SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
How is QB Thad Lewis doing?
“Thad has torn his ACL, so he will be out for the season.”
Did that come as a surprise today or did you sense that might be a possibility last night?
“They said they were sending him for an MRI, but they didn’t know one way or another. They didn’t know if it was going to be something with his lower leg or the ligament. Obviously we erred on the side of caution, get him an MRI and make sure we know exactly what it is. That’s what just came back a couple minutes ago.”
How did it happen?
“I think it was on the last play he got tackled on. He was kind of scrambling out of there and got hit. He actually didn’t think he was hurt that bad. But, we took him out and put [QB] Jeff [Driskel] in.”
What does that do to you guys as far as what’s the timetable, are you bringing guys in or will you have somebody meet you in Denver?
“We haven’t had any discussions on that. We literally just got done meeting with [vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg, so I haven’t talked to [general manager] Trent [Baalke] about any situation at the quarterback spot.”
Any further optimism today that QB Colin Kaepernick would be able to take part in these upcoming practices?
“Again, didn’t discuss that. I literally just got done talking about Thad, so we haven’t had any discussions about anybody else besides Thad.”
With Thad, would you like him to stay around to kind of be there for the other quarterbacks, just because he knows your system?
“Yeah, we would like that with all of our players that are on Injured Reserve. We want to keep them around, keep them learning, keep them part of the team. Obviously they can’t participate in practice, but they can still sit in our meetings. They can do their rehab working with Ferg and [director of human performance Mark Uyeyama] Uye, getting ready to go next year. So, I don’t think this is a retirement thing for Thad by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just really disappointed for him because I thought he played well yesterday and was really starting to come on. But, we would like him to stick around.”
He broke a few tackles just trying to escape pressure in there. Is that kind of the trademark of his game is his mobility?
“No, I think he throws the ball really well and he’s a very smart and decisive quarterback. So, I thought once he settled down out there and got into a rhythm, he took us on two real good scoring drives. One of them ended up with a field goal down in the redzone and then obviously the other one ended with a fumble in the redzone. But, I thought he did a really good job at managing the team.”
You’ve had another, WR Eric Rogers who’s been out, but you haven’t filled that roster spot. Is there really no need at this point–?
“No, it’s because if you waive him right now, you waive him injured and you expose him to the rest of the league, so someone could claim him injured. So, we’re not going to do that with Eric right now.”
On the fumble by RB Carlos Hyde, I’ve watched the play a few times, what should be happening there? Is it a missed block by one of those two guys?
“Yeah, we didn’t get off on the snap count on the backside, so there was a little bit of penetration there that got to Carlos. We’ve got to do a better job of getting off the snap count on the back side.”
So the right tackle needs to come off the ball more sharply?
“Yeah, they just all have to come off at the same time. If you slow it down we just weren’t all coming off at the same time. So, we’ve got to get everybody in unison getting off on the snap count.”
Any other guys stand out on film, maybe one of the cornerbacks especially? There’s so many guys fighting for jobs there.
“Well it’s interesting, you look at some guys, we thought [DB] Jimmie Ward had a good game, didn’t have a ball thrown his way so there wasn’t an opportunity for him, but did a really good job in coverage. [CB] Chris Davis did a really good job at the nickel spot for us. [CB] Tramaine Brock did another really good job out there. Going back to Chris, I think he had a couple of third down stops that were big in that situation. [CB Keith] Reaser gave up one where he kind of slipped on an underthrown ball, but besides that we thought he played well. There was a group of corners out there that I think we were pleased with after watching film.”
You had CB Dontae Johnson back at safety for a little bit. Is that–?
“Just some versatility with those guys. I think [CB Kenneth] Acker played some safety also. When you’re looking at a lot of different guys and who’s going to make the eventual, what we always talk about, the 46-man roster, is the more versatile the players are the more they can bring to the table. So, if they are really good special teams players and have the ability to be both corners and safeties, that benefits them. Just taking a look at guys in various spots out there.”
LB Ray-Ray Armstrong made a couple plays at inside linebacker. Any movement in that group? Anybody standing out among that trio?
“I think we thought all the inside linebackers played well, which is a positive. Again, we’re not playing for a little bit here, so we’ll continue to grow all those guys and fit it in next to LB [Navarro Bowman] Bo. There may be different packages for different guys depending on as we try to figure out what their strengths are as we move forward. But, Ray-Ray played well. I thought [LB Gerald] Hodges played well. [LB Michael] Wilhoite was solid, and I think the other two guys, [LB Nick] Bellore and [LB Shayne] Skov both had really good games, really productive games, so we feel good about our inside linebacker position.”
Has there been any discussion about potentially moving T Anthony Davis to guard?
“We haven’t had any discussions about that right now. AD’s just getting solid at the tackle spot. And again, we just played our first preseason game, so we’ve got a lot of ways to go. As we kind of look at the different combinations that are out there, but still looking at AD at tackle.”
Just to pursue that further, does his build, his skillset lend himself to potentially playing inside?
“I think Anthony can play anywhere on an offensive line. Whether it be right tackle, left tackle, center, left guard, right guard, I think when you’ve got someone 6-5, 330 pounds that moves like he moves, I think you could play any position along the offensive line.”
One more right tackle question. What were your impressions of OL Trent Brown?
“I thought Trent, in an extended period of play, did a nice job. He didn’t give up any pressures. He’s just such a tall, long guy. Once he gets his hands on you in a pass-protection situation, it makes it very difficult for guys and I thought he was solid in the run game. It was good to see him. I think he got 28 snaps. It was good to see him have some success out there.”
How much of a reflection on G Andrew Tiller is it that you’ve decided to give G Joshua Garnett snaps on the other side now?
“It’s got no reflection on anybody. It’s just trying to get, the same thing I talked about with CB Donte Johnson, just moving guys around. [OL] Ian Silberman was on the left side and then moved over to the right side, so [offensive line coach Pat Flaherty] Flats is just moving guys around just like [defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley] Haff is moving guys around in the secondary, trying to get a feel for where they will fit in and how this thing will shake itself out.”
What about Joshua Garnett in his first NFL game? How’d he do?
“I thought he was solid. I think he had one or two plays he probably wants back. I think maybe the excitement of the game or as we got started, but I think by and large for the first time out there he’s a physical player and can create movement at the point of attack. The things we’ve seen all along you continued to see from him and you continue to see him get better and better as he moves forward. So, I know he’ll build upon that experience. He’ll be better this week than he was last week. And that’s what I love about Josh. He’s always growing.”
With some of Blaine’s incompletions early on, were any of those due to maybe he and the target weren’t on the same page?
“Yeah, the second throw to Carlos was that situation. He thought Carlos was breaking to the flat. Carlos was sitting, so they weren’t on the same page in that situation.”
CB Rashard Robinson, how did he look?
“He only played about six to eight snaps total. I think he was good in those six to eight snaps. It wasn’t a lot of exposure, and then he just got tight, so they erred on the side of precaution, but he should be able to go this week. This will be a big week for him.”
Do you anticipate DL Arik Armstead will return to team drills this week?
“Again, I haven’t talked to Ferg exactly about Armstead in particular, so I don’t know have the exact answer on that one.”
Is WR DeAndre Smelter’s condition kind of a similar–?
“Smelter is more of a week-to-week than a day-to-day. Those other guys are day-to-day. With Smelt, I don’t think we’ll see him this week. Hopefully we’ll get him back.”
Is that similar to what he was experiencing in the offseason program?
“I’m not sure what he was experiencing in the offseason program.”
“I don’t have an answer on that one.”
RB Shaun Draughn took a big hit and then didn’t come back into the game. Was that because he was going to come out anyway?
“He was probably going to come out anyway, but they said he was good after the game. There were no concerns with Shaun, so he should be good to go tomorrow.”