SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Curtis Modkins’ Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Good morning. It’s actually really good to see you guys this morning because it means we’re starting a new week and we can move on with our preparation for this next opponent because obviously this last game wasn’t good enough in a lot of areas, including me. So, we’re excited to move on to Dallas and get prepared for them. Any questions?”
First off, with former 49ers OL Anthony Davis retiring, have you had a chance to talk to him through this and what’s the plan now moving forward for you guys?
“No, I haven’t had a chance to talk to Anthony. All I can say is I wish him the best. He hadn’t been out there for the last week or half or whatever, so really we’re okay with what we’ve been doing and we’ll just continue that as far as getting the guys prepared to play.”
Is OL John Theus the next guy up then to be kind of the swing tackle?
“We’ll see. We’ll see how the week goes. I think John has done a good job. He’ll need to continue that, but we’ll kind of make those determinations based on how they practice and how the week goes.”
How is G Zane Beadles doing working in that spot? I know you have to give him some snaps out there as well, how’s he doing?
“Zane’s a veteran and he’s done a good job of whenever we’ve asked him to do it, he’s done a good job of doing it. I feel confident that if that situation ever arose during a game that he’ll be prepared for it. So, he’s doing good.”
With the emphasis on concussions and stuff, do you find yourself in more discussions with players about that sort of thing with Anthony or anybody else, in terms of safety, what am I doing, is my technique right for preventing concussions, stuff like that? Is that part of your weekly–?
“No, not particularly. One, I’m not smart enough to even answer any questions about that. That’s totally out of our realm. We have an excellent staff of people. The league has provided a protocol to go through. All that stuff they handle. I’m nowhere near smart enough to get into that conversation.”
What areas of the passing game need to improve in order for you guys to start moving the ball and converting third downs?
“Well, if you look at that game in a nutshell, and coach has talked to our team about it, third downs we have to improve offensively. If you talk in terms of the pass game on third downs, one, I’ve got to give them, we’ve got to give them a better plan. We’ve got to make sure we’re doing our part to put the players in position to be successful and they’ve got to execute and throw and catch.”
Is the playbook limited because of QB Blaine Gabbert’s accuracy issues or is it the full playbook is wide open?
“No, it’s not limited.”
ME: You mentioned throw and catch. It seemed like you what were asking players to do in this particular game was throw and catch and then run. A lot of the primary routes were short of the sticks. Do you feel that was the right plan and do you think you should have asked the wide receivers to run past the sticks on those third downs earlier in the game?
“I think every game you go back and you analyze what you did. So, obviously we have to do a better job in terms of planning. Not every third down that’s converted is converted with a ball that’s thrown past the sticks. So, sometimes what they give you is an underneath throw and you catch and run. So, there are a lot of different ways that you get a first down throwing the ball and it’s not always that the route has to be past the sticks.”
Do you feel, you mentioned the plan and some coaching things, do you feel like you have good enough personnel to have a good offense?
“Yes, absolutely. Without a doubt.”
What’s TE Vance McDonald’s situation? Do you know how long he’ll be out, if at all?
“No, I have no idea. We’ll see how the week progresses and see what [49ers vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg says, but right now I have no idea.”
Anything else stand out to you after watching film of the last game?
“I thought our guys competed. We just struggled to stay on the field. We averaged four-point something a rush so we’ve got to continue to develop that. But, I think that’s coming. I think our O-Line for the most part protected our quarterback, kept him clean for the most part. We all just have to do a better job and that’s what we’ll start today doing.”
You mentioned the struggles on third down. Part of that could have been attributed in the early downs not getting enough out of the running game. How do you become more consistent running the ball?
“I feel like, to be honest with you, that we were in third-and-favorable situations all game. I talked to the players a little bit about it this morning. We had several third-and-four, four-of-four, five-five, six-six. If you’re in those situations, what you did on first and second down was good, whether it’s run or pass. It didn’t matter whether we ran it or passed it, we were in favorable third down situations. We’ve just got to do a better job once we get there.”
RB Carlos Hyde, it really took him more than three quarters to get going. Was it something that you sensed the defense took their foot off the gas or did the running game discover something?
“No, I don’t think, I definitely don’t think they took their foot off the gas. I think that’s the nature of the NFL. That’s the way, it happens like that sometimes. Sometimes you start off and it takes, you pound them, pound them, and then all of a sudden one pops. That’s just kind of the way it is in this league. It’s not easy to run the football in this league. I feel like our guys are on the right track with that.”
Do you have a target number for touches for Carlos?
“No. Not necessarily. Whatever it takes for us to win the game. Not necessarily.”
ME: You mentioned third-and-favorable. I understand throwing short of the sticks on third-and-15, but if you’re in third-and-four, third-and-five, shouldn’t you theoretically have enough time to call a play in which your wide receiver can run a five or six or seven yard route?
“Sure and I think that’s our intention. A couple of those, sometimes the defense does a good job and they break on a ball and they end up getting it right before the sticks and maybe a quicker throw. Those things happen. We don’t call any plays not to get the first down. We’re trying to call plays to get the first down. Sometimes it doesn’t happen like that.”
How is WR Rod Streater adjusting to the playbook? Head coach Chip Kelly said yesterday he was still, he can’t run everything because he is so new. But, how is he doing and do you think he’s close to absorbing the entire playbook?
“I think he’s doing good. It’s a lot to ask. The guy came in 10 days ago, whatever it was. It’s hard to get all of it in that amount of time. I think he’s doing a good job. As we get farther and farther into it he’s the kind of kid that is going to keep getting it and getting it and then one day he’ll have it all. But, it’s not our expectation for him to have 100-percent of it in 10 days or however long he’s been here. All I know is he’s doing a good job and he’s working towards that.”
What about Dallas? Do you see them as more of a favorable matchup because Seattle and Carolina’s defense is so elite?
“To be honest with you, I see every week as a challenge and each week poses different challenges. Dallas plays their tail off on defense and we’ll have to prepare like the dickens to be prepared for them on Sunday.”
ME: One more question about third downs. When you go back and watch, do you feel like Blaine Gabbert’s decision making process was sound on the 10 pass attempts he made on third down?
“Yeah. I mean, I think you always, I think I always have decisions during the week that I wish I had done a little bit better and Blaine might tell you the same thing. But, overall I think Blaine’s decision making is fine.”