Blaine Gabbert: “I know where I want to go with the football.”


This is the transcript of Blaine Gabbert’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

When you look back at the film of Sunday, what’d you think of how well you played?

“I think the biggest thing that stood out was we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities in the red zone. I think we were second-and-five on the five, first-and-five on the five and took a penalty. Any time you take a penalty or a negative play in the red zone it makes it tough because then you’re in second-and-goal, third-and-goal from the 10-yard line. That’s shooting yourself in the foot a little bit, but they’re things that we can correct, things that we can control and get better at. So, that was a positive, how we got down there. But, once we got down there, everybody’s got to focus and execute at a higher level.”


When you get down there, is it a different skill set? You’re dealing with a smaller field at that point. How do you go about–?

“I think that every team has their red zone concepts, their red zone plays, their red zone runs for that week and the mindset when you get in the red zone, everything does happen faster. So, everybody really has to be on top of their game because those are vital situations in the game because you need touchdowns, especially versus a good team like we faced last week.”


Everybody who watched the last two games, even offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, has said you look different than you look when you were a starter in Jacksonville. Do you see those differences and how would you describe the differences if you do see them?

“I think just knowing the game plan in and out. Not saying I didn’t when I was in Jacksonville, but like I’ve always said, the experiences of playing, now being 26, in my fifth year. I’m a more mature player. I know where I want to go with the football. You see the pre-snap looks and you can go off of knowledge that you’ve seen that look in the past and knowing where they’re vulnerable, where you’re guys are going to pop open. Just from that, just more comfortable in the system.”


But, you seem more comfortable in the pocket too, knowing where to go when there’s pressure. How do you get better at that when you haven’t been playing?

“It’s tough. You’ve got to work hard on that in practice. That’s why those scout team reps when you are the backup are so valuable because you are limited in game reps because the starter’s taking those. So, when you’re going against our defense, you have to simulate that like it’s a game. You’re not going to be seeing the same looks, the same pressures, the same coverages, but you’ve got to train yourself to get reps that way.”


Do you not feel rusty out there? Are you surprised that you’re not as rusty as you might be after two years off?

“You know, there’s going to be rust, there’s going to be ups and downs. Nobody played perfect. I definitely haven’t played perfect the last two weeks. But, I think there’s things that you can build off of. There’s going to be plays here and there where you make a bonehead mistake, but at the same time that’s also a learning experience so you don’t make that mistake down the road.”


After the Atlanta game, you said you wanted to show the guys, you know, you told your offensive line I think you were going to stand in there and take it on the chin and G/T Alex Boone said after the game you stood in there and took some pretty big licks. Did you feel that you had to prove that you were a tough guy, that you have that toughness?

“I think that’s just, it’s every scenario is different. Every play is different. If you have a free runner but a guy’s coming open down the field, you’ve got to deliver the football regardless if a guy’s kind of breathing down your neck. And so, I would say every scenario’s different. There’s sometimes where you’ve got to leave the pocket and make a play with your feet, throwing the ball on the run, but other times you have to stay in there and throw it.”


When you got named the starter, there was, former NFL WR and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter was one, just said some things about you. Do you have thick skin? Did you hear those things? What did you think when you heard that?

“I didn’t hear it. But, it’s just part of the job description. You’re always in the limelight. You’re the hero or the goat. It’s either the quarterback or the head coach, usually. You get more credit when you win. You get more fault when you lose. But, it’s just the nature of the position. I think that’s why I enjoy it so much and what makes it so challenging is it’s on the quarterback’s shoulders every game. You’re touching the football every play. And that’s why I enjoy it, because of the challenge week in and week out to perform.”


Did you take it personally?

“No. I mean, everybody’s going to have their opinion, good or bad. You’ve just got to take it with a grain of salt.”


ME: Did you make any boneheaded mistakes against the Seahawks?

“There’s a couple throws I’d like to have back, but for the most part there weren’t any critical errors, turning the football over. So, from that standpoint, no critical errors, but there were some definite throws I’d like to have better ball placement on.”


How does your mindset change now that QB Colin Kaepernick’s out for the season and what that means in terms of your approach?

“Just like I’ve always said, it’s day by day. I prepare the same way week in and week out. I trust my routine. I know my routine and the way I prepare every week gets me ready for the games. I’m going to stick that and just keep rolling with it throughout the rest of the season.”


Take us into that preparation a little bit. What’s your typical day like?

“Mondays is an off day, but it’s usually lift and film. Tuesday we have meetings, but it’s a day for the quarterbacks to catch up on film, watch games, watch tapes. We also do that Monday night. And then throughout our week we like to come in early just to get good stuff on our own, see the film from kind of an unbiased point of view. And then when we watch it with the coaches it’s kind of a second time through. So, you can pick up on little tendencies, little keys here and there and I enjoy that. It’s part of my job description, but I love that process and that’s something that I enjoy doing throughout the week is trying to get tips on a certain defense, certain coordinator, certain player and just makes that chess game a little more fun.”


How have you seen QB Dylan Thompson grow since he got here? Now he’s going to take on a bigger role, kind of helping you.

“Yeah. Dylan, he has done a tremendous job and I’ve tried to take him under my wing, just kind of show him the ropes because coming in as a rookie, I know how that went. I was fortunate to have veterans kind of show me the way. He’s done a great job preparing, week in and week out. Even when he was on the practice squad, we were watching film on a consistent basis just getting ready because you never know when your chance is going to come and I’m looking forward to working with him the rest of the year.”


Earlier in this season, Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu and I think some of the other guys talked about how predictable your offense was. Is there anything that you guys, knowing that you were going to be facing them later in the year, you guys could look at and kind of see what they saw and correct the things that they may or may not have seen?

“I think that any time you play a team the second time, you pick up on keys, pick up on coverages they like to run, pick up on coordinator tendencies. But, they’re always going to break those tendencies. They do self scout too. So, you’ve got to be prepared and ready for anything. But, as a quarterback you just throw it to the open guy. It sounds so simple, but it’s so complicated at the same time. And that’s where this film study throughout the week when you’re preparing for a complicated, really good defense like the Arizona Cardinals have, just makes it kind of a challenge and we’re up to it.”


You’ve seen it from the sidelines and the field on Sunday, why do you think this team struggles to get up for road games and what’s the difference between playing at home and on the road?

“I wouldn’t say we don’t get up for road games. We don’t have the best record on the road right now and that’s something we’re always looking to get better at. Road games are tough, having to travel, but at the same time it’s fun going into a hostile environment, a loud environment where your backs are up against the wall. But, moving forward here, I look forward to us getting better on the road.”


You mentioned there are throws where you have to stand in there and throw when some guy’s about to blast you. As I’m sure you may have heard, that was a criticism of yours in Jacksonville. It seems like that’s a tough thing to practice, but it seems like you’ve done a good job at that. I guess, A is was that a fair criticism and if so, how have you improved?

“The biggest thing about the criticisms are when you’re not having a good season or you’re 2-14 like we were in Jacksonville or 5-11, there’s going to be fingers pointed at certain things and whatever those things are, they’re out of your control. But, that’s just part of the job description as the quarterback. Every quarterback’s got to make tough throws when guys are coming free. It’s just part of that job. You enjoy it because in those situations, usually big plays happen.”

  1. Gabbert ball better be ready to carve up the bird, because it sounds like Mathieu might be buttering him up for the feast….

    1. Those things are so useless. Doesn’t matter who the QB is. Actually that’s wrong, the better the QB is at the presser, the worse the presser.

      1. Well, people definitely have different opinions about this. But, in my experience, leaders who present themselves well and can coherently express their thoughts engender confidence from those that they lead. When was the last time you saw a leader in a corporation be a person with poor interviewing skills? That doesn’t mean that a person can’t be a leader without those skills, but, in my mind, there is no question that these skills are considered important by many – simply as evidenced by the fact that most “leaders” have or have developed these skills. All IMO.

        1. As a fan of the team/game, what useful or interesting information have you ever gleaned from a post game presser?

          The most praised QBs spout nothing but cliche´ non-answers.

              1. Seems to me that cubus is not saying he’s gleaning any useful information about the team from the content of these pressers, but that it is important for a leader to be able to handle these questions with confidence and aplomb. Which Gabbert does and Kaep does not.

                That appeared to be the only point cubus was making, not that the pressers are worth watching to learn something from the content.

              2. Right. So you intentionally posted a comment in response to cubus that had nothing to do with what he was saying. Good one.

              3. Been known to happen.

                So you don’t believe a leader should be able to handle pressers with confidence and aplomb, even if they aren’t really saying anything of substance?

              4. I’ve seen too many coaches/players that we’re good at the press conference but bad on the field to think it really makes a difference.

                Besides, Kap was plenty confident at press conferences people just didn’t like his headphones or his short answers, which people would still be complaining about if Kap was putting up 28 points a game.

              5. What successful head coaches were as bad as Tomsula in press conferences, but successful on the field?

              6. Hmmm, Kaep may have been confident in pressers, Grimey, but he didn’t really handle questions with aplomb. He was terse and sometimes became agitated to the point of making snide comments. Its not a good look for the leader of the offense. Gabbert on the other hand comes across confident and relaxed.

                I agree you can’t make an inference that someone that is good at pressers will make a good player or coach. And it can definitely go the other way – Bill Belichick isn’t comfortable in pressers (though he’s gotten better over time and has never been one to flounder over answers), and that is clearly no indication of his talent as a head coach.

                But back to cubus’ point, I do think settings such as press conferences can demonstrate how someone handles pressure, and can be a valuable tool for instilling confidence in those that aren’t involved in working with the person day-to-day (e.g., fans). As an example, see the reaction of fans to Tomsula’s introductory press conference.

              7. Scooter,

                Don’t you think there’s a pretty big difference between the Belichick/Harbaugh types who really don’t speak, and someone who just fumbles along like Tomsula?

              8. Oh yes, definitely Jack.

                But this conversation started around Kaep vs Gabbert pressers. One could argue Kaep is more like Harbaugh/ Belichick. He’s never been like Tomsula.

          1. Grime
            Fangio’s Pressers occasionally shed some new light on things, don’t you think? It was such a stark contrast,to Harbaugh’s.
            To the larger point, even Ditka when he was snarling, spitting mad at a post game presser could communicate in complete sentences. If Jim was winning he would be called a loveable, affable, word mangler. When you lose you’re a moron.

            1. Fangio’s honesty probably kept him from coaching the 49ers. Basically the only worthwhile press conferences are when an unhinged player/coach goes off on a rant. The rest are just an exercise in how good a robot somebody can be. It’s all BS.

              1. Grimey:

                Just curious what you think of Tomsula’s pressers? Do you think it’s important for the HC to give pressers with “confidence and aplomb” to use Scooter’s words? Or do you think it is totally immaterial?

              2. Tomsula clearly doesn’t know how to say nothing. To me he struggles when he’s asked not to be straight forward. If he had the freedom to reveal scheme and call out his players, he probably would sound like a guy who knows football. Even though their team strategy is archaic.

                To your point above: If you were interviewing someone and they gave you a bunch of double talk without answering your question, would you consider them a candidate for a leadership position? Would they qualify just because they look and act nice?

              1. Good one, ht. That’s kinda where I was headed with my Columbo reference earlier. But we’re still waiting for the sly part.

              2. When I was a kid I would go to down town Sunnyvale, all one block of it, to watch the Seals and Oaks games on TV in a store window. Stengel was the manager of the Oaks, That’s as close as I ever got to him.

                JimmyT doesn’t strike me as a Stengel, but I don’t know him any better than I knew Stengel. JimmyT certainly doesn’t have an organization like the Yankees behind him. I fear for JimmyT’s future, and my enjoyment of the 49ers.

                If JimmyT is effective at sly then I haven’t noticed it. If his “just try harder” works Sunday I still wouldn’t expect sly to be part of the victory.

  2. It’s vogue to pile-on Kaep these days, but Kap, with his tattoos and hip-hop clothes and sometimes crass speech was only one good pass play away from winning a Superbowl.

    Sure it’s nice to see a QB meet all the aesthetic expectations, but when all is said and done it’s still about winning. I’ve been mildly impressed with Gabbert’ play.
    He seems to do and say all the right things. Now I’d like to see this translate to some more wins.

    1. Oh no… AES …

      More wins would probably knock us out of
      the Top 10 draft pick, the “experts” have us
      in their current mocks !

      1. MWN,
        You might be right. But unfortunately our beloved 49ers have so many holes to fill that it’s unlikely a top 10 pick will be able to help.

        The consensus seems to be that we draft a QB with a top 10 pick, but I’m reminded of the last high QB we drafted with the first overall pick. Alex Smith (who I actually wanted over A.Rodgers) got the low-end of the stick when he came to the 49ers because our team talent was miserable. Smith languished on a bad team until eventually he was surrounded by better players and better coaching.

        Personally, if we draft in top 10 I’m hoping we can trade down for a couple of late picks in first rd. We need to build our infrastructure which is my word for interior line.
        Pressing needs are many, but I would take a stud OLman and a pass rush specialist with the picks in the 1st rd. One can provide better protection for our QB, and the other can provide defensive disruption to the opposing QB.

        I think we can still find our future QB in the 2nd rd.

        1. AES, I hope Baalke or the new GM can bundle his late round picks to a team that needs lots of bodies (NO Ravens Browns), and move up in the draft so they can select 3 players in the first 2 rounds. Then they can get that strong Pass rusher, Tunsil or Stanley for the O line, and get that top 5 QB in the draft.

  3. I wonder if we even draft a QB this year with all the FA possibles out there next year. Would not be beyond the realm of possibility for this front office. Remember how many blue chip WR we passed on in a draft loaded with them when this was a need. Instead we filled via FAvand everyone remembers how that turned out.

  4. It looks like that Brock doesn’t want to get dirty! He’s not aggressive or willing to finish his tackle too the ground.

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