SANTA CLARA —
This is the transcript of Curtis Modkins’ Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Good morning. It’s actually good to see you guys, kind of missed you guys. It’s good to be back. I think the Bye Week was good for us. I think everybody is rejuvenated. The guys are fresh and they are up and they’re ready to get going and ready for the day’s practice and see if we can get this thing turned around. I know you guys have got plenty of questions, so go ahead.”
Where do things stand with RB Carlos Hyde and his shoulder?
“I’m not sure where Carlos is. We’ll see how it goes today and see how he progresses, but the good thing is that’s not a decision that has to be made right now. So, we’ll see where he’s at.”
What did you guys do during the Bye Week as a coaching staff offensively?
“Well, it’s a lot of studying, a lot of self-evaluation, a lot of looking at where we’re at and what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and those sorts of things. We feel like this whole deal is a learning process, us learning them, them learning us. The Bye Week gives you a chance to kind of look at all that in accumulation, see where we’re at. I think it was productive for us. We’ve got to go out and make that happen on the field, but we feel like it was very productive.”
Are major changes coming or is it tweaks? How would you say that–?
“I would say it’s more tweaks. I don’t think there’s any major thing that we’re doing and if there was I probably wouldn’t tell you for competitive advantage purposes. But, there’s tweaks here and there. There’s always tweaks every week, but just to give us a chance to take a breath and look at it in totality, figure it out and move from there.”
Obviously the passing game is a result of a lot of things happening on the field with the receivers being covered, with the protection being right, but what does QB Colin Kaepernick specifically have to do to complete a higher rate of his passes?
“Well, I think your statement was very true. There’s a lot involved with the passing game. It’s not just Colin. It’s protections, it’s backs, it’s being in the right places, timing. So, all of that is very true. I think we all, and us putting him in the right positions is the first part of that. So, all of us need to a better job. Colin knows and Colin will probably tell you this same thing, he needs to be, there are some throws that he probably wishes he had been a little bit more accurate on. There were some things he was accurate on that we dropped it or there’s a lot of things involved. But, Colin is fine. He’s been up and down a little bit, but he’s fine and he’ll continue to get better. I don’t have an issue with where he’s at.”
You got your first look at RB DuJuan Harris the last game. Do you see him being more involved in this offense moving forward even with Carlos coming back?
“Well, I think DuJuan’s earned more opportunity based on how he played. We’ll continue this week and see how he works in practice and all that, but I think based off what he did the previous game, he deserves more opportunity.”
Where is your comfort level with his pass blocking?
“Good. He had one in the game that was really good.”
What’s the difference between QB Christian Ponder and the other two quarterbacks you have? Because QB Blaine Gabbert and Colin are similar, you guys have talked about that the whole time, what separates Ponder?
“Christian is, everybody sees the similarities between Blaine and Kap, their athleticism, but Christian is a good athlete himself. I think that similarity doesn’t stop at Christian. We haven’t seen Christian in a game, so some of those evaluations I can’t tell you because we haven’t actually seen him in a live regular season game. I do know that he’s doing a good job with what he’s doing now and I expect that to do nothing but continue.”
Could he leap frog Blaine as the second quarterback, he’s doing that well in practice?
“We’re not there yet. I mean, that’s not even something we’ve discussed. We’ll see how that goes. Right now, Kap is our starter and we’re trying to go win this game.”
Has Christian seen more first team reps or is it pretty much all scout team?
“His role hasn’t changed. Christian’s role hasn’t changed. He’s doing the same thing he’s done since he got here.”
WR Jeremy Kerley has only had 27 yards in these last two games since Kap was the starter. Is that a concern for you as an offensive coordinator knowing that the game before he had over 100 yards?
“Yeah, we’ve got to continue to find ways to get our players the ball. Kerley being one of our players that’s made plays for us, it’s on us to put him in position to make those plays. Sometimes it’s looks, it’s coverages of the defense, it’s the matchup, sometimes those things are involved, but the bottom line is we’ve got to do a better job of putting them in position to make plays.”
ME: Has the offense improved under Colin Kaepernick and if so, how?
“Well, we’ve lost two games and that’s really all our concern is. We’ve got to all improve for us to get where we want to get. Whether I’m the quarterback, Colin’s the quarterback, or Gabbert’s the quarterback. We’ve all got to improve for us to win. So, the bottom line is we’ve lost the last two games, so we’ve got to improve that.”
When you play a team like the Saints and a quarterback like New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees who can put up so many points, I know you’re playing against their defense, but–?
“Do you have to bring that up?”
What kind of pressure does that put on your offensive unit because they can score quickly and put up a lot? How does that change your approach?
“Those guys are very good offensively. I worked with their quarterback’s coach the last two year before I came here. [New Orleans Saints quarterback’s coach] Joe Lombardi, I’m very familiar with how they are on offense and what they do. Pressure, no, we’ve got to do a better job and we’ve got to score points no matter who we’re playing. We can’t concern ourselves with what the other side of the ball is facing or doing. We just know we have to do our jobs and do them better than what we’re doing them.”