SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ p.r. department.
I don’t know if you’ve had any contact with the league office today, but NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino did say that that was the incorrect call. Does that surprise you at all?
“Yeah, I had heard that.”
Do you think something needs to be done? Have you thought about this, about maybe giving, widening the scope of what would be challengeable?
“I know there’s been discussion on that.”
Do you have any thoughts on it?
“No. I see the positives. I see both sides.”
Is it worse to hear them admit that after the fact?
“Worse to hear it after the fact? No. I mean, it’s worse to get the penalty at the time.”
It seemed like there were some younger players who had some good outings, bodes well for the future type of outings. DT Tank Carradine had a couple of sacks for example. When you went back and looked at the film, LB Nick Moody, did other young guys jump out to you?
“Yeah, a number of guys. It was great to see Tank perform so well. [RB] Alfonso Smith, [TE] Asante Cleveland, [LB] Chris Borland, Nick Moody, [WR] Quinton Patton, several, several young players. And we’re playing a lot of young players. [CB] Dontae Johnson, [CB] Leon McFadden. Not all perfect, but good to see them out there playing.”
Are these final two games going to be a window for you guys to evaluate the younger players more? Would you consider pulling some of the veterans to suit some of these other guys?
“No. But, I mean they’re playing. So, it’s a tremendous opportunity that way.”
You haven’t had a team that hasn’t had anything to play for at the end of the season. What do you expect out of your team in these final two games?
“Well, we have a lot to play for. We’re going to play these next two games like our lives depend on it. So, yeah playing for a winning season, playing for each other, playing for the team, playing for the honor of the game.”
Why doesn’t your offense score many points in the second half of games?
“Looking at this game, this past game, we had drives. We had drives that were good drives. Field position was a factor, we had some penalty. But, I felt like our … first of all it really felt like our team played with valiant effort. And in a lot ways I have never been prouder in our team for the guys that showed up, for the guys that fought. In a lot of ways never been prouder.”
And why is that?
“Because of the way they played. Because of the way they fought.”
Because of the adversity? They’ve certainly fought like that before. But, why do you think this game in particular really resonated with you as far as their effort?
“Just so many. Yeah, I’ve been equally as proud in the past, but as much as I have been in our team, that’s the way I felt about this one.”
I’m sorry to persist, but I really don’t think you answered my question so I’ll try again. It’s not just yesterday. I think there’s been a pattern this year, this season, of really not scoring a lot in the second half and the offense being a little down in the second half compared to the first half and really the offense the whole game not being what it used to be. Surely you must have some thoughts on that that you could enlighten us and help us understand a little?
“Yeah, I tried to and since we were talking about this game and there were good meaningful drives. There were situations where we could have picked up the first down, extended the drive and it didn’t happen. That’s football. That’s a very good defense. They’re playing extremely well and there were factors that we couldn’t overcome to score the points that we needed to win this ball game, and in others, to your point.”
As far as being proud of the team, have you ever been so proud of a team in a loss?
“Yeah. I was. A valiant effort. I appreciated that. I appreciated the play across the board. For the guys that showed up and fought the way they did.”
There was a pass-play yesterday deep downfield to TE Vernon Davis. And it’s hard to tell from the press box, but it was close enough where you expected him to reach out his arms at least for the ball. And I’ve seen a number of those involving Davis over the years. Like I said, it’s hard for me, from where I am to tell whether it’s catchable or not. Was that ball catchable? Should he be making a bigger effort on some of those downfield-type attempts?
“The ball was thrown to him?”
Yeah. It was deep.
“A corner route?”
“Yeah, I felt that was an overthrow. I thought his effort was very good on that play.”
With two games left, any of those injuries yesterday, any of those five guys you would expect to be shut down for the season?
“[WR] Kassim Osgood broke a bone in his hand. Third metacarpal. Let me point out that example. He broke that early in the game and he padded it up, he kept playing. He was playing in a lot of pain and made plays. That’s an example of the valiant effort.”
Any update on RB Frank Gore?
“Frank is in today and he said he’s feeling good. Good as can be expected.”
You’ve fielded a lot of questions about your job future. The players have as well. For the most part, they’ve all come to your defense, defended you. How does that make you feel?
“I’d rather talk about how proud I am of them in the ball game. I know it’s been a lot of [talk], and it may be taking away from them and the way they play. Hate to keep contributing to that.”
I know you said there is a lot to play for, but as San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ann Killion pointed out, you haven’t been in this situation in quite a while with postseason not in play. Do you expect that to create a different vibe at all these last two games without that goal sort of available?
“The goals I mentioned, I think, those are big goals.”
Six sacks yesterday. I know they don’t all fall on QB Colin Kaepernick, obviously. But, what can he do as a quarterback to put himself in better situations to avoid the sack or get rid of the ball sooner? He’s been one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league this year.
“I really thought he played valiantly yesterday. I thought he really was playing well, doing his job extremely well. He was a live player. We talked about maybe there was a patch there that he went through, but I really felt like he came out of that yesterday and played extremely well.”
You said yesterday you’d be happy to sit down with the owner or the general manager at any time. Have you done that or do you expect to do that this week?
“As I said, yeah always. That’s an always thing. Always available to talk to the owner and the general manager, of course.”
Do you have any meetings planned?
Would you prefer it happen sooner than later so we stop asking you about it or taking away from the players kind of like you mentioned?
“Everybody’s been head down. Everybody’s been focused on the season. Players, coaches, front office. That’s been our approach. That’s what we’ve been doing.”
Is this a meeting you would initiate or you’re available if they want to meet with you?
“As I said I’ve answered that. Always available.”
What about some of the other injuries from yesterday and then T Anthony Davis as well, a guy who’s been struggling with a concussion, do you put him back in these next two weeks knowing that there’s no playoffs around the corner?
“We’ll be looking for all available personnel to play. So, that’s a medical question specifically for Anthony.”
What about LB Ahmad Brooks and his thumb? Can he play with that injury?
“We’ll find that out. I don’t know that right now. For an outside linebacker whose got to put his hands on people. I don’t know the answer to that.”
Is it broken or ligaments?
“It was a dislocation. But, I don’t know the extent.”
And what about RB Carlos Hyde?
“Carlos? Yeah, we’re going to check today and see what the ankle looks like in terms of swelling.”
“Yes. Yes, same, There will be MRIs done.”
You’ve had so many injuries this year. How much do those factor into the team’s record and the position you’re in right now?
“I’m sure they factor in. How much I don’t have a specific answer.”
Does playing the role of spoiler mean anything to you?
“The biggest thing is the things that I mentioned. Playing this game and win this game. There’s a lot at stake. That’s the way we approach it.”