SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the defensive meeting room Tuesday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers.
Are you feeling fresh or are you feeling a little jetlag?
“I feel great. I feel great. One of the other bonuses of a long stay away, you get nine days away, is just how fresh your facility feels when you get back and the practice fields, the food, the comfort of your own bed, your kids. But, the facility we’ve been in, the meeting rooms, offices that the fellas have been in for the last six to nine months now feel, ‘wow, it’s great to be back.’ This is new, it’s not stale bread anymore. It’s another bonus. So, it gives you life and enthusiasm, which is a good thing.”
How does this setup, have London out of the way, you’ve got half the year gone, you’ve got a week off and you’ve got the bye? Does this come at a pretty good point of the year for you guys?
“The bye week? Yeah, I suppose. I suppose it does, right in the middle there. If I could pick the week that’d probably as good as any.”
The trade deadline’s coming up pretty soon here. Is there anything to report on that end or not yet?
“No. Nothing to report.”
It’s been nearly a year since QB Colin Kaepernick took over, I guess we’re a couple weeks from that mark. Looking back on that decision, maybe, was it a tough one on you and do you realize now how that was the right decision, everything he’s given you over the past year?
“He’s done a phenomenal job in all regards. Talked many times about his different qualities, showered him every day. And he keeps getting better every, it seems like it’s weekly now, game after game and just consistently really good. So, yeah plus-plus.”
You guys are tied for seventh best in fewest sacks allowed. Why do you guys think you’re so successful in protecting Kap?
“I think it’s … I don’t know. I don’t really want to go over that list. I don’t have that list in front of me right now. We’re still asking how we can get better. Not at this stage, at the halfway mark, do we start having the answers. We’ve still got questions, how can we get better.”
Were you able to stay awake through Monday Night Football last night?
What’s sort of your take on the state of the division at this juncture?
“Same as we knew it was at the beginning. Arguably the best division in football. It’s very tight at the halfway mark. So, there’s a lot of football to be played. For us, just to keep focusing on what we can do to improve.”
What’s sort of the take on WR Michael Crabtree’s return in a few weeks? Is that still doable?
“That’s doable. I’m not going to make any proclamations or profound statements, but he’s right on track for, at some point here, weeks.”
Mid-November is still the target?
“Some amount of weeks.”
Having “opportunity practices” for the young guys this week, are there any guys who you are looking at hoping they can take advantage of an opportunity this week?
“Always. Always looking at the young guys to take advantage of an opportunity.”
“All of them, all of them. All have the license and opportunity and the talent to step up.”
How significant really has T Joe Staley been for the running game or the run blocking of the offensive line?
“He’s been outstanding, both tackles have. Joe Staley and [T] Anthony Davis are having great years. I was going to say having their best years. I think Anthony Davis definitely is, Joe Staley’s had a lot of great years, but they’re both playing at a very high level.”
The NFI and PUP guys are eligible to come back early next week. Do you expect them, all of those guys, to be back practicing full next week and be added to the 53?
“At some point. We had an ‘opportunity practice’ today. [DT] Tank Carradine was here and by that I think we’ll make him the first guy activated to the 53.”
What did you like about playing for former NFL head coach Ted Marchibroda and did he influence your style of coaching in any way?
“So much, yes. I loved playing for Ted Marchibroda. The first offensive head coach, passing coach, that I had as a head coach. A head coach that played the position. That was really neat. That was quite a thing. I just learned a lot from him, and just on a personal level just a great friend and a coach you just loved to play for, wanted to do well. He didn’t yell at you. It was a look that he could give you that was just 100-times worse than being screamed at. Kind of like what my dad does. It’s a Jack Harbaugh look. Ted Marchibroda look. Just the look of disappointment, just rips your heart out.”
Was he mostly a positive guy though or that look could get you?
“Very positive, always so positive. But, yeah that look was the one that said it all, got you.”
What stood out about Tank these last few weeks you’ve seen him practice?
“He’s still coming along. He’s getting the feel back playing 11-on-11 football, but it’s coming.”
What have you liked the most about how things have been going during this winning streak and the points you’re putting up and the takeaways? I mean, there are a lot of good things to point to the way you guys are playing right now.
“Yeah there sure are. A lot of positives. Playing very good team defense. The special teams is really rolling. Offensively, done a great job reducing the pre-snap penalties and the during-snap penalties and the post-snap penalties and have done that very well defensively. Really, almost eliminated them and that’s been great that we’ve taken that stride. Same with the special teams. Really a dramatic improvement in terms of playing disciplined, sound technique football. So, it’s a great job by the fellas in that regard. Execution’s been good, getting better and you keep seeing that we can, that there’s even, you play good football and there’s room for improvement, ways that we can improve. So, that is the one most encouraging thing is that we’re playing good and we can get better.”
What aspects, are you willing to go into specifics, where you’d like to get better?
“Yeah, just every aspect I think there’s room for it. So, it’s not going to be huge leaps at this point, but there’s definitely things that we can do to improve.”
Have you thought about what this offense will look like when you get WR Michael Crabtree and WR Mario Manningham and some new elements to the mix?
“No, we’ve really just been focused on what we have this week. Those being the best available players and they’re all doing a real fine job and how we could use them differently. Get [RB] LaMichael [James] in the mix. I want to get that going. He’s just too good of a football player not to be playing. And other things, but mainly just focusing on the guys that are here playing.”
When you say get LaMichael in the mix, is that both sides, special teams and offensively, or is there one specific area where you want to see him?
“Yeah, both of those. Yeah, both those areas.”
You’ve been around the game obviously a long time, college, pro, high school. Does anything ever surprise you? Do you look at a score 49-9, the Jets lose, or the Broncos run up four or five straight touchdowns. Do you ever say ‘Wow,’ or do you say ‘Ok, that’s pro football.’”
“I think that’s just anything in life. Do things surprise you? Heck yes. The older I get, the more I see, the less I truly know for sure. That’s in football and all aspects of my life, our life.”
Stanford is retiring Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway’s jersey number. What are your thoughts on that?
“Congratulations. Well deserved. Great Stanford player. Great NFL player. Legend, both at Stanford and in the National Football League. Contributions are enormous. Well deserved.”
Did you draw inspiration from him?
“Yes. I draw inspiration from many people, John Elway included.”
Off-track just a tad, several college basketball teams are training with Navy Seals leading into the season, is that right up your alley in terms of developing toughness and how to handle yourself in duress and some of those things. What’s your take?
“I heard Michigan did that a couple years ago, the football team did that. Went down to Coronado and trained down there with Seal Team 1. Yeah, seems like that would be a great idea.”
Has there been a receiver behind WR Anquan Boldin, WR Marlon Moore, WR Kyle Williams, WR Jon Baldwin, who’s asserted himself over the last few weeks?
“Yes, at various times they’ve all shown they’re capable and have asserted themselves. Yes.”
Will you get a day off this week?
“We’ll see. We’ll see how far we, if we can get ahead on Carolina. A very good football team. They’re getting better and better. A lot of talent. So, we’ll see if we can get ahead a bit.”
Are any of your veterans staying around like they’ve done in the past bye weeks?
“Can’t speak for all, but saw Colin Kaepernick today, [DT] Ray McDonald was in. I know there’s quite a few others. [NT] Ian Williams was here, saw Ian. [RB] Marcus Lattimore’s birthday today. Happy birthday to Marcus Lattimore. 22 years old. So young. How about that.”
You talk about trying to get better. Is there a difference when judging the strength of your team based on an opponent with a lesser record than a superior record?
“Could you repeat that?”
In terms of improving your team, which you said you always want to do, is there a difference when you judge the strength of your team based on a team you played with an inferior record based on one of the best teams in the league, when it comes to judging your team?
“That seems very mathematical. Beyond subtraction, multiplication, long division, I don’t have an exact answer for you there. A percentage. I start seeing decimals and algebra, calculus there.”
No need for that.
“Yeah, sorry. History’s my better subject.”
Did you have any good Indian food or pot pies, fish and chips or anything?
“Oh over there? What did we eat? Yeah, little bit of everything. Had some of the fish and chips. I don’t even remember what I ate. Food. Sustenance.”