This is the transcript of Blaine Gabbert’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
What did you do over the bye week?
“I actually got a chance to go back to St. Louis. Hang out with the family a little bit. I got to see my little brother’s state semi-final game, so that was pretty fun.”
How did he do?
“He’s a freshman so he’s a backup on varsity but they won. So, they’re going to the state championship, I think, in two weeks. Yeah, so it was pretty fun.”
Does he have your size and athleticism?
“I mean, he’s 15. So, he’s got a lot of growing to do. But, I think he’s got a chance to be pretty talented.”
How many brothers do you have?
“Two little bros. 24 and Brett’s 15.”
Going into Seattle this week, I mean obviously, it’s a big environment that’s known for being loud and tough to play in. What’s the toughest stadium you’ve ever played in, be it college or in the NFL?
“I think any away stadium’s tough to play at just because it’s a hostile environment. It’s not your, kind of, your home turf. I enjoy playing on the road. It’s kind of a sweeter victory when you win on the road and makes you focus on the details, really prepare and focus on the little things throughout the week so you can go out there and execute at a high level.”
Did you spend a lot of time last week before you went to St. Louis focusing, like working on things like that that you–?
“Yeah, we started kind of before we left. We had a couple practices just to get a jump start on Seattle and kind of going into the bye week, find things that we had to focus on to go up there and play a good team. So, we’ve been working on those throughout the bye week and then so far this week.”
Head coach Jim Tomsula has made it clear to us, at least, that the starting quarterback is going to be a week-to-week decision and he’s going to think about it after every game. How do you react to that? I mean, would you rather know that you’re going to be the starter at least for the foreseeable future?
“I think the biggest think for me is I focus on this upcoming game and that’s how I approached last week and you really can’t get to far ahead of yourself, especially in the situation that we’re in. I’m focused on going out to practice today and having a good day and then really focus on the game this Sunday. Whatever happens after that will happen. But, at this point in time, I’m worried about Seattle and that’s it.”
Were you able to watch the Seattle-Cardinals game?
“Yeah, it was a great game.”
What did you take away from how that game ended defensively for Seattle’s secondary?
“They played tough the whole game and at the end, I think [Arizona Cardinals RB] Andre Ellington had a big run down the sideline to seal it. But, that was a hard fought game. It was back and forth and those are the type of games you see in this conference, especially between two teams in Arizona and Seattle. So, we’re expecting that physical type of game this week and we’re going to be ready for it.”
They haven’t allowed those type of points, passing yards in a long time, particularly at home. Do you see things that may be different with them from a defensive perspective as opposed to the last couple of years?
“No, they’ve been extremely consistent running their scheme the last three, four, five years. Arizona hit some big plays. [Arizona Cardinals QB] Carson Palmer stood in there and made some great throws. But, that’s the things that you have to do against a great defense like that. You’ve got to take your shots, take your chances when they’re there.”
What’s the key to deal with noise as a quarterback?
“Really just blocking it. It’s going to be loud, we know that. But at the same time, we have a job to do. We have to work around that and just really focus on that task at hand. In these kind of stadiums where it is extremely loud, you really have to focus one play at a time because if you don’t hear a call, you don’t hear the play, one or two guys aren’t going to be on the same page and that’s the difference between winning and losing games.”
What’s the loudest stadium you remember playing in?
“I don’t know. They’re all pretty loud. Houston can get loud when they close it in. Seattle’s loud. Indianapolis can get loud, but any NFL away stadium, especially with a conference game, is going to be a tough environment.”
Given where your career is now, do you view these opportunities with a great sense of urgency? Is it safe to say this is one of the more crucial opportunities for you and your career, especially where it is now?
“I would say it’s a great opportunity. I wouldn’t approach it any other way, but it’s a great opportunity to go out there and start again this week and play football. And I don’t take those opportunities for granted, and I’m going to enjoy them.”
You said after the Falcons game that check downs, you’ve come to realize, are not a bad thing. I mean, earlier in your career, did you feel more pressure to make great plays, make big throws, maybe force things that weren’t there?
“Yeah. I think any quarterback when you want to perform you start pressing and trying to push the ball downfield and not necessarily if it’s open or not. But, kind of as you mature playing this position and being in the NFL, you realize you just take what the defense is giving you and that way you can string drives together and execute at a higher efficiency.”
When you see their pass rush on film, how do you not get, intimidated is the wrong word, but how do you think, ‘Wow, they really get after it’?
“The thing that we do is we look at the defense as a whole. You can’t focus on a certain guy. You know who their personnel is, and you know what you have to do to execute versus that personnel. But, at the same time, you can’t let one guy kind of deter or knock your focus off of the big scheme of things. So, when you look at film, yes, they have talented guys on the defensive line. Yes, they have talented guys in the secondary. But, we’re focused on ourselves this week and want to go out there and execute at a high level.”
The last time the 49ers played Seattle, WR Torrey Smith didn’t have much production or any production as far as catches go. What do you have to do to get him, kind of, into it and get the ball into his hands in this game?
“I think the biggest thing is going out there and executing at a high level. And being a receiver, being a tight end, being a running back, the ball’s will come your way. You may have no catches one week, one catch the next week, but you could have ten catches the third week. So, the distribution will come but you just can’t press and try and force guys the ball. You just have to take what the defense is giving you.”
You say you can’t focus on one guy, but I’m just curious what you think of CB Richard Sherman’s, what he brings to that defense?
“He’s talented. He’s a cornerstone of that defense and he’s been doing it at a high level for a long time. You have to be cognizant of where he’s at on the football field because he can make plays when the ball’s in the air.”
You threw a lot of nice back shoulder throws against the Falcons. Is that something that’s kind of always been in your bag, just that throw?
“I think it’s just more of, kind of, the leverage that they were playing. They tried to stay on the high side. So, those were the throws that were open and our guys did a great job adjusting to the ball when it was in the air.”
How much more difficult is it to account for Sherman when he’s moving around the field more, covering more guys instead of staying on one side?
“You’ve just got to, kind of open up your peripheral vision a little bit and see where he’s at. You’re never really just locked in on the front and the linebackers. You’ve got to see the big picture of things and knowing the formation that you’re in, having an idea of where he could potentially line up.”