This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
Can you just tell us how RB Carlos Hyde has looked in practice?
“Yeah, to be honest with you he looks the same way he looked last week. He’s running around. The difference I think is he’s in a blue jersey, so there’s no contact. From my understanding it’s how he can take contact, but you can’t hit him right now. So, him and the doctors and [49ers vice president of communications Jeff Ferguson] Ferg will get together at the end of the week and make a determination on where he feels. I didn’t really see anything last week, but again how you’re treating him in practice is a little bit different. But, he looks like he has range of motion. Probably a better question for him than me, but he’s looked good so we’ll see.”
I guess it’s not your area, but how do you determine if a guy who doesn’t have contact in practice can have contact in a game?
“That’s between the doctors, Ferg and Carlos. One thing I know is that coaches never weigh in on an injury front and says, ‘I think the player can handle it.’ It’s really a medical decision.”
What have your impressions been of K Phil Dawson since you got here? Is he unique in any way as far as kickers you’ve come across?
“Yeah, I can’t say enough good things about Phil. I think he’s awesome. Just starting number one from his approach. I don’t know if I’ve been around, regardless of position, a person that takes his individual job to the level that Phil takes it to. The amount of work that he puts in to be so special at his craft. I don’t care if Phil was a kicker or an inside linebacker or a defensive end or whatever, he has it down. He’s been in the league a long time for a reason. He’s not around because he’s just a good guy. I think, you’ve watched him kick, we’ve trotted him out there it’s 50-yarders, it’s whatever. It’s the wind in Buffalo. It’s everything. And then my conversations with Phil honestly, part of just my respect for him is we rotate our captains at every position except for Phil. And, I tell Phil, ‘You call it.’ He knows, he can tell you exactly what time the wind picks up in stadiums. He came to me on Tuesday, ‘Alright, coach we’re going to Buffalo. Let me talk to you a little bit about the Buffalo stadium. Here’s the history of this stadium. This is the way the wind blows. It’s going to blow this way in the first quarter.’ I mean, to the point, ‘Phil, you go out. You tell me what we’re doing, which way do you want to kick. How do we handle that?’ I think it’s just how dedicated he is to being what he is and I think it’s something that all of us, whether you’re a coach or whatever position you play, is how focused he is on being the best that he can possibly be. And, I think his demeanor, his mindset, he’s as good a teammate as I’ve ever been around.”
He is your special teams captain for the rest of the year?
“He’s our team captain, and again, voted by the players. Every position is voted by the players and there was no question with Phil in terms of him being that. But, I think he’s one of those kickers that transcends that position. He’s not just looked at as a kicker I know by the coaching staff and by the players on the team. It’s just the utmost respect of him of if you want to talk about what a professional football player should act like, Phil Dawson is what a professional football player is all about.”
Have you seen him between quarters go out onto the field to gauge the wind?
“I watch it, I kind of marvel at it. To have a guy like that, it’s one of those where you don’t weigh in. You just tell me, it’s kind of our ongoing joke, tell me what you want to do. And, he’s always right. It’s awesome to have that and then just his perspective from being around teams for such a long time. You just talk to him about dynamics of different locker rooms he’s been in. His experience. He’s a wealth of knowledge. He’s really been great for me to have around.”
I think DL Glenn Dorsey played 46 snaps on Sunday. How has he reacted to that workload this week?
“It’s been good. We’re hoping that, all injuries every individual is kind of different in how they come from it, but I’m hoping it’s almost he’s kind of gotten over the final hurdle and has really done a good job, because I think just from his play, I thought he played really well on Sunday. To have a guy like that, a veteran like that in the middle of that lineup will help us sure up some things over there. He has responded well and I think it’s key getting a full 100-percent healthy Glenn Dorsey back is a real positive for us.”
How has WR Quinton Patton developed since you’ve gotten here?
“You see him, obviously, just as he’s gotten better and more comfortable in our scheme. The one thing I love about QP is just the energy that he brings every single day. He’s a very consistent person. He’s the same guy every day and he’s a high-energy guy every day. A lot of times, it’s easy to be the same guy every day if you’re kind of like this, but to be high every single day that take a lot of energy. And, he has it. He certainly does a great job of it. I think he just has a better understanding and really a comfort level in terms of what we’re doing now and you’re starting to see his numbers kind of increase as the season’s gone along. But, I think it’s really his comfort level in terms of what we’re doing and I have seen him grow. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see him grow more.”
Do you feel like he’s becoming a reliable target for your quarterbacks?
“Yeah, no question. I really do. I think our quarterbacks feel comfortable with him too knowing that they’ve got someone like QP and they’re kind of on the same page with him.”
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said yesterday he thought QB Colin Kaepernick looked like the guy he was a couple years ago. Obviously, you’ve talked a lot about his physical condition, but when you go back to that game Sunday, was that the closest you’ve seen since you’ve been here of Kaepernick being that guy he was?
“Well, I was never here with him. So, I can’t compare him. The Kap I know is the Kap, really for me, that started in the Buffalo game. So, that’s my growth process with him. It’s not fair for me to compare him to where he was before. I know we’ve had a long back and forth about where he was physically. I think you can talk about that. Obviously, he wasn’t where he was from a weight standpoint and a strength standpoint, but what he was asked to do in another system, I don’t know how he was asked to use or all those other things. So, I don’t go back and look at old tape and try to see where he is now compared to where he was before.”
His mechanics have been scrutinized ad nauseam over the years. What do you see when you watch him throw the ball? Do you wish that he did things differently or are you OK with how he throws?
“I don’t think you can wish that people do things differently. Everybody kind of has their own unique mechanics of how their body works. They’re not robots that you can program them to all throw the ball the same way. There’s certain biomechanical limitations or strengths that everybody has and that works for them. So, how one person throws may be slightly different than how another person throws. But, at the end of the day is, how is the ball coming out? At what time is it coming out? What velocity does it come out at? And I think that’s all different. You look at the PGA Tour, and I don’t think there’s anybody that can replicate [professional golfer] Jim Furyk’s swing, but when the club’s at impact, the club’s at impact and he’s a tremendous golfer. I think that’s kind of where it is. [San Diego Chargers QB] Philip Rivers has a little bit of a different delivery, but there’s not a coach in this league that wouldn’t take Philip Rivers, you know what I mean? I think sometimes people get caught up too much in that is that, well, he doesn’t have, it doesn’t look the way it looks with another guy. I’ve also seen quarterbacks that look and you watch them drop back and throw it’s as pretty as possible and then all of a sudden, you see it and it’s 10-yards over the guy’s head. But, if you just looked at the quarterback throwing, you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a really good ball,’ and then you look at the other end of it and go, ‘That’s an awful ball.’ You know what I mean? So, I think sometimes that gets scrutinized too much. Everybody can improve on their mechanics and that’s what everybody tries to do, but I think it’s kind of harmful if you try and drastically change someone from a mechanical standpoint.”
CB JaCorey Shepherd said yesterday when you called him and talked about him coming here to the Niners, I think he said one of the happiest days of his life or something like that. It meant a lot to him. Did you sense how excited he was and why, obviously you had a history with him, why did you think of him and want to bring him here?
“Well, when we had JaCorey when I was in Philadelphia, he was going to be our starting nickel and then unfortunately for him and not through his fault of his own, he hurt his leg. And I think he was on track to become a starter for us and we thought very, very highly of him when we were there and then all of a sudden when we lost [CB] Chris Davis and they’re talking about nickels available out there. When that name, one of the first names that came up and said I had experience with him. I think we jumped at the chance. He’s a guy that I think fell a little bit in the Draft because he had hurt his hamstring before the Combine and didn’t really run at the Combine. Obviously, everybody wants to know how fast is somebody. That’s the biggest thing and when he didn’t run at the combine, you watched his tape and was very, very productive. Was coached by [former University of Kansas defensive backs coach] Dave Campo, former NFL coach, at Kansas. He raved about him. So, all the reports you got back on him was a really good player. I understand the trepidation with people not knowing really what his time in the 40 was because he didn’t run. When it got to his pro day, he was encouraged to run. I don’t think he was 100-percent healthy and I think he ran 4.7 at his pro day. Did all the drills and did a really nice job, but I think he slipped in the Draft just because of that 40 time. That wasn’t really indicative of how fast JaCorey is. So, we felt like when we got him, he was a tremendous player. I don’t know what went on after I left. But, when he was available, especially at the point in time when he was available, I thought he’d be a great fit. You love his make up, you love his approach to the game. Very smart, very intelligent football player. So, we felt like we got a really good player and I think he’s starting to show that from a special teams standpoint and as we get him integrated in the secondary. The kick return stuff, we knew he did in college, but we had [Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren] Sproles and a couple other guys. So, we weren’t really using him as a kick returner in Philly. So, that’s kind of a bonus I think. But, it certainly was very productive for us this past Sunday.”
How do you see him fitting into the secondary? Where do you see him fitting best?
“A lot of it is mix and match, matchups, who you’re playing. I think he’s getting more comfortable with our system. Almost everybody does the same thing in the National Football League, but it’s called, the terminology’s a lot different from place to place to place. So, it’s his comfort level with that. But again, like I said, he’s really smart. So, I think he’s picked it up fairly well. So, we’ll see as he continues to grow here.”
Early on when you were hired, at the Combine you talked about you and general manager Trent Baalke were really like minded from your football view, perspective. Obviously, you talked about meeting with him daily. Has that continued and do you feel like that’s been a really good partnership?
“Yeah, I do. I think we see the game similar in terms of how you’re supposed to be, how you’re supposed to be stout up the middle, how you’re supposed to, what we’re looking for in players in terms of how that works. So, we don’t differ on what we value in a football player. Toughness, physicality, all those other things. I think that’s first and foremost on Trent’s list. That’s always been first and foremost on my list.”
He’s been, perhaps you’ve heard, under scrutiny and criticism. You’ve talked about you want to stay here, you’re committed to the Niners. I’m assuming based off what you’ve said you want to Trent to stay with you–?
“Yeah. I mean, we’re all under scrutiny. We all understand that. That comes with the territory, but we’ve got to all do our jobs.”