SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Curtis Modkins’ Week-12 press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“After evaluating the film and getting a chance to look at it, at the end of the day we didn’t make enough plays to win a game like that against an opponent like that. A lot of missed opportunities. You look at it, there were a lot of those ‘close, but no cigar’ moments. We’ve got to just grind away and find the ways to make those plays that give us a chance to win a ball game like that. I know you guys have got questions. Fire away.”
How do you feel the offensive line has been playing through this stretch?
“I think they’re doing some good things. Obviously there’s improvement that can be made and when you’ve won one ball game everybody has a lot of room to improve. But, I do think there are some good things going on there. Some of the breakdowns, I think they’re doing a good job of being on the same page. I think [C Daniel Kilgore] Danny does a good job making sure we kind of all go in the right place protection-wise and maybe some of the issues that we’ve had I don’t think were an effect of us not being on the same page. There were some individual breakdowns here and there, but I think for the most part our line’s playing fairly well. We’ve got a lot of room to improve though and the good thing about the group is I think they work their tail off and they work very hard at it. We’ll continue to grind away, but our line is doing OK.”
What about the five sacks, how many of those five sacks do you think were on the offensive line and how much was just other things, whether them having more rushes–?
“We don’t necessarily, we don’t talk about it publicly what the issues were on particular sacks. All I can tell you is that there are lots involved when a sack takes place. It might be a line breakdown. It might be a back matchup on the linebacker. It might be a coverage deal. There are a number of different factors. Needless to say, everybody on offense is a contributor in a sack and we all have to get better at it.”
OL Trent Brown gave up another sack for the second week in a row to an edge rusher, New England Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich this week. He failed to set inside leverage. Is that something that you guys are working on with him? Because he seems to do a really, really good job in the running game, but the passing game seems to be a different story.
“I think Trent’s, one of his strengths has been his ability to pass protect. I think sometimes he may get into a little bit of trouble when he’s off-balance or when his feet are not right. But, I think he’s a young player and he’s learning and every game is an experience for him. I think he’ll get better at protecting because I think it’s one of his natural strong suits. Now, Ninkovich is a good player also and Ninkovich got one on him. That’s part of the deal. Trent will work hard to eliminate that one and we’ll move from there.”
How did G Joshua Garnett do this last game?
“He did OK. Garnett did OK. He did some good things. There are some things he’s got to improve on and just some focus stuff, but he did OK.”
What have you learned about RB Carlos Hyde’s running style that maybe you didn’t know three months ago now that you’ve seen him halfway through a season?
“I think Carlos is a good back. I think he kind of got back a little bit to being an aggressive runner. He has to pick and choose when that happens. Our backs in general, we may have missed a couple in the game, a couple holes here or there. I think Carlos finished his runs well. I thought he was physical. He’s coming back off an injury. A couple weeks removed from it now. I thought he kind of got back to where he was at from a physicality standpoint. Now he needs to, he’s got some improvement to do just like all our runners do, but I feel good about Carlos as a runner.”
ME: Would you give us a timeline of what you and the other coaches on this staff typically do from the end of the second quarter to the beginning of the third?
“We come in and we discuss what went on and how to counteract what went on and what we’re going to do in the third quarter to start the third quarter in the second half. There’s not a whole lot of time other than that because NFL halftime is over real fast. So, a number of us are sprinting down from the press box. We get in there, we get a chance to talk a little bit as a staff, we go address the team for a couple minutes, we cover all the adjustments and then the kickoff is about to happen and we’ve got to get back going. So, we do the best we can with what we’ve got. We’ve just go to execute better. You’re probably going to get to the adjustments that we make and all that. We make adjustments. We do things at halftime. We’ve just got to execute better offensively and we’ll be fine. But, until we execute, we’ve got to make those almost plays and those missed opportunities we’ve got to make them.”
ME: How do you explain the team only scoring 16 points in the third quarter? Why is the execution so much better in the first half than the third quarter?
“Well, there’s probably a number of factors to it. You get in, sometimes you get in a situation, this last game it was raining cats and dogs. It was an unusual third quarter for anybody then all of a sudden we kind of maybe had to throw it a little bit. Got off balance. Had to throw it a little bit more. Got into some predictable situations. That doesn’t help you. You couldn’t marry our play-action and our run game, so there’s some factors involved. But, we have to improve in the second half and be on top of our game and we’re working towards that.”
Head coach Chip Kelly has said this team doesn’t have a wide receiver that other teams have to double cover. Did you guys have discussions in the offseason about acquiring that type of number one receiver? How much does the coaching staff talk to general manager Trent Baalke about stuff like that?
“No we didn’t have, our receivers we feel are good players. There were no, I’m not involved in any discussion with Trent about anything like that. We’ve got to make plays and we have guys to do it.”
Why did WR Aaron Burbridge get the start? Did he have a good week of practice leading up to that game?
“Yeah, Burbridge has done a good job. He’s had a good week. [WR] Torrey [Smith] was out. Burb was the next guy in. And those guys rotate some anyways. So, we play a lot of guys and he earned the right to be the next guy in.”
Can he do the same things that Torrey does? He’s not known for his speed like Torrey is.
“No, they’re all different. They all have their own individual strengths. Torrey can run really fast and fly and take the top off. Burb’s game is a little bit different. They’re all different. We’ve got to do a good job of putting each one of them in position to make plays for our team in relation to their strengths. So, that’s where that one’s at.”
What are Burbridge’s attributes?
“He’s physical. He has strong hands. He’s a good route runner. He blocks well on the perimeter. He’s a tough kid. That’s what he brings to the table.”
ME: You mentioned the rain. You mentioned the balance. You’ve actually run more than you’ve passed in the third quarter this season. Is there anything else you can put your finger on?
“Other than us just executing the offense and making plays, no.”
Were the Patriots making a concerted effort to shut down WR Jeremy Kerley on Sunday?
“Kerls has done a good job for us. I think their plan allowed some other guys to take advantage of what they were doing, particularly our tight ends. I’m not sure if it was designed to take Kerl away, but what they gave us was some opportunities for some other guys to make plays. I thought [TE] Vance [McDonald] stepped up in that department. I think [TE Garrett] Celek had a big catch, so we’ve got to be able to do things like that. Our job is just to take advantage of what we see and I can’t speak to what their desire was and what they tried to do. We’ll need everybody to win games and every game is going to be different.”
What’s your early read on the Dolphins?
“A good football team. A really good football team. You can’t help but start at their front, their defensive front. This is a talented group. I know the way they’re coached. I was with their D-Line coach in Detroit. So, I’m familiar with how they’re coached. They’ve got some very talented players up front starting with [Miami Dolphins DT Ndamukong] Suh and [Miami Dolphins DE] Cameron Wake and they’re just talented. So, it’s hard to look past that, but they’re also good on the back end. [Miami Dolphins LB] Kiko’s [Alonso] a really good player. They’ve got good corners out there. They’re long and physical, so we’ll have a challenge. Our guys will be up to it and we’ll start our preparation getting going on them.”