Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
Press Conference - November 8, 2012
San Francisco 49ers
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"Good afternoon. Getting ready to play the Rams. It was good in the bye week, got a chance last week to really kind of analyze ourselves and start to get to work on the Rams, a team that's ranked on defense in the upper half of the league. I think they're doing a very good job. Coaching them, obviously [Rams head coach] Jeff Fisher knows what he's doing. He's been doing it a long time at a high level. I think their D-line is playing very well. I think their linebackers are playing extremely well. In the secondary, they've got a lot of different looks in their secondary and they do a nice job handling a lot of different stuff. We all know the challenge ahead of us here, a division opponent. Any questions?"
You say analyze yourself. Do you put on your junior defensive coordinator hat and try to figure out?
"I think so, that's a good way to put it. I'd like to think it's a little bit better than junior. I think we all do as a staff, look at ourselves, crunch the numbers, look at the film and just get a feel for what we've done and that's behind us now, but it's good to know moving forward."
Any revelations from that, anything surprise you?
"Not really. You keep a good tab on things as you go. It's more about the numbers. No, we stay abreast of it. You always find a couple of things that might help you."
How would you assess the running back committee that you used in the first half, RB Frank Gore and RB Kendall Hunter and how are they working well to compliment each other?
"We love them and they wear a lot of different hats. [Running backs] Coach [Tom] Rathman does a great job getting them prepared week in and week out, from top to bottom, everybody in the room. The first thing that jumps out about Frank and Kendall, not from a talent standpoint but from just their mindset standpoint, is they love football. These guys are natural born football players and they love football, they understand football, love to compete. There's nothing about them at all, not one iota where you ever question their effort, because it's always great. Protection, I think we've made a lot great strides up to this point with our young guys in protection across the board really. But those guys, they're difference makers at the position. We're very fortunate to have them."
There was a player poll that was released today that listed the dirtiest players. Rams CB Cortland Finnegan was up on that list like he always is. I think earlier this year he got under the skin of a Redskins receiver and it helped them win. Do you need to warn your receivers not to get engaged in any extracurricular stuff with somebody like him?
"I think he's a really good football player, Finnegan, is very productive. He competes extremely hard. When they bring him inside in the nickel, in their nickel package, I think he's one of the best guys in the NFL as far as understanding what's going on and what he needs to do and where he needs to be. He understands it and it shows in his play. And I think our receivers are very heady players, they're about one thing, taking care of their job. I don't see them getting hijacked emotionally by really anybody. I think they've got bigger fish to fry."
Does he usually go with the opposition's best receiver or is it sides?
"For the most part he plays to one side. They'll move him around some, more in their nickel package though. It's obvious on film that he understands where he needs to be when the ball is snapped. But, he will definitely give you a lot of different looks."
In what areas have you seen T Anthony Davis make his biggest strides?
"That's a great question. Anytime you draft a player with ability, who's young like that, it's all about the development of the player. [Offensive line] Coach [Mike] Solari, who, I know it's November right now because he's got his beard, I feel like I'm coming to work with Sean Connery every day. He and [offensive line coach] Tim Drevno do a great job with the O-line. I think Anthony, it all starts with him. He's another guy, he loves football. I've said this before, he's a guy that I would love to have escort me into a conflict because I know he's going to back me up. He's that competitive guy and he's a team guy and he understands what it means to be a member of a team. But I think in everything really, starting with his stance, his efficiency of movement, his weight distribution in his stance, his eye placement, all the little things before you get to the physical. I think he understands things pretty early in the down, so he's picking things up as he goes. Find a right tackle that's playing better than him. He's really come a long way in everything. The thing that enables him to do that is his attitude and the way he approaches work, day in and day out."
As a rookie, Anthony had a few rugged performances against Rams DE Chris Long, he seemed to get better against him last year. What are some of the challenges Long presents?
"By rugged you mean tough?"
Not too great, in my estimation, which is expert.
"Well, Chris Long, I think a lot of people have had those kinds of days against him. Regardless of where they were in the last year in the past, which is irrelevant. That guy is a rolling ball of butcher knives, plays with great leverage. A quick, explosive, again, he's a leverage player. He knows how to play leverage. He gives a lot of people fits. He's got a great bull-rush. He's worn out some guys, really bad. He challenges you more than a lot of guys because of his ability to play with quickness and leverage. A lot of those kind of guys, you don't run across a ton of them, but they just give you fist sometimes. So, you've got to be on your game. They do a nice job of how they use him. I think they do a great job with how they use all of their players."
Two things about Anthony, one, are there some fitness things you guys have done to help improve his leverage from last year? And also, you talking about his attitude, you've definitely seen the attitude where it's really feisty. What would describe as the full spectrum?
"I think our strength and conditioning staff, [head strength and conditioning coach] Mark Uyeyama, [assistant strength and conditioning coach] Kevin Tolbert, our training staff with [director of football operations & sports medicine] Jeff Ferguson, I think the results speak for themselves, what kind of professionals they are. I think that they've had a great impact on Anthony in making him a more complete player from a flexibility standpoint, from a body composition standpoint. And in just a hard work standpoint, coming in and working hard every day. I think in your offensive linemen you want guys that are tough minded, that go into a competition with some true grit and want to go light some people up. Anthony brings that to the table."
Within a couple of snaps of each other against the Cardinals, Randy Moss had a downfield block on the sideline on the touchdown. As an offensive coordinator, which one was more notable or which one stood out to you?
"Did we score on the knockdown block? [Matt Maiocco: "No."] I'll take the touchdown. Let me just say this though. Starting in the Houston game in the preseason, Randy was wearing people out blocking. And, can't stress enough how professional, how team-oriented Randy Moss is. As a coach sometimes you say, ‘Alright, what do I tell the players? What don't I tell them?' At some point you can tell them too much, right? Everybody's got a saturation point. Well, I don't know that he does. He asks the questions on the smallest little details even in the running game, let alone the passing game, that you say, ‘That's the question that you should as right now, that's the question that should be asked. That's a great question.' So, he's selling out to do his job every play."
Do you think he knows the answer before he asks?
"Well, I think he understands that there's a couple different ways you can do things. He's done all the things a lot of different ways. We can do it this way, we can do it that way. What do you want done? Also, he understands the game well enough where he says, ‘Well, have you ever thought about this?' So, that's good. That's productive. That's progress."
Does that surprise you? You look back at his reputation as the nine route, long, deep plays, that sort of play. But with you saying how interested he is in the running game. Was that a surprise to you coming in, with him?
"No, not at all. I don't listen to anything, other than one-on-one experience, interaction. From day one, he's been that kind of guy."
Did you find something in terms of one-on-one interaction? Did you find someone who'd coached Randy before and said he's a good listener, he's a very coachable guy?
"I've heard a lot of great things about him in the past, with my ears. And, I've seen a lot of great things with my eyes. So, it's a good combination."
Did you see that kind of commitment to blocking over the years?
"You know, what happened, I can't remember. I really can't, so I'm not going to speak on it. All I can tell you is as a Forty Niner, he's busting his tail on everything."
Rams LB James Laurinaitis was talking about some of your run concepts, formations, it's unique. You just don't see it with any other team. He specifically talked about the split back. What are some of your influences? Did you watch the Bill Walsh installation tapes? Did that influence you?
"The person that really taught me all that was George Seifert. I worked for George in Carolina and he had a tremendous impact on me as a football coach. I was privy to all that stuff back then, and got to watch all the films and what not and learned about it. But as far as our schemes go, scheme doesn't matter, it's players. The players executing the plays matters. And that's the bottom line. We talked about first day of training camp with our offense, fundamentals, conditioning precedes everything. Fundamentals precede scheme. Ultimately execution is all that matters, no matter what you call. So, anything that succeeds is a credit simply to the players. I think we always keep an eye, an ear and a nose to our players and what we feel that they can do well and try to emphasize that."
Why is the split back formation unique (inaudible)...
"You know, you'd have to ask them. You'd have to ask them. I don't know. I don't want to get into a big thing here, but that used to be the norm a long time ago and then it kind of evolved in the 80's to I-Backs. You try to marry everything you do together so, I think everybody's more of an I-Back field. But I will say this, I think certain types of backs can run that stuff and certain types of backs you really wouldn't want to run that stuff with. And we have backs that are multi-dimensional that can run that stuff. So, it's good."
How much of an advantage is it that you guys do stuff that's unique and other teams aren't seeing it on a weekly basis?
"It can be an advantage. It can be. But it's overrated. It really is. It's all about the players on the field executing, no matter what you do. But at the same time, it's always nice to expand and evolve as you go. So, that's something you definitely want to do. Every team's different. You've got to measure what's right for you.
How would you analyze Delanie Walker's performance so far this year?
"Outstanding. Delanie's, I call him Mr.Do-It-All. Not afraid to admit it. He does a tremendous amount in our run game, pass game, everything. He does it all. He carries a lot on his plate week in and week out and we rely on him a lot. He's a very dependable football player. Again, another guy that loves football, comes to work every day with a smile on his face and a great attitude ready to go. Great player."
Laurinaitis was saying that he has to be on the lookout for unusual plays, trick plays, things like that. I know you don't like trick plays.
"Never heard of them."
Is that an advantage to you guys that sort of takes away from the defense's aggression because they're always on the lookout for something that might be unusual?
"I don't know. You probably have to ask him. But we do what we do. We've just got to go out and execute what we do at a high level and that's the bottom line as we move into November."