Jim Harbaugh says he thinks Vernon Davis is good to go now

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

Do you feel like facing an opponent so shortly after facing them the first time, playing one game and then facing them again, does that cause any kind of complications for the coaching staff?

“It’s a salty opponent. We understand that. We’ve played them twice in the same year, now going back a couple years. So, understand some of the things that have happened in this game when you’ve played them a second time. And we’re looking at addressing those.”

 

Did you ever meet Rams P Johnny Hekker when your son was rooming with him at Oregon State?

“I think so. I think when we played Oregon State, yeah, said hello to him and say hello to him before each ball game that we play him now.”

 

Did Oregon State use him in the capacity that the Rams do, with all the fakes and using his arm as much as they do?

“I can’t recall a fake that he ran at Oregon State, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t.”

 

What was your impression of him just meeting him and his background of being a quarterback and all that?

“Well, Jay thinks the world of him, so that was good enough for me. But, heck of a nice guy and he does a tremendous job.”

 

How’s TE Vernon Davis’ recovery from the back spasm? He just hasn’t been the same player this year as we’ve seen in the last few years in terms of his production or handling the ball and such?

“He’s played through a few things. And, I think that’s the biggest thing that’s been slowing him down. But, I think he’s good to go now.”

 

Do you have any indications how LB Patrick Willis is coming along after the toe injury that he had against the Rams last time?

“No.”

 

What has T Joe Staley meant to the offensive line? There’s been a lot of moving parts with injuries and other things going on with that unit. But, just what has he meant to that unit and obviously he’s got a big challenge this week with Rams DE Robert Quinn?

“It’s rock solid, Joe Staley. Trusted agent, known friend of the San Francisco 49ers. He has continued to play at the highest level. A captain, football player, Joe Staley, football player. He can look in the mirror and say that with confidence.”

 

With Quinn being such a vaunted opponent, he faced him two weeks ago. So, just what do you see in that matchup with those two guys?

“Two great players.”

 

Besides when he’s going out on passing routes?

“Two great players. Quinn is a great player and relentless to the football. He runs to it. And, tremendous against the run, tremendous pass rush. And, Joe is up for the challenge. He’ll meet it head on.”

 

Their rookie, Rams DT Aaron Donald he seems to–?

“Aaron Donald.”

 

Yeah, have you noticed even since you guys played him the last couple games that he’s just becoming more of a force?

“Yes. Aaron Donald, since we played him in that game and since, you can make an argument that he’s their best player. He’s playing at a very high level.”

 

RB Frank Gore put the back-to-back 100-yard games together and everyone said, “Frank is back,” like he left or something. And then a couple of weeks in a row, the yards have been hard to come by. How much of it is the variables in the offensive line, the opponent, where Frank is at? How would you assess the overall state of your running game and your primetime back?

“Good. And yeah, there’s variables. Frank remains a primetime back. And we continue to strive to excel in the running game.”

 

Did RB Marcus Lattimore take place in the walkthrough?

Yes.”

 

And, how did he, I know it’s just a walkthrough, but could you tell that it was something special to him?

“Yeah, this is special. I think you wrote in your column a ‘landmark day’ on his path to football. It’s also his birthday. He’s excited.”

 

You mentioned the Rams being a salty opponent. They’re also, a lot of teams have injuries, but they’ve got a lot of injury issues, offensive line among other places. Do you have to talk to the guys about not underestimating them because they’re the Rams and they’re always going to play you all tough?

“Yeah, I think you just turn on the film of all of our games with the Rams and that speaks volumes.”

 

Did you watch the film of when they played the Seahawks? Because it just seems like they have a penchant towards trickery and they always love to do the trick play. Did you get an impression of that and how you coach against something like that?

“Yeah, you’ve just got to be on high alert at all times. There’ll be an onside kick that comes when they’re up 14-0. There’s fakes in the punt return game. There’s fakes in the punt game, in the kickoff return. Makes us play at a higher awareness, high alert.”

 

Were you impressed by their execution, especially on that one kick return play where they faked it one way and added it to another? What did you see on that play?

“It was very good. I even asked my son Jay about that. When he was at Oregon State he was a graduate assistant there. Not a graduate assistant, he was a student assistant. Let me correct that. But, he said that they had that play in at Oregon State, they never ran it. So, try to find some other plays that maybe they haven’t run.”

 

Is it easy to get caught up in the game and lose sight of the fact that they can do a fake at any point? I mean, just this last game against the Rams you stopped them on fourth down, it was a big play and they were about to run the fake that CB Chris Cook thwarted. Was he the only one that was aware of it? I guess, is it hard to be cognizant of that all the time given everything else that’s happening in a game?

“The degree of difficult, yeah maybe it is high. But, you have to be aware. It has to be a heightened sense of awareness. They ran a fake against us at Candlestick from the 20-yard line and we were able to stop that one. And it makes you play different. There’s got to be a, I don’t want to say on your heals, but you’ve got to be alert. You’ve got to take everything into account and be really thinking. Punt return, you have to know who the eligibles are. If you’re in coverage then you’ve got to have man eyes for the eligible receivers at all times, alert. [Rams special teams coordinator] John Fassel does a great job. Coach [Rams head coach Jeff] Fisher, he’s a willing participant in all these fakes. I give them a lot of credit. They’ve done a fabulous job.”

 

With all the defensive backs now coming back healthy or healthier, how do you guys determine the roles? Do you use past performance or how the guys are looking out there at practice this week?

“How they’re looking out there, practicing this week.”

 

The college shirts that the players wore at the team photo day, how did that come about and were you pleased with the turnout and the participation in that?

“Yes. That was a good idea. [49ers scouting/player engagement assistant] James Hall came up with that and there was a very good turnout. It was nice to see so many college graduates on our team. A few of us didn’t have our shirt. A few of the guys didn’t have their shirt. I didn’t have my shirt either, but I wanted to jump in because I was a college graduate. They’re going to put that on there somehow. There’s a way to, Photoshop, I was thinking of the word. There’s a way to do that. Very proud and should be. Being a college graduate, being able to put that degree in a frame, put it up on the wall it says something good about you. I wanted to acknowledge that with our players.”

 

What did you get your degree in?

“Communications. Is that a surprise? (laughter) Are you shocked? What did you get your degree in?”

 

Communications, Journalism, is that a shock?

“No. From where?”

 

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“A fine school.”

 

Are you guys going to have meetings after practice or are you going to be able to go watch the Giants game or any World Series plans with the team?

“No. I hadn’t thought of that. We’ll be able to catch that on the lag. Then you don’t have to watch the commercials.”

 

You talked on Monday about Marcus Lattimore maybe getting practice, maybe it being a little more physical for him than someone else just to get him back in the swing of things. Do you have to do something similar like that with Marcus Martin, especially knowing he’s got a physical opponent this week after missing so much time?

“He’ll have the pads on today. [49ers offensive line coach] Mike Solari does a great job in individual drills. During special teams there’ll be drills as well.”

 

Are you looking forward to that matchup in particular with Donald? Both rookies in kind of an “iron sharpens iron” situation?

“Yeah. I’m excited about all of the competition, as always. Look forward to watching Marcus compete.”

 

Closing comments

“This is a celebration, too, for [former 49ers wide receiver] Gordy Soltau, who passed away Sunday night. Great 49er, great football player, great man in the community, a service to his country. Celebration of a wonderful life. I send those regards to his family. Thank you.”

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  1. Good interview.
    I hope that Harbaugh is right about VD. Vernon has been my candidate for the most disappointing player at this point of the season. Contrary to what a few here have said about VD, I don’t believe that VD is tanking it all. His effort when blocking has not tailed-off imo.

    Catching has never been one of VD’ forte, although he has made good strides in that area over the years he will still have the occasional drop(s). The bad Back situation is one of the most frustrating injuries to have because it is so unpredictable from day to day.
    I do know that VD will need to elevate his game going forward if we are to make a serious run in the 2nd half of the season.

          1. Poor question on my part Razor. What meant was, when did Maiocco get that information from Davis? I remember reading something along those lines a week or so ago which could explain the conflicting statements.

            1. Hammer, I went back through the chat transcript and found the question and answer:

              omment From Eric E.
              Hows Vernon Davis’ recovery coming along? Will he be at 100% on Sunday against the Rams?
              12:25
              Matt Maiocco CSN: He says, no. But he should be good enough to make a vast improvement in his production in the second half of the season.

              1. Did Maiocco expand on that by when he spoke with Davis? Was it after he returned from the bye week? It’s not clear what the media availability has been this week.

  2. Question:
    ” .. What did you get your degree in? ..”

    The Harbs :
    “ ..Communications. Is that a surprise? .. “

    (This just tickled me, for some reason) …

    Yeah .. but I’m hopin’ Vernon is good to know …

    maybe if he is .. all the naysayers on this blog..
    will just shaddup !

      1. I think he was hurt MW. It’s tough to understand why and how some people can question his heart after the last 3 years.
        Maybe he is upset about his contract but to say he is faking it, that’s just ridiculous. As if his teammates and coaches would not be able to figure it out. That would have to be a Oscar winning performance to fake a back injury. And if he was faking, and caught, what team would take him. Absurd!

        1. I think two things or maybe three related to people thinking he’s tanking his play. People are always looking for someone to blame. People believe someone in the locker room is fueling the flames of the reports and any player wanting more money must be the source. Three people forget he’s 30 years old. We talk about mileage on Gore but forget he’s not young and players his age don’t heal quickly and start to lose a step. Davis has always been basket or body ball catcher. I think if he’s lost some reflex or injured its not hard to imagine that he’d drop some of Kap’s laser throws because it doesn’t use his hands as well as some others.

          1. Just a response to Prime and Wilsonn73’s posts. I was one of the people that thought that the post that accused him of faking was a possibility. Now lets be clear I never accused him of tanking or faking I just stated it was possible based on a lot of suspicious circumstantial factors.

            First of all there might be different interpretations of what constitutes tanking. To one person it might be purposefully playing badly. Dropping balls missing blocks etc. To some one else it might be giving less than you are capable of. Basically not giving a sh1tt. My definition would be more in line with the latter- giving a half effort. This would make sense if he was really p!ssed off about not getting an extension. In other words he is an unhappy camper so he doesn’t give 100%.

            That one dropped pass in his last game was right in his bread basket. It bounced of his lower chest. He didn’t even get his hands on the ball. It was certainly not a hand catch attempt at a Kaep laser pass. It looked to me like a lack of concentration and lack of focus. That could certainly correspond with not giving a sh!tt. The play were he broke up the sure TD to VMac is another example of that. VMac was in front so he could not have seen Davis but Vernon was behind V Mac and should have seen him as he went for the ball. That play had nothing to do with his age or any injury. Again it seems to be it was either he was trying to steal the ball from V Mac or a total lack of concentration on his part. If it was focus related then his head isn’t in the game-ergo he doesn’t care.

            As to Prime’s assertion that it would be hard to fake a back injury. That is laughable. Prime back injuries are very tricky and that is what makes it so easy to fake them. The scammer going to court after a traffic accident with a neck or back brace on is a typical example of that.If he chose to fake or exacerbate an actual injury (actually being injured but making it seem worse than it actually is). All of that would be relatively easy to do. Not saying he is or is not doing that just that you argument is not valid and that the statement about him tanking/faking is not that far over the top and unreasonable due to all the recent events and circumstances.

            Another thing I have a question about Prime is you statement in respect to Davis’s last 3 years proving he has heart? I just don’t get that. Unless you and I have a different criteria for what it means to have heart.

            1. Willtalk, that’s a lot of conjecture and speculation. Yeah is it possible. Is it likely I don’t think so. Since none of us really know what’s going on in VD’s head and heart your theory can work I don’t see it that way right now. Maybe if he doesn’t play well and there’s obvious proof he doesn’t care then you’ll be proved right.

              If he’s really that stupid to not care about performing well and potentially prevent this team from succeeding that doesn’t bode well for his next team. Very few want that kind of guy on their team. Who wants somebody that isn’t playing to their fullest? Somebody would snatch him up and pay him if that’s who he really is but it will be more of the same TO/Randy Moss drama. I also can’t believe JH wouldn’t light his butt up for that kind of stuff.

              Also Boone’s holdout didn’t really produce the huge payout he was asking for. Especially compared to what VD was wanting.

            2. Will Id like to know how many cases you have witnessed where a guy walks into a court room and allegedly fakes a back injury and gets away with it?
              Secondly faking a back injury with strength coaches and therapists, and chiropractors on staff which the 49ers employ and work with the athletes daily is you say easy to do? You are a joke!
              Lastly Davis has shown a tremendous amount of heart by being a leader on the field through his stellar year last year. Not complaining when the ball was not thrown his way the year before. And his ability to be one of the best blocking TE’s in the league.
              For you to say he is not giving a 100% because balls bounce off his chest. Well that’s been happening since he arrived here so that argument can be stored with all your other psychoanalysis crap you post daily. Save us your righteousness and beat it!

              1. I am willing to say that I believe now that Davis is not tanking what so ever. I did state I thought he was not focused but the reasons added were purely speculative and some one elses take. I just stated those purely as examples of reasons for that lack of focus. Even though they were speculative they were not as improbable as some of you suggested for lack of more viable options.

                It does seem his problem was a lack of focus as he himself stated in his latest press interview. He said he was thinking too much ( clouded mind ). He also gave the reason for that clouded mind. He was afraid of injury. He was ok with blocking for Frank and running routes as a decoy. He didn’t want to catch passes- implication being that if he did he would get hit with a danger of getting hurt. This is from his own mouth. Validates the negatives that people have been claiming about him. That he is soft. He is what he is and is doing the best his nature will allow.

                So Prime you standard for having heart is taking a leadership role and not complaining when you are not targeted? So not being self centered is having heart. Kind of a low standard. Just because he was a tool and sort of cleaned up his act does not make him a hero. He was only just doing what should be expected of him. Typical lowered societal expectations in the American 21st century.

        2. Its hard for players to stay fully focused and passionate over their entire career, especially after what must have been three very emotional seasons putting so much effort in and getting so close. Without wanting to go all psychologist, I imagine for someone as emotional as Vernon appears to be, the past three years may have taken a toll more on him than some other guys (pure speculation).

          When I say I think his head and heart may not be in it this year, I’m not upset with him. I just think he’s put so much in the last three years that he’s a bit drained physically, mentally and emotionally. It happens.

          1. Scooter: Not bad! Makes a sense. There is nothing wrong with trying to put yourself in someone else shoe’s. Says a lot about you as well.

  3. Congratulations to the SF Giants! Great job!
    In the words of The Lovin’ Spoonfull:
    “Do you believe in Magic……?”

    PS:
    Suck it. Jim Moron!
    Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

    1. Thanks for that,LOL. When I see those old clips with those 60s fashions it makes me a lot more tolerant of the current head-shaking fashions.

  4. Jay Harbaugh – for two years he has been an
    Offensive Assistant with the Baltimore Ravens
    Born: San Diego/Coronado…. 6/14/89

    Possible reasons he is not with the 49er organization?
    1. ______
    2. ______
    3. ______
    Oregon State: graduate assistant / student assistant…
    (Thanks for the correction, Mister Harbaw.)

    Question: how many Michigan football players
    (or athletes in general) receive degrees in communications?
    were “classes/papers” handled the way they were at NC State?
    Tutors doing grading of papers….. i.e. “soft” program?

      1. Fisher has 6 winning seasons in 18 full seasons as a head coach. McCarthy has 6 in only 8 seasons plus a Super Bowl ring. Lewis could be a candidate but he has 5 winning seasons in 11 seasons.

        Garrett hasn’t been around long enough to be considered in my opinion.

          1. St. Louis we continually hear has the best Dline in the NFL. The Rams are loaded with high draft picks much like the 49ers were in our 6-10 or 8-8 seasons.

            1. Not necessarily disagreeing with Hammer but perhaps Fisher is not very smart about which coaching spots he accepts. In the case of the Rams he has had a lot of injuries to overcome. Of course once you get in a losing pattern you won’t be offered the better positions. Kind of a ” Catch 22″.

              1. With that in mind, Jack, do you think Mike Tomlin is overrated? He lucked into a successful team, but has steadily been taking a long time successful club down to mediocre.

              2. Keep in mind Scooter, Pittsburgh has had a lot of turnover and missed on some drafts along the way.

              3. Prime, Pittsburgh has always had lots of turnover. One of the things they’ve historically been good at is finding people to replace the vets they lose. Good drafting.

                But as you point out, the drafting in recent years has included a lot of misses. Funny this has coincided with Tomlin coming on board. Is it bad drafting that is completely to blame, or does some of it go on coaching?

                Jack, I agree. I don’t think he is a bad coach, but he isn’t as good as many people say he is.

    1. Would you care to elaborate on that, Jack?
      Not challenging you, just curious. He’s fielded playoff teams, built stout rosters, come up with some innovative game plans, and may have been more competitive in his division if not for health woes at QB. I thought the lambs did OK with that hire.

      1. Brotha,

        Fisher has 6 winning seasons in 18 years. My take on the guy is that his longevity has more to do with who he knows than what he knows. He’s very friendly with the media, and Co-Chair of the NFL competition committee.

        1. OK, thanks. The 6/18 does put it in perspective. I’ve never been a fan because I didn’t care for the “Echo of the whistle…” policy he was reputed to teach. Rally to the ball, play hard to the whistle; that’s what I prefer; you know, like Justin.
          As to ‘Who you know’; unfortunately that works all too often in work & life.

          1. Fisher is well liked in the media both in local markets and nationally. I heard on Wednesday the local broadcasters and the national broadcasters singing his praises despite his less than stellar record. It goes to show the media narrative often isn’t based in fact rather feeling and emotion.

      2. Tenn. was a team that he could have had success with but I think Fisher seemed to have caught a bad break with having the owner foist Vince Young on him. That guy was a total head case.

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