This is the transcript of Geep Chryst’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Alright, coming off the bye which is always refreshing for us as coaches, but a nice opponent in Seattle up there. We can talk about the game in Atlanta, but we are definitely moving onto Seattle and looking forward to it.”
Has G Andrew Tiller done enough to earn the starting right guard position?
“You know, Andrew since he first was in in the Giants game, provides a nice dimension. He and [OL] Jordan [Devey] are battling it out literally every day in terms of getting reps and then making something and making the most out of those reps. So, we’ll see. Really, on the practice field, it doesn’t look that much different than weeks past in terms of both those guys being in there, both those guys trying to play to their best and their teammates around them seeing them out there with that first group or with that second group.”
What has Devey done to, what areas have you been impressed with him?
“That’s a good question. The first thing that I remember first coming into the league a long time ago and someone said that the mental mistake will beat you quicker than the physical mistake. Jordan coming in during training camp has done a great job of having very few mental mistakes. And that’s, sometimes we want to see a spectacular play or a spectacular highlight reel play. Sometimes those guys, especially on the offensive line, that just do their job and do their job well and don’t make mental mistakes have a value and that’s definitely Jordan’s value.”
With the crowd noise, notorious crowd noise in Seattle, does having a Jordan Devey, is that a spot where you–?
“Sure. Experience is a great thing. We were talking earlier in the day with [tight ends coach] Tony Sparano about the old Kingdome. We were trying to say which one is louder. But, noise has always been an issue when you go to Seattle and if you’ve been there before and have confidence in who you are and how you’re handling your business, that always helps because there are moments in any game where momentum swings. And, Seattle takes a great pride, they do a nice job like a lot of other stadiums, but they do a nice job of trying to get that 12th man to be involved. So, we need all 46 to go up against them. They’re a good defense. They’re a good team. And it’s still a great environment. I love the stadium. I love the setting downtown. It’s a fun place to play and for guys that haven’t played there before, I think they’re really going to enjoy the experience.”
It’s also an artificial field. Does that go into the calculation as the whether RB Carlos Hyde plays in this game?
“Yeah, you know, I think with Carlos, we have what a couple guys coming back off the bye. It’s great seeing [G/C] Daniel Kilgore out there. [WR] DeAndre Smelter’s, you’ve probably seen it, he’s worked extremely hard to come back. Carlos is one of those things, in other sports they’re listed as day-to-day. He’s probably where that is in terms of day-to-day. But, we’ll know more about Carlos as we get closer to getting on the bus, getting on the plane and getting up to Seattle. But, yeah, with the field turf, we do our walk-thrus on a field turf. You know, we haven’t had to use it because we’ve had really nice weather here. But, that’s a common surface for everybody. I don’t think it’s going to factor too much into his availability. It’s just really more of a day-to-day, how’s he feeling and how’s he feeling getting better.”
Did you see enough from OL Trent Brown in that Atlanta game to maybe increase his reps?
“That’s always the goal, right? You’ve got a young player and this time of year you want to get him in there. He made some really good plays. Whether it’s a practice or a game, if you have a mental error, then it has a chilling effect. It’s often when we talk about running backs the toughest thing for a rookie running back is the protections. I would say the same thing with offensive linemen, to the multiple fronts. So, we’re really working hard with him on the pass-pro side. He’s actually a very good pass-pro technician, but there’s a lot of looks they can throw at you and that’s the one area that he’s working hard everyday to get better.”
Was that a move where you really wanted to see what he could do at right tackle or was it more about wanting to see what G/T Erik Pears could do at right guard?
“When we brought Erik in, we knew that he had right guard as part of his resume and we’re optimistic Daniel Kilgore will get back and play center. So, you get more line flexibility. You also want to have that swing guy with only seven guys dressed out what is your next best available? So, I would say it’s a combination of both. Getting young guys to play and then a swing guy like Erik going from tackle to guard helps us down the road.”
Back to what you mentioned about your talk with Tony on the Kingdome, what was your answer and what was his answer?
“You know, the biggest thing is, if you allowed them to make a play, that gets their crowd involved. So, everyone remembers the 2012 game, there was a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown. That was really loud. I also remember playing in the Kingdome where they made plays. I think [former NFL WR] Joey Galloway had a touchdown. It’s hard to say. They were both loud. But, the most recent example with the blocked field goal, the game went from a possibly 14-3 to 21-0. That became very loud. It was a Sunday night game. The weather was typical Seattle rain, but it’s what every opposing team wants to have when you go into your place is some home field advantage.”
QB Blaine Gabbert had mentioned learning in his career that check downs aren’t a bad thing. Do you know what he’s talking about and is that something that, a message that you all preach to him?
“You know, since Blaine’s gotten here, what I really respect about Blaine is that he’s come in and just tried to get better at football. He knows what happened in Jacksonville and I think that deep down he believes he can play better football than what he played in Jacksonville. I think what he did against Atlanta validates his point. And, it’s not enough to just have attributes, that he’s tall or that he’s smart or that he’s mobile. But, I think a way of playing the game is what you really want to have. And I think that he’s starting to find maybe his style of play where he can evaluate a downfield throw but knows that he has the ability, and it’s not always to a running back. The nice throw that he had to [WR] Quinton Patton on a shallow crossing route, where he kind of used his athletic ability not to throw down the field, but to just move the chains and then the receiver made it a big play. The throw itself was only maybe a six-yard throw. So, I think he’s finding his own rhythm to the game and I think that that’s one thing that he’s worked really hard on since he got in here and I see improvement from him.”
TE Garrett Celek said on that touchdown on the post route that he wasn’t expecting to get the ball because he might have been late in the progression. Have you been impressed with Gabbert’s ability to get deeper into his progressions?
“Yeah. And what that involves then is that tries to get as many people to the ball as possible. So, I remember the Pittsburgh game when we got behind, the ball was distributed I think to 11 different receivers. Well, that’s what a coach loves to see, not just a go-to guy, but the ball being spread equally which means the defense has to defend the width and breadth, everyone out there, not just one guy to take it away. And so, I think that Garrett’s a great example of a guy who’s just doing his job, tries not to be flashy, but has really made some nice plays for us within the structure of the offense.”
His teammates and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll yesterday remarked about Gabbert looks confident, which I don’t think many people associated confidence and Gabbert when he got here. Was he pretty scarred up and if so, how have you tried to restore some of that confidence?
“That’s a good question. When you meet somebody after watching them on tape, you are what you are on tape. And I think that was hard for Blaine because we had hopes, he had hopes of how he wanted to play quarterback and it wasn’t what was represented on his Jacksonville tape. There’s a lot of reasons why, but I think there was a real good determination, a quiet mind to apply himself moving forward and we saw flashes of it in training camp last year in 2014. But, maybe the preseason games of 2014 looked more like his Jacksonville tape, but he stayed with it. There’s an industriousness there. There’s a determination there that you have an opportunity to work with and when someone has those attributes outside of their physical attributes, you feel like you can help them get better and I think then the confidence comes through that.”
What’s been your biggest challenge this year in trying to manage through your running back situation? Is it the injuries with the players? Has it been with the new linemen and how does it look now compared to what you thought it would be in training camp?
“You know, you look at, let’s say your offseason plans. You go into the season, you have your opener. I think that was what the formula was. We talked about having a recipe. How quickly does that change? Even looking at the first game we played Seattle, you know, there’s a chance depending on where Carlos’ situation is, no [RB] Mike Davis, no [RB] Reggie Bush. You’ve got to add new ingredients and that radically changes maybe what your original formula was. But, that’s coaching and that’s football and that’s definitely the NFL is that if you have injuries you have to move forward. And we liked what [RB] Shaun [Draughn] did when he came in and full credit to him for trying to learn and apply himself. On a Monday coming in and playing on a Sunday, he was really productive. So, adjust and move and be flexible and try to find a formula. That formula against Atlanta was a winning formula. We now have to find that same formula to win, or that recipe to win up in Seattle.”
How much of that formula changes? I mean, this is the second game against Seattle, specifically with Seattle Seahawks DEs Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril? I mean, they’re very good at getting to the quarterback.
“You know, what happened in the first game, let’s be honest, at one-for-12 on third down, we didn’t extend any drives. We didn’t get any opportunities to get into anything because they won on third down. So, you go into this game and you can’t say, ‘Hey, we’re going to plan on going 11-for-12 on third down,’ but you have to do better. And how do you help yourself by doing better? Do better on first and second down too. So, there’s a formula in place using the talents of the people who are going to be active and wearing a uniform. And, we need all 46 again because we need all those individual attributes.”
Gabbert was under pressure about 50-percent of the time in the Atlanta game, but he didn’t get sacked at all. What struck you about the way he avoided pressure?
“For a guy that hadn’t been in a game, I think he got some you’d consider some mop-up duty in Denver if you remember that Week 8 of 2014. How quickly can you ramp back up to game speed? There were some plays that were at regular season game speed. And full credit to Blaine for matching the tempo of the game with really not, I think there were a couple of stats to when his last start was, when his last win was. That’s a nice gap of time and he didn’t have the luxury of saying, ‘Hey I’m going to ease into this thing.’ So, full credit to Blaine for playing at game tempo and allowing himself and his teammates to be successful because he was playing fast.”
You mentioned Garrett Celek. When he came in in 2012, was there any inkling from you guys, the coaching staff, that he could become a figure in the passing game like he’s become this year?
“You know at the time, we’ve done a nice job with all of these tight ends that we’ve brought in. Remember [former NFL TE] Konrad Reuland was here and we joked with [Green Bay Packers QB] Scott Tolzien who was also here at the time because who had the 48 number and who had the 88 number and then you make the team and then you get the 88 number. So, we called it ‘Soft Knocks,’ the competition between Konrad Reuland and Garrett Celek as opposed to the ‘Hard Knocks’ that you normally have in training camp. They had fun with it because they want to compete. How do you get better? You have to kind of show up every day with not a whole lot of credit. You’re not going to go home and read headlines about how your day went. But, a nice quiet determination. And, within that framework he did improve tremendously. I also think that the fact that his brother is who he is and has had success gives you that same determination. He’s healthy. That really has made a big difference for him. You want to see young players break through, but I think he’s really broke through in terms of looking forward to the games, not worried about what may or may not happen but really looking forward to the games knowing that there’s going to be moments at which I can make a play in this game and have a lot of fun. I would have to say that his spike on the goal line pass was one of the most spectacular spikes I’ve ever seen. Kind of a Pop Warner, two handed throw down. What a great thing to see. I know it’s in the context of the game. How great was that? He could have cared less what it looked like. That is what his emotion was. So a guy, again, not an overnight success. He shows up in 2011, works to get better, gets injured, fights through that. I was as happy with that spike, he’s probably getting some grief somewhere along the line, but I thought it was a great spike.”