SANTA CLARA — Here’s a transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
We talked to Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly today. He told some of the stories about offensive coordinator Greg Roman going up there and then him coming here. Can you talk about when he came here, I believe it was 2012, just what ideas were exchanged between him and your staff and yourself?
“First, he’s a great guy to talk to. Great guy to talk to. Great coach to talk football with. Just find him to be, like all the coaches I really like. He’s a football guy.”
Is that common to share ideas with other coaches?
“It can be.”
You seem to be a guy that’s pretty tight-lipped when it comes to what you do. Was there any concern at that point that, ‘What if Chip Kelly goes to the NFL?’.
“Yeah. And he has.”
And he coaches the Eagles [laughter].
There is no concern?
“They do a phenomenal job. That’s evident. Whether you’re having a football conversation with him or watching their tape. Wonderful, wonderful job coaching football.”
He was saying that watching the film of the Arizona game that he got a little chuckle now that there’s another wrinkle to your offense with the four and five-wide look. What is the identity you want people to know about your offense? Are you guys still the power-run team or have you changed up and you’re now going to be a spread offense?
“I wouldn’t categorize it. In terms of identity, we want to be about moving the football, picking up first downs, scoring points, scoring touchdowns.”
ME: Was your intent going into the Cardinals game not to feature the base running game with RB Frank Gore because of matchups against the Cardinals’ base defense?
“As we talked about the other day, we felt like it was a personnel group that would help us in the game. And we wanted to use it.”
When you see the Eagles on film, do you see a lot or do you see the Chip Kelly Oregon teams that you faced twice?
“Very much so, and much, much more. It’s evolved. They’ve done some great things offensively. I see their fingerprints on the defense as well. You see a progression and consistently good football and great adjustments and sound schematics. Very clever, well-schemed ideas.”
How concerning is it that you guys have been outscored 52-3 in the second half, obviously, but they’ve scored 74 points after halftime. Seems like that could be a recipe for something not-so-good for you guys if things don’t go right.
“Well, we’re striving to improve. That’s definitely an area that we’re working on getting better at.”
Has conditioning become a factor when you’re preparing for his teams? Do they exact more on opponents than the typical opponent?
“They put stress and pressure on the opponent in various ways. That’s certainly one of them.”
They have Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz. Did you guys take a long look at him and interested in possibly drafting him last year?
“Of course. We definitely did. He’s done a phenomenal job. He’s done a great job in receiving, catching, stretching the defense. Tremendous job as a competitor.”
Can you talk about just what the growth you’ve seen, the most growth you’ve seen in TE Derek Carrier and his time since he’s been active last year and even this year getting more playing time?
“Just a greater understanding of his role, the system, the stage. And taking his ability, his toughness. He’s improved his blocking. He’s improved in all areas.”
You were able to see Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles a couple of times in college. I’m curious to see what you think of his NFL development so far?
Did you anticipate that from what you were seeing at Stanford when you were playing the Arizona teams and what have you seen out of him this season?
“The same that you have. He was impressive in college, and he’s been very impressive at the pro level. Just right away good and has continued to be good.”
Have you seen enough of opponents’ offenses’ film where you can, like, say what kind of connection he has with Philadelphia receiver Jeremy Maclin. Just describe that?
“Really with all those receivers. He’s got a great awareness, great feel and very accurate thrower.”
There have been reports that QB Colin Kaepernick, two weeks ago, he did indeed use a racial slur on the field, something that he originally denied. And I’m just wondering about your thoughts on that from the leader of your team?
“I’ve never heard Colin use that word and I’ve never heard him lie, so.”
So, you think the reports are inaccurate?
“I think what I think. I’m very tuned to hearing that word, and I’ve never heard him use it.”
Would it disappoint you if it turns out that he did?
“As I said, Colin, I’ve never heard him use the word. I’ve never heard him lie.”
ME: Is your personnel no longer suited to run the power off-tackle runs and weak-side leads that have been staples of your playbook for years?
“No, I don’t think that’s true.”
Where’s Frank Gore at? Have you talked to him since Monday? What is his attitude going into this weekend?
Does he feel confident he’s going to be a bigger part of the offense this week?
“I would see no reason why he wouldn’t be confident in that regard.”
Do you have to talk to the team this week specifically about penalties after what’s happened the last two weeks? Is that a point of emphasis more than it normally would be?
“It’s an area we’re working on.”
You said you don’t make excuses, you don’t complain about officiating and you don’t want your players to. You have in the past. Has something prompted you to change your stance as far as, you know, at least publicly discussing referees calls?
“I don’t agree that I’ve complained in the past about it publicly.”
For example, you talked about Seattle’s corners in 2012 being a little hands-y, being a little too physical you felt.
“I think if you went back and checked exactly what I said, I don’t think that was a complaint or an excuse.”
How’s T Anthony Davis coming along?
“Anthony Davis? Hopeful.”
Do you expect to get him at least in a limited fashion out on the practice field today?
“We’ll see. Hopefully he will be.”
What about CB Tramaine Brock?
“Continuing, hopeful. Don’t know that he’ll practice today.”
How much of those injuries kind of affected the offense, though, and what you are able to run? You talked about personnel matchups in Arizona, but having key players also out for injury, including TE Vernon Davis for that last game?
“How much did that affect it?”
Just affect, like you said, it was personnel matchup that obviously went more four-wide receivers. But there were also other things maybe that some of the other players are still learning because they’re younger – a RB Carlos Hyde or a TE Derek Carrier coming in. How much did that affect also the play calling in Arizona because you had several key starters out?
“It affected the personnel group. We talked about that. In terms of young players, their role, and they’re stepping up and getting going. We’re working on several things. As we said earlier, great challenges in front of us, Philadelphia Eagles, and that’s where our focus is.”
You touched Monday on WR Stevie Johnson’s ball security and run after the catch. Have you just seen him take another leap in this offense in terms of his ability to grasp the playbook now that he’s been here for a few months?
“He’s done a very good job with that, and he is going. He is playing very well and it’s been very encouraging.”
You guys seemed to have struggled a little bit getting pressure on the quarterback and you guys drafted DT Tank Carradine a year ago to help in that regard. Why hasn’t he been active for two of the three games and then even the one game he was active, he didn’t have much of a role? Why is that?
“He’s coming. He’s in that role of getting going. Excited about his development and his future.”
It hasn’t been a disappointment that he hasn’t been able to make a contribution up to this point?
Do you look at Chip Kelly as being any more unpredictable than other coaches you’ve faced?
“They definitely have that element of surprise, of unpredictability. They do a great job in that regard.”
Is the onside kick from the 2010 game something that you factor into your preparation this week that anything could happen?
“Yeah. It’s a race to be prepared. All of those things are factors – what they’ve done in the past, what they could do. What they are doing.”