This is the transcript of Greg Roman’s Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ p.r. department.
“Good afternoon. Hope everybody’s getting their Christmas shopping done if you haven’t already. Getting ready for a very good Arizona team. Obviously they’re a playoff team, a very aggressive defense led by [Cardinals DE] Calais Campbell up front, [Cardinals NT Dan] Williams and [Cardinals DT Frostee] Rucker and then [Cardinals LB Alex] Okafor and [Cardinals LB Matt] Shaughnessy on the outside kind of provide the front line. [Cardinals LB Kevin] Minter and [Cardinals LB Larry] Foote. Foote’s a guy that has been playing in this league for a long time at a high level, still playing at a high level. Their secondary is very multiple. [Cardinals CB Antonio] Cromartie and [Cardinals CB Patrick] Peterson on the outside. [Cardinals S Tony] Jefferson and [Cardinals S Rashad] Johnson inside. They’ll bring in [Cardinals S Tyrann] Mathieu and they’ll play a variety of different combinations of DBs. It’s a really good defense. It’s a very aggressive defense. It’s about the closest thing that reminds me of the old Chicago Bears defense when they used to play the 46 and blitz all the time, that scheme and very aggressive, multiple and a lot of preparation for our guys up front this week not only for the talent and skill level the guys are going against, but also the multiplicity of what they do. So, any questions?”
Are you going to have WR Michael Crabtree available?
“Yeah. I certainly think we will.”
He’s often enjoyed going up against Patrick Peterson. Talk about that matchup?
“Yeah. That’s been a good battle. Shoot, I can remember a couple years ago, two years ago Michael really had a heck-of-a two games against him. Then Mike had an injury, battled back from the injury. It’s been a good battle though, two really good players battling.”
RB Frank Gore and WR Anquan Boldin are both close to 1,000 yards. Do you keep mind of that and is that some sort of milestone that you’re trying to celebrate or trying to accomplish this week?
“For us to be successful, those guys have to do well. So, they should really be part and parcel with one another. I don’t think you want to go into the game saying, ‘Hey our goal today guys is to get Frank 1,000 and Boldin 1,000.’ That is definitely part of the equation if we can handle our business.”
Served it up right down the middle for you last week with Frank.
“I have a feeling you’re not going to serve this one up right down the middle.”
But, coming off the concussion six days later for him to have that kind of an outing?
“Yeah. That’s pretty remarkable as far as his toughness. Made a couple great runs. Broke a bunch of tackles. The downfield blocking was outstanding, but he broke a bunch of tackles. He was definitely a workhorse. And really you’ve got to credit everybody. We had a bunch of guys out there flying around blocking people and that’s where it all starts, anything, run-pass, you’ve got to be able to block people. I thought our guys did a pretty darn good job of that the other night. The boys up front were having some fun and it really helps open things up.”
With T Jonathan Martin, with everything he went through before coming out to join you guys, he’s fitting in so many different spots for you. Can you speak about his season and what he’s meant?
“He’s done a great job. The attitude’s been phenomenal. Working hard. Great team guy. Had to assume a lot of different hats this year. The mono, the bout with mono kind of set him back a little bit in the spring. That was unfortunate, but that’s just how it goes. But, no he’s done a really good job battling and I think a year without mono and getting in the weight room and whatnot is really going to be beneficial to him.”
How long did that linger, the mono?
“About a month as I remember.”
Did you do a lot of work on Cardinals QB Logan Thomas leading up to last year’s draft?
“We did the commensurate amount of work you would expect, yeah.”
What was your take away from that?
“Well, I mean a good player, mobile, big arm. He’s a dangerous guy.”
Going back to Frank, the stiff-arm.
“I didn’t see you over there, [CSNBayArea.com reporter] Matt [Maiocco], sorry. You’re usually front and center.”
I’m kind of lurking today.
“Playing a robber position today?”
Yeah, pretty much. The stiff-arm. When you see that, is that kind of the cherry on top when you see something like that from your running back?
“Oh there’s no question. Yeah, when you go back and watch NFL films forever. I mean, that’s why we always stress body-ball-boundary. When you’re on one side of the field you want to have your body and then the ball and then the boundary. For two reasons; number one you can use your inside hand as a weapon, the stiff-arm. Number two, if something were to happen and the ball were to get dislodged the ball would roll where?”
Out of bounds.
“Out of bounds as opposed to where?”
“In bounds. So, you’ll often hear us yelling body-ball-boundary quite a bit, which allows you to use your inside hand as a weapon or the stiff-arm. So, very often running backs are, everything’s not going to be perfect all the time and they’ve got to do something with a free defender or make a guy miss downfield. And there’s no better weapon, especially on one side of the field or another than the stiff-arm, which he did a great job and got in the end zone.”
Thirty is always the number that’s brought up for running backs and with Gore at the end of his contract here with the 49ers, where is he as far as his skill and either kind of breaking that stereotype?
“Frank’s always had a unique style. Every back’s got their own style. So, I think Frank’s got a lot of things going for him. His feet are definitely, we always say his brain and his feet work really closely together. The synapses shoot off quickly. Look at me trying to use physiology, come on. But, I think he’s got a lot of gas left in the tank. I think he’s a back you want to use a certain way if at all possible because he’s so good at specific things. You saw him play the other night. I think that’s worth 1,000 words.”
Why was there such a contrast between rushing in the first half and rushing in the second? Obviously they had a big role in that, but why couldn’t you counter-move that?
“Yeah, we could’ve done a better job of that starting with me. But, I mean they loaded it up. They added an extra body. It was almost a nine-man front. You’ve got to give them credit. They just added somebody to the mix, basically sold out. Looking back, there were a couple of opportunities there that we could’ve taken advantage of a little better.”
You guys had in previous years been able to take advantage of those boxes a lot of times with long throws to TE Vernon Davis. Those have just been almost totally absent this year. Why? A lot of people are just wondering why that hasn’t been part of the game plan, not part of the game plan, but why it hasn’t come to fruition?
“Yeah. I think there have been some opportunities and just hasn’t come to fruition. I’m not going to pinpoint why, but they’ve been there. Really we’ve got to do a better job of protecting the football. I mean, I think we had a couple of touchdowns called back via penalty and we fumbled the ball three times. So, that’s really the focus.”
What was your take on the illegal formation calls? Was it just being ticky-tacky?
“Yeah. In our estimation no there was no warning and it was, I would use that term yeah.”
It was back-to-back plays, right?
“Right. Right. Yeah, it was communicated and an adjustment was made, but apparently it wasn’t ruled that way.”
Is it a bit strange to think of Gore not returning here next season? I know it’s a business and maybe you just think of it that way or maybe you’re so busy game planning that you don’t even allow yourself to go beyond this week?
“Yeah. I mean, it’s all about the Cardinals for us. All that stuff it’ll take care of itself. It always does. But, everybody, we had great meetings this morning, we had a great walk-though and a lot of good energy. Looking forward to having a great day.”
I think you’ve in the last nine games scored four touchdowns in the second half. A lot of people point to that and say that these guys aren’t making the proper in-game adjustments. Is that fair?
“I think we’ve got to produce more in the second half, points, bottom line. I think we’ve scored a lot of points in the past in the second half. So, we’ve just got to do a better job all of us collectively for 60 minutes. It’s that simple.”
You guys did a lot of running behind T Anthony Davis in his first game back. Was it just confidence that you’ve had in him from years past or did you see something during the week of practice that made you feel confident that that would work running to his side despite him missing time?
“Yeah, I thought he had a pretty darn good game first game back and it just kind of worked out that way. But, there’s always a method. We feel good running either way.”
When did Frank clear his protocol last week?
“I believe it was on Friday, yeah.”