.
Is it easier for you to take on the leadership role being here from the start rather than coming in midseason? Is there a difference that you’ve noticed now that you can take more ownership of the team?
“Yeah. I think just being comfortable in my environment and knowing everybody now. Last year, I didn’t know everyone’s name so that was tough to begin with and then I’m trying to learn everything week by week. It was a whirlwind last year, but now that things have slowed down, I feel more comfortable in the environment and getting more and more used to everything. It’s a great situation. I love being here. I think we’ve had a good OTAs and we’re working hard right now.”
When you hear people from the outside start putting the 49ers as a playoff contender or a hot team on the rise because of your 5-0 finish, what do you think about that?
“I think we’ve got to have a strong finish to these OTAs first. People always like to talk about the predictions with the season. Even when the season just ends, they start talking about it. It’s all noise on the outside, but I think we have a good group that is locked in right now. We’re focused on OTAs. We’ll go in to training camp, hopefully have a good training camp and take it day by day.”
Will you do any throwing sessions between minicamp and training camp? Will you guys get together?
“Yeah. We’re trying to set something up. We don’t really have it all worked out yet, but we’re trying to.”
On a fourth-down play in the move the ball period, you picked up a first down to WR Pierre Garçon. What’s it been like with him? Is he a nice veteran safety blanket for you, knowing exactly what you’re going to get from him?
“Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. You know exactly what you’re going to get. P is as reliable as they come. He has that veteran mentality of he knows exactly what to do, he’s going to help you out, do whatever he can to put you in good situation as the quarterback.”
You didn’t grow up around here, but have you gotten a sense of what Dwight Clark meant to this franchise and this region?
“Yeah. We talked about it today. Seeing all of the 87 shirts around here. We had a couple people talk about it in the team meeting. He seemed like a great guy. I never got to meet him, unfortunately, but just seemed like a great guy, loved to have fun. I heard he had the best hair in the Bay Area. He’ll be missed.
You’ve worked a lot with RB Matt Breida during OTAs. Can you talk about what you’ve seen from him?
“Very talented young player. Smart, too. Having halfbacks like him, Jerick, [RB] Raheem [Mostert], all of those guys, they really help make my job a lot easier being as smart as they are. Doing the right things, putting themselves in good situations, it just makes my job so much easier when they’re doing that stuff.”
You had that deep throw to him today. Is that something that he would normally do?
“Yeah. I think all of those guys. Any skill guy in our offense really, it sounds crazy, but they’re all a threat deep. We’ve got some fast guys out there. It’s fun to have those guys to be able to throw to.”
The constant trait of this offense is just speed. Given your time in New England or in college, have you ever been around an offense that has this much raw, straight-line speed?
“Definitely not in college. Not in 1AA. But yeah, it’s a good group and it’s a fun group, too. They’re willing to work hard, put in the time but when it comes down to it, when we come out on the field, they’re grinding and I love that. It makes my job so much easier.”
You seemed to have developed a really good rapport with Kendrick Bourne. What makes him a guy that you’re so willing to target so frequently?
“He brings a lot of different traits to the table that it’s hard for a defender to cover him. He’s, I don’t even know how to describe it, deceptively fast but at the same time, he has some wiggle to him. It’s a nice combination and he does a great job of catching the ball. I don’t know how many drops he’s had all of OTAs, I don’t want to jinx him, but he’s done a great job for me.”
Your center, Weston, today got into a little shoving match there with DL Solomon Thomas. Was he protecting you?
“I didn’t really see it, to be honest. I kind of threw it and looked out the corner of my eye and saw it all going on. It’s football. Stuff is going to happen out here like that. Honestly, I love to see that out of the O-Linemen. It gets me fired up. I can’t do it and it’s probably a better thing that I don’t.”