Jim Harbaugh on Vance McDonald: “We’d like to get him the ball more.”

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

How are you?

“Good, how are you?”

 

Good. How was your bye week?

“Good.”

 

You come back to some team photos. Why so late? Do you always take team photos this time of year?

“It varies. It was a good day, good day. Got good practice in today, good meetings, good start to the week.”

 

You had DL Glenn Dorsey back today and RB Marcus Lattimore as well? What was their participation levels?

“We activated Glenn’s window. Marcus Lattimore, we’ll open his window on Wednesday.”

 

Why the delay for Marcus?

“It’s a 21-day window and feel like 21 days went in on a game day and during his three weeks after we play a ballgame we’ll be able to evaluate better on a Mondayand a Tuesday that roster spot, that was the thinking.”

 

How did Glenn do out there today?

“Today? Participated in individuals. Conditioning was really good. We’ll ramp it up more as the week goes on.”

 

Do you have any idea kind of when LB NaVorro Bowman might be back in this three-week window?

“No.”

 

Was C Marcus Martin one of the guys who stuck around during the bye week?

“Yeah, I saw him here on Tuesday, Wednesday.”

 

What kinds of things did he work on when he was here?

“Met with coach [49ers offensive line coach Mike] Solari.”

 

And was LB Patrick Willis able to practice today?

“He did individual, limited in practice.”

 

And G Mike Iupati?

“Yeah, he’s been fully cleared and he practiced.”

 

Is NaVorro making some progress that gives you any encouraging signs?

“Yes, he’s definitely making progress.”

 

What is he able to do?

“He’s running. He’s doing some lateral cutting. He’s progressing. Nothing to report today about a time table.”

 

Have you heard anything from the NFL about LB Aldon Smith and when he might be, or if he could be, reinstated before the nine-week suspension?

“No.”

 

And CB Chris Cook was placed on IR. What’s the extent of that injury? Is it the hamstring?

“It was a hamstring, but pulled some bone off. So, he’s going to be out for the season.”

 

How does that impact your cornerback and special teams units?

“It impacts it and we’ve added [S] Bubba Ventrone and we’re still one spot that’s open.”

 

Is that an injury that they can surgically fix in the hamstring or is that something that just lay off, rest?

“No, it’s surgery. Had surgery last Friday.”

 

Last week you said the coaches were going to come in and do work. What part of that was looking over the first seven games and things where the team can improve and what part of just looking forward to game planning for the next opponent?

“We did both those things. Looked at what we’d done up to this point through seven games and what we’ve done well, what we can improve. And also game planning our next opponent.”

 

How was CB Chris Cook playing in your view and will be he be hard to replace?

“I thought he was playing well, proving himself. Doing a very good job.”

 

Will he be hard to replace?

“Yeah. You don’t ever want to lose a player to injury for the season. There’s going to have to be other players that step up, fill the role on special teams and in the secondary.”

 

CB Chris Culliver and DB Jimmie Ward practice today?

“Yes.”

 

Just individuals or did they participate fully?

“Chris was full. Jimmie was a little more limited.”

 

With the trade deadline coming up tomorrow, do you expect anything to happen as far as the 49ers are concerned?

“I don’t expect anything to happen.”

 

Was Marcus Martin out there with the first-team group?

“Yes.”

 

How’s he looking? I know it’s just one practice, but, in command?

“Yeah. That’s a pretty good way to say it. He was impressive today. Feel good about what he’s done leading up to now, the position he’s put himself in. As we’ve talked about before, he’s been very good in the classroom and he’s able to carry that onto the field. Good. Look forward to more practices.”

 

Is it too early to get too excited about some of these reinforcements, some of these guys getting healthy? There’s still a little bit of a window, right? You probably aren’t penciling them in yet or are you?

“No. There’s the window to open up practice and get back into, let the instincts be honed and their reactions, et cetera. There will be a process there.”

 

You talked in the past about the jump guys can make from year one to year two can be dramatic. Where’s TE Vance McDonald at in that year two jump. Has he made that jump, I guess, is what I’m asking?

“Yeah. He’s doing a very good job. Really pleased with the way he’s blocking. We’d like to get him the ball more. But, I feel good about Vance.”

 

You talked about getting him the ball more. Has he shown he can be a reliable pass catcher in your eyes?

“Yes. He’s proven himself.”

 

Back to Aldon. You said you haven’t heard anything from the league. Do you expect if he’s going to be activated this week at all that the suspension is going to get lifted, will that happen in the next day or two?

“I’ve heard a lot of the speculation and you’ve asked me the question several times and I’ve answered it as I know it. I don’t know anything about any ‘early’ speculation. Don’t know what more I can say to add to that. Really nothing.”

 

You talk about Marcus Martin being impressive. He’s only 20, which is pretty young for the NFL. Are there any signs he’s shown that he’s younger than the average rookie?

“Younger than the average rookie?”

 

Well he’s 20.

“Yeah, just his age, I would say is the only thing.”

 

Has he shown you anything that makes him seem older than the average rookie in terms of what he’s doing out there to impress you?

“Well, yeah, there’s things that we’ve talked about. I think he’s a very bright guy. He’s very mature. He’s champing at the bit to play and he’s shown that through the anxiousness to get back on the field and study habits. So, it’s been good. I’m excited for him to compete.”

 

Will you activate or open Bowman or TE Garrett Celek’s window this week too?

“Don’t anticipate doing that this week.”

 

For either one of those guys?

“Celek. Garrett Celek.”

 

How about DT Kaleb Ramsey?

“Again, the ones we’ve activated, opened up this week is Glenn Dorsey today and we’ll do Marcus Lattimore’s, open his window on Wednesday and he’ll participateon Wednesday.”

 

What are you curious to see about Marcus over these next three weeks?

“I’ve been watching him off to the side and I’m excited to watch him out there playing football again. We saw some of it in the offseason, but I think he’s further ahead from where he was two, three, four months ago and excited to see that progress on the field. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

You guys don’t have live tackling drills or anything like that during practice. How will you sort of assess that part of his game? It’s a missing element of his game at this point, contact and how he handles that.

“Yeah, I think we can give a little extra contact when we have the pads on for Marcus. Pass protection, sled, hitting sleds and maybe thudding up a little bit extra outside of the normal practice drills.”

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  1. Nothing on Aldon’s “early” return from the Ray Rice segment of his suspension. Maybe it was all just internet echo chamber stuff.

    Nice to see Dorsey back.

    If Lattimore doesn’t play this year, is his career over?

    1. Still no word on Aldon. Looks like he won’t be in the Rams game.

      Looking increasingly like he will serve the full Ray Rice phase of his suspension (missing the Saints game).

  2. The 49ers took a leap of faith in drafting M.Lattimore.
    They knew that they were drafting a player who was coming back from a devastating injury.
    I don’t see them rushing Latt back if he’s not completely ready to play and it would not surprise me if the team decides to give Lattimore more time to recover if needed.

    I would love to see Lattimore play again, but not if he isn’t fully ready and risk a big setback that could possibly end any hope of an NFL career.

  3. Pretty obvious that they won’t activate Celik being that he is obviously not as good as Carrier even when fully healthy.

    1. After the draft everyone thought VMac (often split out as a WR at Rice) would adapt to NFL receiving quickly, but take more time learning to inline block. It’s been the other way around.

      I see the agile Carrier in Walker’s SAK role. The taller VMac seems more suited for the classic TE spot. Trying to make VMac the SAK last year possibly slowed his development.

      1. I can see why you would make that observation, but the coaching staff chooses not to use Carrier that way. When Davis is active Carrier becomes almost non-existent.

        1. I’m thinking down the road, after Vernon’s gone. VMac (if he works out) on the line, Carrier lining up all over the place.

          With Miller playing well, maybe there isn’t the screaming need for another backfield trap/wham blocker on the field at the same time… especially if he’s developing his blocking skills.

      2. Brodie: It seems that once the staff gets a perspective in their heads they are very slow to change it even if it doesn’t seem to be working out. Jim still thinks VMac will turn into Ditka overnight. Hope he is right but it sure doesn’t look like it right now.

      1. We have to be fortunate that Celek got injured or they might have tried to stash Carrier on the practice squad and lost him. They seem to have done that with a lot of TE that were much better receivers than Celek. I think it killed the team during the time Davis was injured and they ended up with two TE who couldn’t catch.

        1. Willtalk:

          We have to be fortunate that Celek got injured or they might have tried to stash Carrier on the practice squad and lost him. They seem to have done that with a lot of TE that were much better receivers than Celek.

          When you write “a lot of TE,” what you really mean is “MarQueis Gray,” right? I know you think he’s a budding superstar, but he’s not a lot of TEs. He’s one player.

          I think it killed the team during the time Davis was injured and they ended up with two TE who couldn’t catch.

          Yes, based upon those two catches for 8 yards that Gray produced for Cleveland last season, his absence from the 49ers’ roster absolutely killed the team. I’m certain his presence would have changed the outcome of several games. It probably was the difference between 12-4 and 14-2.

          You’ve got to let it go. Losing MarQueis Gray was not the loss you think it was.

  4. Next year when Trey Milard gets healthy he can also vie for that SAK role. That kid did a bit of everything for the sooners and would have been off the board in the middle rounds if healthy

    1. Wayyyyyy cool. Better news for him than even for fans. I’ve witnessed Paul Hofer and Jim Otto hobbling around in their aging years; ugly.

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