Harbaugh on improving the 49ers: “It’s a process.”

Here’s the complete transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s conference call.

He sounded subdued on the phone, pausing for long lengths of times after questions. There was no energy behind the things he said.

He stressed that improving the team is a process. He stressed that fact so much he used the word “process” nine times.

Searching for something positive to add, he said he wasn’t completely discouraged by the defense, which meant he may have been completely discouraged by the offense and special teams.

You can read the rest for yourselves.

Q: You said yesterday you wanted to see Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter to get a better read on who your No. 2 back is. Do you have that read now?

HARBAUGH: We’ll continue to evaluate that. Like a lot of our team I think we know better now what are strengths, what are weaknesses are and where we need to make improvement

Q: Obviously Hunter had the nice game against the Raiders, what did you think of his game against the Texans?

HARBAUGH: Offensively, as it relates to the backs and overall with our offense there’s good snaps and there’s snaps we’d like back mentally and physically.

Q: Where is the offensive line at in terms of being ready?

HARBAUGH: It’s them getting to know us, us getting to know them, as it relates to all facets of where we’re at right now and it’s a process. I think that sums it up in answering your question. And no question about it, there’s work to do and we have to play better, and we have to coach better.

Q: Do you think that the line’s play can get better by getting more complex or do things have to get even more simplified?

HARBAUGH: What I was talking about last night, what the defense was presenting us should not have been complex for us. We were violated at times. When that’s happening you have to look at all three phases of what you’re doing. What you’re doing schematically, how you’re doing it and who’s doing it, and those are the three things, really the only three things you have to really focus on and that’s what we’ll do.

Q: Where is the coaching staff in terms of knowing how to best use the talent on the team. Is that an on-going process as well?

HARBAUGH: Yes, yes it is. That is a process as well.

Q: Will you be waiting until Tuesday to make your initial cuts or could that come sooner?

HARBAUGH: That, most likely Tuesday it could come sooner.

Q: Where is the competition between Goodwin and Snyder stand at center?

HARBAUGH: It’s not resolved.

Q: Is it possible that you could use more than one person at a particular offensive line position?

HARBAUGH: That’s possible.

Q: Madieu Williams forced a fumble yesterday and he had an interception the game before. What else have you seen from him besides those takeaways.

HARBAUGH: Solid play from Madieu. Madieu has stood out in his individual play in the ball game. Eyes, hustle, willingness to tackle, you know, nose for the football. There were others, but I think he stood out.

Q: Does he have a shot at getting into the starting lineup?

HARBAUGH: It’s competing, there’s a shot, definitely.

Q: Can you talk about what you saw from Scott McKillop?

HARBAUGH: His improvement physically has been dramatic. He’s practicing better, he’s playing better. You don’t see the leg drag like it was at the beginning when he first started practicing so I think it’s been dramatic for Scott.

Q: Is it tough to remain patient during this process. Is that testing you at this point?

HARBAUGH: No. There’s nothing easy, but, you know, when you’re in a process getting ready for a season and training camp, and that’s for everybody. There’s nothing easy about training camp, there’s nothing easy about the work that these guys are doing. Nobody’s fresh, not just our team but all teams and it’s not going to be easy for anybody, both coaches or players. So we’ve got to be mentally tough we’ve got to stay hard and continue to forge on.

Q: Are you going to play second stringers early again next week?

HARBAUGH: There will be the approach that we had this week not necessarily will be the same as it was last week. By position I thought we did accomplish some of the things that we were looking to do. Finding out things to understand about our ball club, some of them good, some of them you know you don’t want to find out, didn’t want to find out but we did. The amount of offense snaps was low, it was in the low 40s. Would have rather it been up near the high 60s. We did not get into a rhythm, we did not pick up first downs and other things, so, it all contributed to that.

Q: How tough is it to evaluate your wide receiver in a game like that?

HARBAUGH: There’s nobody washing their hands of anything here in terms of any position, quarterbacks or wide receivers. It’s certainly not something that’s all on the offensive line if that’s what you’re asking. We’re still evaluating, we’re still learning at those other positions and definitely improvements that need to be made from an offensive standpoint. There’s much to be done at all position groups.

Q: Are you expecting to get Michael Crabtree back on the practice field this week?

HARBAUGH: We’ll see, that’s possible.

Q: When you get him on the field what are going to be the things that you look for in him after he’s had such a long layoff.

HARBAUGH: Everything in terms of as it relates to his position. How quickly he can get back up to full speed and get caught up with the rest of the unit.

Q: Did you see any communication problems on the left side of the line with Staley and Iupati?

HARBAUGH: No, now that’s not to say that we didn’t have error. We did. I don’t think that was a communication issue though. We had the same issue that we had in New Orleans, pretty much a similar look, but I think it was more technique that we used and sliding, just our technique and our fundamentals, not a communication, hey I’ve got him and you’ve got him issue. But we were in error. We have to do better in pass protection. I think that was obvious to anybody. And some of it’s coming from technique, some of it’s fundamental, some we got beat to the punch. They were playing with a lower pad level and beating us off the snap of the ball, so all those things are contributing and all those things we need to do a better job coaching and understanding as players.

Q: Overall, Ahmad Brooks, what has been your feeling of how much he can help that defense this year with an every down role?

HARBAUGH: I’ve been impressed. I’ve been saying that mostly all of camp. He’s finding ways to make plays. We saw it earlier in camp too. He’s getting his hands on balls and making interceptions. To see it show up in the game, that’s fantastic. Good in the practice good in the games and it’s nice to see that show up. That was a big play he made. As far as Ahmad, yeah, I think he’s doing a heck of a job.

Q: Has Demarcus Dobbs surprised you with his play?

HARBAUGH: Surprised in a good way. He’s playing well, and he’s using his long arms, he’s been athletic, he’s been physical, he’s doing a good job in understanding everything as it relates to his position within our defense. So very much arrow up on Demarcus Dobbs.

Q: Is it harder to evaluate McKillop, Adams, and Zeigler because they’re coming on late in the game here.

HARBAUGH: Yeah, it’s harder when you don’t have the practice tape and the game tape to evaluate on them. So, yes.

Q: Would you put Adams in the same category as McKillop – a guy who didn’t look great at the beginning of camp but has made strides?

HARBAUGH: Definitely. We’ve talked about this before, he’s definitely making strides. He’s fighting, fighting for a spot on a team, like Scott, like a lot of guys on our team, and you notice it. It’s very positive the way they’ve approached the meeting, both of them outstanding in that regard, and their rehab and getting back out on the field and getting acclimated to playing again.

Q: Alex Smith suggested we shouldn’t put too much stock into the preseason. How much stock are you putting in these game?

HARBAUGH: I’m putting a lot of stock in it, you know, in the process of getting ready for our season and the process of building the football team and who makes the team. Those games a very important, as important as practice. I put a lot of stock into it, and I put a lot of stock into being able to learn, as we go through this process, from these games. That’s very important. It will be very important for what our regular season looks like when we start playing games in the regular season. It’s all part of that process – building, learning.

Q: How do you view the type of play you’ve gotten from the cornerback position opposite of Carlos Rogers, from Brown and Brock?

HARBAUGH: Again, I thought they played well. Just overall, just talking about the defense, not completely, not as discouraged with the defense. There’s snaps where we could have played better, there’s no question about it and we can learn from that there’s definitely some correctable things. I thought Houston offensively, they were in sync, they were in rhythm, they were in sequence in terms of first, second, and third down, third down and short maybe nine times in the ball game. They were very good an effective. I’m not saying we’re where we need to be defensively, but there’s definitely some encouraging thing and I think we can build on those positives

Q: Is part of the reason you feel good there because you have confidence in Vic to game plan for a team more than in the exhibition season?

HARBAUGH: Yeah, I think that’s a factor. Our guys can go out and play the defenses and calls as they arise and I’m by no means saying we’re where we need to be, but I think the process on that side of the ball is coming along and getting better, and play by some of the individuals you brought and what we see on tape is encouraging. Now, there’s some snaps in there that need to be better and I believe that they’re very correctable so we continue to forge on on that front as well.

Q: Do you go into the offensive line meeting or do you address the offense as a whole?

HARBAUGH: I’m in all the position groups’ meetings from time to time. So definitely seeing the areas where we need to improve and believe we’re going to do a better job in terms of coaching it and understanding both what we’re doing and the mentality with which we’re doing it. Our identity. It’s a process and we’ll continue to build.



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