SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Week-12 Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
Do you have anything confirmed as far as S Eric Reid’s–?
“I have not talked to [vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg yet. We have a meeting every day at 1:30 on Monday. So, that’s when I get all the information updates on everybody.”
Were they initially looking at him for a torn bicep? Was that the–?
“I haven’t talked to Ferg and I’ll meet with him at 1:30. I’m not being evasive. I just haven’t had any conversations about it. Once I get the information, we’ll get it to you.”
If he’s lost, is S Jaquiski Tartt ready to go in and line up next to S Antoine Bethea? Would that be the backup plan?
“Yeah, right now. Again, we’ll discuss what it is when we get to 1:30, but we haven’t had any talks about anything. Right now we just finished up the last game and then moving on to Miami in terms of film analysis and breakdowns.”
When you look at the skid you guys are in, what’s been the most disappointing part specifically about what you guys haven’t been able to do, other than win games?
“Probably the most disappointing part is there’s not one thing. So, it’s not, ‘You can point at this and you can correct that and then we’ll move it.’ It flows depending on the game you’re playing and who you’re playing with. As I talked to our guys yesterday after the game, it was about finishing. You’re a step away from getting [New England Patriots QB Tom] Brady and he did such a good job of keeping himself alive in the pocket. The touchdown he threw to [New England Patriots WR Danny] Amendola, the touchdown he threw off the scramble at the end were plays where we’re half a second away or even closer than that of getting him down and finishing the play and I think that’s what you have to do against a good quarterback and we didn’t do it.”
Why at the end of the game did you call three timeouts under two minutes?
“Because it’s a two-score game. So, if you can get the ball back and you get a chance to score, we would have gotten the ball back with, I think, a minute-thirty. Then, you’ve got a chance to score and get an onside kick. Just trying to keep ourselves involved in the game.”
Even if they’re inside the 20-yard line, could kick a field goal in that instance, that makes it 16 points?
“They could. I think they missed 12 extra points yesterday in the National Football League. It was a rainy day. So, we’re not going to quit.”
You may have heard your comments about how you’re not built to be an every down passing team perceived by some as a–?
“Yeah. I’m not really concerned with perception. So, it’s just a basic, we’re not a team that’s going to throw the ball 60 times a game. That’s just not how we’re built. So, we’re built to run the ball, play-action pass off of the run game and that’s what I meant. However people perceive that is entirely up to them.”
Is that a commentary on your wide receivers? You don’t have a whole lot of established wide receivers.
“It’s just overall, the way our team is built. We’re built to run the football. [RB] Carlos [Hyde] is the main focus of what we’re doing offensively. We have a running quarterback that complements him and then our play-action pass complements that and when we’re running the ball successfully and play-action pass off of that, we’re very good as an offensive football team. But, to think we’re going to go into a game and throw the ball 60 times and win, then that’s not a game plan for success for us.”
Do you want to–?
“Throw the ball 60 times a game? No.”
That wasn’t what I was going to ask. But, do you want to, at some point teams are down by multiple scores in the fourth quarter and you have to have that capability. Would you like to be a team that can, if needed, throw the ball?
“Well, then that means you have everything. Yeah, I would love to be a team that could throw the ball 60 times a game and I would love to be a team that could run the ball 60 times a game. So, yes.”
You’re obviously 1-9, everyone’s job security comes into question. At your introductory press conference, 49ers Chief Executive Officer Jed York said you are going to be the head coach for a long time. Have you gotten assurances from Jed that you are going to be here next year?
“No. We haven’t had any conversations about that at all and about anybody’s job security.”
Do you fully expect to be here next year?
Do I expect to be in my job next year?
I hope so. I’ve got a performance review coming up in December.
“Well, that’ makes two of us.”
Yours might be January.
“We’re all in the same boat.”
How has WR DeAndre Smelter looked since he’s been back with the team and is he somebody that can come up and be active in these last six weeks?
“He’s been OK, but he hasn’t played better than the guys that are on the active roster right now. So, that has not been a discussion about bringing him up.”
The one play where QB Colin Kaepernick kind of ran, got flushed out of the pocket and threw back towards WR Chris Harper, that was kind of like one of those certain players where, in that play, where you’re like–?
“No, just because of where it was in the game. I think it was third-and-10. We’re obviously behind. We’ve got to make a play. So, I understood what his thought process was there. You hope that he just didn’t throw it away, see if we can make a play and scramble. Usually when we scramble, our scramble mechanics are to work back towards the quarterback. Harp worked away from the quarterback but we were fortunate to make a play. Chris made a heck-of-a catch and really Kap threw it the only place where he could throw it. But, at that point in time, I think it’s you’re trying to do anything to make a play. So, that’s really what happened there.”
After the game, Carlos said he got back to being attacking the line of scrimmage. For your running backs, is there a balance that they have to find between kind of attacking and that patience that you guys always talk about and where is he in that?
“Well, I think you need to find the holes. That’s the most important thing. And I don’t know, sometimes that is attacking and sometimes that is patience. It’s a combination of the two. So, the biggest thing for the running back is having the vision to understand where the hole’s going to be and when the hole breaks that you have the opportunity to get yourself through it. So, sometimes it’s going to be a quick-hitting play and you’ve got to hit it quickly and other times you’ve got to let the blocks develop. So, it really just depends on the play call in terms of where you are for that.”
How is he doing with that?
“I thought he was OK yesterday.”
Kap only had, I think, four runs yesterday. Were there opportunities where he could have taken off more or–?
“No, I don’t think so. They sat their defensive ends and really wanted the ball handed off and then rallied to that. So, in terms of some of the things we did in the run game where we were reading people, they were making sure that the ball was handed off. I think that was part of their design defensively.”
You alluded to this yesterday. Everyone could see it. Tom Brady’s short area ability to escape the rush. And everybody feels like Colin is a very elusive guy back there, but is that something that he needs to work on, just being able to move just a step or two to buy time?
“I think it’s something that comes with time. You look at Tom over the course of his career has really perfected that trait. But, one of the nuances of playing the quarterback position is the ability to move in the pocket, not to run, not to take off and get out of there but to be able to avoid bodies and find yourself proper throwing lanes to get yourself set to throw the football and that’s one of the things where, as I said yesterday and I think a lot people would say that Tom is as good as anybody at that at the quarterback position in terms of doing that and just keeping plays alive. He’s not going to keep plays alive where he’s going to take off and run for 20 yards. He’s going to keep plays alive in the pocket.”
Is that something that Colin can improve at?
“I think it’s something that almost everybody in the NFL can improve at.”
How much different are defenses defending you guys in the second half of games, generally?
“I think it’s the same as the first half. It’s just sometimes we have to throw a little bit more. So, obviously there’s not that balance of run-pass where they have to defend both. But, I think because we’re down, when you’re down two, three scores and everybody knows there’s not a lot of time left in the fourth quarter, then you’re going to throw the ball more than you’re going to run the ball. So, I think that just gives the defense, I mean, any smart defense knows that you’re up three scores and there’s eight minutes to go in the game, they’re probably going to throw it here. But, their game plan hasn’t changed in terms of how they’re defending us.”
Is the onus on the coaching staff to make more adjustments in the second half or is it just we need to play better in the first half? What’s the solution in your mind? How do you guys need to fix what’s going on?
“Well, we have to execute in the second half. Obviously, it was a 13-10 ball game going into the fourth quarter. They scored on the first drive of the fourth quarter. So, as I said yesterday, the third quarter was kind of a wash with the weather. But, then when we get behind, we have to execute and we’ve got to make plays.”
ME: The team has scored 16 points in the third quarter this season. Has the problem just been execution or falling behind and not having balance or–?
“I think probably both and I think part of that is when you fall behind and you don’t have balance, when people know that you’re going to just do one thing, you’re an easier team to defend from that standpoint (EDITOR’S NOTE: The 49ers’ average halftime deficit has been just 4.5 points, and the offense has run the ball four more times than it has passed during third quarters this season). So, if I’m a defensive end and all I have to do is pin my ears back and rush the quarterback, I don’t have to worry about the run, I don’t have to respect the run, I’m not concerned with that, it makes it a little bit more difficult to go against that.”
How often do you meet with the position group leaders and just to kind of get the pulse of the locker room?
“I probably talk to all of them daily. In terms of set group meetings, it depends on if we have an issue or something that we have to talk about. Schedule, travel, things like that.”
I’m curious if you ran by the next two weeks’ schedule–?
“Yeah, they know that. We’ve done that.”
What kind of feedback did you get from them?
“They were excited about it. They didn’t really want to travel back then travel again. So, that was a big part of it. They had a big say in the matter of what we were going to do and the guys that had done it before talked about it. Guys like [T] Joe [Staley] that had done it before said he actually liked it from a travel standpoint and what that does to you. So, they felt comfortable in doing it. So, that was a big input in terms of the decision, but I ran that by all those guys.”
After having a better run defense game last week, again you were challenged this week with 171 yards on the ground. Can you assess the run defense?
“Just who you were going against, I thought we were OK. We gave up too many big plays though. I think we had the one 40-yard run. We had a blitz called, but we weren’t gapped out. But, that was the big play. That big run play right there was a real big one that I think we have to take advantage of. Then, there were a couple of reverses that hit, a speed sweep that hit. So, a little bit more diverse run game than some of the other teams we’ve faced.”
You head into Miami facing another really strong running back. What do you have prepared for him?
“Same thing. I think [Miami Dolphins head coach] Adam [Gase] does a really good job with what they do offensively. We have to tackle better. We didn’t tackle as well in this game as we did in the game before. We had too many missed tackles, especially when the ball got spilled to the perimeter. We didn’t tackle as well as we did in the last game. And again, we talked about that as when you have a big back or even some of the backs on some of the swing routes coming out of the backfield where we could have had them off the field on third down, we’ve got to do a better job of tackling those guys.”
Were you one of the people that came up to K Phil Dawson on the sideline between his field goal and going back to the kickoff? Seemed like he got a nice greeting from your sideline.
“Yeah. I think our players and everybody recognized that. It’s a pretty cool feat, the fact that he could kick 400 field goals in his career. It says a lot about Phil as a player and to be the most accurate doing it, I think, is another part of it. To have 472 attempts to get to 400 field goals, I think it’s over 84-percent. So, I think everybody on the team understands how special a moment that was for Phil and understands what it means in the course of the history of this game.”
Do you like having the extra point pushed back that far?
“I don’t care. We don’t have a say in the rules. So, just tell me where it is and we’ll play it.”
How about if they gave you a two-point conversion attempt from the one instead? Do you think that would encourage–?
“I’m not a hypothetical guy. So, if that’s what they give us, we’ll adjust to the rules. If they don’t give it to us, then we’ll play with how the rules are. I have a lot of other things to worry about than do I like the rule or do I not like the rule.”