Harbaugh says he hasn’t gotten out-schemed the past two games and Kaepernick is doing “a heck of a job.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript.

Q: How is Tarell Brown doing?

HARBAUGH: Good. Walking around and getting better every day.

Q: Did he have cracked ribs?

HARBAUGH: He’s working through something. I wouldn’t call them cracked ribs. I’m not going to define it. He’s got an issue he’s working through. It’s going to take him a little bit of time.

Q: It’s not an IR-caliber issue?

HARBAUGH: Doesn’t look like it, no.

Q: Same with Mike Iupati?


Q: Do you expect Iupati to miss Monday night?

HARBAUGH: We’ll see.

Q: Colin Kaepernick said there is a lot on his plate. Have you given any thought process to streamlining that process and simplifying it?

HARBAUGH: Yeah, given though to it every week, every game. I give great amount of thought to the game plan.

Q: Have you tweaked it this season?

HARBAUGH: Yeah, there are different game plans for different games. There hasn’t been the same game plan each week.

Q: As the guy relaying the calls in, do you notice the calls getting in a little later recently?

HARBAUGH: Not to have a stopwatch on it, we’ve given a lot of thought to it and we’ll do a real good job, do a better job.

Q: Does he have any say in it? After the game he said that is up to the coaches.

HARBAUGH: He probably doesn’t really want to talk about scheme and the layers to it and what goes into it from a coaching and players standpoint, and I don’t have a great desire to talk about it outside of our meeting rooms, either.

Q: In the Carolina game, your longest pass play was 14 yards. In the Saints game, it was 17 yards – not big plays. Do you see that as a problem this year?

HARBAUGH: I wouldn’t call it a season-long issue. We didn’t have any big-hitters in the last game. Our longest play was 24 yards. You’re always striving for big chunks when you can get them.

Q: Frank Gore mentioned the past two opponents have had good defensive schemes. Have you guys been out-schemed?

HARBAUGH: No, I wouldn’t say that.

Q: Do you expect Michael Crabtree to be on the practice field participating in team drills this week?


Q: What determines what you decide to do from there?

HARBAUGH: Practice.

Q: He goes up to the 53-man roster next Tuesday?

HARBAUGH: We’ll make that decision based on how he looks in practice.

Q: He could come back sooner than next Tuesday, right?

HARBAUGH: Sooner could be possible, yes.

Q: Last year before the playoff game against Green Bay, you mentioned Kaepernick had a laser focus and he was really on the game plan. Have you noticed that with him recently?

HARBAUGH: Yes, it’s been consistently good. He’s been like that every week he’s been backup or starter.

Q: How has his demeanor been?

HARBAUGH: Colin’s always been A+ in that way.

Q: I know you’re not going to criticize one of your players, but fans look at Colin’s performance the last two weeks and they look at the stats and a lot of people are puzzled considering the year he had last year. He has struggled and the offense has struggled. What is your response to people saying, “What’s wrong with Colin?”

HARBAUGH: I think he’s doing a heck of a job. I’d be puzzled why people would think that. What’s most important is what we see. I’d be puzzled why you or anyone else would think that.

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  1. Who was the idiot who asked the last question? He might as well said i know your answer before i ask the question but i do’nt care i’m just going to waste yours and everybody elses time and ask it any way….and you wonder why most coaches hate the media, Bill Walsh included

      1. Sorry, but the media is also pointing out that our emperor Kaepernick has no clothes on. That is the elephant in the room. Take away his running and he is instantly below-mediocre. He can’t throw bombs, only some short passes, and he can’t engineer a first down in the final 8 minutes of a game. If this was Alex Smith, we’d all agree he sucks. But, it’s Colin so we give him a free pass on ineptitude.

      2. Folk, As frustrating as it has been this season the big difference is CK has only played one whole season so far and still developing and Alex had 7 season with this team to do something really special.

        By the way He no longer a 49er so who give $hit about Alex, except bunch of ks fans.

    1. @Folkwolf101

      I understand the NFL is a “What have you done for me lately?” league, but you’re statement seems to imply Kaep has never shown any potential competency. If you have a negative bias, fine, but don’t let it cloud your logical reasoning. Kaep has definitely regressed and isn’t making the plays he made last year…but looking at the situation as a whole (college development, NFL experience, personnel, def. adjustments), how can any of us be completely shocked?

    2. Idiot? Sounds to me like it needed to be asked and that Harbaugh is in denial from his answer. The first step to correcting a problem is admitting you have one. Sounds pretty arrogant to me too.

      1. I already knew he never criticizes his players in public. I don’t think saying ‘our production is unacceptable on offense and we are going to work on making it better’ instead painting a false, rosy picture of what’s so, is criticizing a particular player.

      2. PHD and i’m sure he says those very same things to the player just not to the media. He like most coaches do’nt trust the media and do’nt give a damn about what the fans think

      3. PhD, i actually disagree with you here. The question from the media was personal and it did not focus on the issue, therefore Jim H reflected and side stepped the question.

        I personally really respect Jim H for his approach, keep your dirty laundry in house since there is no use to talk about it in public. This coaching staff is well aware of the lack of production offensively and there is no reason to point out players and make any statements rather than being accountable and working hard to fix it.

        If he made any statement about offense being unacceptable you would be putting more pressure on the offense rather than showing faith in them and make the needed changes for better success. All the offensive players including CK would like to perform better. If you want the team to stay together then you must lead by example and not point fingers period.

      4. Sorry PhD,

        But if you ask that question to any NFL Head Coach you would get the same answer so to me the question.

        NO NFL Head Coach will EVER show weakness & I wouldn’t either if I was one.

        Would it make you feel better though if he did admit it?

      5. Really? lol No coach will ever say “they were just the better team?” “We just got beat today?” “We need to work on and improve x?” I’ve even heard them say “we got out coached and it starts with me.” So you’re obviously delusional, like Harbaugh seems to be, if you don’t think coaches ever show a sign of weakness. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the obvious and saying your intention is to turn it around. That’s just being honest. Do you think Bill Walsh and lots of other great coaches were or are this way? No, Walsh was forthright and admitted when the team was having issues.

      6. PHD you sure have different memories of Walsh than i do. Walsh had a healthy disdain for the press and he was famous for all week before a game telling the press that the 1-10 team they were playing that week really was better than any team he had played that year. he was never honest in the press

    3. the idiot part was the way the question was asked. “what’s wrong with Colin” is going to get the generic everything is fine support the player by Harbaugh. So at that point it’s a non-question.

      A better way of asking the question would be:

      “Coach Harbaugh, fans over the past few games have been understandably disappointed in the passing game. What do you think the QB and the rest of the offense needs to work on?” (what’s wrong with Kaep with out specifically calling him out…give Harbaugh some leeway to spread the blame but hopefully get some useful info). Hopefully he won’t just say “execution.”

      “Coach Harbaugh, you obviously have great confidence in Colin and your players, will there be any changes in the passing game and what do you see in your players that you think fans will be excited to see in the upcoming games?” (asking to see if there will be any scheme changes while at the same time giving Harbaugh an opportunity to support his players).

      you may get the same generic non-answers from Harbaugh but every so often when his defenses are fully up he will give some info up.

    4. I had no problem with that question. One of the functions of the media is to make it crystal clear when Harbaugh is talking b.s. It was kind of funny to see Harbaugh dodge questions, spitting in the eyes of the beat reporters, when the team was doing well. But now that there are serious problems with the offense, it’s irritating to me that he never acknowledges that there are issues.

      My main complaint with the beat reporters is that they aren’t asking the tough questions, like: Have you considered having someone else call the plays? Most fans knew that those two challenges were dumb; why didn’t you? Why haven’t you used short drops, quick passes, slants, rollouts, play action, halfback option passes? When defenses are stacking the box, why aren’t you able to take advantage of what should be weakened pass defenses?

      Harbaugh might or might not answer those questions, but the beat reporters are kind of representing the fanbase, and he needs to know that we are getting damn restless – and we want answers. We deserve answers. Pretending that there are no offensive problems is insulting to those of us who ultimately pay his salary.

  2. Heck of a job? This whole babying his qb is getting older by the second. Quit coddling your qb and give an actual assessment of their play you idiot.

    1. Adam its never ever ever going to happen if he has criticism for any player not just his QB he will do it the only way you should treat a man. He will do it in private. If my boss ever criticized me publicly he probably we have a fist fight on his hands, it just not how you treat men.

      1. Adam707 was the villain on Criminal Minds last night. Got a lot of anger pent up. Little hope of ever really contributing to society given his rough start.

    2. I’m not saying to criticize him, I’m just saying to stop praising him when there is clearly nothing to praise. It’s annoying.

      1. I agree Adam as a fan its annoying but players like it and it makes them want to play for a coach. I do’nt know for a fact but i bet Harbaugh can be one tough son of a bitch behind closed doors, but we will never know.

      2. Adam,

        He never stopped when Smith was here and he was blowing up up the Smithers azzes about Alex being elite and a pro bowler. You didn’t seem to get too annoyed then, why now? It’s the same coach, just a different QB? I wonder?

      3. Adam707,

        I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about Harbaugh. All of a sudden, nobody likes the way he sidesteps or praises his players no matter whT. When he did it last year, everyone said, “I’ll take the JH’s word before I take yours.” Now all of a sudden, it’s not good enough and JH is a liar?? That’s hilarious!

      4. Jordan: probably b/c the 49ers were winning the division handily and never lost two in a row.

        Belichick gets away with it now, but back when he was in Cleveland, none of the Browns fans could stand him.

    3. Adam is right. If Harbaugh wants to save the season, he needs to man up and bench Kaepernick. Many fans keep saying, “just wait for Crabtree to come back…” No, that won’t make a bit of difference. Crab won’t be at full health until next year. Meanwhile, the opposition now knows how to beat Colin. Stop his running, force him to pass, and pressure him in the 4th quarter.

      1. You think the way to save the season is to put the team in Colt McCoy’s hands? What little credibility you arrived with just went out the window.

      2. If you look at Colin’s stats. he’s average around 150 yards a game, when you take away the anomaly of the GB game.
        In 2011, Colt started 11 games. He had a 56% completion percentage and averaged 210 yards a game.
        I think Colt knows how to hand the ball off to Frank Gore. Do you think he can pass better than Colin?
        Maybe. Before the that clown/welcher responds with his usual bS, think about it. Just think, I know it’s hard for you to do. That’s how bad Colin is playing. The drop-off is not dramatic as you may think. Jack Hammer pulled out the Zapruder film with the all-22 It’s clear as day that Colin isn’t throwing to open receivers.

      3. Fansince,
        You are making a good case that I might buy into if I were a reactionary.
        I was a fan of Colt since his college years whom always thought that he was a prospect for the West Coast O. Did not work out so well in that offense in Cleveland.
        Preseason just made me less of a believer in this backup and I am sure Harbaugh even more so. Why do you think he went all protective of Kap, yanking the pistol, when the hole in the rule book showed it’s ugly.
        That said I do not pull CK because of all the possible upside in this guy. This is his learning season and I hate saying this but I will keep him in to learn even at the expense of my team making the playoffs.
        I have been saying all along that they need to make this playbook simpler as an answer to what ails. Specifically I want to see one base formation. I want to see a base formation with lots of options and shifts to gain a whole number of additional benefits that capitalize on the strengths of this offense. That would give this QB and this team a fighting chance.
        — can I sell you a diamond?

      4. DS77fanever,

        You’re not stupid for suggesting that. You are a Kap hater. Probably wish you were in his shoes. What a dense individual you are. Yes, we need to start Colt McCoy. That’s why we’ve been trying to find someone to take his job all year! God you’re stupid! Get a club or head over to the Seahawks blog where you belong.

      5. 45 Charlotte Bobcat Owner,
        Look at the stats homey. Look at HOW BAD COLIN is playing that the notion of putting in Colt McCoy suddenly does not seem so bad. Why don’t you stop kissing your little bicep and think about HOW BAD the production is from the current QB. Why don’t you back it up with some observational analysis instead of assuming anything about me. Oh you can’t because you’re too busy studying for your final exams for your clown school.

      6. Ds77esev,

        Why is that you and another loser on the blog are the only 2 calling for Kap to be replaced by McCoy? It’s because you know ZERO about football. You’re dense but I’m sure you have plenty of preseason footage to show why McCoy is the man right now. You’re just plain stupid as you’ve always been while talking football.

      7. DS77esev,

        So you’re subtracting good stats like Grant. How stupid can one be. I think you’re right. We should start Colt! Wow, what a dunce!

      8. 45 clown school valedictorian,
        You clearly have no answer for my hypothetical so let me lay it out for you. Yahoo Sports said that Colin Kapernick has the lowest passing yard average since week 2. Yeah lower then Alex Smith! He has had two games where he had 31 attempts and under 130 yards. If claimed to have looked at the All-22, you see the missed blocks by not all the bad reads by Colin.
        Since he’s really not running the read/option, and he can’t really read the defense, and he’s proven in these two losses he’s not very clutch, why not bench him? And Colt is horrible!!! But does Colin really represent the Niner’s best chance to win if they have to simplify the offense that much? Clearly other teams have caught on. The Niners beat up on a bunch of tomato cans, but the minute a good team showed up Colin was exposed. I saw Colin, and not the team.
        Instead of calling names, oh yeah, you never do that, why don’t you answer the question? Why does he deserve to start if he can’t run the offense?

    1. Grant’s fantastic 2013 Predictions (I give you credit for putting them out there):
      Cowboys win the Super Bowl and are best team in NFC
      Frank Gore is DONE

      1. Grant’s not the only one to stumble. A lot of us were predicting that CK was going to be a top 5 QB too. (where was that blog where we all predicted stats for him and AS?)

      2. Neal, a rookie stinking up on a 2-14 team gets a pass (for awhile). Injuries give him a pass (for awhile).

        A 3rd year player stinking up SB favorites? You want to give him 4 more years if he continues this kind of play? Be my guest. You will be a lonely voice.

    2. I was being sarcastic, next season will be Kaep audition if he resigns with the Niners and technically he has played for 3 season, but next season will only be 2 1/2 seasons playing full time. I expect a big improvement from Kaep for next season and also by the way it will be the Niners choice to resign him, not me. I expect the Niners will resign Kaep as well.

  3. If they aren’t being out-schemed then they are being out-executed, which means someone isn’t doing a ‘heck of a job’. As Frank said, the ‘little’ things are killing them. One of those ‘little’ things is Kaep not finding the open receivers when he’s got the opportunity…

    1. Scooter A. Boone pretty much said as much this morn on KNBR. He said looking at film they were able to pick out one player each play that was’nt completeing their assingment.He might have been refering to the O line but execution is a problem

      1. No doubt old coach. And Kaep is one of those players whose execution has been a problem holding back the team. Jack has done a good job of breaking down the film to show in the past few weeks how often he has missed plays through poor reads and not trusting what he’s seeing.

        I should also say I’m still a Kaep fan. This is part of the learning curve for any young QB – and Kaep has had less experience having to read defenses than many young QBs in the NFL. Its natural that he would struggle at some point. We’ll find out in time whether he is capable of mastering (or at least being competent at) this aspect of the game.

    2. Scooter,

      Alex Boone was on the radio this morning and he said it was evident on film that the plays were there but 1 or 2 guys missed their assignments and they all need to focus only on their jobs.

      1. Grant players do always say that but as it relates to the 9er O line if you have been watching any film there has been a blown assignment on almost every play.

      2. Old Coach,

        +1000. The O line is killing us in the pass game. The protection is horrible and when it’s not, Kap thinks it is and it affects his decisions and the play calling. How many times did we lose yardage on 1st down in the past 2 weeks? It’s because we can’t afford to pass on 1st down for fear of the sack.

  4. “I think he’s doing a heck of a job. I’d be puzzled why people would think that.”

    Why can’t Harbaugh be honest about something for once? I thought Shanahan’s comments were pretty good…he pointed out a natural learning process for young QBs but didn’t say they suck or were having major issues. Harbaugh won’t even honestly attempt to provide his view on it. This is what opens him and Kap up to even more criticism.

    1. I think it’s just as annoying as many people here, but I get it from the “Harbaugh” perspective of being a former QB that had lots of ups and downs.

      The last thing a QB who isn’t performing at a high level needs is a coach questioning him (watch the media poo-storm that gets kicked up in Washington every time Shanahan talks about RGIII). I’m sure Harbaugh is MUCH tougher on Kaep when there are no media cameras around, but he will not even HINT at questioning the ability or the progress of his pupil to the masses.

      Again, I find his ducking and dodging extremely annoying, but we’re all on the outside of the fishbowl looking in. The players have to love him for how he sticks up for them.

      If I thought Harbaugh WASN’T a cold-blooded taskmaster when outsiders weren’t around (think: Wade Phillips) I’d be worried, but I think Harbs and Kaep will get this righted sooner, rather than later.

  5. It’s been a rough year with all the up’s n downs but I’m gonna be honest. I had WAY higher expectations for CK7 this year.. especially after his monster 1st game vs the Pack. WTF happened after that? There is NO way teams figured him out in one week after that. I think the loss to Seattle and then getting smoked by Indy with Luck (Harbaugh’s QB Trophy) really shook his confidence. Will he bounce back? I believe so… but man is the world coming down on him right now. If we lose to the Skins this Monday and he has another bad game.. all hell is going to break loose in SF

    1. Benny,
      That is why we are so disappointed — because we all had over the top hall of fame expectations on the guy.
      The NFL is funny that way. It unintentionally baits you then it bites you. It gives a rookie QB five minutes of looking like the next big thing then they figure you out and they kick your butt five ways to a Monday morning hang over.
      I am sure he is rattled right now but there is more to the story beyond CK. The coaching backed off CK’s comfort the pistol formation and read option play for a combination of reasons previously given here, defense response, hole in the rule book, fear of loosing starting QB with no reasonable backup, a Niner offense built to different plan and purpose and a head coach out of his comfort zone.
      In a way this has become a rebuild year where the man at the helm of the offense needs to learn how to play under center.

  6. Thing is if you are stinking up the joint, there’s no use being a dick about it. Colin is a child, pouting and unpleasant. He takes zero responsibilityf or his performance. Combine that with an the ego of a cute 17-year-old and it makes for an unsavory package.

    We could easily drop the game to Washington, then Seattle, the Rams(remember last year?), even Arizona. We are not even guaranteed a winning season at this point.

    1. In fact, the way they are playing, I could see the team going 1-5 or 2-4 to shut out the season. I don’t wish that but I would not be surprised. One thing for sure: Washington is not going to be easy. I think they lose because of the long flight, the lousy play calling and Colin being a dud… not to mention Adam “LOOK OUT!!!” Snyder playing back-door left guard…

  7. out schemed depends on how you look at it.

    you could line up on every play and run it up the middle or send all your receivers on 9 routes and there will be a chance that the play will be successful every time (I said CHANCE).

    Boone isn’t wrong, that a mistake here and another there by players are making the plays not execute properly. The plays are there but the players aren’t making them.

    HOWEVER, when it appears to be a SYSTEMATIC failure then you have to wonder if the scheme is optimized for matching up with the opponent, game situation (time, down and distance) and for the player’s abilities.

    Kaep’s ability to stand confidently (or scramble only when necessary) in the pocket, read defenses and throw a confident ball to a receiver other than Boldin/Crabs and Davis is the problem.

    So the coaches do what they can to ensure the best chance to win. Strong run game, conservative and simplified passing game and defense. If the Quarterback is struggling, try not to use him as much in the game plan. So the offensive game plan keeps getting more conservative and shrinking and shrinking until there are 10 lineman and and Gore out on the field.

    The coaches can work around the problem, mask it, simplify it…but at certain points the Niners will need a QB that can make bonafide NFL passes by finding open receivers (and yes the receivers are getting open). It’s obvious that Kaep’s confidence is shot right now. You think he doesn’t recognize what’s going on…that the game plan has called for more tight formations and power running when the game situation should require them to pass? Harbaugh and Roman need to coach Kaep up! That’s a simplistic term but they need to get through to him. Teach him in some different way (put the progessions in a rap and play them in his headphones…I don’t know…something!) and find ways to rebuild his confidence. AND TAKE SOME CHANCES. They need to show some faith and open up the offense. Heck, game situations require it anyway. So if they open up the offense, they may increase their chances of losing a game. I get how that goes against the natural grain of the coaches. But the upside is that if it works out, the Niners and Kaep will have worked themselves out of this offensive rut/corner they’ve gotten themselves into.

    1. “They need to show some faith and open up the offense.”

      That’s what they did on Sunday and you saw the results. They threw the ball on 7 of their first 9 plays on their first 3 possessions, all 3 and outs. They had one long drive all day, in the third quarter when they stuck with the run even though it wasn’t getting them much (7 passes, 5 runs). They need to do more of that. Stick with the run, give Kaepernick quick easy throws off play action to Miller, easy quick out cuts to Boldin or Davis. Asking him to actually try and read who is open hasn’t worked.

      1. Jack, im talking about HOW they pass the ball. Open and spread. Not tight with limited recieving options like play action. Yes they opened up the game with a pass to a tightly covered Manningham (who was only single covered). They typically only open it up in obvious passing situations. Im talking open formations with more than two wideouts and no Mark Carrier.

      2. jack,

        I only counted the first play as a relatively spread formation pass play that wasn’t in an obvious passing situation. calling spread pass plays in obvious passing situations isn’t opening up the offense.

    2. Good examples of problems Jack.
      Passing game is not working right now due to QB weaknesses and lots of formations.
      The cure for this ailment is simplify and go to your strengths.
      Right now CK is a one read QB with no Crabtree to give that one read a prayer of success.
      So choose one formation that capitalizes on the strengths of this team. Playing out of one base formation keeps it simple for the learning QB. If it is a formation that offers numerous options and variations then it also can surprise the defense. The diamond formation plays to the Niner strengths while simplifying and surprising.
      One of the formations you showed was a diamond with LMJ but instead of running him they sent him out for a pass when the pass game just isn’t working at the QB end. James is an outside run threat — use him there first. Put him as the tail back with Gore at H and run inside and outside until a first target WR gets single coverage then call a pass play on play action maybe with read option for safety valve.

      1. there is no magical formation that will consistently yield a successful one read passing play. teams know that Kaep will lock on to his one read and until he stops doing that, no formation is going to change the outcome.

        with that personnel group you’re probably looking at an almost 46 type of personnel defense called against it. stack the box and shut down the runners with a single high safety to help bracket the one receiver.

    3. jack,

      also, i’m not absolving Kaepnernick of blam. far from it. I believe he’s the root of the problem. but the point of my original post is that they need to do something different with Kaepernick in terms of teaching him to read defenses better. what that something is, I don’t know. maybe feed him the playbook and defensive game film via Twitter?

      I know it will go against all the fans that want to see Kaep throw on the run…because it’s obviously his strong point, but the coaches need to get him to understand that a sack in the pocket isn’t the end of the world. I want to see Kaep stand in the pocket, side step the rush, “climb the ladder”, reset his feet and make his throw. and if it’s not there, THEN SCRAMBLE. But no more of this 1,2…uh-oh pressure gotta rabbit out of the pocket!

      So push Kaep to make his reads in the pocket (because defenses are waiting for him on the edges) and then force the game plan to make him make those reads. Someone needs to be whispering in his ear on the sidelines…psst!! if you see single high safety coverage…look for the underneath slant on the backside…or if you see 3 deep look for Gore in the flat.

  8. According to Coach Harbaw,
    Colin’s always been A+ in that way.
    It seems that Mr. Harbaw is puzzled
    if the fans do not agree with his assessment.
    Maybe it is because we see QBs such as Brees.
    During the first half tonight,
    Drew has a completion ratio of 73%
    and his total QB rating is 132.
    Two passing TDs and no interceptions.
    This is the objective measuring stick for Colin.
    Your opinions are subjective…
    We are looking at your 6-4 record, sir.

  9. Don’t know why we are puzzled coach? C’MON MAN!!! Do not insult our intelligence. Less than 200 yds of offense in an NFL game that’s why. When all the rules are in the O’s favor. Ridiculous answer

  10. If an interviewer asked Harbaugh, “Is it true your team lost the last two games?” the reply would be something along the lines of “No I wouldn’t agree with that..we’re working hard, going to get better, get it done next week.”

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