SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke this afternoon after a morning practice. He talked about Michael Crabtree, Joe Staley, and Frank Gore extensively, but he also dropped some nuggets you’d find interesting.
He announced that Jonathan Goodwin is now the starting center, not Adam Snyder. He also explained the reasoning behind cutting LB Scott McKillop.
Here’s the complete transcript, courtesy of the 49ers.
You activated WR Michael Crabtree off the PUP list today. What is he able to do right now?
“We’ll talk about that very little and just assess it as we go.”
Will he play on Thursday?
“We’ll see. We’ll see how it comes along. Like I said the other day, we’ll see just how quickly he’s able to re-acclimate into playing shape, football shape, and back into the flow of playing.”
You’ve gotten to see Crabtree’s hands a little bit. Is that one of his better assets, how well he’s able to catch the ball?
“Saw a lot more than that when you watch the tape from last year. He’s an explosive receiver. He catches the ball extremely well, does a great job of getting yards after the catch. What I have seen being around him this training camp is that he’s a football guy, smart guy. He’s really good in the meetings. He’s been outstanding in his participation. I think that’s going to bode well for him and hasten that ability to get back in the lineup.”
As far as his participation yesterday, was that allowed under the league rules of warm-ups or practice otherwise, that he’s allowed to be out there for?
“There’s absolutely no malice by the team to try to break any rules or steal practice reps for Michael Crabtree. Did he or did he not practice? I can answer that question. He did not practice, and that was obvious. It was reported that he ran five-yard routes, he didn’t run any routes. He was walking around. He was playing catch. The malice wasn’t on our part. I think the malice was in the way it was written and the question that’s being portrayed.”
Is he ready to get activated or was that so that he could do that without any questions being asked?
“He was playing catch.”
No, I’m saying like today. Was there any difference in today as opposed to what he did yesterday?
“He wore his uniform today. He was out there in uniform, and he was lined up. He came out of the huddle in the walk through portion of practice.”
T Joe Staley told us yesterday that he was very disgusted, that the line was terrible. He sort of took some accountability for some things.
“Sort of? Accountability is exactly what he did. That is a strong guy. That is a man with big shoulders that makes you really proud to have guys on your team that are accountable guys. It’s Joe’s birthday today and Joe is a stud on all fronts.”
Based on how the unit performed on Saturday, would you expect to approach the game on Thursday more as trying to get those guys more reps than they normally would in a typical fourth preseason game?
“I think it’s possible. We’re trying to really hit a count of close to 80 to 100 plays in the preseason. We can’t predict exactly how it’s going to go but it will be more predicated on that than anything else. Making sure these guys are ready to go as part of the plan. We’ve stayed healthy, that’s been a real positive. We’re reset right now mentally and physically to go forward. The next 12 days including this preseason game against San Diego, I’m looking forward to it.”
You guys have had some limited snaps offensively. In terms of evaluating the quarterbacks, you’ve said that it’s crimped it a little bit where you haven’t been able to get great evaluation of QB Alex Smith or QB Colin Kaepernick because of that. Is that another factor looking into this? That you want to see more of them because you haven’t had that much opportunity?
“That question has come up a bunch of times, ‘can you evaluate the receivers, and can you evaluate the quarterbacks?’. There’s been valuable reps and experience and evaluation that they’ve gotten. Every play isn’t going to be perfect and most of the time it’s not going to be. So to be able to have that experience and have that practice for our guys is very, very valuable. So, yes, we can evaluate.”
How do you look at the passer rating that the league does for games? In terms of, is that a useful tool?
“I think it’s a tool. It’s useful. I look at it.”
After agent Drew Rosenhaus came here yesterday are you still encouraged and confident that a deal can get done for RB Frank Gore?
“It’s been my experience, and I’ve said this before, I’ve never seen it go well to benefit anybody, a player or organization, when you start talking about contracts in the media. So I just choose not to do that. I’m very optimistic because Frank’s a ‘says what he means, means what he says’ guy. Our organization is the same exact way. Like we’ve said, we’ll deal with this man to man with Frank and with his agent, Drew, but Frank is a great guy. Frank is a true 49er. I’ve said that from when I first got here, that’s how I thought I would feel about Frank Gore. Now I know how I feel about Frank Gore. The guy is awesome. Somebody should do a movie. Somebody should do the Frank Gore story, because it’s an awesome story.”
Just to clarify, are your starters going to play at least some of Thursday’s game?
“I anticipate our starters playing, yes. Always individual decisions you have to make for each guy.”
What is TE Vernon Davis’ status?
“A family, personal reason for missing today.”
Did he have to leave the area?
“It’s a personal, family issue.”
Will C Jonathan Goodwin start the game at center?
“Yes, he will start this game at center.”
Do you want to see more of him than what you’ve been seeing with the first group?
“Well, like I’ve said before, I really and truly believe that we’ve got seven starters on our offensive line. We’re going to look at combinations and find out what the best one is as we move forward, in terms of what the best five is. We know what the best seven is.”
Frank Gore had indicated after talking to you in the offseason he was very excited about his role in the offense. Obviously in those talks you got a good impression of him. People talk about what a smart guy he is as a football player. Can you talk specifically about why you’re so excited about Frank Gore, why you say he should go to Hollywood?
“Yeah, it’s a great story. He’s a guy that really deserves all the credit. The way he’s worked. He’s so astute on so many fronts, and a guy that makes his life, changes his life, impacts other people in a positive way. He’s a team guy, he’s a great football player, and he’s got a big heart, most of all that’s what I like about Frank. He’s just enjoyable to be around. He works his tail off. I love his work ethic.”
Coach, in regards to cut down day, how difficult was your first cut down? And as far as now, are you guys going to be involved in scouring the wave wires to see what else is out there?
“Well, at all times we’ll be trying to make the decisions that are best for our football team.”
Can you talk about the decision to cut LB Scott McKillop and what factored into that?
“Yeah, I think for Scott, it was a decision that was made now so that there could be a chance to get on with another football team. The way that it has shaken out he wouldn’t have a spot here on our team. So especially when it comes to guys that have been on the 49ers, and have been 49ers, you go a little extra to try to make it best possible situation for them.”
Obviously you were a player in the league for a long time dealing with management, now you’re more management dealing with players. Did your experience as a player color the way that you handle a day like this and deal with the players on cut down day?
“No, just as a person. It’s about having a conversation and being honest, and being truthful. I think it has more to do with that than whether you are a coach, or a player, or management, or anything else.”
Being truthful, did you give the guys like, here’s what I think about your future prospects, and send them off with something like that, or is that not where you want to go?
“That’s just conversation between me and those guys, and they are not always the same. I tell them the truth as I know it, as I see it at that time. If there’s an opportunity to advise them and if they want that advice, then absolutely. I’ll also again speak the truth as I know it at the time, and appreciate them too. Appreciate the guys for the work that they’ve done and the contributions they’ve made to our football team, and if there is anything I can do for them, we can do for them, within our power, and we have the ability to do that, and it aligns with what’s best for our football team, sure as heck would do it.”
Jim, you’ve talked about how impressed you’ve been with Crabtree in meeting settings and things to that degree, does that make you maybe comfortable putting him on the field Thursday. You didn’t rule him out for Thursday. Has he shown you enough that he can go out there and do something?
“We’ll see how he progresses physically. Definitely the mental work that he’s done is not going to be a big hurdle, in my opinion, and that’s what I know of right now. Until we actually get him out there and start working to the tempo and the timing, the actual practicing, we’ll have a better idea, and could tell you better at that time. Right now it’s just speculating.”
On the cuts, do you meet with all the players personally, or because you have so many cuts in such a short period of time, is that even logistically possible?
“I would like to meet with all the guys.”
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