Harbaugh: “I thought our team played excited.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh was interviewed in the 49ers’ auditorium Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

Did DB Jimmie Ward sustain a concussion Sunday?

“No. Doctors said that he did not. His helmet got knocked off and he came to the sideline and they went through the testing and determined he that he had not sustained a concussion.”

 

How did you think he did in his first game?

“Jimmie? Think he did good. Think he did a fine job. There’s going to be great areas to watch and improve and grow. That’s a theme for us this week in a lot of areas.”

 

How’s the playing surface out here? Does it meet the standard?

“I have not been on it yet.”

 

Will you guys be able to go on it on Saturday and just go through a walk-through?

“We’ll see. We haven’t scheduled that but that would probably be a good idea. Thanks, [Bay Area News Group writer] Cam [Inman]. I like it.”

 

The Chicago Bears will probably do that, too, then on Saturday, wouldn’t they? Would they be allowed to?

“Yes, I think so. That’s a good thing for me to check on. I appreciate that. It’s a good idea, I like it. Be good to get over there.”

 

Did you get any reports on how it held up from the soccer game on Saturday?

“I can’t say that I did get any reports on it, no. I feel like it’s going to be good. I’ve heard its surface is very good. But getting on it is a good idea.”

 

Going back to the Dallas game, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was saying that he wanted to see more out of the pass rush than he did in that game. What are your thoughts on what you saw with your pass rush without LB Aldon Smith in it and what do you want to see this week?

“Growth in a lot of areas. I was really pleased with the way we played and how we played. I thought our team played excited. They were ready to play the game. They were very focused. I could tell from the week of practice, the night before, in the locker room before the game, during the game, after the game. The team was just very excited to play the game and very focused on playing the game.”

 

Is there anything that you’re tweaking from Week 1 for this game? Anything that you saw in Dallas that you want to change?

“We want to grow. We want to be better. And we feel like going from Week 1 to Week 2 is the best opportunity you’re going to have in a one-week span over the course of the entire season to have an inflection point because you’re doing things for the second time. You have a chance to have played the game. There’s going to be points that we can coach, points of emphasis, points that players now have a frame of reference. This is how I felt, this what I can do better, this is what the coaches reminder was, how to do it, what do to. Then, the player did it and you tell him, ‘Hey, you did this good. This could be better.’ And now you do it again. So, yes, there’s opportunity to make great improvement from Week 1 to Week 2.”

 

What determined LB Aaron Lynch’s playing time against Dallas? What were the factors? Was it LB Ahmad Brooks’ consecutive penalties or was it just the team was so far ahead that you could put him in there a bit? I mean, what determined how many snaps he got in that game?

“Vic talked to me during the week and before the game and he thought that he estimated it would be 15 to 17 snaps. And he played a little bit more than that. That’s what determined it, what Vic felt was the proper rotation and using Aaron.”

 

How did you grade his play?

“He did some good things. Knocked the ball down, had some pressure. I thought when [Dallas QB] Tony Romo was out of the pocket and [LB] Patrick Willis intercepted the pass, I thought he showed really good restraint. Not over exuberant in taking the quarterback and unnecessarily roughing him. I thought that was a really good, heads-up play by Aaron. And there were others and there’s also things to grow from as well.”

 

You got a great, one-two punch with RB Frank Gore and RB Carlos Hyde, pretty much two to one carries in game one. Is that kind of a fluid situation or do you have a game plan going in on how many carries each guy is likely to have in that sense?

“Not that we talk about. Not that we ever describe how they’re going to be used, how often and in what form or fashion. I think that’s part of game planning and that’s part of a plan and that’s also fluid in the game. I think you can understand why we wouldn’t go into great detail there.”

 

Speaking of Gore and Hyde, do you have any plans to add any more running backs just in case?

“Not this week. Feel like the way the roster is right now is good.”

 

With DT Quinton Dial and DT Tank Carradine, I know it’s difficult to learn the techniques of defensive line, is that one of the reasons why they were inactive in the last game?

“Could you re-ask that?”

 

Yeah. Learning the techniques of how to play on the defensive line, my understanding is it’s a difficult thing to do and sometimes takes time. Was that a factor in not having Dial or Carradine up for the last game?

“We’ve historically dressed five, sometimes six. That’s often a possibility. This past game we dressed five in the game and we dressed the five that we did. That’s something that could change as we go, but that was what we did on game day.”

 

Why would you wait until after Week 1 to release RB LaMichael James?

“We just felt like that was in the best interest of our team, what gave us the strongest roster, the best roster. Adding [WR] Kassim Osgood back, we felt made us stronger on special teams, gives us a flag carrier on the teams. We felt like there are things that we can do that can take his reps that he would have.”

 

As far as the timing of it, I mean, Cleveland Browns RB Glenn Winston, running back you had during the summer, looked pretty promising. Why not maybe keep him and release maybe LaMichael earlier?

“We felt like at that time, LaMichael was a player that we still wanted to look at, still wanted to develop. Couldn’t second-guess that one.”

 

Nothing like the home-opener in any sport, especially at a new stadium. You got a pretty good quarterback coming in here in Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler. Can you talk about what kind of problem he poses?

“Yes, I mean, strong-armed quarterback, very experienced quarterback. Very good offense, schematically, that the Bears have with a dangerous running game as well. And I think the coaching staff, Jay Cutler, they do both extremely well and know how to apply both.”

 

Right after the Dallas game, the defensive players without question said they didn’t like the way they defended the run in that game. What did you see on the film that maybe bothered you or you didn’t like, either?

“As I said, I thought we played really well. There’s things we can grow on as a team. I think we’ll be better for it and stronger for it. It’s always a team-defense when it comes to defense. As I said before, you tell the players and they do. Here’s how we want to do it, here’s what we want to do and then go do it. And here’s where we can get better, here’s where we did really well and make a stride in the next week. Dallas has a good running game, too. They have a very strong offensive line and a very good back. And tip the cap to them. They did some very good things. We’ll look to grow from it.”

 

How does this offensive line need fixing this Sunday?

“We’ll see. They’ve got some injuries they sustained this past game. They’re foremost an NFL team with an NFL line, so. It’s going to be a big task. We talked about how good Chicago’s offense is and we understand that.”

 

Looking back at that 2012 game that QB Colin Kaepernick started. He says that he didn’t learn who was going to start until the night before the game, that meeting at the hotel. Was that strategy on your part not to have a young quarterback kind of thinking about it for too long, or is that just how it played out with Kansas City QB Alex Smith at the time?

“Colin knew that he was going to be the starter. We had talked about that going into that game.”

 

I’m talking about the night before in the team meeting?

“Yes, I had told Alex and I had told Colin days before I had told the team who was starting in the game.”

 

What will determine whether G/T Alex Boone or G Joe Looney starts at right guard?

“We’ll make that decision. Both fine players and we’ll make that decision as the week goes on. And we might have already made it. But, again, we wouldn’t need to give that information out.”

 

Do you see this as a bigger challenge than last week’s game?

“I feel like every week is a challenge in this league, all are big tasks. It’s very hard to win a football game in the National Football League and that’s the way we approach it. Our preparation, I think, is going to have a big determination on how well we play on Sunday. How well we practice on Wednesday, how well we practice Thursday, Friday, Saturday and the expectation is to have a great day today.”

 

Talk about how well the likes of WR Michael Crabtree, WR Stevie Johnson, WR Brandon Lloyd and TE Vance McDonald – WR Anquan Boldin and TE Vernon Davis are the ones that get the big numbers in the opener. You guys didn’t need to pass as much once you got the big lead. How well did those guys adjust, unselfishly, to the role they played in that game?

“I thought all of the receivers, when you look at the receiving corps, I thought they did a heck of a job. Michael Crabtree, he really worked very hard to be able to play in the game. And, Anquan

Boldin is, I have a new word for him, a stalwart. And Stevie Johnson did a very nice job, a big catch on third down, one on a slant route that moved the chains. Blocked on the perimeter extremely well. Brandon Lloyd made a terrific catch on the boundary. After reviewing the films, should’ve challenged that play. I felt like that was a, that he might have caught that ball, and did some other good things. As a group, I thought the receivers really had a fine day.”

 

Why stalwart for Anquan Boldin? Why is that your word for him?

“Strong. Brave. I know there are a lot of definitions. It’s a medieval term, but I like all of the definitions. I like all of the words that define stalwart.”

 

T Anthony Davis sat, will he practice today?

“Today? No.”

 

Does that indicate maybe he’s still working through something in the next couple of days?

“Not always. Not always.”

 

Did you ask for a review from the NFL on that Brandon Lloyd pass interference call?

“The procedure, as you know what the procedure is and we’ll get clarification. Have not gotten that back yet. But, I think you know how limited we are in being able to talk about those kind of plays.”

 

What do you see in Chicago Bears WRs Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery? Two really capable deep threats that can pose some issue for the defense, correct?

“Wow, yes. That’s why I say wow. They’re great players and I have great respect for them. I think our guys are excited to play against two of the best receivers in the National Football League.”

  1. Jeffrey and Marshall are one of the only duos I’ve seen consistently give Seattle’s Sherman and Maxwell (or Browner) problems. They are physical and out-muscle them. I’d also add White and Jones from Atlanta as they are both capable of out-muscling Seattle’s CBs.

    I have a lot of respect for Jeffrey and Marshall. That said, both were healthy when we last faced them in 2012 (Kaepernick’s debut game) and Brown/Culliver/Rodgers did well against them. If I had to predict, I’d say Culliver and Cox will be playing against them, with Johnson as the top backup (and Ward in the slot). Given how good our safety tandem looks, I think we’ll be just fine.

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