SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of NaVorro Bowman’s Thursday press conference courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
How much of RB Marshawn Lynch’s running comes out of the nickel when it’s just a front six that he’ll be running against?
“I think that’s where the game comes down to, if they can lighten up the box and run the ball. I think that’s what makes us unique. We’re able to do that more than other teams and it forces them to do other things. That’s the reason why they run the ball so much when we’re in nickel, because the box is lighter. But if we can stop it, they have to go to another plan.”
What’s the key to tackling a big back like that? Does technique become more important than it might against a different back?
“I say, him being as physical as he is when he runs the ball you don’t want to shoot your gun. You want to gather yourself and make sure you have him in front of you. And if you can do that you can definitely get him down or have a better chance of doing it. But a lot of guys shoot their gun, think he’ll fall down off of that. He just does a great job of fighting through it and breaking tackles. So, he’s a hard tackle I will admit, but it can be done.”
When you say shoot your gun, meaning you commit too early?
“Yeah, you just sellout and hope the hit that you’re delivering knocks him down instead of being fundamentally sound, gathering, forming up and tackling.”
You and LB Patrick Willis are obviously very close, you’re a team basically. Has that evolved, that relationship, because when you came he was the superstar and you weren’t playing? How has that relationship evolved over these years?
“Great. I think the main thing is that he accepts me and what I can do and allowed me to enter that part of him. And by any means there’s no ego between me and him. So, regardless of what we have to do to help this team win we are willing to do it. If that means him coming off the field or me coming off the field it’s the team, the team, the team. And as long as we continue living by that, working together and doing everything right, we’ll be fine.”
Is there a friendly competition, Pro Bowl, All-Pro notice, which you got this year. Any kind of conversation about that kind of stuff?
“We don’t really go to the awards thing, we kind of stick to game-by-game. See if we can get some sacks, some strip-fumbles, game-changing type of plays. And if you can do that out there it makes the game a lot easier for us to win, when we can challenge ourselves. And that’s just the little things that we do between one another.”
You’ve talked about film study, is it you and Pat studying the film together most times?
“It’s us studying the film differently. Not just understanding the lines in the playbook, just thinking outside of the box. What if this guy did this, and just the questions I think has us taking off the way we are. We ask questions. [Defensive coordinator] Vic [Fangio] may give us a cement answer, he may not. And the answers that he doesn’t give us that are definite we take chances out there on the field. And we understand that. We know when to do that and I think that’s the studying part of the game.”
What makes head coach Jim Harbaugh such a good coach?
“He’s a players’ coach and I always say that because I think he puts us first before he makes any decision. And he cares. You can see him getting that 15-yard penalty, people thought he was just acting out of himself, but he was just trying to stop that game clock. So, all those things we love about him, and I think that’s what makes him a great coach, that he’s all in.”
Do you talk to him a lot?
“All the time. Yeah, all the time. I think he talks to everyone. And we have our little sessions at the end of practice where guys give their speech or whatever they want to say to guys, and it’s not the captains, it’s not the superstars, it’s everyone on this team. And I think that shows out there on the field that everyone knows and loves one another.”
What was your reaction in March when you heard you just traded for WR Anquan Boldin?
“We had just lost the Super Bowl, so I was a little yay and nay on that one. But just to come here and see how committed he is to another team just shows the character and the type of guy that he is. And we knew in training camp that we’d get his all. And I think he’s done that and showed that for this team.”
What’s his experience bring to the offense?
“His toughness, I think him being able to calm guys down when things get rough. Him making the big plays for us when we need it. Understanding where the stick is when he’s catching the ball, all those things, and intimidating those cornerbacks. He’s so strong that corners understand that, so they back off on him and just try to make that tackle. But, he just does a great job with just making big plays for us.”
What have you noticed from LB Aldon Smith since he’s been back? Has he been more focused, more relaxed, anything like that?
“Anytime a guy leaves the team you expect the guy to come back and work harder and show that he missed it and is willing to work back to where he was and he’s done all of those things. I wouldn’t say he’s a different person, I would just say he understands his situation and he’s done a great job handling it.”
I’m from D.C., a lot of people from your home state in Maryland are rooting for you right now. At this level do you still think about your high school coaches and your high school team even at this point in your career?
“All the time. Every single day. Some of what’s inside of me, my high school coach got it out of me when I wanted to go the other way. He let me know that I had something special. So, him being gone and me doing all these things, I talk to him and it just keeps me humble and keeps me grounded and makes me go on to the next week with the same mentality, and just to continue to know that he’s smiling down on me.”
Going back to the Seattle run game, is Marshawn Lynch the best back that you’ve faced in your career?
“There are a lot of good backs. I wouldn’t say the best because we’ve done well against Marshawn Lynch. And after that game you probably would have said, ‘How’d you guys do on him?’ So, every single week it depends on how we stop the run, which makes backs look good. So, I don’t know if I would say the best, but he’s damn good.”