Harbaugh on Kaepernick’s development: “I don’t know that there will be dramatic increases when you’re that good.”

Jim Harbaugh held a press conference Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here is a transcript.

Q: How has coaching in college helped you evaluate draft prospects?

HARBAUGH: It helped. I feel like it still does. There are players in this class who I didn’t coach, but I recruited them. And some I did coach. So you continue to know guys that went to other schools. You remember recruiting them, and in my case there are some Stanford players that we did coach.

Q: How did Frank Gore play last season?

HARBAUGH: Frank was, once again, Frank Gore. A++. Played all of the games. Our other running backs – Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon – once again provided a very strong backfield for us. I’m very excited about all of those players and the addition of Marcus Lattimore.

Q: Can you put a finger on why the 49ers haven’t drafted a player from Stanford the past three years?

HARBAUGH: Hmm. Well, I can put a finger on that. If you watch the tape and you evaluate at the Combine, you can see most all of the good players and there are a lot of them. The biggest problem is you realize you’re going to be playing against them because you only get one pick every 32 picks. So the great majority of these players play against you. You know it’s coming. You know how good they are. In some of the Stanford players cases, I’m sure not looking forward to playing Andrew Luck, but you realize that you’re going to be. Sure enough, you end up playing him and he does pretty darn well. That would be the one thing I put my finger on.

Q: What’s your take on what happened to Jonathan Martin in the Dolphins’ locker room?

HARBAUGH: I wasn’t in the locker room there. I can’t really comment on that. I have not spoken to him. I think you know what I think about the whole situation. It’s pretty well documented in reports. I have commented on it before.

Q: How responsible are you to know what’s going on with your players?

HARBAUGH: I always avoid answering those questions when the question is tied to a situation that was in a different locker room, on a different team. For me to stand up here and answer that question, you would link it back to that situation. So I’d prefer not to comment on something I really don’t have any knowledge of.

Q: Is there any doubt in your mind that Martin will develop into a good NFL player?

HARBAUGH: You have my quote on that. That was also in the report. I do believe that, yes.

Q: Can you tell us about Tank Carradine’s progress and what kind of a role you expect him to play next season?

HARBAUGH: Expectations will be very high. Tank had a procedure done after the season that took out a mass of scar tissue. He wasn’t able to straighten out his leg before that, but they took that out and his leg went straight. He looks like a different guy now since that procedure. Just with what we saw when he did practice with our team, and now this procedure that’s been done, I really am more excited. I think he’s going to have a great offseason.

Q: How hard is it to get the feel of a player during a 15-minute interview?

HARBAUGH: It’s one piece of a getting-to-know-a-player process. A piece. I don’t have a percentage for you. I certainly enjoy it. It’s one of my most enjoyable experiences of the year, getting knee-to-knee with these youngsters and talking to them.

Q: Your defense is so good at inside linebacker and safety. How does that challenge opposing offenses?

HARBAUGH: It’s good to be good in the middle. Just like in baseball – you want to be good up the middle. Catcher. Pitcher. Shortstop. Second baseman. Centerfielder. Same thing (in football), you want to be built that way on defense. Nose tackle. Your two linebackers. Your safeties.

Q: Have you watched the tape of Johnny Manziel?

HARBAUGH: Yeah.

Q: What did you think?

HARBAUGH: Impressed.

Q: Do you think his game will translate to the NFL?

HARBAUGH: Yes, I think he will. He’s very competitive. He’s a winner. I think those qualities translate very well in the NFL.

Q: Why is it important to be good up the middle on defense?

HARBAUGH: It’s the core of your unit, defensively or offensively. Closest to the ball. Same on offense – center, quarterback, running back.

Q: Where would you like Colin Kaepernick to make the biggest improvement this offseason?

HARBAUGH: We played our last game. I came into the facility and his car was already in the lot when I got there. He worked out the next week and now he’s down in Florida working out again. I never have any questions about Kaepernick’s work ethic and his desire to be great. He is pretty darn good. I don’t know that there will be dramatic increases when you’re that good. He’ll find a way to get a mile-an-hour faster. It’s just the way he trains and he thinks.

Q: Your alma mater keeps getting pounded by the Buckeyes. Will you ever go back to Michigan and turn that thing around?

HARBAUGH: We’ll see about next year now.

Q: Do you stay in touch with them much?

HARBAUGH: Don’t underestimate the Wolverines.

Q: Did the result of the Super Bowl surprise you?

HARBAUGH: Yeah, I think it did.

Q: How have you seen the tight end position evolve the past 15 years?

HARBAUGH: It’s always been a valuable position in football and continues to be.

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  1. Alot of guys on here question kaps work ethic, and i know ppl like to say he needs to improve. But guys, this man is working at it, he is in the film room, but all you guys seem to talk about is his footwork. His footwork and accuracy need improving, but for once lets give the man credit for bustin his ass trying to get better.

    1. I know one on here that claims he devotes too much time to his biceps, (I just kissed mine) and not enough time to what’s between his ears. His evidence is Kaepernicks’ game….I don’t understand it either Steel….

    2. And what evidence do you have that he’s in the film room??? Only real evidence is that he hits the weight room and runs.

      1. And what evidence do you have that he’s not in thr film room. My evidence is his teammates and coaches who swear by himbeing in the film room. Trying to het better

      2. really! and where did you get his daily workout agenda? what are your evidence based on? Your comment is just too funny. Every football player spends time in the weight room routinely this is not ping pong.

    3. Just one question. Why isn’t Grant in Indianapolis instead of Arizona? His dad’s covering the Giants; I thought Grant’s beat was the 49ers.

    4. @Steelmatic,

      Couldn’t agree more with your Take on CK7,

      I shake my head when Ignorant People continue to post how Kaep needs to work 24/7 – 357 days to get better. As if these Dunderheads know that he’s not doing everything he can to get better?

      Complete Nonsense.

    5. I, for one, don’t question his work ethic. He obviously works very hard. I question his choices on what to work on. He is a world class athlete playing QB. If he wants to reach his full potential then he needs to work on his footwork. He may have the worst footwork in the NFL and it impacts his ability to produce on the field.

      1. They won’t draft Manziel in round 1, but perhaps there’s someone else on that team that will pique their interest.

      1. I’d rather not say until I start posting my mocks but I will include one particular Cardnial player in almost all of my mocks until I learn something differently about them and could even throw in a second one depending on how things go after March 11th.

          1. Confirming or denying would only defeat the point of not saying in the first place. By all means if you think it’s Skov then it must be.

          2. DE Josh Mauro could be a good pickup in the fourth or fifth round. He was a favorite of Vic Fangio.

          3. Murphy put up the stats but doesn’t look like he has the speed of explosiveness to be a great edge rusher in the NFL. Skov looks fine but they’d need to take him with a high pick – other needs are more pressing even with Bowman injured. Reynolds I’m just not that impressed with, but he’s also a FS, not a SS, and I think Reid should stay at FS.

          4. One guy that hasn’t been mentioned as CfC’s mystery Stanford player is David Yankey. He’d be an interesting pick to solidify the interior of the OL.

            Razor, with Mauro, I haven’t watched any of his film yet but I do worry about guys that only really become a starter their senior year and only because of injuries. But I’ve really not had a look at him at this point so can’t give you much of an impression.

  2. Harbaugh said similar things about Kaep last season. Let’s just hope that Kaep does improve next by leaps and bounds next season.

    1. Thats true. But by all accounts kaep improved this season. Not in evedy area but in some. Here’s hoping that he improves even more

      1. If you are referring to his increased capability of ignoring everything past his first read, then yeah he has. There wasn’t any real improvement from Kaep this year. Next season will determine where he truly is as a QB.

  3. After watching the Philbin presser .. I can say ..
    I’m sure glad he coaches for the Fish .. and
    The Harbs is here…

    Couldn’t believe I looked in my Funk & Waggenals ..
    under the word … “doofus” .. and it had Philbin’s picture
    there

  4. Happy Tank can straighten his leg after his recent surgery. Surprised he needed surgery and was not able to fully extend the leg. Harbaugh has a right to spread disinformation about injuries. He exercises that right with great frequently. Who knows how Marcus and Tank are really doing? That’s the way the 49ers like it.

    1. brodie one of the common side effects of ACL injuries is scare tissue development and reduce extension of the leg.

      1. Thanks for the info about scar tissue being a common side effect. I’ll take that as positive news.

  5. You have been cut Cohn, released, no longer able to cut and paste press conferences when you are in another State… go suck your thumb….

  6. Let’s face it, the coach is managing expectations, but he also knows that Kaep needs to pick up his game. Kaep’s QB Rating was 92 in 2013 vs Russell Wilson 101, and the top of NFL QBs being 119 – so there is some significant room for improvement, even when compared to those in his own division.

  7. I would hope that the Niners would take advantage of his work ethic and hire a QB coach or tutor to work on mechanics, footwork, and processing in the offseason. Only makes sense.

    1. Chryst is the QB coach right???

      What’s his background in developing young QB’s???

      Seems like we just need better skill position coaches (ie QB, WR, CB, etc)

  8. Funny, I know that this is the Bay Area, but I heard Harbaugh sais kap is the most tremendous physical specimen he ever saw ( since history began times a gazillion plus 100) but I can’t think of bill Walsh ever caring how big or strong a qb was. Come to think about it, how big is Montana Bradshaw, Brady manning, Rodgers, Bree’s or Wilson’s biceps? ( Not interested in the drunkenmillers or mike Vicks. )You know what after watching the 49ers at kezar, us old guys do t give a darn what he looks like. Give us a guy who converts third downs , read defenses , throws catchable balls, finds the open receivers bad backs, those guys win Super Bowls.

    1. Wow if kaep is that damn good, then why didn’t we win? Was it his fumble, his two picks? What was good about that?

  9. Mock draft creators, Baalke today at the combine, “all of our defensive linemen have arms that are at least 34″ #Baalkelikeslength

        1. I bet he’s like a school boy in love with McCullers….look at the vines on that tree! I’d love to see what Tomsula could do with him.

  10. Just to lighten up the mood a bit.

    Who is your favorite 49ers player and why?

    I’ll start:

    NaVorro Bowman (epitomizes everything great about the consummate athlete).
    Anquan Boldin (close second.. I love his game but could do with a little less of the trash talking after a 5 yard gain).

  11. Manziel measured at 5′ 11.75″ 207; that seems like fairly sturdy proportions.
    Taking the broader view: I used to think watching the draft was nerdy. Now I’m listening to people talk about the Underwear Olympics before they even start. smh.

  12. It’s letter time and I’ll make it short and sweet;

    Dear Trent Baalke

    For the love of god and all that’s holy do not sign Sidney Rice.

    Thanks bunches,

    CFC.

    1. coffee …
      you forgot to add …

      ” …. because there’s somebody better .. and cheaper .. in the draft !…”

  13. Grant,
    Harbaugh on Kaepernick’s development: “I don’t know that there will be dramatic increases when you’re that good.”
    Gee, now I can sleep better knowing all is well in 49er land, Ha!

  14. Steve Young in his last KNBR interview on Tom T’s show (believe it was the week after SuperBowl) had some interesting thoughts on Kap. He spoke in general of QBs who are effective runners such as Kap and himself. He said that the development of the pocket passing game of such QBs necessarily happens at the expense of their running game.

    I think the Niners’ offensive brains trust will not put pressure on Kap to fix the shortcomings of his pocket passing skills. They will work on it steadily and wait for it to happen with time. Meanwhile, the front office needs to give Kap more skilled and experienced receivers. In 3-4 years, I think Kap’s passing game will evolve to the extent that he will make mediocre receivers look very good. But 2014 season will not be that year. (This is my between-the-lines reading of Harbaugh’s interviews on this topic. I have been working on this skill since 2007 :)

  15. Grant,

    The NFL combine is upon us and it’s time to start writing about it. Get with it dude.

    Dates to look for:

    Sunday, Feb. 23: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers
    Monday, Feb. 24: Defensive linemen, linebackers
    Tuesday, Feb. 25: Defensive backs

    1. For two guys with almost the same measurables, Beckham and Landry are such dissimilar athletes.

      Beckham passed the first hurdle for me – he is actually slightly bigger than I thought he might be, with pretty good arm length. And that hand size is impressive.

      Evans and Benjamin are big humans. Holey-dooley.

        1. You wouldn’t have a lot of height with those two guys though. Landry may have disappointed some by coming in at under 6’0″, considering his game is more predicated around working the middle. Who knows, he may drop some and be a steal for someone in the late 2nd/ early 3rd.

          They worked well in tandem and LSU and I think both guys have bright futures.

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