Jim Tomsula: “I just want us to be who we are.”

This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

Opening comments:

“Good morning. Injury report; [RB] Reggie [Bush], I just saw Reggie, he’s got a calf strain. I mean, I think they are getting him tested or they are going to send him down to get tested. But, he looked good. I don’t have, I mean, he’s not running yet. But, he looks fine, but they are treating him and they get everything checked. So, that’s where we are with Reggie. And, that’s our injury report.”


When you say he looks fine, he walks fine?

“Yeah, he was, I mean, he walked fine there and then he was on the table. He was walking fine last night, I didn’t see a limp. I mean, you all saw him too, I didn’t see any limping. So, I don’t know, I don’t want to feed you a bunch of bull.”


Are you saying that he’s going to go to Stanford and have an MRI?

“Yeah, I mean, they do that with every, they don’t do the x-rays as much, but the MRIs, I think, is what they do because it’s just a better test or something. So, anyway, what do you all have?”


Do you think that there’s a chance that he plays on a short week like you guys have?

“I don’t know that, but I will give you that answer as soon as we have it. I don’t want to, again, we don’t want something that can be taken care of in four days to end up being six weeks. So, I do want to stay in that approach, but I’m not willing to tell you, I mean, if he can play he’s going to play.”


What kind of soreness did QB Colin Kaepernick have after that hit he took in the first quarter on the sideline?

“Nothing, I mean, never even, to be honest with you, he never even spoke of it.”


With so many different guys getting involved in sacks and pressuring the quarterback, how encouraged were you by the show of that defense and getting to Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater?

“Well, the whole, you know [Associated Press reporter] Janie [McCauley], the biggest thing that I appreciate that is going is the players and coaches and you know those things where you walk into a room and it’s a give-and-take? You know what I mean? When players study the way our guys study and players are as engaged as our guys are, when you sit there and talk about football, it’s not really a lecture. It’s communication. It’s a conversation and that shows when you can do, there was some multiplicity there. And then, there’s an unselfishness with guys and setting things up for other guys. We call it dirty work. That’s what we say in the locker room. So, you’ve got guys doing that. There’s one goal. It’s not to get six sacks. The goal is not to win the stat sheet. The goal is to win the game. And, that’s when I keep talking about the team and the locker room, that’s what I really feel about these guys. Let’s go win the game, let’s do what we need to do to win the game.”


Last week when you were keeping everybody guessing about how you guys were going to run the secondary, you did say that everybody would play. I mean, seven defensive backs saw significant action.

“I really try not to lie. I never lie on purpose.”


But, I mean, is that kind of the thing that you expect to see, just so many different guys with a hand in it as far as situational football goes?

“Yeah, well, I mean and you said it there, situational football. We’re going to play situational football and defensively too, we want to take an offensive approach on defense. We want to be offensive. But, again, what does the team do every week? That’s what I mean about the whole 46, is that will change. That’s going to change. I mean, it is. Week-to-week, you’re going to see variation in that depending on where we are in the schematic, who does what and who we’re looking to matchup with. It’s, I mean, if somebody’s got a, I don’t even want to get into that. But, that’s the way we’re looking at it. In that particular game, that’s the plan that came up defensively and our plan that came up offensively, and then we’ve got to coordinate that through the special teams and make sure that we’ve got our best 46 to attack the opponent.”


Obviously, during training camp tempo was a big emphasis for the offense. How do you think Colin did in that regard last night and by getting to the line early and getting the plays off early, how much better is he able to execute with that tempo?

“Well, and again, it just, it gives the time for the operation. For all the work that he and everybody else does all week. You study tape, you study looks, you study fronts, you study your opponent, and to have the time to be able to use that information, that’s all it is. I know there’s a lot made of it, but we’re just trying to operate in a way that we can use everything that we’re working on. I mean, that we’ve watched and worked hard to do. And, Colin did just a, obviously his position, he’s got to do those things. And, I thought he did, I mean, I know he did, he did a wonderful job yesterday.”


It look liked T Joe Staley also at times was trying to get everybody going. Were there other guys trying to keep that tempo going? I mean, we’ve been hearing you do it on the practice field. Were you doing it during the game? Yelling, tempo?

“I don’t know what I was yelling. I probably can’t repeat a lot of what I was yelling. But, I mean, the guys, I think they like moving at a pace. They just, they like it. And again, I don’t think it’s anything, I mean, this isn’t rocket science. It’s just a way that we want to be able to, I was as enthused in the middle of the third quarter there when we slowed it down and then sped it up and then slowed it down again in the middle of the fourth. And then, went into the four minute offense and slowed it way down. So, it moved all game. We just want to be able to have the ability to be able to use that clock. I mean, that’s one of the parameters, 53 and a third wide, 100 long, OK? 11 guys on each side and there’s a clock. That’s one of the parameters in football. So, we’re trying to work the parameters to where we feel we are in the game.”


Minnesota Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer said he felt like his team got out-physicaled and he said as far as, in terms of physicality, he would have liked his team to look like your team. Is that part of, I mean, would you like that to be part of your identity? Kind of a this team is going to beat you up type thing?

“Well, first of all to Coach Zimmer, I mean, that’s a wonderful compliment. I sincerely, I mean, I speak for the guys, that’s a compliment to them. In terms of an identity, I just want us to be who we are, and our locker room is, what I believe, is a tough-minded, physically-tough, and mentally-tough group of guys. Let’s play the game. I mean, football’s, it’s a test of wills. So, I just, I think there’s, I hope that, I believe those are the kind of guys that we have.”


When it comes to the play in the trenches with the lines, how much of it in your mind is technique and scheme and how much of it is just a mentality or an act to that you’re going to set the physical tone?

“I don’t know how you separate the two. I could punch that wall and try to get a hole in it all day long. If I get a hammer, it might help me out. You know what I mean? So, I don’t really, to me, I don’t know that we separate it. I think we, I think it’s just the way we do things and then it’s what you do but then how you do it. So, just putting it all together. I hope I’m answering that, I’m not trying to be funny.”


That was a good metaphor. That works.


RB Carlos Hyde said last week that one of the biggest things he learned from former 49ers and current Indianapolis Colts RB Frank Gore was to take care of his body before and after practice. You touched on it last week on WR Bruce Ellington making those strides. What have you seen from Carlos in that regard and did you ever have to sit him down and talk about that kind of stuff, or did he do that?

“No, I didn’t. I mean, we’ve talked about it, in terms of the whole team, that’s something we’ve talked about. We’ve dedicated an entire room over there that used to be a coach’s lounge. It’s no longer a coach’s lounge. It’s a regeneration room, where the guys are in there and they’ve got their drinks and they’ve got their boots and all the different thigh things for the muscles. And, they use the water in the cold and the hot and all they do all that stuff. To Carlos’s, speaking of Carlos, the last two guys to leave this facility last night were Carlos Hyde and [NT] Ian Williams, because they were doing their contrast after the game and doing some of the regeneration stuff after the game. And that goes along too, I just walked out of the office right there and we’ve got a full weight room. Guys are in there, you get your stretch, you get running, you get that blood moving and then you get your lift. So, I mean, that’s all part of it and they don’t have to be here today. Today’s a day off.  That’s on their own.”


How much did you observe, maybe, I mean you were coaching D-Line last year, but anything you saw that Carlos was soaking in everything he could from Frank Gore?

“Janie, I’d be making stories up if I got too deep there. I mean, I’m sure he did. Yeah.”


When you put together the staff did you hire offensive line coach Chris Foerster because you wanted Chris Foerster or because Chris Foerster had the kind of blocking-scheme that you thought would fit what you guys have here?

“I wanted Chris Foerster. Chris Foerster was here the last time, he was a gap-scheme guy, which we still have gap-scheme. You know, all the coaches, my point to all the coaches is, people first, what kind of people they were and thinking about the match of the room and just good guys that care about players and then obviously, how good they are at their jobs. But, the whole coaching staff, Foerster obviously, but the whole coaching staff is, and to watch them communicate. [Offensive coordinator] Geep [Chryst], Geep’s really good. I mean, he’s just a really good person and he’s a really smart man. But, you have a group there, you look at both sides, there’s some people who have done this a long time and people that bring a lot to the table and utilizing it all. No one guy here has all the answers. What we’re trying to do is, I mean we’re learning something from the Silicon Valley, isn’t this the place where they made those rooms and they put bean bags in it and everybody sat around and you brainstorm and you talk about stuff. I mean, we’re trying to utilize, to me, that’s utilizing everything you have. And, that’s what we’re trying to do. Again, we’re talking about all this stuff, it’s been one game. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to get a lot better.”


There were a lot of penalties that this team was able to overcome last night, some on special teams as well as on the offense. When you looked at the film, what was more systematic about the penalties?

“Well, you know, again, there’s, we have to clean that up. I mean, we have to. And, I feel like anything I say about that is like opening the door that it’s OK. It’s not OK. But, we’ve got some young guys, our special teams, we’ve got a lot of young guys that are making aggressive mistakes and we’ve got to clean it up. It’s guys really, that extra effort is there and they’re trying to go that extra mile and that happened offensive line-wise at the beginning. It’s, no penalties are good, but we just have to clean up as we’re going that extra mile, as we’re going that, taking that extra step and trying to make that extra umph for the play. Keeping our hands inside or staying in front of the guy on a block, things like that. We’ve got to, there’s no doubt, we’ve got to get cleaned up. I was, the good that came from that to me was that there wasn’t any blinking. When I looked in people’s eyes, we were on to the next. Let’s go. Ok, that happened, deal with it, let’s go. Let’s keep moving forward, so there was a positive there.”


Speaking of aggressive mistakes, what do you do with RB Jarryd Hayne when he makes an aggressive mistake on that punt? But, you don’t, you probably don’t want to take away, curb his aggression, that’s what makes him who he is.

“We put him out there for the next two punts. He would have stayed out there all day. I mean, the next punt that came, went out of bounds. He didn’t have a chance to return it. And, the punt after that he did catch, he got 12-yards on it I believe. So, he got us a first down. He’s right back out there. So, I mean, there’s a belief and a faith there. Play football, OK? And, we have learning moments and we’ll learn from those learning moments, but we’re not, that’s it. OK. Next play, alright? Now let’s go back, own it, fix it and move on.”


Why did, you didn’t have the return and then they had a re-kick and Ellington went in, why did–?

“Usually, what we’ll try to do there is we will try to sub. Whenever somebody re-kicks, we are going to try to get some fresh, I mean, that’s a normal deal. If we were punting and we had to re-punt, we’ll try to get new gunners out there. You just went on a 40-yard sprint, the guy just fielded the ball and he took off sprinting. So, if we have somebody else that we can get in there in those kind of spots, we will.”


I think a lot of people would look at the schedule, you guys played the late, late game on a Monday Night, you’re facing a team that basically has 10 days rest, you’re flying across country. Did, when the schedule came out did you look at that and want to make a phone call to New York City?

“No sir. We looked at that and planned accordingly. That’s just the facts of it. That’s where it is. That’s where we go. We’ve got a gameSunday in Pittsburgh. And, we’re going to get on an airplane, we’re going to prepare this week and we’re going to go play. Not a minute to, all we want to know is what the parameters are. Give us the parameters, give us the facts and then let’s put a plan together to attack it and go at it. That’s it, that’s as deep as it gets with me. There’s where it is. OK, here we go. This is what we’ve got guys. That’s, and I mean, I think we’ve got a whole group here that’s the same way. That’s where it is.”


You’ve known about this sequence since April. You knew you were going to have a short week here. Any advanced work on Pittsburgh?

“Yeah, we did advanced work on everybody on the schedule. So, I mean, there was advanced, a normal, I mean, I’m not giving anybody any secrets. You look at your division, you make sure, you can start on that right away. You know you’re playing them twice. So, you start on that right away. Obviously, it was a little more unique for us this year because we were putting things together for ourselves. But, we were on the division real quick and then as soon as the schedule comes out we start systematically doing our work in the offseason, getting into this, getting into the season. And you sprinkle those things through training camp. You sprinkle those things through the offseason. As you’re installing your stuff, you can call an over an under or a different defense, because our defense knows how to do that. So, we can choreograph through calls and things as you’re installing what fronts you want to block and all those kind of things. So, that’s just the normal progression of it.”


With the short week and the travel, will you alter the practice schedule a little? I mean, just get the guys off the field a little more than usual or no?

“No, we’ve got, today’s off. Tomorrow’s ‘C and I’ day and then we’ve got Thursday and Friday and we get on a plane Friday afternoon.”


What’s ‘C and I day’?

“Clean up and installation, that’s all.”

  1. Who we are?

    There is no mystery here. As ex Knbr employee, Ralph Barbieri used to state: “2 things can be equally true.” Applied here, the 49ers can be a mediochre team offensively, and the Vikes, an overrated team by the media. Point in fact: the Vikes could not stop a one-dimensional run only 49er team…The 49ers over priced free agent, Torey Smith, Ellingon and R. Bush had 16 yards on 6 targets. Try that with a real defense Niner Fans….I warned you to temper your enthusiasm, now I just gut punched you into reality.

    1. TomD I think you’re in the wrong place. Head downtown with your sandwich board of doom and warnings. You don’t have secret prophetic knowledge that everyone else here doesn’t see. You’re not a voice of reason or truth. Maybe better yet head over to Oakland, they’ll take your warnings with a lot more cheer since their team matches your narrative.

      Celebrate a win as a win. Very few here are overlooking how good the Steelers are. It should be a close game. We’ll be underdogs and maybe even competitive.

    2. Break down the Film TomD. Nothing 1 dimensional about an offense when the QB is a duel threat. The 49ers took what Minnesota gave them Monday Night, and the Vikings had no answers. That’s what good teams do. They impose their will. They win the physical battle in the trenches, and they exploit the defenses weak spots.

      You can bet teams are going to adjust, but like I said before, the added dimension of Kap, as a runner, adds an extra layer of complexity to the Niners offense, that you apparently can’t see, but experienced football people can. Like Richard, “You Mad Bro?” big-mouth Sherman said, having a duel threat QB compared to a one dimensional, pocket passer like Manning, is like the difference of playing chess, or checkers. So many more things to account for when an offensive has a legitimate, duel threat QB like Kap.

      We have seen what happens when defenses try to squeeze the box, when this team is full strength. Green Bay famously tried to go after Kap, stack the box, on 2013 opening day, and Kap torched them for 412 yards passing. This team is better at the WR position, than that team was and our new offensive blocking scheme is making it easy to get Kap moving the pocket, rolling out, where he has always been dynamic.

      Expect Pitt to make stopping the run, their game plan this week. If the Niners can impose their will, and run over Pitt despite this, or make them pay through the air, then you will know this team is for real.

    1. “The Play-Action Passing Game Is Effective” +100

      That’s key with CK. Another reason why designing plays with minimal negative yardage risk is key in this offense. Some QBs/offenses handle 3rd and 7 or 2nd and 14 fine. In the 49ers ball control system with CK at the helm, they are drive killers.

  2. First real test for defense will be Sunday. First real test for offense will be Arizona. The perfect test because they stack the box and bring blitzes all day. After those games we will see if this team is for real or not. Go 1-1 on the road even with a close loss for one. Will be a win for this team.

  3. After basking in the glow of a wonderful victory, I started thinking about their next opponent.
    Steelers will be champing at the bit, just desperate for a victory to avoid an 0-2 start. Big Ben has a cannon arm and the WRs are fast and skillful. They have lost their RB, but his replacement seems decent. The line is big and strong, and gave Ben lots of time to throw.
    The defense is stout up front, but the DBs seem vulnerable. I hope Torrey Smith sees more plays this next game. I think Bud Dupree will show why Arik Armstead is such a good pick.

      1. Many posters on draft day were crying that AA was too raw and Dupree’s high light film was superb.
        I envision Dupree to have a bad game, and show that AA is better even though he has yet to play.

            1. {Raises hand}

              I woulda took that. It would be awesome to have him and Harold. Especially now that Aldon is gone(perfect 20/20 hindsight).

            2. I was one of those posters that wanted Dupree.

              But no matter how Dupree plays it will have no bearing on whether AA was a good pick. How AA plays will determine whether he was a good pick or not.

              FWIW, Dupree is a starter, AA is a rotational player. So early returns suggest Dupree was a more valuable pick to the Steelers so far. But we won’t know for sure until a few years down the track.

              1. Actually, looks like I am wrong, Dupree didn’t start against the Patriots and in fact was also a rotational player. So honours even so far!

              2. I know, I just disagree with the statement as it was written.

                If you said you think Dupree will have a bad game and show why 49ers fans shouldn’t be disappointed they didn’t take him, then sure, that is a fine opinion to have. One I disagree with, especially given it will only be his second game and so coming to any such conclusions seems highly premature to me, but a fine opinion to have none-the-less.

                But you went a step further and said Dupree’s performance will show that AA was “such a good pick”. It simply won’t. Only AA’s performance can determine whether he was a good pick. If Dupree plays poorly and so does AA (or he barely plays at all), how is that showing AA was a good pick? It could be different if the 49ers were only given two choices at pick #17 – AA and Dupree – but that wasn’t the case.

              3. I understand your position, but this is another of many more times where we just have to differ in opinions.

      1. Meaning? I didn’t even notice him in the game. Saw a lot of Dial, Dorsey, Williams and even Carradine. He could have played stellar, the red numbers were really hard to read.

        1. Meaning he played snaps. It’s pretty much what he does. This is why I hated the pick; I watched a whole lot of Oregon games and the only times Armstead stood out to me were between plays. He’s a big man.


          Yes, week 1. I know.

              1. So many posters were hating on the AA pick, they said he might be relegated to the PS and sit on the bench for a season.
                The fact that he got into the first game is proof that the Niner coaches recognize his talents, and he is only going to get better with more snaps.
                With those hard to read red numbers, I could not see if AA was playing, but I am happy he did get snaps.

              2. seb- Or it could mean that since he is Baalke’s number one pick they feel they have to give him snaps to justify the pick. It will only be with time that we might discern if he got preferential treatment. If he becomes a really good player due to these snaps then they are justified. But if he doesn’t develop then they would be preferential.

              3. Well, he is a first round pick, so it makes sense to train and play him so he can succeed.
                The important point is that he is good enough to get on the field, and they like his skills.

    1. Maybe I’m just a little blinded by being from Australia, but I think you are way harsh on your assessment of Hayne as a RB against the Vikings. I thought he did fine given what the blocking gave him on most of his runs. He wasn’t being given the same kinds of holes Hyde had most of the day.

      Hayne’s one run where he was given a bit of room was a good one. 9 yards and he broke some tackles. From recollection at least two of his other runs the OL got little movement and the backside DE did a good job of providing contain to prevent a cut back run, so Hayne did the right thing (I thought) in taking what little they gave him and not being taken down for negative yards. And he did well on his reception to gain positive yards.

      He also put in a good block on that 19 yarder to Davis to set up 3rd and 1, which was Kaep’s best throw from the pocket.

        1. He’s going all in on his one prediction that Ellington is better than Hayne. He lost all his chips on those other predictions.

          24-21 Steelers? I’d love to see the 49ers win again.

            1. Did you notice that’s how the Rams beat the Hawks too? TE’s in the flat and wide open. I do think we’ll be able to move the ball on them through the air and on the ground. Can we score enough, I think we’ll need 28 to win. ST’s can’t screw up like last week either.

      1. I would activate Lemonier from the inactive list so they can get after Ben.
        Why activate Davis when Hyde is doing so well? Niners will need more pass rushers against Ben.

        1. Leave him on the bench. The D was good without him, he’ll just take up a spot we need for someone else with the potential for greater impact.

              1. They rotated players to keep them fresh. Something JH was loathe to do as long as a veteran could stand.
                Lemonier could handle the first and second down snaps and let Lynch come in with fresh legs for third down.

              2. So are you going to carry 4 OLB’s? Who are you sitting then? We don’t need that many with Mangini’s secret blitz scheme. Last week you wanted to sit Bellore for Hayne. At this point if you carry Lemonier you’ll have to sit a DB, safety, ILB or DL. Lemnonier can play special teams but he’s not much of a value on the field except against the run.

                JH wasn’t responsible for defensive substitutions, that was Fangio. He definitely preferred veterans to youngsters.

              3. So you’d bring Lemonier up in Bush’s place and carry only Hyde and Hayne? That’s not going to happen. Davis will come up as the #2 back. Its what I am trying to show you, to bring Lemonier up you have to sit a better player or leave us short handed. The coaching staff got lucky last week. Hyde got tired because we didn’t have a good option to help him after Bush went down.

            1. With 49ers old boy Cody Wallace at centre for the Steelers, I expect Mangini will look to send a lot of pressure up the middle again next week.

            2. I also think that our d line rotation is up for the task. These guys are young and in good shape. They won’t run much on us and that’s where d line’s get worn down. Pass protection is a bit different.

        2. Seb, I luv ya, but you activate Davis in case Hyde gets knocked out of the game. Better to go with him than Hayne at this point, no?

          1. This is the perfect opportunity for Hayne to get extensive playing time as a RB, but also a swing pass option that puts Hayne in space.
            I will make a prediction. If Coach Tomsula utilizes Hayne to his fullest, Hayne will score a TD.

      2. I want Hayne to fill in for Bush. He will be the Delanie Walker type Swiss Army Knife.
        I want to see the Niners use laterals to take advantage of Hayne’s skillsets.

            1. I think Mike Davis is a better option right now to play rather than Hayne. With the way the Niners offense is geared towards, Davis is much more suited than Hayne.
              Hayne looked tentative and hesitated a lot in the backfield.

              1. Sorry, but I think Hayne is special. His story can only get bigger if he is allowed to play.So far, he has done everything well, except that one muffed punt. Glad he had it so it did not cost the game, and he learned from it. Tape shows he can block, and he gets down the field on ST.
                I said before the game that Coach Tomsula will activate and play Hayne because he will not sheathe his weapon.
                If Coach Tomsula wants to win, he will use all the weapons he has.

              2. Seb he lacks the intuitiveness and instincts in running the football. He was very cautious last night. When you are thinking the game, you are already 2 steps behind.
                Mike Davis deserves a chance now and Hayne should sit against the Steelers.

              3. Hayne has quick hips and can make players miss.
                You say he was hesitant, maybe he was being patient and waiting for the holes to open up.
                Hayne is a rare weapon, and he fell into the Niner’s lap. Use him and make millions happy or waste him and make me very unhappy.

              4. “Seb he lacks the intuitiveness and instincts in running the football. He was very cautious last night.”

                Maybe I missed something, but he seemed to be ok from an instincts perspective, and I didn’t see anything about how he played that suggested he was being cautious. He took what he was given, and on his 9 yard run and 7 yard reception showed both elusiveness and strength.

              5. He was slow to hit the openings. He lacked the speed to get around the corner and we all know what happened on the muff. You guys can’t tell me he did not look nervous?
                There is no more time to see what he can do. He will get another chance but in a short week I think Davis is a better option based on how he runs very similar to Hyde. He’s also a big body who can grind it out on the road.

              6. Well, I think we’ll just have to disagree on this one Prime. I didn’t think he looked slow or cautious, but I admit I may be a little biased on this. I’m sure he was a bit nervous, but it didn’t look to me as though it got the better of him outside of the muffed punt on his first play.

                I also don’t think we know if he lacked speed to get around the corner as none of his runs went around the corner as far as I can recall.

                But I do agree Davis should be active if Bush is out and likely should be the primary backup at RB as he’s got more experience as a RB.

              7. The only time I saw hesitation out of Hayne was on that first punt return. He had a nice run where he hit the hole nicely and also had a good catch and run a little later on. I’m guessing there were some nerves early on but he settled in after that.

              8. Whether Hayne’s instincts are there or not, he made a helluva block on that pass to Vernon. That really shows how good of a coach Rathman is, excellent football.

      3. Scooter- No you are not a homer. I wrote the same thing on another site. BR. We always need to assess a player on how well they take advantage of their opportunities. He had few opportunities as a RB. Stats don’t tell the whole story. Grant is as Wilson stated going all out to save face using Hayne as his media.

    2. Is there any history of Mangini double teaming opposing teams best players? Ben is talented enough to get the ball to other players if Brown is covered. Its possible that with the Steelers weak run game they could contain things they may be able to a lot another player to cover Brown.

      1. I thought Carradine played very well also. They all did, especially #93, who was always disrupting things.

        I’m rewatching it tonight.

    3. Bench Jarryd Hayne and Make Bruce Ellington the Punt Returner

      Yes, this is a good idea. Bruce Ellington is far quicker than Hayne, and the proof of his superiority came on his only touch in the punt game on Monday night. Ellington is one of the 49ers most gifted weapons, and he should touch the ball as often as possible. What you didn’t mention here is that Hayne should still be active as the #3 RB, if Bush is unable to play, as expected.

      Call More Pass Plays for WR Bruce Ellington

      This is a no-brainer, for the reasons outlined above. The question that must be considered, however, is whether the 49ers will drift away from the 13 personnel that worked so masterfully in Week One, so well, in fact, that even Bruce Miller’s role was reduced to that of an afterthought. I suspect that the coaching staff has concocted individualized game plans that will allow the 49ers to attack teams in wildly different ways, and this will include some games in which Ellington is not only played, but actually “featured.” This might be the first such game, as the Steelers’ secondary is the weakest part of its defense.

      Double-Cover the Opponent’s No. 1 Receiver

      I don’t agree, at least not until Brown does something to warrant the double-team. That something might come on the first play of the game, or it might never come, as Brock could be as good as Revis, and might be able to shut down Brown like he did Wallace. It will be apparent early, and as you say, the coaching staff must be open to the idea.

      Don’t Play DB Jimmie Ward

      Again, I don’t agree, but not for the reason you describe. Jimmie Ward needs time on the field to develop, and the 49ers defense is obviously one of multiplicity. The line is being rotated, and Tartt is being plugged in as a hybrid S-LB. This Steelers game might offer a great opportunity for Jimmie Ward to play as a third safety for periods. His range is outstanding, and his ball skills are said to be pretty good, so why not see what he brings against a team that will feature the passing game with depleted weaponry?

      Play RB Mike Davis

      Yes. Absolutely the 49ers ought to play Mike Davis. It will be fascinating to see what the rookie RB can do with the same blocking as Carlos Hyde, and it will provide the 49ers with an accurate picture of how stocked their RB cupboard actually is. Hayne was never brought in to be a backup to Hyde, but rather, a backup to Bush, as a guy who can catch the ball out of the backfield and make someone miss. He still runs too upright, and in this last game he ran tentatively. I would like to see him get more touches on offense, but not in place of Mike Davis, who should be given every opportunity to prove early on in the season that he is a durable, explosive secondary option to Hyde.

      Get TE Vernon Davis the Ball Earlier

      Vernon Davis is either a shell of his former self, or not as good as we would like to believe. I would like to see him work on his hands and stop dropping passes; I would like to see him make catches over his shoulders (well, maybe he did on that 20 yard pass); I would like to see him crushing smaller defenders, instead of getting crushed by them; I would like to see him show the same level of passion that he showed after Vernon Post. If getting him 5 touches early in the game will accomplish all of this, then do it. If not, then focus on getting the ball early and often to other guys.

      * Bonus: Get Blake Bell Involved in the Red Zone
      Getting the giant TE involved in the Red Zone will give Kaepernick a weapon similar to Gronk, Kelce, Eifert, and all the other big TEs. He doesn’t need to play between the 20s, but when the team is in the RZ, get him in there, and have Kaep throw it up. If Kaep has developed a lofted touch pass, this is the guy to use it with, and the RZ is where to use it.

      1. Grant postulates that we need more plays to Ellington to save face in his last remaining prediction. Doesn’t it make more sense we need more plays to Torrey Smith instead since he’s the #1 WR and the best WR on the team? Why draw up more plays for the #3 or 4 receiver when the most dangerous guy on the team needs to get involved more first?

        1. Torrey Smith is the best deep receiver on the team, but he is clearly NOT the #1 WR, that would still be Q. And Ellington is quicker than Smith, which means he will bring value in stressing the underneath defense, which will in turn bring the safeties forward, and allow Kaep to go bombs away to Smith. Nice math.

          1. That’s a misnomer that he’s only good at the long ball. Smith isn’t just a deep threat and I’d be surprised if Ellington was quicker. Smith is an all around good WR. Boldin is a possession receiver in the slot and will get lots of targets in this system. It doesn’t make him the #1. Grant said all camp Smith was the best WR on the field and consistently beat all the DB’s. I still say getting Torry involved is more important than Ellington at this point.

            1. Wilson

              I’m waiting to see it. Check Torrey’s career drops stats. He drops a lot of balls. He also doesn’t have a full repertoire yet. It might be due to another Harbaugh coaching shortcoming, but he isn’t as rounded as the top #1s in the league. That’s why he got paid $8M rather than $14-15M per year.

              But like I said, I’m waiting, “So Torrey, show me!” I want to see it.

              1. Again, is Ellington the same caliber or threat as Smith? You can pull stats and $$ figures, but he’s our #1 WR. I think Ellington like Hayne is overhyped. He has potential but definitely hasn’t showed it on game day. Blame the coaches, the QB or who ever, but you don’t run your offense through your 3rd WR. Even Grant labels him the 3rd best WR on the team. Sure a few plays to him help everyone. The more options the offense has the better. Why pay someone $8 mil and not run the offense through them?

      2. E- I agree with your take on the roles of Hayne and Davis. Hayne is the back up to Bush, but he can also serve as back up to Hyde in a pinch. There really isn’t any reason to justify activating Davis as a Rb at this time.

        In respect to Ellington as a punt returner- Ellington is more explosive but his explosiveness requires open lanes which are usually not available on punt returns. The are the exception rather than the rule. As has been pointed out Ellingtons open lane was a result of a block in the back of a defender who would have hit Ellington right after the catch. I am not sure how much of a difference the second hold played in this return, but the first was critical. Returners like Ellington are feast and famine. Give them a big lane where they can exploit their speed and they are explosive. Hayne is more consistent he will give you more consistent field positions because he tends to run north rather than east and west. Ellingtons type of player will often lose yardage or run for fewer gains than Hayne can give you. Hayne is fast enough to exploit a big lane as well if one should open up for him. Hayne despite being bigger and stronger is actually more elusive than Ellington and White.

        Players like Ellington and White do a lot of east west running because they are always looking for that big lane to take it too the house. Hayne is better at exploiting what the D gives him and so is more consistent.

        I really like Ellington as a receiver. I think thats where he needs to play. It makes no sense to me to play him as a punt returner where he is less valuable because there are other players who can do the job. He has had trouble staying healthy, much like Bush so you do not want to expose him to the big hits punt returners are subjected too.

        I would like to see them begin to faze out Boldin and us Ellington in the slot more. I see Boldin starting to lose his effectiveness much like Gore did. If Ellington can not stay on the field this will not happen.

    4. Good stuff grant.

      The only thing I would disagree on would be giving Davis more carries. I think he should have at least 10-12 carries, especially if the game goes anything like yesterday’s game. Hyde is young and fresh, but I don’t want to run him into the ground or get him injured. He’s now the most important piece on the offense.

      Love Hayne but you’re right. He needs time. Everytime we punted or handed it off to him my heart would skip a beat. I think sit him down bring in Davis.

      All your points were right on.

      1. Why would your heart skip a beat when the ball is handed to Hayne? No logical reason for that other than a bias against Hayne due to his lack of experience. His productions has not given anybody any reason to come to that conclusion. Obviously the staff has confidence in him. Davis has not shown any thing in preseason to think he is a better runner than Hayne. When he had no hole to run through he was stopped with no gain or a loss in preseason. Nothing out of the ordinary. Even if all things are equal Hayne has more uses on ST and as a receiver out of the backfield. You can not activate everyone so somebody has to sit and that is Davis. He is less essential. Unless he takes Pattons place.

  4. Best early play..Vance McD flying cross field after blocked FG to stop a sure score..and 9ers held and got the ball back. Super effort.

  5. I didn’t see the interview but I read this transcript. Tomsula is either endearing in a John Madden stammering kind of way or he’s more like a clueless buffoon in a Ray Ratto kind of way. As long as he wins he will be endearing but he doesn’t have much room for error. If he ever experiences a losing streak then he will quickly descend into buffoon territory and the media and fans will be ruthless. I personally like the guy but I hope he’s not too sensitive. He’s going to get attacked for his communication style and demeanor.

    1. Coach Tomsula is smart enough to yell tempo a thousand times in practice, and I read his lips and he was yelling tempo during the game. Just for that, I cut him a ton of slack and give him a free pass for the season.
      He is not an elocution specialist. He is a Head Coach. Coach Tomsula is a breath of fresh air to me, and should never be even be mentioned in the way you describe because he is the real deal, and he gets it. Look at how he coached the game. If you were there, you saw it.

      1. Tomsula could be the smartest coach to ever grace the earth but his communication style and his personal appearance will cause people to attack him personally when his team falls on hard times professionally. Mark my words. That is exactly what will happen eventually. Everyone goes through downturns.

        1. As an ex running back I’ll be obvious, and hammer this point home Seb.

          The difference between Hayne and Mike Davis is the difference between the speed of light and sound. Davis is the light, with the experience and quick twich muscle memory to exploit a seemingly unblocked play and make something out of nothing…Give Davis the ball with those holes the 49ers opened up vs. the Vikes and he takes it to the house.
          Hayne, on the other hand, could only gain a few yards with those mammoth holes the OL created…If M. Davis does not play vs. Pittsburgh the only explanation would be the owner is trying to gain a larger viewer share from down under.

          1. Have to agree. Once Bush went down it turned out to be a mistake to have Hayne on the active roster. Davis needs to be the back up RB and Ellington looked better on punt returns. Nothing against Hayne – what he’s done with zero football experience is remarkable. The 9ers have better options than him at his positions.

          2. Yeah for sure. Hayne did okay with what he was give, but Davis would have looked very good on Monday. The oline just played fantastic and really created some good holes. But Hayne is brand new to the sport and position, he hasn’t developed those certain instincts and vision. It really was a shame Davis wasn’t active

            1. I am sorry, but you put too much hype on a rookie RB who has not shown me that he is far superior to Hayne. Did Davis have a 53 yard run in the preseason?
              Hayne has shown me that he can make players miss so bad that they fall down. Davis has never shown me that.

              1. But, Seb, Suddenly Pre season matters..For anything Kap or Hayne I guess so, but anyone else using the preseason gets this from you:

                it’s only preseason, preseason stats don’t matter.

          3. TrollD, you obviously have suffered too many blows to the head. Just because you think Davis is better than Hayne makes me think that Hayne is better, because you want to trade Kaep for Tebow.

            1. I agree! What preseason games have these guys been watching. Davis was running against the same players that Hayne played against. When Davis had no holes he was stopped dead in his tracks same as the other players. Davis has yet to show anything to justify that he is a better RB. If it come down to Davis vs Hayne on the active roster Hayne has to play because of his expanded skill set and special teams ability. I think you guy that are pushing Davis at this point must be living in an alternate reality.

    2. Tomsula is a rough and tumble guy from Pittsburgh and he wears his background on his collar. His mannerisms and the way he expresses himself I recognize instantly in friends and work colleagues I know from the ‘burgh. His style may be alien to most Californians, but he will get the job done, of that I have no doubt.

  6. Hayne will be the starting punt returner and Davis will be activated, but I expect VD to have a big afternoon against that weak Steelers secondary…..

    1. Do you think VD will gain any yards after solid contact. It frequently seems to me that his first instinct is to give ground in the hope that he can escape. Most NFL tight ends can at least get their own body length after contact. Maybe I’m the only one who has this perception of Vernon.

        1. I was talking about this with my brother yesterday. He noted how VD seemed to evade contact after the catch. I suggested he was trying to juke a defender like a WR, but also threw some really good blocks.

          That might be by design.

          I don’t have the stats, but it seems like VDs been morphing his body closer to that of a receiver as the years have ticked by.

          1. He goes down entirely to easy after contact for a guy his size. In the Min game he was taken down too quickly by a guy half his size. The guy didn’t even hit him but just pulled him to he ground. This is why he can never play with minor injuries. He thinks he is a warrior for playing with minor injuries that other players just sluff off. He is a big baby.

      1. Been saying the same thing for years. I remember watching a mic’d up segment from a game in Baltimore and Willis imploring Davis to put his shoulder down and run somebody over.

    2. Agree on all accounts, razor. Those Steelers safeties were atrocious week 1. Should be some opportunities through the middle in the passing game.

  7. https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2015/09/15/10-things-to-know-from-nfl-week-1/

    9. Carlos Hyde was our No. 1-graded running back for Week 1.
    The new starting running back in San Francisco looked really good in the 49ers’ Monday night win over the Vikings, recording a +4.4 grade that ranked first in the NFL among running backs for the week. A year removed from then-starter Frank Gore earning a negative season grade and ranking No. 26 in the league, this is a very promising sign for the San Francisco, who surprised many by coming up with a decisive Week 1 win.

    1. Also interesting:

      3. The Seahawks’ offensive line is officially a problem.
      Monson wrote Monday that Seattle’s weakness at the position could cost the team a Super Bowl shot, and our Neil Hornsby is working on a column for this week that examines the problem even further. But here’s the snapshot:

      LT Russell Okung: -4.1
      LG Justin Britt: -3.8
      C Drew Nowak: -0.8
      RG J.R. Sweezy: -4.8
      RT Garry Gilliam: -10.1
      That’s negative grades for all five starters, and red grades for four of the five (meaning below -1.0). QB Russell Wilson and RB Marshawn Lynch have helped cover for offensive line issues the last few seasons, but this could be the year the unit is too much of a weakness to overcome.

      1. Grimey,
        Thanks for the post, keep in mind these numbers are based on a limited sample size. Also, the Rams front 7 can make any offensive line look bad. I expect the Seahawks o-line to play a lot better this week against Green Bay who were gashed on the ground by Chicago last week.

      2. Mary Mary quite contrary, where are you now? Looks like the Seasquawks are the cellar dwellers this year. My, how the mighty have fallen.
        Boy, that OC better watch out for those mothers.

  8. 1. The Niners scored 10 points in the fourth quarter – improvement

    2. I am a fence sitter concerning CK, I felt he played smart.

    3. Hyde is the real deal and would not surprise me if he leads the league in rushing.

    4. I think Hayne is going to be a great punt returner, but I don’t think he is ready for RB position just yet.

    5. The right side of the line held up for the most part.

    6. The defense played very well and could be a top unit in the very near future.

    7. Pinion is ok but I am starting to think like most thought – maybe a tad early in the draft. I still do like the pick but………

    8. Penalties are still a problem, though the delay of game ones were none existence.

    That was a fun game to watch. There is nothing like a great running game. Hyde was fun to watch and should help CK immensely. Am really looking forward to the Steelers to find out if the defense is for real. Have to wait to the Cards game to see if the offense is for real. (Steelers defense is suspect, how unreal is that)

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