Jim Harbaugh was interviewed on a conference call Saturday afternoon. Here’s a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. staff.
First off, can you address the league-imposed suspension of LB Aldon Smith? Is that something that caught you off guard? Have you guys prepared for that?
“Well, I don’t see where any type of comment by me would be productive.”
Can you say what Aldon will or will not be allowed to do while he’s at the team facility during his suspension?
“I am still learning that myself.”
As far as you know, will he be able to partake in practices or just workouts and meetings? Do you have a general idea?
“No, still learning that myself.”
Did he participate in the team meeting today?
Looking at the initial 53-man roster, looks like you guys are pretty light on offensive lineman with only seven healthy guys. What was the thought process behind that?
“Well, we went with the eight number again, and [C] Marcus Martin was planned on being six weeks, that was what we’d been told by the doctors. So, we’ll assess as we go.”
What can you tell us about G/C Dillon Farrell? What appeals to you about him?
“He’s done a fine job. He’s been versatile. He’s played well in the games and felt like he earned a position.”
Was salary cap space a concern throughout the whole cutdown process?
“Not dramatically. It’s a concern, something that always has to be looked at.”
You guys parted ways today with a lot of core special teams guys – WR Kassim Osgood, S C.J. Spillman, LS Kevin McDermott, CB Daryl Morris, S Bubba Ventrone. Do you feel like some of the young guys, I mean, where are they in their development and what does this mean for special teams coach Brad Seely? What’s he going to have to do, what challenges await him?
“There are young players that are going to have to rise to the challenge. It’ll be a challenge for our whole football team – the veteran players, young players, to get our special teams where we’re used to them being.”
You had mentioned on Thursday that you wanted to keep the three quarterbacks. Was there much discussion on that or was that kind of a consensus no-brainer for the organization?
“We all felt like [they] had earned it – all three quarterbacks. It’s typically what we’ve done. We’ve been a three-quarterback team. If you look at our roster, we’ve mainly been three quarterbacks. And then, also, you talked about the snapper earlier, another example. I thought somebody that really earned the job.”
We’ve seen QB Josh Johnson line up at receiver at times. Does that make him a little bit more valuable as the No. 3 quarterback? Just being able to play different positions during practice and what not?
“That’s been very rare and seldom that he’s been at wide receiver in terms of maybe a look. But no, that’s not necessarily a consideration in terms of playing other positions.”
What is the injury that put FB Will Tukuafu and CB Kenneth Acker on Injured Reserve?
“Will is still going through a concussion protocol from the third preseason game. Kenneth Acker’s been dealing with a foot problem. He was MRI’ed yesterday and the recommendation was that he stay off of it for an extended period of time.”
T Jonathan Martin’s versatility along the offensive line, did that kind of make you more comfortable to go with just seven healthy linemen to enter the season?
“Jonathan, another example of someone who’s really earned the position. He’s been mainly playing tackle, but he has the ability to play guard and going forward that will be something that he’ll continue to learn and be good at. I feel very good about it. He’s done an excellent job of getting the job done.”
And also fitting in with his new team?
“Yes. It’s all been very good. We’re very fortunate to have him and excited about it.”
You mentioned TE/LS Kyle Nelson. How much of his ability to also play tight end helped win him that spot?
“Just felt like he’s earned the job. He earned it.”
Do you expect to have everyone available for Week 1? Has S Antoine Bethea gone through concussion protocol? Is WR Brandon Lloyd available?
“Yes, to Brandon Lloyd. Antoine Bethea was doing the final protocol today and did that on the field. And we’ll see if there are symptoms tomorrow. If not, he’ll be cleared.”
Will T Anthony Davis play Week 1?
As far as special teams, is S James McCray one of the young guys that you guys are expecting to step forward on coverage units and did the game on Thursday really sort of propel him to a roster spot today?
“Yes, we do expect him to be very good on special teams. Yes, the game on Thursday, he did a very fine job and we thought in the games leading up to that – the Baltimore game, Denver, San Diego, he was making his case, he was stating his argument and finally felt like he earned the job.”
Did you announce captains?
“Yes. Defensively, [LB] Patrick Wills and [DT] Justin Smith. Offense, [T] Joe Staley and [QB] Colin Kaepernick.”
Keeping both WR Stevie Johnson and WR Brandon Lloyd with your young talent at wide receiver, is there going to be enough football to go around for everybody? Six receivers on the roster.
“Well, there’s only one football, so that’s not going to change. Nothing will be given. There’ll be no layups. Guys will be competing and it will be competition at the highest level. There’s no question when you look at that group, it looks extremely good. But the competition won’t be self-centered. Knowing our guys, it’ll be something that’ll be very good for our team.”