This is the transcript of Curits’ Modkins Week 16 press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
What are the problems you guys have faced, just piecing together who played where and all kinds of different positions?
“That’s just the nature of this league. I wouldn’t say we are the only ones that have to deal with this. That is just the nature of this league and it’s been like this every year I’ve been in the league. Now, sometimes it’s a little bit more than others, but that’s part of what we have to do. That’s part of what being a professional football player is you have to move around. That’s part of guys who come into your team. That’s part of what they have to do is be prepared and that’s why they get opportunities so that when they do get to a team they are ready to go. That’s just part of the process of what this league is about. We just have to do the best job we can under the circumstances.”
OL John Theus I think played about 13 snaps. In his first action at left tackle, how’d he look?
“You know what, I thought overall, I thought they did a good job in particular in protecting the passer for the most part. We had a couple deals here and there, but for guys like Theus coming in and [G Zane] Beadles having to move, they did an okay job. We’ll have to improve this week against this opponent and this front for sure. But, guys are working at it so we’ll keep working at it. Whoever [49ers vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg says is ready to go, that’s who we’ll go with.”
You guys have talked all the time about the versatility for offensive linemen. With a guy like Beadles, are you even surprised at how much he’s been able to do at all the positions he’s played in last couple of weeks?
“Speaking of Beadles in particular, no. I think Beadles is the example of what a professional football player is. I told the team this yesterday, we all appreciate what he was able to do for us last week and it’s a good example for younger players to know you have to be prepared for any and everything. He would not have been able to do that had he not been prepared to do it. That says a lot. That’s a testament to who he is as a person, as a player. He hasn’t flinched in whatever we’ve asked him to do and I’m awful proud of what he’s done.”
WR DeAndre Smelter said he lost 15 or so pounds, I guess, after coming back. How much different has he looked in the limited time you’ve had him back since the offseason program?
“Well, to be honest with you, I think he’s just getting here so I haven’t had a chance to see him physically on the field. But, I’ll be interested in seeing that because I didn’t notice when I hugged him this morning that he was a little thinner.”
What do you mean by that? I mean, he’s been on the practice squad for a while.
“You said Smelter or you said [WR DiAndre] Campbell? Which one?”
“Smelter. Yes. Sorry, I thought you said Campbell. No, Smelts, he’s moved a lot better. I think him cutting back and getting leaner, I think it did really help him because I think he has a little bit, he’s just a little bit quicker. I think Smelt’s done a good job of getting his body ready and yeah I’m excited about him. So, we’ll see what happens, but yeah he looks good and he’s done a good job. I’m sorry I thought you said Campbell.”
Is Campbell back?
“Yeah, I think he’s coming back.”
To the practice squad?
“Practice squad. Sorry, I thought you said Campbell. We’ve got so many DeAndres. When I first got here we had all these DeAndres. I was trying to figure it. DiAndre, DeAndrew. I’m from Texas too, so that doesn’t help.”
You mentioned Beadles. When you look at it, who’s been your best offensive player this season?
“That’s a good question. I think Beadles has done a good job for us. I think [T] Joe Staley is still playing at a high level. I don’t want to point out one guy in particular, but I think those two guys have done a really good job for us. I thought [C Daniel] Kilgore was a rock for us before he got hurt. Obviously, we all have to be better and I’d like to be able to give you a ton of guys, but I think it’s just safe to say that I think we all have to be better. I think Joe’s played fine for us. Beadles has done a heck-of-a job of what we’ve asked him to do. But, we’ve got to coach better and they’ve got to play better.”
You just mentioned three offensive linemen and I’m just wondering, I think sometimes with number of sacks or inconsistency in the run game people point to the offensive line. Do you think the offensive line has played better this season than the offensive production would suggest?
“For one, I think sacks, like I’ve told you guys before. Sacks are a byproduct of a lot of things and oftentimes it may not be necessarily the line. The fact of the matter is we’re top-five in the league in rushing, however that happens, and the passing game, there are a lot of factors that don’t involve the line like throwing and catching and dropping the football and making normal throws and catches that don’t involve the line. So, can they improve? Yes. Will they continue to improve? Yeah. But, they’ve done a good job for us and we’ve got to get better. But, I wouldn’t say that they’re the reason that our numbers in the pass game are not where they need to be.”
Has RB Carlos Hyde gotten more decisive as the season’s gone on?
“You know, I think Carlos is growing as a runner. I think the last few weeks he has been more decisive and I think he’s done a good job. I think he’s still a young player that’s ascending and still learning. I look forward to him continuing to do that. But, I think he has and I think he’s done a good job and I look forward to him continuing that on Saturday.”
Is that just experience? Is that coaching stuff he’s taken?
“Carlos is a good kid and he is, I think he does take coaching. I know [running backs coach] Tom [Rathman] has talked to him and I think Carlos wants to do what he’s coached and Carlos will probably tell you himself, ‘There are sometimes where I could have done this better, that better.’ The bottom line is that he’s working to get better like a lot of them. He takes coaching and that’s important. So, we’ll see where that goes. I’m excited where he’s been the last few weeks. He’s had some good carries for us.”
He’s approaching 1,000 yards. How much of a source of pride is that for a running back, this offensive line, this staff?
“Well, I think those things are good for the, I hadn’t thought a whole lot about it to be honest with you. I think those are important milestones, but the bottom line is we’ve won one game and our main focus is on trying to win a game. Obviously, if he performs like that then our chances of winning are better, but I think that’s really all the guys are concerned with.”
Just one more on Beadles. He said he’s never I think played center at any level in a game and had never taken any legitimate practice snaps. I don’t know if curiosity is the word, but was your heart kind of in your throat when he first got out there?
“No. No, it wasn’t because it was Beadles. If it had been [49ers director of football communications] Dan [Beckler], then I would have had some serious issues, or me. But, it was him. He’s a pro. It wasn’t any deal. He didn’t flinch. Just said, ‘Beadles go to center.’ And, we went on. That’s who he is though, so that helps.”