SANTA CLARA – Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript.
ROMAN: We’ve had a real sprint to get caught up with (the Titans’ defensive) personnel. Some of these guys I remember from the Pac 10 when I was at Stanford – Ayers, Verner and Casey. We as a staff and as an offense are really focusing in on their personnel, getting to know them for the first time very unlike a division opponent. I think they’ve got a very good defense. Griffin and Pollard, very talented safeties. Pollard has been doing it a long time. It looks like he’s brought a lot of attitude to that defense. Verner and McCourty are doing a great job at corner, and Casey is one of the better defensive tackles we’ll play against all year. And then Brown and Ayers are some of the fastest linebackers we’ll play against. Very talented defense. They’ve held people to minimal scoring and we’re very impressed and I think our guys have a healthy respect for what they’re watching. Any questions?
Q: Where do things stand with Vance McDonald’s progression?
ROMAN: We’ve asked a lot of him the past couple weeks, really the past three weeks, and couldn’t be more pleased with how he’s done. Really expect him to take those kinds of steps moving forward. One thing you notice about players is everybody is going to make mistakes as a rookie. That’s a fact. Do you repeat those mistakes? Thus far he’s done a good job of learning from the good, the bad, the ugly and moving on a better football player. He’s done a really nice job and needs to continue. He’s a unique guy. I think he’ll become more inundated into our passing game as we go, but he’s performed a critical role for us in these past three victories. At times, you want to bring them along as opposed to just throwing them in the deep end. I think Vance is a great example of that.
Q: On the 18-play drive when you called the same play five or six times, how fun was that just to keep repeating that play until they stopped you?
ROMAN: Jim and I were saying it reminded us of when we played USC back in whatever year it was where we were just rolling the same play over and over and over again. The guys were just getting better at it every time. It’s a credit to the players on the field. When they’re doing that, calling the plays is pretty easy.
Q: Why was LaMichael James was inactive on Sunday?
ROMAN: Every week there is a real, real, on our team there are a lot of different variables that go into it and a lot of different scenarios that could happen. That just happened to be where we were at as a team. LaMichael is a very important part of our offense and will continue to be so.
Q: How have Kyle Williams and Jon Baldwin looked in practice as you look to establish a No.2 wide receiver?
ROMAN: They’re doing a really good job. Kyle had a huge play on the third-and-7 at the end of the game. Really good timing. Big play for him. Wouldn’t have been an 18-play drive if he hadn’t have made that play. Jon continues to do a good job and he gets better every week. Week to week their roles will change but they’re doing a good job and we have complete and utter faith in them.
Q: Is Mario Manningham anywhere near football shape?
ROMAN: He’s getting there. It’s a process and anything beyond that is irrelevant. Yesterday was his first day back out there. Jim talked to him about a certain way of getting back into it. Thought Mario did a really good job with it and he’ll just continue to progress but it’s day to day. You love to see him back out there. Any time you go through a season with a guy, you develop a trust and a relationship and just a feeling of togetherness. When you see a guy like that come back from an injury, all of us are just thrilled. He’s just going to work his way back.
Q: Do you have any doubts that Manningham will be able to play this year?
ROMAN: Well, he had an injury, he’s rehabbed it very hard and he’s starting the process. Beyond that is pure speculation. I wish I could give you a better answer. He’s working hard and making progress
Q: What are your thoughts on Dr. Garza’s passing?
ROMAN: I was deeply shocked and saddened by it. I think everybody was. It was addressed and I think we all mourn and pray for him. I think that really sums it up.