SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Curtis Modkins’ Week-14 press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Good morning. First of all, it’s been a long weekend and obviously I think first and foremost what’s been on my mind is [head coach] coach [Chip] Kelly. Our condolences go out to him. We have 100-percent support for him. The way he’s handled this has really been a good example for me on how you handle things like this that happen in your life. Our thoughts are always with him and what he’s going through right now. As far as the game, we have been playing really good football, good football on offense and the thing had been trending in the right direction. Obviously, Sunday didn’t bare that and we’ve got to go to work today and figure out how to get it back going in a direction we had it and obviously it has to be better than what it was on Sunday. So, any questions?”
With Chip not here how are the duties divided among you guys? Do you take on his role essentially until he gets back?
“No. You know, I handle the offense on a day-to-day basis pretty much anyways. [Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil] Jimmy is doing his deal on defense and [special teams coordinator Derius] Swinton is handling special teams. We’ll proceed as business as usual. Coach has a plan for us, the plan is already laid out, we all know the plan and we’re following the plan that we do every week and we’ll do that until he returns.”
So, does he give you the plan then before he–?
“We have a weekly schedule that we go by. We all know it, we all believe in it and we’re following our schedule that he’s laid out for us that we’ve been doing since day one. When he gets back, he’ll pick up where he left off.”
ME: Did you create the offensive game plan this week? Is that your responsibility?
“We’re always all involved in the offensive game planning. So, we just proceeded as we normally do.”
ME: So you didn’t do any more this week than you would’ve in any other week?
You said he’s handling it really well and you’ve learned some things–?
“Just how you keep going forward. I mean, that’s a really tough deal to learn that and go coach in a football game. And in my opinion, he’s handling it as well as you can. It’s a good example on how you handle really tough things. Sometimes in this game, we think you lose some games and it’s adversity, but when something in life hits you it’s a really good reminder for me on how to handle things. He’s been a great example of that and just being able to show up for the team, still be there for them and give them all he had, it had to be really tough. I admire him for that.”
Chip said after the game you guys hadn’t had discussions on who would start at quarterback this week. Have you had those discussions yet?
Who’s going to start?
“[QB Colin Kaepernick] Kap is going to be the starter and we’ll go from there. We just decided during the game to try to see if [QB] Blaine [Gabbert] could give us a spark. Kap is back being the starter. It’s nothing other than that.”
Other than weather, was there anything that you saw that affected Kap that really led to his struggles last week?
“I don’t know. We’re not into excuses. We just didn’t do enough to get it done. The weather was bad for both teams and we didn’t do enough to get it done. We’ve got to be better. We’re not into any particular reasons, excuses, anything like that. We just did do enough to get it done.”
Chip did say that he didn’t like the way the ball was coming out of his hands. Was it a grip issue and just the ball was so slick that it was physically hard to get ahold of the ball?
“You’ll probably have to speak to Kap more about his individual grip on the ball. We just felt like Blaine would give us, we just tried to get a different deal in there, a different spark. We tried to get a spark going. Whatever the reasons were, they were. We just decided to go that way. So, you’ll probably have to speak to Kap more on that.”
Were there any internal discussions about QB Christian Ponder possibly starting?
He’s going to remain inactive?
“We’ll see. We’ll see how that goes.”
You guys rank fourth in the league in rushing, which is obviously a good ranking. Do you feel like you’re doing everything you want to do as far as the running game? Are you satisfied with how you guys are running the ball?
“Probably knowing, no. I don’t think you can ever be satisfied. I think you always want to be better. I think we’ve got to work to be better and we could have been better in that game Sunday. We’ve got to think like that. Statistics, the guys have done a decent job, but our job is to win football games and we’ve got to do all areas better for us to do that including running it.”
What do you attribute the struggles in pass protection to on Sunday?
“Well, anytime there are protection breakdowns there’s normally different reasons for it and sometimes it may be a decision to throw a ball away. It may be they got us on a game. Maybe a guy’s step was wrong so they run the game and now there’s a little bit of a crease. So, there’s some things that are involved and it’s not all the offensive line. They’ve done a good job for the most part. We’ve got to kind of get back to that protection deal and that’s everybody as a team, being in the right place, backs, throwing away when we need to, picking up twists. There weren’t any surprises in the game. There wasn’t anything we didn’t prepare for. There were just a couple of situations that we didn’t handle as well as we would like technically, fundamentally.”
When the first few reads aren’t there and the quarterback holds onto the ball, what’s he coached to do in those situations? Is Colin coached to try to escape the pocket so he can throw the ball away or how do you guys approach that?
“Well, every play is different. Some plays dictate you throw it away and some plays dictate the defense gives you a lane and you can scramble and run. Some plays dictate you can move and scramble and throw it. So, it depends on the play. Our offense is coached not to take sacks.”