SANTA CLARA — Here’s a transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
How’s the health of the tight end position?
“Still evaluating that, but I think as we going into this week, we’ll know more as the week progresses. Feel like we dodged a bullet with [TE] Vernon [Davis]. Hopeful that’ll be a healthy position by the end of the week.”
The one guy you brought in to the practice squad, was just the scout team, just for bodies to be able to practice?
“No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s never just that. Somebody that we’ve been looking at for a while and have valued as a player and was an opportunity to add him to the roster. Talking about [TE Xavier] Mr. Grimble?”
Has the district attorney’s office or the police department have been keeping you abreast of its DT Ray McDonald investigation? And when all the facts are finally made public, do you think the public will be surprised or shocked by any of the findings?
“To answer your question, no. They have not been keeping me abreast.”
What about the potential findings? Do you think it will shock or surprise the public at all?
“I don’t know. You’re asking me to speculate on what the findings will be and what people’s reaction will be. I don’t know that. I don’t know either of those two.”
Are there people in the organization who are more current and know more about what’s going on with Ray McDonald legally than you do?
“I don’t know that.”
I was just wondering if perhaps … It’s unfair to really ask you these questions. Perhaps, 49ers CEO Jed York or team president Paraag Marathe or a lawyer might come in after you and answer some questions, legitimate questions, that we have?
“I’m more than happy to answer the question. I think we exactly answered the gentlemen’s question. No, district attorney, his office has not been keeping me abreast. And to answer your question, I don’t know that. Just speaking on what your statement really is or your conclusion there, I believe that our position on the issue has been well-stated and we’re following that process.”
There’s no plans or discussions to put him on the exempt list like Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson or Carolina defensive lineman Greg Hardy?
“Again, same answer there. We’re following a process and our position is well-stated.”
Do you guys continue to remain in contact with the NFL on this matter?
“I am not in contact with the NFL on this matter.”
I don’t know if you’ve heard that the Vikings have now reversed course when it comes to Peterson and barred him from the facility. It just happened within the last couple of hours. I didn’t know if you have any thoughts on that?
“No, I don’t.”
Do you think it’ll affect anything that you guys do here?
“I don’t have any thoughts on it. I think it would be unfair for me to speculate.”
What’s the approach been like with Colin this week after, you know, the fourth quarter? It didn’t go his way or your way. How’s he sort of moving forward for the Cardinals?
“We all understand we’re in the bouncing-back business. That’s part of our job description. Nobody does it better than our team. Tough loss. Fortunately we’re a tough team.”
Some people would argue that it’s hard to have a quarterback who runs the ball a lot and is also a polished, pocket quarterback, that those are opposing ideas. What’s your response to that?
“I would disagree with that.”
“I believe you can be – both a mobile, running quarterback and a polished, pocket passer.”
You’re working on, presumably, turning Colin into both?
“I think he is that.”
Arizona head coach Bruce Arians referred to you as “Jimmy” a couple times. Do you have a relationship with him? Do you go back a ways with Arians or no?
“No, not really. Admire his work. I’ve had cordial conversations with him and respect him as a competitor. Does a heck of a job.”
He said that his running back, Andre Ellington, is dealing with a foot injury and that slowed him down a bit. When you watch Andre Ellington in these first two weeks, do you see a guy with a foot problem?
“No. I trust what they’re saying there. He’s a heck of a player. Very explosive out of the backfield, running the football, plays big, exceptional vision and hands. Tremendous football player.”
You said he plays big?
“Yeah, bigger than his size.”
Did you get any clarity from the NFL about the incident in which Colin Kaepernick was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct?
“I think you can get the same clarification. I think you can call the NFL and get the same clarification. It’s really no different than what we talked about the day after the game. Colin says he didn’t say anything, and this person says what they say and somebody else heard something else. Therefore, there’s been no change. That’s what was originally reported and been no difference to what was reported.”
And you, of course, you feel confident that Colin did nothing wrong in that instance or what’s your stance on that?
“I don’t have a stance. I could only imagine. I don’t have a stance because I don’t know, I didn’t hear it. But Colin’s always been truthful 100 percent of the time.”
Are you preparing for Cardinals QB Drew Stanton? What do you see out of him and his play?
“Yeah, we have to. We have to prepare for both.”
And what do you see out of Drew?
“We’ve had discussions about Drew before and we respect him as a player. I think he’s a fine football player.”
Does it make it more difficult having to prepare for two guys instead of just one?
“Yes. They’re both very good quarterbacks. The kind of injury that [Cardinals QB] Carson [Palmer] has right now, that could be two days, could be two weeks. It could snap right back to being able to play, so, we have to prepare for both.”
What stands out to you about S Antoine Bethea and the way he’s transitioned into this defense so far?
“It’s been seamless. From an on-field, from leadership off the field, on and off the field, it’s been very good.”
Is his leadership unique in the sense that he’s new to a team, like a guy coming in and being a veteran back there with you guys losing so many guys up front? Is that part of it unique?
“It’s been very similar to [former 49ers S and current Cleveland Browns S] Donte Whitner. I’ll make a rare comparison, but both have those qualities. It’s been seamless having Antoine.”
DT Justin Smith, the way he’s played these first two games, does he look revitalized to you? Does he seem to be playing at a top level? Not to say he hasn’t in the past.
“Yeah, that would be my answer, too. I’ve never see him not play at a top level and that continues.”
Why do you think he still has that drive after all these years? What’s driving him? Is it the lack of LB Aldon Smith being next to him or just wanting to be a leader of that defense?
“It’s just who he is. Great talent, great execution, great effort. He’s a football player in every sense of the phrase. What drives someone to be great rather than just good? Books have been written on it. He is at the highest quality.”
As a former quarterback yourself, what do you glean from the fact that Colin’s passer rating numbers are so much better when he’s actually blitzed than when he’s not blitzed? All three of his interceptions came on non-blitz plays. Do you glean anything from that that he’s reacting better when the blitz is coming? What do you see?
“I don’t see the difference in his play, whether he’s blitzed or not blitzed.”
What have you seen from TE Derek Carrier and his development to this point and where he’s made the most strides?
“Very positive. Where he’s made the most strides is he can play the game. He understands his role, his ability and now getting the experience to go out and do it. He’s done several times. And he’s gotten better and better and better. I think that’s been probably the most positive thing is the improvement he makes every time that he steps on the field.”
Getting back to McDonald for a second, are you in any way influenced at all by the public outcry by victims, advocates, as well as politicians and fans, who are criticizing you for not benching McDonald?
“Influenced? We’ve been very clear on what we’re basing our decisions on, the principles that we’re basing them on, and the information and the facts that are being gathered and respect for the process.”