Harbaugh on Kaepernick’s lack of playing time: “I didn’t want anything freakish to happen.”

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Sunday morning. Here’s what he said.

Q: What is the complexion of practices these final two weeks of the exhibition season? Will you still do some ones against ones, or will it be mostly scout team work?

HARBAUGH: It will not change very much. It will still be one versus one, two versus two, one versus two, two versus one, similar to what we had been doing. The twos have been playing a lot, so it might take a load off of them. They’ve been getting quite a bit of practice. The only thing I can think of right now is cutting down their reps because they’ve been getting such a high volume.

Q: The wide receivers got in the game in roughly the same order versus Denver and versus Kansas City. Is that where things are right now? Can that be seen as a pecking order for the wide receiver group?

HARBAUGH: There are some guys who have now gotten into the game, gotten familiar with the system, Hawkins, Collie, they’re more up to speed. They’re showing good things. There’s opportunity to move up or move down. I wouldn’t say that there’s a set pecking order.

Q: It’s still fluid?

HARBAUGH: Yes. Still competing.

Q: What’s the plan with Quinton Patton now, is he a full go?


Q: How do you evaluate him in two weeks?

HARBAUGH: He’s been doing everything but catching the ball the past three weeks. Now he can start catching the football. How do evaluate him? That continues.

Q: How do you evaluate Collie knowing that he’s still not going at full speed? Do you keep that in the back of your mind and extrapolate what he would look like?

HARBAUGH: There are always different things going on with different guys. Quinton Patton has been another example.

ME: Colin Kaepernick played one series against the Chiefs. Last season in your second preseason game you played Alex Smith for two series. Why did you decide to scale it back for Kaepernick?

HARBAUGH: Fair question. I didn’t want anything freakish to happen. Sometimes you’ve got a plan, but you also need a feel, too. It just felt like he has gotten a tremendous amount of work in practice. We’d like to have in play more in the preseason games, but it comes down to a feel there.

ME: Do you plan on playing him and the starters into the second quarter in the third preseason game?

HARBAUGH: There will be a plan in place. I plan to play them longer than they played in the second preseason game, Colin in particular. But nothing set into the second quarter. There will be a feel.

Q: Will Mario Manningham start the season on the PUP list?


Q: Is his rehab going about as expected?

HARBAUGH: It’s going very well. We’ve had great feedback on Mario. He’s really feeling now that he can put his foot in the ground and generate some power. It’s exciting and he’s excited about it. Also with Michael Crabtree, he’s hit every single goal as far as his timeline. That’s been really exciting and encouraging. And others as well. Everything’s been positives. There’s been no setbacks with any of the players who have been on the PUP.

Q: Is B.J. Daniels going to get more reps at quarterback in practice now?

HARBAUGH: Yes. What he did the other night was very positive. As far as how the reps will go this week in practice, I plan on them being even with Colt and Scott and B.J.

Q: Did that performance by Daniels more time?

HARBAUGH: It was an encouraging performance. He’s done some encouraging things in practice as well. He continues his process. He competed well, made plays. Someone does a good job, you give them a little more.

Q: Have the reps been even to this point?

HARBAUGH: They’ve been pretty close to even. They’ve all gotten a pretty good share of the reps when Kap hasn’t been in there. It’s been more Scott and Colt, a little bit less for B.J., but we’ll probably even those up this week.

Q: Does draft status and cap implications, does that factor into whether he’ll make the 53-man roster?

HARBAUGH: Things factor in, but it’s been longstanding in football since its inception – the best players make the team.

Q: Has he shown enough to make it? Do you think he’ll make it?

HARBAUGH: He’s shown good things. He’ll do some additional things this week, put him in some additional roles and see how he does with that. Like any particular player when you start talking individually, there’s a process there and he’s going through it and he’s competing. He’s working hard. Usually when you do that, good things happen.

Q: Is he a guy you’re counting on for the regular season?

HARBAUGH: Yeah. We’re counting on all of these guys. Everybody has the license and ability to make the football team. There is nobody we discount at this point. We put them in a position to compete and let the chips fall where they may. That’s every guy that’s on our roster.

Q: When you talk about additional roles, are you talking more about the split end position on offense?

HARBAUGH: Yeah, more special teams. And his role on offense.

Q:  Kick returner?

HARBAUGH: Yeah. That’s something we’d like to see this week.

Q: What’s been your evaluation of LaMichael James handling punts so far?

HARBAUGH: He’s done an excellent job from where he was last year to right now. It’s been remarkable. Credit to LaMichael, to the coaches, just how far he’s gone and come in one year.

Q: What have you seen from Eric Reid in the preseason games, and is he getting closer to playing with the starters?

HARBAUGH: It’s been very positive, everything he’s showed. There will be looks for him with the first team.

Q: Are you getting any definition as far as where things stand at wide receiver?

HARBAUGH: Wouldn’t say anything is cemented, but there has been excellent play from Anquan Boldin. Kyle Williams, we feel we know what Kyle can do. We’re being a little bit cautious there. I’m not going to go through every single guy, but there is a framework there. Marlon Moore has done an excellent job. And I think everybody is in a very competitive role after those three.

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  1. If AJ is going to make the team based on what he has shown so far then he better be a good special team player! so i am crossing my finger. Go NINERS

  2. Grant how do you think Looney is doing? he has made a few mistakes so far during the preseason games. Do you think the coaches are high on him or does he need to still work on his game to become a starter due to injuries?

  3. “freakish”…?
    Ya mean, something other than a freakin’ football fight…???
    Time to gear up for week #3:

    Christian Ponder/Adrian Peterson versus
    Colin Kaepernick/Frank Gore

    The fans are ready for three touchdown drives/scores, Kaep:
    (including one with your arm, one with your legs).
    In other words, a balanced attack.
    Oh, and howzabout one more by
    Frank (use me in the Super Bowl why doncha) Gore.

    Minnesota has won 5 out of the last six games against the Niners
    (taking us back to 1999). You will tell us much about the upcoming regular season with a strong performance this week. Good luck, Colin.

  4. So Harbaugh basically said:
    His top 3 wr’s are Boldin, Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore. The remaining receiver slots are still up for grabs.
    Congrats to Marlon Moore! He earned it.

  5. Grant,

    Were you able to find anything out from the other writers about Jenkins saying he ran the wrong route on the McCoy interception in the Denver game?

      1. Harbaugh said that McCoy Shoud have thrown te deep ball on that play. I read that somewhere. I don’t remember where. It stuck out because Harbaugh usually does not assess blame to anyone. He said that pick was McCoy’s fault.

      2. 23,

        That was in the KC game. We’re talking about the Denver game.

        Lynch tweeted yesterday that Jenkins said he ran the wrong route on that Int. I had not read that anywhere before and was looking for confirmation.

      3. Jordo has that right. I think it was on PFT, Harbaugh said McCoy should have lead him instead of throwing back shoulder; that AJ had position on the DB.

      4. 23J – What’s shakin? Niners sure could use Josh Johnson these days. He’s better than the current backup trio. You still drinkin pepsi these days and no brewski’s? :)

      5. Crabs,

        I tried to tell the blog about Josh last year. Did you see him last week? Check him out in the preseason this year. He is looking like he belongs in this offense in S.F. Harbaugh blew that one. Tolzein is who I said he was. He’s overrated and he won’t have a job in a few weeks. Not on this team anyway. Still on Pepsi Crabs. Yes sir!

      6. Jordan,

        Initially, you tried to tell us that JJ should be the starter for the 49ers. Then you said he should be Smith’s backup, over CK, and that CK should be, how did you put it? Oh, yeah, trade bait. The fact that it would’ve been wiser for the 49ers to keep JJ instead of ST as the third QB last year, yields you zero points.

        But it is typical of you, in your true Don Quixote style, to cling to (and crow about) the one small piece of rightness you can find in your vast sea of wrongness.

        Welcome back!

      7. Domingo,

        Letting Josh go was a huge mistake. Simply because Tolzein was and is not a mobile QB. For the most part, McCoy has not been the same since that concussion he took last year. It’s like the blow slowed him down. It will be interesting to see Daniels against #2′s next week.


        It’s a new year and Smith is gone. You’ll have to stir up trouble on the Chief’s blog. I’m not interested in engaging with you or prime. Im gonna enjoy this Super Bowl run. Hopefully you do too. Good night sir!

      8. Josh Johnson never met a playbook he could read. Sorry 23,but it’s true and I’m inclined to say the same holds true for you.
        You are a one trick pony and without Smith, the football language coming out of your mouth is zero next to zero.

      9. Jordan,

        You’re too funny. My comment was about how on the rare occassions when your predictions even the slightest bit true, you crow like you’re Nostradamus.

        In your response you exhibited another of your classic moves, to change the topic and take the “high road” by not engaging.

        The more things change, the more they stay the same.

        My reference to Smith was in passing, and my comment had little to do with him. I do hope he stays healthy and does ok (8-8 to be exact), but he’s on another team, and the 49ers have CK, who’s the better QB. I couldn’t be happier about that.

      10. Jord and Crab I agree we should have cut Scott T and kept JJ last year. Oh well i hope Daniel can make it! My issue with Scott T is that he has been in the same offense for two years and he still does not look like a NFL quality QB! I would cut him and look for another back up to compete for a roster spot.

  6. HARBAUGH: …. “It was an encouraging performance. He’s done some encouraging things in practice as well. He continues his process. He competed well, made plays. Someone does a good job, you give them a little more….”

    could this be interperted as “coach-speak” for …

    “… Tolzien is on the bubble.” ?

    1. “Q: Does draft status and cap implications, does that factor into whether he’ll make the 53-man roster?”

      Is this question supposed to refer to Jenkins?

  7. When Harbaugh was asked about wide receiver he mentions Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore. There you have it. The other 36 WRs in camp are fighting for a spots as back-ups, special teams aces or perhaps slot specialists.

    Will have to learn more about Moore (scuze the pun).

  8. Darius Slay is working with the ones in Detroit. I dont usually play the “we should have drafted” game but…

    1. Detroit has terrible CB’s CFC. It would be a bigger surprise if he wasn’t starting. You also have to decide who you would not have drafted to take him instead.

      1. rocket says:
        August 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm
        Detroit has terrible CB’s CFC.
        Now they only have one terrible CB.

      2. CFC,

        I guess we’ll see but I’d rather have Tank at this point. I think he has the potential to be more impactful than Slay.

  9. Just saw an amazing play Indy vs G-men. Look for it on highlights. DB cuts in front for under thrown duck, bobbles it and loses it while falling down. Reggie Wayne tips it to keep it alive then adjusts to catch it in the end zone.

    1. Yeah, terrible pass from luck, bad hands by DB, great adjustment by Wayne. Wayne also made a nice one-handed catch a little earlier.

      1. Saw that. I call that a Shortstop Play; amazing hand-eye coordination pulled off as routine. Being interviewed later he reminded me of a mature Jerry Rice in the interview. (RW is an amazing, HOF-caliber player, but still not JR.)

      1. Let’s see how he does at returns. I’ve already thought it might be an apt comparison of his WR skillset. TG kept his career alive via return skills.

    1. The thing is that among the various flaws in Jenkins game, I think the biggest one is that he is afraid of contact. He’s afraid of getting physical and getting thumped by a safety or LB. He plays with fear….and the one thing about special teams is that you can’t be afraid of contact. Those guys are fearless. I can’t wait to see this…..

  10. rocket,
    I’ve commented on more than a few occasions that AJ will be on the team this season.
    But having said that, his performance in practice (VD made reference to it 2 weeks ago), and his play in preseason has been disappointing.

    I agree that he will be treated in a different light because of his draft status, but at what point does the shine of being a 1st rd pick wear off?

    Harbaugh’ mantra from day one has been that he will put the best players on the field, and that point could not have been more evident then his insertion of CK is his starter after Alex was ready to make his return.

    I want AJ to succeed, but not at the expense of another player who is outperforming him simply because of his FA or lower draft status.

    I mentioned early last week that we are still a SB team even without a ‘firm’ #2 WR. That is far from panicking bud.

    1. AES,

      I don’t mention names for a reason. It is up to those who see themselves in the comments to respond. I wasn’t singling you out for what it’s worth.

    1. The season will hinge greatly on the WRs and Hunter staying healthy. Gore is a stud, but seems to need a long rest after long runs.

  11. If you get a chance Matt Maiocco has a nice article/interview with Harbaugh regarding Jenkins and the current WR corps over on csnba.com

  12. Looks like Fleener’s case of the dropsies is now joined by a sprained knee. Not a good preseason for the second year TE.

    1. On one ‘target’ Luck’s pass hit Fleener right between the numbers. But he wasn’t looking and it hit him in the back. Doh!

  13. I really like BJ Daniels (I liked Matt Grothe a lot too. USF QBs are fun to watch apparently). I think Daniels should make the team over Tolzien. I never understood the fascination with him.

  14. Here’s ProFootball Weekly’s analysis of Jenkins. They noted these negatives, including that his “physicality leaves something to be desired:”
    “Struggles to maintain weight. Needs to get functionally stronger to combat press. Could stand to improve line release and refine route running. Does not play to timed speed. Drops catchable throws. Hears some footsteps. Average blocking effort — physicality leaves something to be desired. Immature. Inconsistent intensity and work habits.”

    1. Dang George, they pretty much nailed it. Looks like Morton needs to be more demanding, and Roman more creative.

      My biggest concern with Jenkins isn’t drops, it’s his inability to “win the play”. He hasn’t improved on any of those negatives. As an X receiver/split end you are almost always lined up on the line, and Jenkins just gets swallowed up with the press, and is routinely defeated by gravity. Have you ever seen a receiver fall more than AJ?

      1. “Routinely defeated by gravity.” LOL. Maybe Rashaun Woods is a good answer to your question, but I don’t remember him having the gravity problem.

        A question for you: Can you suggest why they are not using him as a slot receiver? I don’t know enough about football to venture a guess. You would think there’s a good reason.

        By the way, I think the Niners should try to hire the guy who wrote that assessment, don’t you?

      2. One other thing: How do you think TB ended up drafting him? Extreme overconfidence due to his success drafting the year before? Except for James, that year’s draft class was a dud.

  15. awesome, Grant – this was the $64 question, with older vets like Eli and Brees and young qbs like Luck playing several series in the second game, Kaeps lack of playing time -for a qb with a whopping 7 regular season games under his belt – was getting conspicuous. protecting him is one thing, but we need is kid to grow too.

    1. I translated his playing time to…. ‘we can’t loose Kap b/c back up QBs are suspect, speaking of which let’s just play all these back ups and see if someone can step up…. oh and it would be nice if a WR or two can step up as well.’

      I think our first few games will be rocky. Not saying we will loose, just saying we don’;t want to tip our hand early in the season and new WRs/TEs will take some REAL game time to gel. If we get to the bye relatively injury free I think CK and da boy will be clicking.

  16. We keep hearing players and coaches talk about AJ’s talent, so it’s frustrating to watch and read about his lack of productivity. I’m probably over-simplifying, but I keep wondering why he’s not dragging around Frank’s cement-filled tire or working with Seely’s gunners on their drills beating double press to get tougher. Hall doesn’t seem to get cancelled at the LOS; he’s smaller with shorter arms.

    1. I think the talent comments by coaches/players have a positive and negative spin. The positive is he just needs more time to for the talent to come out. Maybe next year he will learn the game more and get stronger. The negative it is all smoke screens for lack of production. Like AS is an “elite QB.”

      I am afraid this NFL game is too big for him and he is not good enough to play against the competition.

      Grants other article on WR was good with a little extra “Grant” in it. Which was warranted. B/C like all of us, the selection of AJJ in the first round has proven to be wrong. Will he turn into a superstar? Maybe with all the “he’s got talent” chatter. But right now, the dude can’t separate from CBs, step up and gran the starting job or even dare I say make the team.

      GO NINERS!!!

  17. 23J,
    J.Johnson would be a nice backup to CK at the moment.

    Last season he would not have been a good fit with Alex as the starter. Tolzien was better in the role as 3rd QB.

    Now, my gut is that Tolzien is the odd man out with BJ usurping the number 3 QB spot.

    1. LOL! We posted this at the same time. Jack, would do you think about Jon Baldwin? Seems to be the prototype the 49ers may want at WR.

      1. Niner,

        I don’t really know anything about Baldwin, but yes his size seems to be what they like. Time to do some digging.

      2. I watched & kept track of Baldwin his rookie year because he was on my fantasy football team. Baldwin’s best highlight that year if you remember was the Monday Nite Football game against the Steelers when he caught something like a 5o yard bomb for a TD. He had a great game that night but after that seemed to just be inconsistent and have “flash plays” the rest of the year. Hopefully Harbs can coach this kid up because he has a ton of talent and great size.

  18. Glad to get that behind us. AJ, we hardly knew you! No, that’s not true. Now you’re on your way out of the league.

  19. What I like about this is that TB was willing to cut his losses. Even the best make their share of mistakes. What’s harder is to admit your mistake before a national audience.

    I’m assuming they end up cutting Baldwin.

  20. Well, now we have our Baldwin at WR — take that, Seahawks!

    Think of it as F.O. is making amends for not drafting Baldwin two years ago over RoJo!!

    I really like how our F.O. wheels and deals its way out of mistakes! Baalke made the mistake of falling in love with AJ despite the warning signs. This time I think the Niners will use more objective scouting reports in evaluating WR draft picks.

    I still think AJ may end up being a #3 WR in this league. But he needs to see a sports psychologist and spend a year in the gym bulking up.

    I’m delighted with this trade. Even if Baldwin is cut, Niners are free from next year’s cap hit.

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