Here’s the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Monday conference call.
Q: How did you spend your days off?
HARBAUGH: Mainly with my kids. Just did a lot with them. Me and my daughter went to a movie in the city. Went and saw the cat and boots. Yesterday we went and watched the Disney On Ice. Lot of family time.
Q: Did you run into Isaac Sopoaga at the Disney On Ice?
HARBAUGH: No, he went a different day. I think he was there Friday or Saturday, I was there Sunday. We were both fired up about it. We were both into it. That was good watchin’.
Q: Are all the coaches back now? Are you guys starting on Cleveland right now?
HARBAUGH: Yes, all our coaches are in and were all in yesterday, except for a little break going to Disney on Ice.
Q: What are the biggest reasons that you guys are 5-1 right now?
HARBAUGH: The players. Those guys are fueling the start. A lot of people have asked and wanted bullet points and things like that. We don’t have any to give them.
Q: Did you get a chance to see Braylon Edwards running last week and how does he look now?
HARBAUGH: Good. I got a chance to watch him workout last week, and anticipate seeing him out there tomorrow in practice. Hoping for good things.
Q: Are you going to continue to bring practice squad players on the road trips?
HARBAUGH: Yes, that will continue. The thinking behind it is pretty simple. Those guys are working extremely hard and in a lot of cases they are the hardest working guys during the week. You can’t have practice without those guys. The look teams, the scout teams. They really dictate that, how hard they go, how hard they make the starters go. We’ve had numerous guys who’ve been outstanding for us. Corey Nelms playing corner – he’ll play receiver. Multiple positions. Simmons plays outside backer for us. He plays fullback at time. Derek Hall plays guard. He plays nose tackle. Costanzo will play linebacker and fullback. We’ve asked them to go hard, to go game-like tempo in an entire practice, so they really do dictate it. And the other thing is we want them ready. We want to get those guys developed and ready to play on Sunday. It helps to have them go to the game and feel that experience.
Q: What did you watch Braylon do and what makes you feel good about where he’s at right now going into this week?
HARBAUGH: I watched him run and run routes. Like I said, hopeful that he’ll come back tomorrow and good things will happen.
Q: Did you take notice of any guys who were in the facilities working on their own?
HARBAUGH: Oh yeah, took notice, but I really just left the guys alone and didn’t bug them or pester them. Trust them.
Q: Did you do anything beyond preparing for Cleveland, like looking forward to a very difficult schedule in November?
HARBAUGH: Yes, we did.
Q: Can you elaborate a little more?
HARBAUGH: No elaboration.
Q: How much self scouting did you guys do?
HARBAUGH: We did, yeah we did that as coaches. We did that also with our players in individual meetings last week.
Q: Could you offer an example or two of something Vic Fangio has done at defensive coordinator that has your defense playing so well?
HARBAUGH: A lot of things. A lot of little things, and again, from a schematic point of view I know you guys are always looking for the bullet points and the examples, but it’s been good teaching, good learning, playing together. That’s probably the biggest thing is just how well the defense plays together, and unselfishly. There’s so many examples. Ray McDonald on the nickel situations, going in and playing over the center where he absorbs most of the blocks, freeing Aldon, grabbing a back to keep him off of Patrick or NaVorro. Isaac Sopoaga’s doing a tremendous job with that and so is Justin. And then it works hand in hand. The next play here comes Justin free because they’re working together, and Patrick and NaVorro reading off of the nose tackle and the ends. All I can explain is they’re playing very well together and very unselfishly, very team-oriented as a group.
Q: How much of that traces to Vic, do you think?
HARBAUGH: To Vic, to all of our coaches on the defensive side of the ball. My feelings about Vic are very well documented. I think he’s one of the all time best defensive coordinators in the history of the league, and I think that’s who he is, I think that’s what his legacy will be some day.
Q: Did any of your coaches make it up to Stanford on Saturday?
HARBAUGH: Yeah. Brad Seeley and Greg Roman and Tim Drevno and Geep and myself. There might have been a few others.
Q: What did they report back?
HARBAUGH: We all saw the same thing. Stanford is really good, they are just that much better than everyone that they’re playing. Proud of those guys. They’re doing a great job. They’re making it look easy.
Q: Are you happy with the overall health of the team?
HARBAUGH: Our wounds have almost healed and we’ll know better on Tuesday when we get out there on the field and practice.
Q: Do you have a philosophy on injuries? Some coaches say that starters can’t lose their jobs because of injuries. What’s your stance on that?
HARBAUGH: No, I don’t have that policy.
Q: When would you expect Moran Norris back.
HARBAUGH: There you go, just ask the question. We hope tomorrow. We hope he can come out there tomorrow and participate.
Q: Has Bruce Miller done enough to hold onto the starting fullback job?
HARBAUGH: He’s done a great job. We’re really pleased with what Bruce has done, and he’s improved every week too, which is really good. As far as when Moran is back and healthy and they’re both in there and competing at the same time, we’ll see who’s playing better, who’s practicing better, who gives us the better opportunity to dictate who will start.
Q: Is that the same with your No. 3 cornerback position with Chris Culliver and Tramaine Brock possibly coming back in the coming weeks?
HARBAUGH: Yeah, I think that’s the general rule. That’s the way we always do it. There’s no games. It’s who’s practicing and playing better.
Q: Will Parys Haralson practice tomorrow?
HARBAUGH: Hopeful that he’s healed up too. And he’s doing a great job. I think he’s playing his best football on first and second down. Something that we’re really hopeful is back in the lineup.
Q: Terrell Owens is scheduled to have a workout in LA tomorrow. Will the 49ers be represented there?
HARBAUGH: I don’t know anything about that.
Q: Will Adam Snyder practice on Tuesday?
Q: Is tomorrow a bonus practice day? One more practice than you would normally have for an upcoming opponent?
HARBAUGH: Yes, yes.
Q: Any emphasis in particular for that bonus practice?
HARBAUGH: Yeah, we’re going to start installing the game plan, so the emphasis will be on the Browns.
Q: What do you see out of them.
HARBAUGH: They play extremely well on defense. That’s what I’ve watched the most of. Very disciplined. Very creative in their schemes. They play it very well. They’re very clean in their assignments and their technique. Very aggressive on the backend. A lot of good, aggressive movement with the corners. They’ll take chances. They’ll break on the ball. They’ll press you. They play very well on the back end. Very athletic at the linebackers. 51 and 52 () in particular. Rookies playing very well at the defensive tackle position. 71 is extremely good. They’re good on the edges. Personnel is talented. They’re very well coached and they have a great understanding of what they’re doing. It’s a salty, salty defense.
Q: Did Alex Smith’s fundamentals or footwork start to wane a little bit at the end of the Detroit game?
Q: He was on point?
HARBAUGH: It wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t say that his fundamentals waned, no.
Q: Was there something he worked on during his days off?
HARBAUGH: Yes, Alex participated in our opportunity practice last Tuesday. He threw again on Thursday. Don’t know if he threw yesterday. I believe he’s going to throw some balls around today. He definitely worked at it. He’s working at it. Keep staying sharp. I didn’t think he wanted to go any longer than two, three days without throwing the ball. That’s what he told me.