SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
You said that you expect LB Ahmad Brooks to play Sunday. Has the team taken any action against him for insubordination?
“We’ve addressed it. It’s not insubordination. Let’s just clear that one up.”
OK. What is it? What happened then?
“Got emotional on the sideline. Emotions played into it when it shouldn’t. We’ve got to overcome something like that. I trust Ahmad Brooks, believe in Ahmad Brooks. Know he’s going to make a vital contribution to our team has he always has. And the cold, hard facts are that the last 58 games, he’s started the last 58 games. Nobody has answered the bell more than Ahmad Brooks has for this football team. Certainly, nobody in this room can say they’ve done that. I haven’t done the research on the entire NFL or even our entire team, somebody may at least be tied, but you can’t get better than 58 out of 58. I trust Ahmad Brooks.”
So, when you try to put a player in, he doesn’t want to go in, how do you reconcile that with your stated philosophy, ‘It’s all about the team, the team, the team,’?
“You don’t know all the facts. And as I’ve said, it’s been addressed and onward. We’ll be moving onward with Ahmad Brooks.”
So, was it his decision to not play in the second half or a team decision?
“I don’t want to share it with you or publicly. That’s our business. I’ve answered the question.”
Will defensive coordinator Vic Fangio alone decide how much his defensive players will play for this weekend? Is that Vic’s decision or how much input do you have on that?
“Vic Fangio, the defensive coordinator, and the defensive staff will determine play time and rotation, as always.”
Does he have to make any kind of apology to his teammates or to the coaching staff?
“As I said, I’m not going to go into the conversations that we’ve had. It’s been addressed.”
There was a report a couple of weeks ago that you guys tried to trade him before the deadline. Can you comment on that? Any veracity to that?
Any comment or is there no veracity?
“No comment. As I addressed that two weeks ago.”
Do you envision having a three-person rotation? This is the first time you’ve really had three guys who have significant, significant playing time. Do you envision a three-person rotation at that outside linebacker position?
“Again, we’re not going to talk about what our plans are, what our scheme is, how we’re going to implement our personnel in a football game.”
As a head coach, and I know most of your emphasis is on the offensive side, do you get involved at all with those decisions on the defensive side?
“I answered that question.”
In that kind of the heat-of-the-battle moment, whatever happened with Ahmad, we’ve seen it in the past with WR Michael Crabtree or RB Frank Gore and other players. Star players, hard drive, great intensity – do you as a former player relate to that? Certain frustrations may happen in a game, at a time, does that play into some of the thinking of how you’re addressing this now with Ahmad?
“It’s an emotional game played and coached by emotional people. I’m aware of that, yes.”
How are you guys approaching LB NaVorro Bowman’s practice routine for this week?
“Today, he’s doing his rehab on the field and in the training room and weight room.”
Do you expect him to do any team drills this week?
“I don’t expect that today. Probably not this week, no.”
Can you just talk about the growth you’ve seen from C Marcus Martin in the three or so games that he’s started? Obviously, he had a rough start in the first one. What have you seen him improve the most over that span?
“What has improved the most? I don’t really have that list in front of me. I know it’s been good. It’s been solid. I know our offensive line is really coming on as a group in terms of their play, their physicality, their assignments. I go back and I look at the last six plays of our football game last week and our guys are striking people, they’re moving, more importantly, moving people up front. That was outstanding football. Take the ball from the two-yard line and knock it out to the 30 and have the punter kick a 59-yard punt and cover it, that was outstanding football. Feel like our offensive line is really playing extremely well.”
WR Anquan Boldin talked to us last week about how dropping balls, he hates it. Is it possible for this guy to become more intense than he already is after, a game, maybe a down game, so to speak?
“He’s at the highest level in all categories – intensity, focus. I don’t know if there’s another rung in the ladder to go, but I felt that before and he has climbed another rung.”
How do you help QB Colin Kaepernick get better in the fourth quarter in terms of his execution?
“I think it’s been pretty darn good, [Bay Area News Group writer] Cam [Inman]. His play.”
Overall or what about the fourth quarter?
“Do you have some statistics you’re going to refer to, you’re going to bring to my attention?”
He’s ranked pretty low in the fourth quarter. The last couple of games, you guys, well, all season long you’ve had trouble scoring, but the last two games also. He said that there’s stuff that needs to be worked on, obviously.
“We’re continually doing that as a team and as an offense.”
Is T Anthony Davis going through concussion protocol?
He wrote some things on Twitter about the exchange or when he first started hearing things. Can you talk about what you knew when he was down on the field and what you were doing when you went out there?
“What did I holler?”
“Get off the field!”
At what point did you know that he sustained a concussion?
“When he came to the sideline, I saw our medical staff and they took his helmet and we didn’t allow him to go back in the game.”
Your secondary went under an overhaul this offseason. Are they playing as well as you kind of envisioned, these guys being productive that you have back there?
“Playing darn good. Playing great team defense. Getting the turnovers. Being opportunistic. Playing very well against the run. So, yes, they’re doing an outstanding job. Team defense, outstanding job in the secondary right now. Some guys have really stepped up and are playing outstanding football. [S] Antoine Bethea, he’s just been rock solid the entire season. [S] Eric Reid had one of his best games this past week. [CB] Perrish Cox has been outstanding. [CB] Chris Culliver, huge impact in this last ballgame and the game before, playing top-notch football. [CB] Dontae Johnson contributed in the football game in key ways, especially on the fourth-down play near the goal line, and others. So, it’s been outstanding. [49ers secondary coach] Ed Donatell, our secondary coach, deserves a lot of credit. Does a heck of a job coaching those guys. And then the guys, they’re just playing great individually and they’re playing very well together.”
I realize an in-the-game situation there, why you want a guy off the field. Does it change if you knew he had a concussion or is it just get the guy off the field and then we have to deal with whatever the injury is on the sideline?
“Yeah, that’s it.”
Get the guy off the field regardless of the injury?
“If he can. If it’s humanly possible. I wanted to remind him of that. If he can’t, he can’t. I wanted to holler that out.”
Do you think there should be something in place in the NFL where if an injury such as that occurs that the clock would, the play clock would stop, the regular clock would stop and then everything would resume once the guy is safely off the field?
“Yeah, that’s possible. That’s a thought. Yeah, it does make sense.”
WR Quinton Patton when he came back from his foot injury last year had a pretty strong rookie season yet I don’t recall the last time he was active. Can you give us a sense of how he’s doing and whether we’ll likely see him in the near future?
“Working extremely hard. He’s had a very willing attitude and he’s been patient. I think his time is coming.”
The nickel is often talked about as one of the more difficult positions on the defense. What went into the thinking to put Dontae there as opposed to Perrish Cox Sunday?
“He’s got length. He’s a very good player, very coachable player, a very good learner. Perrish has really been playing well at the right corner position. Rather than making two moving pieces, that was the thought.”
Did the matchup of having Cox on Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. play into that at all? Wanting Cox on him instead of a rookie?
“Perrish has been doing an outstanding job at that left corner position. He’s earned it. He’s playing extremely well. That’s where we positioned him. Anything’s possible. But I think that’s been the best way to go.”
This weekend against Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, what do you see he brings to the table as far as performance? You guys are no stranger to him. What are you seeing a difference from last year to this year, especially in this last game?
“I’ve always had great admiration for Robert’s talent. His execution, he’s extremely gifted as a pocket passer. When he’s out of the pocket he’s very dangerous to run or throw on the run. Gifted in the QB-driven area and plays, in terms of reads and keeps. And he’s got arm strength and accuracy. He’s an outstanding player.”
Do you still see him as a threat like he was on the ground as far as running the ball like he was in the past or do you feel like he’s lost a step or two?
“He’s a threat, yeah. The film shows it.”
The red zone offense is ranked 31st in the NFL. I’ve noticed that TE Vernon Davis has one target in the red zone this season, it was a touchdown. He had eight touchdowns in the red zone last season. Why hasn’t he been more involved in the red zone this season?
“We want that. We want him involved.”
Why has he only had one target this year? It was the first trip to the red zone in the first game of the season. He hasn’t had one since. Is there a reason?