SANTA CLARA – Here’s Part II of Jim Harbaugh’s Thursday press conference – the part where he talks about football. He confirmed three things: 1. Colin Kaepernick is the No.2 quarterback. 2. Brandon Jacobs has made the team, and 3. Harbaugh doesn’t want to talk about Peyton Manning.
This third preseason game – do you see this as the closest thing to the regular season as far as a dress rehearsal for your starters?
“I know that’s often talked about. We approach this like we did the first two, and we’ll do the last. Very similar in terms of how we prepare for it, our approach in all facets. They’re equally the same.”
Would you expect to play the starters longer, into the third quarter even?
“Like we said the other day, it will be pretty similar to what we’ve done. Now, game conditions can dictate that. Who gets the ball first in the first half. How many plays you run. Are there three and outs or are there long drives? Do you get 20-25 plays in the first quarter or the first half combined? If not, then we’re probably looking into going into the third quarter with some of our guys. Things like the opening kickoff dictate how many plays each side of the ball would get. Then, factors after that – turnovers, or three and outs, or long drives. That’s our approach, it won’t be dissimilar to what we’ve done the first two games.”
When you look at Broncos QB Peyton Manning now these last couple of preseason games, do you see a difference between him and Peyton Manning of the past? Pre-surgery Peyton Manning.
“I don’t like to make comparisons.”
It’s the same guy.
“Yeah. Past, present, no comparisons, even that kind of comparison.”
What challenges does Peyton Manning present to your defense? Is it a nice test for your team to have, to face him?
“We’re facing their ball club, and they’re a good team. Solid on both side of the ball. Mainly in a preseason game there’s going to be a lot of things that we’re going to be trying to get done as it relates to the regular season. That’s a lot of the work that we do during the week, and things that we’ll get done and accomplished in the game will be toward situations that we’ll be in in the regular season. So, we really don’t focus as much on opposing players or even opposing teams as much as we will in the regular season.”
Do you think Peyton Manning has something to prove?
“Does it matter what I think in that regard? I don’t think so. I don’t see the relevancy of what my opinion is on that. Don’t think it’s relevant at all to our situation here.”
Did you game plan for the Broncos this week?
“Somewhat. Yeah, definitely, like we did last week. Like we did the week before. It’s just in an amount that’s not the same as the regular season.”
Will your quarterback rotation remain the same?
“We’ll see. Definitely with [QB] Alex [Smith] and then [QB] Colin [Kaepernick] and then we’ll see how it plays out after that.”
You’ve mentioned Colin Kaepernick has emerged. Is he your number two guy?
“Yeah, he’s the number two quarterback.”
And that’s carrying into the regular season?
“Well, yeah. Everything’s fluid and ongoing. But as of today, right now, yes, that’s the way it stands.”
Has RB Brandon Jacobs done enough to earn a role when the regular season gets here?
“Yes. Yes he has done enough.”
When you came back from an injury when you were playing was there an extra chip on your shoulder, just going back to the quarterback position, was there more to prove?
“The neat thing about these guys, these professional football players, and always felt this way as a player as well, is that they’re not the ordinary people that are out there walking around. They’re not the ordinary people that go into a doctor’s office and are seen and evaluated with a leg injury. They are different. They’re some of the world’s most perfectly formed men. They take pride in getting back in half the time that it takes other people with the same injury. They’re in tremendous condition. There’s just a real pride about getting back onto the field and confidence that your body’s going to be able to just heal faster. A lot has to do with the doctors and the medical staff, there’s no question about it. But I think there’s something about these 49ers. They seem to heal in half the time as the rest of the population.”
With guys playing two positions, does that give you more roster flexibility, especially when you look at the depth of the roster?
“Sure does. Yes it does.”
What can a young guy like K Giorgio Tavecchio glean from being around K David Akers for four straight weeks?
“He has gleaned, which is so much, just on the subtleties of kicking. The details of a true professional, probably one of the best to ever play the position and he’s taken full advantage of it. He’s done just what he should be doing and that is being in David’s hip pocket, asking him questions, watching every stroke that David puts on the ball, every conversation that David has with the holder and the snapper. He’s been a sponge in that regard. He has grown exponentially. The steady improvement plus the inflection point that we saw the first week into training camp. He is an outstanding kicker and a lot of that has been being around David and Brad Seely this offseason. You have just seen it. You’ve just seen how much improvement. He was already good to start with, with good tools. He’s a long way from being a carpenter, but he’s a lot closer now after spending this time with David Akers.”
You are a big baseball fan, are you surprised to see a couple positive drug tests in a week’s span? I know it’s not your sport, but you follow the sport really closely and there are two right here in our backyard.
“I just don’t know anything about it. I don’t know enough about it to comment intelligently on PEDs. I don’t know anything about them. I really don’t.”