SANTA CLARA – This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.
I heard you say yesterday that the Cowboy will ride. Do you expect DT Justin Smith to play Sunday against Seattle?
“If it’s humanly possible.”
Is it going to be humanly possible?
“We’ll see. We’ll see how he feels today and tomorrow.”
How do you feel about just the overall health of the team going into the game? I know last time you said it’s as physical of a game as you’ve seen. How do you feel about the team bouncing back from that New England game?
“I feel good. Our team’s been a physically fit team. It’s been able to be a resilient team and a relentless team. And we’ll know more about how they are physically in terms of sustenance today.”
Will you lighten your mode this week given the back-to-back physical style games?
“Yeah, a little bit.”
Just in terms of length of practice, or no pads? That sort of thing?
“Correct. Yeah, no pads and a few less reps.”
TE Vernon Davis brought up the fact yesterday that he feels like he’s still finding his way with QB Colin Kaepernick. Is there something you’re seeing there with Vernon and Kaepernick still trying to get on the same page?
“I can think of a couple things in particular where Vernon and Colin spent some time on certain routes extra during and after practice, and that helped. And I think there’ll be some more focus on that this week.”
There were a couple near misses those two in that game Sunday. Is that something that is that a, I don’t know what it exactly means, was that a chemistry issue? Or how would you term those near misses?
“Maybe some more time on task. Just between the two of them.”
What did your defense do to succeed against QB Russell Wilson the first time you faced him?
“Well, they made plays. We made plays. And Russell played very well in that game. I remember a few critical drops. Otherwise, he would have had a few other big completions. And a few more plays. Tight game. Limit him? I don’t know that we did. I think it probably came out pretty even. And might have been for a couple of those drops.”
Your last couple games against Seattle have been relatively low scoring. They just scored 50 points. You just scored 41. Are you expecting a higher-scoring game this time around?
Colin was NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Does that just show maybe how the rest of the NFL is now seeing this kid as he’s early on as a starter?
“Well, it’s a nice thing to be voted. As always, we’re always happy for the other guy’s success. And our team won a big game on the road. Great team victory. Sometimes a rising tide lifts all ships.”
What went into the decision to change Seahawks CB Richard Sherman from a receiver to a cornerback at Stanford?
“Richard suggested that.”
Did he say why? Or anything why he wanted to make that change?
“Yeah, he just felt it suited him better.”
TE/DT Demarcus Dobbs said he will likely avoid surgery on that knee. Is that, I know you don’t have him back this year, but at least an encouraging thing for when he’ll be ready in the spring?
“Yes. Yes, it’s an injury that didn’t require surgery.”
And do you expect RB Kendall Hunter and WR Kyle Williams to be available in the spring?
“Again, Dr. Harbaugh, without the luxury of a medical degree, or a crystal ball.”
I’m sure the doctors have given you an indication?
“Spring, summer. Somewhere in there.”
What extra focus does your team take into these night games? You guys are 5-0 in primetime.
“What extra focus?”
Yeah. What do you see from your team on these night games maybe that differs from a day game or something? Any common thread to the success?
“No. I notice the same preparation weekly. So, I can’t say that there’s any extra.”
Do you get geared up a little more when the lights are on? A lot of guys have said that it takes us back to our Friday night high school games and that energy and feeling like you can go out there and stop the world, basically.
“Yeah, somewhat. Back into the playing days I remember that. The night games, the lights on. You put the silks on. You had kind of a more special feeling, yeah. I can relate to that. That resonates.”
Having faced Seahawks head Coach Pete Carroll at two levels now, is there a hallmark or certain characteristics you would associate with a Pete-Carroll-coached team?
“I don’t remember getting any cards from him … at the holidays.”
Really? Do you send a Christmas card to him?
Are there characteristics of a Pete-Carroll-coached team that you would really sort of say that similarities at those two levels that you can see?
“I suppose there are. Yeah, there are. Enthusiastic team. They play with a lot of energy. Play a high level of energy, intensity. Well-coached teams.”
The noise up there is well known and is bad if not worse than some of the indoor stadiums. Was that a problem last year? Do you see it to be a problem when your quarterback is calling signals? Or their quarterback?
“Anytime you play on the road it’s more difficult for the opposing offense. That’s where you see the task, the challenge.”
I ask this because you’ve gone into places like New Orleans, Green Bay, New England, Detroit last year. Places that are really loud, and silenced the crowd. In your experience, is it more satisfying to kind of have the home crowd going crazy, or to have that silence when you shut up a road crowd?
“Well, they’re both good.”
What is it like I guess when you hear that silence? I think of Detroit was going nuts and then that TE Delanie Walker touchdown and you can hear a pin drop all of a sudden. Is that something you remember?
“You’re talking about when like you win at home, or win on the road?”
Yeah, well just the lack of sound in a road environment?
“Really, I think the thing that you feel the most is that when the game’s over, did you win or did you lose? If you win it’s the great thrill of victory. The great feel of winning. Whether you’re at home or on the road.”
You guys have established now a very distinct win, win, loss pattern for the season. Two wins and then a loss. Do you have any explanation for that, why that is?
“No. Probably quite a few teams that would want that pattern. We’d like to break that this week, yeah.”
Let me ask you this. It seems like the game before the loss has always been a big game. A big, emotional game, whether it’s on national television. Is it difficult to come off a win like that and then get back up the following week? And is that a challenge for you this week?
“I think it’s always a big, emotional game every single week. We’ve always taken that approach that the next game is the biggest game at least of the season.”
You said that Vernon and Colin have done some things to get on the same page. Are you willing to offer any specifics on what they’ve done?
“Just specific plays.”
“Just the way they worked during practice, or after practice on it. And I think that was a positive for us and be something we can continue.”
Has he and WR Michael Crabtree done the same thing?
“Yeah, they’ve done similar things, yeah.”
You weren’t wearing your khakis Sunday night, was that OK for you?
“Yeah, it was OK. Khakis were underneath.”
Oh, were they?
“It was a rain suit over the khakis.”
So, you had this on but the rain suit over it?