SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
Have you announced or selected team captains for this season?
“No, we haven’t.”
“We have squad leaders at each position and then we’ll have game captains as the season goes along.”
The pace of your offense in the preseason, was that what you’re looking for or do you think that you can get things faster–?
“No, the preseason for us was about evaluation and making sure we could get a proper look at all of our guys. The biggest thing is taking your roster from 90 to 75 to 53. So, we weren’t overly concerned with were we playing fast, playing slow, playing whatever. We were very generic in what we did on both sides of the ball. It was really, our preseason for us was an evaluation time for us.”
Are you happy with what you’ve seen tape-wise in practice? Is it up to where you–?
“Yeah, practice is so much different because there’s no officials. So, you always go faster in practice because the ball is down a lot faster. So, the mechanics of a game are always slower than the mechanics of practice.”
When you go through the four preseason games, how much are you holding back, how much are you trying not to put on film?
“It wasn’t to not put on film and it wasn’t to hold back. It was to just give our guys an opportunity to properly evaluate them. So, the more you put in and the more, there wasn’t a lot of game planning that went in just because we wanted to see our guys go out and execute and play football. If they were out there thinking because we put in a new play on Tuesday and we played a game on Thursday, then they are not performing. And the biggest thing for us was our evaluation and our opportunity to make sure that we got the right 53 here out of the 90 that were available to us.”
Did something click for OL Trent Brown between the offseason, workouts, OTAs and training camp?
Yeah, he seemed like a better player by the time training camp rolled around.
“He started at the end of last year and we were really impressed by him through OTAs and going into this preseason camp, so there was nothing. To me, we were very high on Trent when we got here. I thought he finished on a really good note at the end of last season and he’s continuing to make strides every day, but there wasn’t a day where all of a sudden, ‘Hey, it clicked.’ I think since we’ve had our chance to get our hands on him, he’s been great.”
When you look at this matchup against the Rams, do you see two offenses that want to run the ball a lot, that’s going to be the primary way to want to move the ball?
“Well, I think teams are going to play to their strengths no matter what you have. You have two outstanding backs in [Los Angeles Rams RB Todd] Gurley and [49ers RB Carlos] Hyde. But, it’s not exclusive. You know, you just can’t say, ‘Hey, we stopped the run and didn’t pay attention to [Los Angeles Rams WR] Tavon Austin and [Los Angeles Rams WR] Kenny Britt and those other guys.’ I mean, you still have to defend everything. But obviously, we know we’re going to get a steady dose of Todd on Monday night.”
What do you see as the team’s biggest weakness going into Monday night?
“We’ll figure it out when we play the game. That’s what the game’s all about. So, you know, we’ll continue to get better on a daily basis, but I don’t look at it as, ‘Hey, we’re weak here or we’re strong here.’ You really don’t know until you get everybody out there and get them playing.”
What’s DL Glenn Dorsey’s timetable?
“He’s continuing to go through practice this week and we expect to have him on Monday.”
You expect to have him on Monday?
“Yeah, as long as he continues to progress. Again, he could get hurt today in practice or have a setback. But, it seems like he’s on track.”
With QB Blaine Gabbert, how eager are you to see him over the course of a full game and see the growth in your offense over–?
“Well, I don’t think there’s a particular guy. I mean, Blaine is just like everybody else. So, I know the focus of the NFL is the quarterback, but I’m excited to see [49ers WR] Quinton Patton. You know, I’m excited to see [49ers WR] Jeremy Kerley in only the short time we’ve had him, how he fits in. So, it’s the whole group and it’s not just one guy. I think it’s the entire group to be honest with you.”
How have you seen him grow specifically since you got here?
“Blaine? You know, the one thing about Blaine is that I think he’s got an outstanding work ethic. He obviously has the athleticism and the skillset to be a quarterback, but you continue to see him on a daily basis how much film he studies, how much time he’s in this building, how much work he does on his craft. So, it’s a lot of fun to watch a guy that spends that much time trying to make himself better get the opportunity that he’s earned on Monday night.”
Did you see that when you got here that he looked comfortable taking ownership of that starting role even though it wasn’t official until this last weekend but it looked like he was taking ownership of it right away?
“Yeah. I mean, I think Blaine is Blaine. That’s whether he was first or second. I mean, I think the one thing about Blaine and that you admire is there’s a consistency to him in his approach. So, I think he approaches every day kind of similar, which is what you want out of all your players. So, I don’t think it had anything to do with whether it was ownership or anything like that. I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as a guy that really is consistent in his approach and consistent in his work ethic.”
How unique is someone like Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald providing what he provides that defense right in the middle at defensive tackle?
“Really special player. One of the best defensive tackles in this game. He’s so explosive and so dynamic. Very rarely does one guy get him blocked because he can get off a block so quickly. So, the one thing that you notice is sometimes he will be blocked and you stop the film first two steps in, the offensive guard’s doing a great job of covering him up and then he’s off the block. So, he does such a great job getting off of blocks and making plays. To have that type of a playmaker on the inside of your defense, it’s rare that there’s someone that’s that athletic that’s playing that position and that’s obviously certainty something that has everybody’s attention, not just us because we’re playing them on Monday, but I think anybody that plays the Rams. When you just turn the tape on, you’ll see 99 kind of jump off the tape.”
Athletically, how does OL Anthony Davis stack up to him?
“I think Anthony is very athletic when it comes to offensive linemen. But, you know defensive linemen are usually a little bit more athletic than any offensive lineman. That’s kind of how those guys get parceled out. But, Anthony’s a lot bigger and a lot more physical. So, there’s a give and take there.
With the game planning, how much are you with the offense and how much are you with the defense during the week?
“Because of how we meet, I get an opportunity to go to both meetings, both installs with the offensive and defensive players and then a lot of our stuff is done. I’m in the offensive room because I’m on the offensive side of the ball, but then I go and meet with the entire defensive staff and go get it from them.”
Are you one who can appreciate the moment on Monday? I know there’s a lot going on and busy but you know, a new era, you’re first real game, you’ve got the Rams who are playing their first game as LA, back as LA. It’s a new era for you that you’re starting, it’s really the real deal.
“Well, I think every day’s the real deal. So, that’s the way we’ve always approached it. So, I’m not nostalgic and look at new era, bad, whatever it is, I don’t think we approach it that way. The game itself doesn’t know how important it is. It’s the importance that we put on the game. So, we’ve put an emphasis on every single day of our preparation. We put an emphasis on our preseason. If they’re going to keep score, we’re trying to win those preseason games. It’s not, you watch the enthusiasm, just look at our sideline when we had that pick in the San Diego Chargers game. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh god, let’s get out of here.’ Our guys were fired up and excited about that and it’s a competitive group. So, I don’t think we look at it or paint it as this is because of what it is, it’s a Monday night game. Every game’s extremely important in this league. At the end of this season, it’s going to come down to one game one way or the other for four teams and if you said, hey, well, it was really, we put a big emphasis on that Monday night game. You better put a big emphasis on the second game when you get ready to play Carolina. But, for us, all of our emphasis is always on the game that we play that week.”
ME: QB Colin Kaepernick is a quarterback who played in the Super Bowl. What did you take away from his performance with backups and against backups in the final preseason game?
“I thought Kap did a nice job. It was unfortunate for him because of the arm injury that we didn’t have an opportunity to see him earlier, to get a chance to get in there against Houston and our second preseason game. But, then finally get back out there. He got some limited reps in terms of the third preseason game but just to get him back on his feet and get him going. He’ll be the first to tell you we need to get him back to where he was physically. He’s still working on that. I think he’s obviously got nothing wrong with him from the injuries that he had last year. So, medically he’s cleared to play, but physically he still needs to make some strides in terms of getting back to where he was as a player. So, that’s kind of the process that we’re going through right now.”
Was there any though that because he’s not all the way back, to slide QB Christian Ponder into that number two role?
“No. I mean, he’s not all the way back to being the Super Bowl quarterback that he was, but it’s not by, I mean, you guys watched the game against San Diego. It’s not like we don’t feel like he can go out and compete for us. And it’s the same thing with Christian. Christian was knocking some rust off too because he’s had some time off. So, Christian’s, if you ask him, probably isn’t where he would want to be at this point in time during the season. But, he’s growing and getting better on a daily basis. I thought he played really well in his opportunities since we got him. We’ll continue to grow Christian from the same standpoint. So, our hope is for all those guys is they continue to grow and continue to improve.”
What was your reaction when you heard about LB Tank Carradine’s extension and can he be one of the most important players on this defense this year?
“I was just happy for Tank. I think it’s well deserved. He’s done a great job since we’ve gotten here and the transition from, he was a defensive lineman, we’ve had him at outside linebacker since we got here. Obviously, he’s got a little bit more of an opportunity because [49ers LB] Aaron’s [Lynch] out for those first four games. But, you know, it’s really a credit to Tank for taking a situation where he could step up and then he actually did step up. So, I’m happy for Tank.”
What, if anything, are you doing differently with the 49ers due to what you learned during your time with the Eagles?
“Put a lot more sunscreen on.”
How quickly has Jeremy Kerley gotten up to speed in the offense? Do you like what you see from him?
“We do. I think he’s a wily veteran. He’s been around. He was in [New York Jets offensive coordinator] Chan Gailey’s system when he was with the Jets and that’s where [49ers offensive coordinator] Curtis Modkins and [49ers wide receivers coach] Bob Bicknell coached with Chan in Buffalo. So, there was a gap that they could bridge. They may have called it toss when they were with the Jets, we call it this. So, I think, and he’s really smart. He’s a really smart football player. So, him being able to pick up what we’re doing offensively, there’s, not a lot is the same in terms of terminology, but to be able for our two coaches to know how he called things where he was coming from to where he is here helps. The other stop he had was in Detroit, where Curtis was last year. So, Curtis, some of the concepts and some of those things, I think having Curtis and Bob here have really helped him. But, you can tell right away that Jeremy’s a pretty smart football player.”
Where is WR Rod Streater as far as his first four days here and how much has he been able to get integrated?
“He’s the same. I think he’s picked things up rather quickly. When you get a veteran that’s been in the league, the biggest thing for those guys is just the, what’s the terminology and how do you get it in and how do you communicate. Again, for Rod, he’s been in the league for four years. Same thing with Jeremy. So, they’ve all run the same type of routes. They’ve run a fade. They’ve run a jet. They’ve run a post. They’ve run a corner. They’ve run a shallow cross. You know, all the routes that everybody runs in the NFL. It’s just kind of bridging that gap from a terminology standpoint and Rod has picked it up well. It’s been unique with Jeremy because of the overlap with the coaching systems that Curtis and Bob Bicknell have with where Jeremy’s been in the past. But, it’s not like Rod’s behind from that standpoint.”
Regarding Trent Brown again, got people such as T Joe Staley, Denver Broncos LB Von Miller, 49ers offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, have indicated that he cannot just be a good starter but a very special player in the NFL. That’s a lot for a guy who hasn’t played much to this point. Do you share that opinion and what is it about him?
“Yeah, I think we all share that opinion. You guys can watch him too. There’s not many people that are that big, that size, that athletic that can do what Trent can do. Now, the biggest thing for everybody to making that step is the consistency basis. Can you do it over time? But, he certainly is unique in his athletic ability matched with his size, which is very uncommon for this league to have someone that big, that athletic. But, I think we all share that and understand that. It’s just a matter of now him doing it on a consistent basis and proving it over time. But, what he’s doing isn’t a surprise to anybody that’s been around him every day because that’s what we see every day from a training standpoint.”