This is the transcript of Colin Kaepernick’s Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ p.r. department.
Did RB Frank Gore surprise you at all for what he was able to do six days after a concussion?
“I can’t say he did because I expect a lot out of Frank and there’s not too much he does that amazes me anymore because that’s just the standard he’s set for himself.”
Are there times when he surprises you when you hand off to him and you don’t see a hole there and somehow he kind of maneuvers or seeps his way through a hole?
“I think it’s something that at this point, it doesn’t surprise me anymore because he does it so often. He does a lot of great things and makes a lot of plays that I really don’t see available out there.”
How difficult would it be if he wasn’t around next year? Certainly he’s meant a lot to this organization.
“He’s a huge asset and I’m hoping he’s back here. Feel a lot more comfortable with 21 in the backfield.”
There’s this myth or a belief that running backs at age 30 start losing their skills. How is Frank maybe breaking that myth and that stereotype?
“Well, I think last game he showed it. Coming off a concussion, Week 16 of the season, going for I don’t know how many yards – 150 or something like that. I don’t see him slowing down, so I think he’s proven his point.”
What does he do, though, behind the scenes that you see that we don’t to keep at that level?
“He works. He’s in there getting his workouts in. In practice, he’s working hard, he’s running hard. And I think that’s what allows him to keep going during these games.”
You probably weren’t alive, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman compared, just a little while ago, the Cardinals defense to the ’85 Bears defense, one of the greatest defenses in the NFL. What do you see from that defense, and in your eyes, is it one of the top you’ve ever seen?
“Very physical defense, very fast. Have good corners, good safeties and their front seven do a great job stopping the run. They’ll get their safeties involved at times, but they just play all around good team football and that’s what makes it tough when you have people flying around chasing the ball.”
How big is getting to .500 for this team going into this final game?
“I think that’s where everyone’s mind is at. We want to win this last game and make sure, even though we can’t get into the playoffs, that we finish the season right.”
You may have heard people say, ‘You need to improve this. You need to do that.’ When you look towards the offseason, are you going to change anything up? Do you think that’s necessary as far as the way you approach it, your training or anything?
“I change things every offseason. Little bit here, little bit there. Try to make sure I’m staying on top of the things that I feel like are my weaknesses. And I’ll do the same this offseason to make sure I’m better prepared for next season.”
Patriots QB Tom Brady, I know he tears it down every year and works with a mechanics coach. Are you planning on doing that this offseason?
“That’s still in the works.”
Are you compiling names of who you might if you do?
“Just working on possibilities right now.”
What are some of the specific areas that you might tweak?
“Once we go back and break down the games throughout the season, I’ll be able to figure those things out, what I need to get better at.”
During the season, you’re grinding, working on the next team, next opponent, your game plan. Are you able to watch yourself with a critical eye, as far as the mechanics during the season or does that kind of get pushed to the side a little bit?
“No, you still watch mechanics, what you can do better, but it’s more of a week-to-week basis. It’s hard to break habits in season. You don’t want to completely try to change something because it can throw off everything else you’re doing.”
Do you, not to beat this dead horse any further, but I will, do you see stuff that mechanically that you’d know right now, ‘OK, I need to tighten that up?’
“There’s always things you can tighten up.”
What have you seen from WR Bruce Ellington, his rookie year, and how has he handled his limited role?
“He’s done a lot of things well. We’ve put him in positions to allow him to make plays in certain situations and he’s come up big, especially last game. I think he showed that he has a lot of juice on the field. He brings a lot of excitement, momentum on that field, and that’s something we want.”
Did you see when he was doing those fly sweeps, did you see the defense reacting to that and giving you some good, favorable looks because of it?
“Yeah. His touchdown’s a prime example. We got the defense leaning, he popped wide open. We got a touchdown out of it. We come back later, run a fly sweep, he gets another touchdown. So, there’s definitely merit to what he’s done and that action.”
We haven’t seen you just tearing down the field like you did Saturday night much this season. Was it something about the way the Chargers played you that left open lanes for you when you scrambled?
“I just saw openings and went. I don’t know if they had a special scheme for it where they were going to void the middle or anything like that, but there were lanes there and we were able to take advantage.”
Generally, have you seen teams using a spy on you?
“Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of spies.”
In those cases Saturday night, that wasn’t the case?
How has head coach Jim Harbaugh seemed this week in what could be his final week coaching you guys?
“The same as always.”
Today’s his birthday and Michigan put out a big birthday for him. Do you guys do anything for him?
“Yeah, we’ve got a little something for him.”
“No, we’ll keep that in house.”
Do you admire the way he, there’s been a lot of whispers, a lot of rumors this year and he hasn’t taken part in it. He’s been very focused on the team, at least with us. Do you, as players, sort of recognize that and admire the way he’s handled the situation?
“I think it’s the same way the whole team has handled it. We’re focused on trying to win games. Granted, things haven’t gone our way in a few of those, but the way he’s handled it, the way this team’s handled it’s been great. We’re focused on the next game.”