Jim Harbaugh: “predicting how many times we’re going to throw the ball isn’t something that I think is in our best interest.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh was interviewed by Bay Area reporters in the 49ers’ auditorium Tuesday morning. Here’s a transcript, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. staff.

 

After going over the game on Sunday, are there still a lot of areas of concern that you have? Or did the film study kind of clear up some of the things that concerned you afterward?

“We’re working. We’re working to improve. It’s an important week for us. Every area of the football team is trying to get better this week.”

 

Does fatigue play a role at all in those games? Guys like DT Tank Carradine and DT Quinton Dial played a lot of snaps, with the biggest gains in the practices. Does that factor in at all during preseason?

“Well, it’s been great. You mentioned Quinton Dial and Tank Carradine. They’ve gotten a lot of reps, lot of reps in the game, lot of reps in practice. It’s been outstanding for them. They’ve needed that. Neither one of them are looking for a soft shoulder to cry on, either. They appreciate those reps. They want them and need them. Been most beneficial.” 

 

How did T Jonathan Martin look on film and where does T Anthony Davis stand in his return?

“Anthony’s going to be back today doing individual and progressing back in. Jonathan Martin has done very well. Been a great addition to our football team. Sure glad we got him. Like everybody else on our football team, working to improve in certain areas. He’s been very effective and efficient.”

 

Do you see him fighting for a roster spot or is his spot his?

“Not going to go into open up every guy on the team with what their status is. Everybody’s working, everybody should be working. Things are going to be determined. It’s an important week.”

 

Are there any young players that jumped out at you on how they performed through these two exhibitions?

“Yeah, there was very good play by some young players, no question about it. [WR] Bruce Ellington jumps to mind. Thought [C] Marcus Martin had a very good game, a very physical game. Great to get him back, get him going again. Had the ankle injury. Saw some really good things. Tank, Quinton, [DB] Jimmie Ward, [RB] Carlos Hyde, [LB] Chris Borland, [LB] Shayne Skov, [LB] Chase Thomas had a very good game. There’s others. [CB] Kenneth Acker, thought he made some plays. He’s building confidence. There were definitely positives in terms of individual play.”

 

How’s S Antoine Bethea recovering a few days later?

“He’s in the protocol. He’s going through the concussion protocol. You’re familiar with that, right?”

 

Certainly. Do you feel like he’s feeling pretty good or is there any indication when he might be back?

“It’s based on how they respond with their symptoms. When they’re asymptomatic then they’re progressed to running. And then another day goes by, or two, until they’re not symptomatic and show they’re not symptomatic from running and exerting themselves. Then it progresses to practice without contact. Again, if they’re asymptomatic, then it progresses to contact, again. See what the symptoms there are, if any. If not, then they’re progressed back into playing.”

 

What did you see on K Phil Dawson’s two kicks?

“We know Phil. He’s gotta make those kicks, he’s gonna make those kicks. Again, it’s another part of everybody playing together as a unit and making sure that the protection is sound, the snap is good, the hold is good and the kick is good. All those things have to work together and they didn’t on the first long one. All areas we know are correctable, and we count on Phil to make those kicks.”

 

Are you confident that the offensive line with G Joe Looney at right guard can pick up, if G/T Alex Boone isn’t here to start the regular season, can pick up and do the same things that you guys kind of hung your hat on last year as far as the power, a stout offensive line and the power running game?

“We believe in Joe Looney. We believe we can win with Joe Looney. Again, Joe Looney is working every day to improve his game and that’s what the unit is doing, all 11 and key backups. It’s a race in that way. It has been every day since we’ve started. We’ll continue to stick to the plan. We’re coming along.”

As a coach, do you insert yourself into contract stuff? Do you support how the organization has handled the Alex Boone stuff?

“As always, we don’t talk about contracts publicly. Rarely have we talked about it in any form or fashion. Never feel like it’s in anybody’s best interest to do that.”

How long do you think your starters will go in this next preseason game?

“Again, can’t make a blanket statement of how long the starters, individual players … we’ll have a plan for the game. Not so much in terms of starting groups.”

QB Colin Kaepernick may be a little deeper this one?

“Maybe.”

LB Patrick Willis hasn’t played in either one and he sat out practice last week. Was that related to the stinger he had in Baltimore? What’s he working through?

“He’s working through something. Didn’t feel like it was prudent to play in the game.”

Might he play in this game?

“He might. We’ll see how the week goes.”

Do you have a starter at that other inside linebacker position?

“The linebackers are working well. Think we’re getting there. Feel confident in how the linebackers are progressing.”

Has Jimmie Ward become the first option at nickel cornerback?

“We’ll just keep working, work and not predict. Think that’s the best course of action right now. Start predicting the roster, the starters, et cetera. We’re still working.”

You guys look like you’ll throw more this year than you have in the past. Is it possible, can you impose your will on a defense if you throw 30 or 35 times a game? I’m asking in general.

“Same would go for that. The predicting how many times we’re going to throw the ball isn’t something that I think is in our best interest, announce game plans or numbers in that regard. We’re going to be trying to move the ball. That’s where we want our offense to be. Move the football, score points, be a winning offense.”

Can you talk a little bit about Chris Borland, just because getting the start against Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning? Because defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Chris Borland, one of the things he did well in college was he relied on instinct. But here, the quarterbacks in the NFL game are so good that you have to be more assignment-based sometimes. How’s Chris’ growth been in that area just between the two games?

“His growth has been outstanding. Means a lot to him. He works extremely hard at it. He does have extremely good instincts. And playing with the defense, getting that experience working as part of a team-oriented defense, our defense. It’s different than what he did in college, or anybody, different from what they did in college. He’s coming along real well.”

Are you game planning and preparing for the Chargers this week like you would a regular season opponent?

“Again, we’re not going to talk about what we’re doing game-plan wise. I don’t see the benefit of that.”

 

Have you spoken to G/T Alex Boone?

“Again, I’m not going to get into it, relay it, open up the conversation as it relates to contracts, etcetera.”

 

You brought up Ellington, what do you like out of him?

“I think he’s got a great feel for the game. I think it means a lot to him. He’s very talented. He gives great effort. I think he’s got the ability to be a very versatile player. And again, he’s working, he’s learning and he’s coming along real well.”

 

This is a serious question, I was wondering if your dad or former Michigan head football coach Bo Schembechler or former Ohio State head football coach Woody Hayes were still coaching today, do you think they would embrace more of the passing game, you know, three wide receiver sets?

“I can tell by your questions you’ve got an idea where you want to go and you want me to plug something in here to help you write your article.”

 

Those are your big coaching influences and you like a power running game and there’s talk about you guys passing more, so that’s where I’m coming from.

“I can’t speak for any other coaches, former coaches or present. I just feel like it’s best not to discuss what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it, when we’re going to do it. I’d appreciate it if the opponent would do that. We would find value in that and appreciate that very much.”

 

What have you seen from WR Michael Crabtree this camp behind the scenes? Do you see him being more motivated than ever?

“Well, we have a new member of the 49ers. Michael Crabtree welcomed the birth of his son, Michael Anthony Crabtree III, yesterday. Everybody’s real excited for him. I’m real excited for him and his family. Great report: ten fingers, ten toes. Right down the middle of the strike zone. A very healthy child and a big child. So, the statistics were very good. Didn’t get a wingspan on him yet, but all reports are great and Michael’s very excited about it.”

 

Is Michael here?

“He was there for the birth of the child.”

 

Is he still there, in Texas obviously?

“Yes.”

 

Just on the field, in the meeting rooms, he’s working his way back, looks like he’s lost a lot of weight and is in the best shape he’s been in a while. What have you seen from him motivation-wise and how he’s approaching this year?

“It’s been great. It’s been A-plus-plus. He’s had a great offseason. He’s worked extremely hard. He was having a great camp and then had a setback for a couple of weeks there. But, he’s back now and looking real good. It’s been real good. He’s working, he’s doing everything that you want him to do, everything that he’s always done. He’s a fantastic player. I love to watch him play, love to watch him practice. He just enjoys making the tough catch. He’s a great example for everybody.”

 

How much do you value results, scores and win-loss records in the preseason?

“We want to execute. We want to win. We want to stay healthy. We want to get better as a football team. Those are our goals in the preseason.”

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  1. i think by Harbaugh’s comments today and in the past and Kaepernick’s comments in his earlier interview, how they pass and how much they pass will be a game to game match up specific decision. but yeah, they’re always going to run the ball down the opponent’s throats.

    1. What did you expect The Harbs to say, prime ?

      The Genius (Bill Walsh) had a knack for these pressers ..
      and it wasn’t till you left when you realized ..
      he didn’t say anything …

      Bill was more eloquent about it .. but you end up with …
      the same results

  2. Just once, I’d like to see the press walk out on Harbaugh in one of these useless sessions. He obviously will do nothing to make the job of the press easier. Nor will he do anything to make it possible for fans to follow the development of the team during the preseason.

    It is obvious that he enjoys sparring. It is also obvious that he doesn’t give a hoot about the fans who pay his salary.

    1. The fans who pay his salary want him to win, first and foremost.
      .
      Personally, I could care less if he isn’t forthcoming at pressers.
      .
      Actually, if they stop asking him questions dealing directly with contracts and strategy, like he always asks them not to, he might be a better interview.
      .
      I don’t think he’s that way just to be a di*k.
      .
      The guy bleeds football and everything he does, he does with the goal of winning the next game.
      .
      As a fan who pays his salary, that’s all I care about.
      .
      But I see your point.
      .
      .
      .
      *ALOHA*

        1. There isn’t a HC out there that gives anything remotely interesting to the media in these weekly press conferences. Some are charming and jovial compared to Harbaugh, but none of them will answer strategy questions with anything other than double talk and many are laconic just like Harbaugh.

          I honestly have no idea why the NFL forces Coaches and players to give interviews every week. Reporters will say it’s for the fans, but as a fan I can honestly say I get nothing from these weekly media scrums. Most of the pertinent info comes from NFL insiders like Schefter, and the rest is regurgitated rumor and innuendo.

          A great example is the latest article from Kawakami. I like Tim and think he’s an excellent writer, but he just did an entire opinion piece on whether Harbaugh will be with the team after this season, with nothing more than opinions from a few NFL sources who assume he could be gone after this year. There is no inside info from people who have talked to the team or Harbaugh and yet Kawakami has gone and dreamed up a scenario of where Harbaugh could go and who he will want as his GM. Now we will see other sources jump on this article and start to use it as proof of unrest between the team and Harbaugh and it will become a big story again, a month after it should have been put to rest due to the fact both sides stated clearly that they will pick things up after the season.

          If you want to know why Coaches and players hate talking to the media, this is a great example. I haven’t even mentioned the generation gap and silliness that comes from old men trying to interpret today’s players in articles that feature nothing about football, but instead focus on manners in a press conference.

          I could easily do without the weekly updates that feature nothing but flotsam and jetsam.

    2. I like how he handles the press. As a fan I would rather he not be clear to the media who are always looking to twist words to sell articles and at the same time cause issues with a player or coach or team. I like it, loose lips sink ships

    3. It is also obvious that he doesn’t give a hoot about the fans who pay his salary.

      You’re pretty full of yourself, aren’t you?

    4. He is supposed to Marshall. What exactly are you looking for? Harbaugh saying that they plan on passing more? That’s a great thing to let your future opponents know.

      1. Sorry to disagree but any NFL head coach that game plans an opponent based on statements made to the press is an idiot. I side with those who believe that Harbaugh and the others who are not forthcoming fear and dislike the press but have to put up with them. The only thing that head coaches have to fear is that someone watching practices will pass on intelligence as to what the players are actually working on prior to the game. Maintain that security and you can say whatever you want.

    5. come on Will, be a real fan. It’s not about you or the press, it’s about 49ers winning and I am very happy that Harbaugh doesn’t divulge anything that other teams could use against us.

      Who ever said that you were entitled to that confidential information?

    6. I’d actually prefer Harbs to walk out on the press after they ask the same question that they know he won’t answer for the 8th time in 2 days.

      IMO it’s obvious that he does care a great deal for the fans, we want winners, not friendly pressers. He’s TEAM, TEAM, TEAM which = cares for the fans.

  3. Chill out … what do you want him to do? Give away strategic details to entertain “fans” like you?

  4. Classic Harbaugh …

    This is a serious question, I was wondering if your dad or former Michigan head football coach Bo Schembechler or former Ohio State head football coach Woody Hayes were still coaching today, do you think they would embrace more of the passing game, you know, three wide receiver sets?

    “I can tell by your questions you’ve got an idea where you want to go and you want me to plug something in here to help you write your article.”

  5. “We know Phil. He’s gotta make those kicks, he’s gonna make those kicks

    Phil is damn near 40 years old. With all those picks they had, they should have drafted a PK

    1. Yeah, but Baalke’s ego and OCD prevented him from doing so. Yet another roster problem caused by a bumbler who’s in over his head.

            1. “The problem with internet quotes is that half of them are fabricated” – Abraham Lincoln

              What rate is the mind that can’t recognize sarcasm?

          1. Claude,

            “http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sarcasm”

            LOL, I don’t care what ya say, that there’s funny!

    2. Or at least an upgrade via free agency. You could by years end Phil D was starting to show his age. But hey, you can’t show concern on this blog because management and coaching staff have it all figured out.

  6. Sure would be nice to see M&M continue to improve and bring that physicality to the Center position….

  7. When non-Niner fans complain that Harbaugh is a tool, I say, “Yes, but he’s *our* tool.” If he weren’t a great coach, this guy would be insufferable. Look, I understand he doesn’t want to give up any tiny bit of competitive advantage; I’m OK with that. But does he have to be such a tool about it? Particularly his answer to the question about older coaches he knows/knew … man, what a douchey way to respond. I don’t have to like the way the guy deals with the press to be glad he’s our coach, but I just don’t think that speaks well of him as a person, that kind of attitude. Some players and coaches understand that when they’re speaking to the press, they’re speaking to the fans. Harbaugh either doesn’t, or hates us as much as he hates the press.

    1. But does he have to be such a tool about it? Particularly his answer to the question about older coaches he knows/knew … man, what a douchey way to respond.

      Some players and coaches understand that when they’re speaking to the press, they’re speaking to the fans. Harbaugh either doesn’t, or hates us as much as he hates the press.

      He could a flying flip about us or the press. He’s in it to win it and that works just fine for me.
      That was an obviously baited question that Harbaugh handled rather well.

  8. Some players and coaches understand that when they’re speaking to the press, they’re speaking to the fans.

    Yeah, and others understand that that cliche is often b/s.

  9. I already said my piece above but would like to share a real life piece about relying on what head coaches say. In 1966 our second “pre-season” game was traveling from Northern California to Santa Monica to play Santa Monica CC. Since the season had not begun an we had no history playing them, it was customary for the coaches to send their offensive and defensive formations so that each team could game plan for an unknown opponent. So we prepared based on the formations that were sent to us. Bear in mind that this was a practice game and had no significance on either of our conference play. When we went out on the field for the first time to face their offense, I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but they lined up in a formation that we had never seen. Not once did they line up in anything that even remotely resembled the formations that had sent us. Same with their defense. Our coaches went nuts to put it mildly and we hung in there to lose something in the area of 56-27 with most of our points coming against their scrubs in garbage time. The Corsairs were a very good team that year and certainly did not need to cheat to beat us. As it happened our first string quarterback sprained his ankle during walk throughs the day before we were to fly out and we made the trip with our backup. With no disrespect intended, that alone made our beating them much less probable. To paraphrase an old saying, How do you know when a coach is lying in public, his lips are moving. Anything that Harbaugh says should be taken with a grain of salt.

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