This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“The injury report; what we’ve got here, we’ve got some bumps and bruises, but [TE Garrett] Celek is going for an MRI. But again, we still feel like nothing is broke, that it’s what our people have categorized a high ankle sprain. And obviously with those we’ll have to look and see the severity of it and see where that’s at. So, that’s it for the injuries.”
Is that the kind of injury that potentially you might want to bump somebody up?
“Well, that’s why I’m saying it to you. I don’t know quite frankly right now. If there’s a chance that we can have Celek back in there, obviously we’re going to look at that hard. We’ll find out what he needs to get back healthy, what the time and the protocol will be and then from there we’ll let you know.”
After looking at the DT Quinton Dial hit, did you think that was a legal play?
“Listen, things happen on a football field in real time. My vantage point of the play is we came in and Dial was working to get to the strike zone, which we call a strike zone. Same way you throw a pitch, from the knees to the shoulders. And that’s where we’re aiming to tackle for the integrity and safety of the game. So, that’s what we do. And I did see him lower to get into that strike zone. But, I am not here to critique officiating.”
Obviously, TE Blake Bell probably will get a lot more work over the next few weeks. What have you seen from him and has he made progress?
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s absolutely made progress. Absolutely a guy that I’m excited about, that we’re all excited about and I think you can see it in his performance. You can see him getting better. He’s a talented guy. He’s a big guy and he’s still ascending. So, we’re excited about where he’s at and where he’s heading.”
I realize your defensive linemen can generally play all of the positions. But, we for the most part have seen NT Mike Purcell play nose guard. Had he been working more in practice at defensive tackle and I guess what led you to put him in?
“Yes, he has. Well, [DL] Arik [Armstead] was a little sore. Nothing of note or anything, but he was sore and we wanted to make sure we had him in terms of the pass rush and things, we liked his matchup this week so we wanted to make sure we had him fresh and ready to role in those areas. Obviously, Mike a good, strong body versus that run game. So, in the base downs Michael went in there. Michael did a nice job and Michael is a good player and yes Michael has worked the end positions.”
Did he play well enough to kind of merit maybe a similar role in the future?
“Yeah. Well, Michael, you’ve seen every time Michael has been up Michael plays. So, we’re looking for ways to get, I personally and we think Michael is a good football player.”
On Friday defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said that you guys would keep it the same, CB Kenneth Acker start and then CB Marcus Cromartie come in, but Cromartie didn’t get in on defense. What changed?
“Well, Acker was on it, quite frankly. He was playing well. And, we’re looking for a spot right there to get him in, but Acker was really, I felt like he was doing a nice job. In that situation there, I don’t force a hand with coaches. I didn’t force a hand right there. But, that was on our minds. That was the thought process going in and we felt like Acker was doing a nice job, had a nice feel and that’s where we went.”
I know we keep asking you this, but with two straight road games coming up, how do you get the intensity level, particularly from your defense, to travel with you guys with the same intensity?
“After our meeting this morning with the film and all those things, that was the first topic of conversation. And again, we spent some time in the open week on that. So, we’ve got to, you’re not going to change flights. You’re not going to change that you’re going on the road. So, the changes need to come from each one of us and how we have ourselves prepared to play. Again, the acknowledgement of it and mentally coming off getting off a bus on game day and maybe we need to sprint off the bus. But, that sense of urgency and attack that football game.”
Does the early start impact this week’s schedule in terms of practice times?
“All those things, you can talk about early starts and all that, that’s just the way it is and that’s the way everybody does it. So, we don’t have any excuses there. In terms of the early schedule, we’ve done that in the past here. I’ve been on staffs that we’ve done that and we end up getting guys up at 6 a.m. or 5 a.m. and practicing at the time the game will be played. We went through that and then went back and the last few years just practiced normal and played. I haven’t seen any of that make a major impact, so I don’t want to do that. We’re going to practice the way we practice and keep going.”
Regardless of some of the penalties that you may not have thought were right or wrong, how do you clean up some of those penalties? There were still a lot of them.
“Yeah, there were a lot of penalties. Well we’ve got to, a lot of the penalties we were having there, with aggressiveness there’s aggressiveness, but there’s aggressiveness within the rules. We’ve got to make sure, number one, that our body position is in the right place so that you don’t get your hands outside your body and do things like that. And, if your hand does slip up underneath a facemask, you’ve got to get it out. And that’s going to happen. I understand that’s going to happen. Offensive linemen it’s going to happen. Defensive linemen it’s going to happen. And, you’ve got to get it out of there and get it out of there quick. The biggest way for me with penalties is body position.”
This game, you could look at it, as far as the final six games, this last game, yesterday’s game was kind of your Super Bowl in a sense. You’re playing the top team in the division, they blew you out pretty good in Week 3. What do you have to do to make sure that there isn’t any kind of emotional letdown after you guys played such an emotional game yesterday that carries over to these final five games?
“Well, to me the game we played yesterday, we did not win. We need to win. But, that emotion, that intensity, that’s the way we need to play all games and then make our corrections from there with that intensity, with that emotion, with that excitement. Not playing to not make a mistake, but playing, I say with your hair down. Just play, let’s go and then correct from there. So, that’s where we’re on.”
Are there adjustments this week when you know that the guy, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, knows you guys so well? Certainly it’s not the exact same team, but are there any things you do when there’s somebody so familiar on the other side?
“Well, obviously that’s taken into account. I’m not going to get into any game planning, but yes, I know that, we know that, very aware of that.”
With five weeks left, is there any consideration to shut down RB Carlos Hyde and just have him get that surgery on his foot?
“Again, that’s been, all of that’s been on the table since the beginning. So, again, I listen to the doctors and the medical staff on where we need to go with that and what’s the best course of action. So, right now, we’re at day-to-day with Carlos and finding out exactly what that foot’s responding to.”
How much is he in the driver’s seat on what happened with the foot? Is it up to him whether he gets surgery at this point? Has he been resisting surgery?
“Again, I don’t, when it comes to the medical conversations, I don’t have any comment nor do I have a lot of information, because again I made that clear we stay out of, coaches and medical decisions is not a good thing. So, we stay away. We keep that very separate. But, obviously when it comes to a human being and their body, they have a major say on what they’re going to do. All of you do, that’s no different here. In the way I see our medical staff do it, we have our doctors, I mean again, with Stanford you can’t say enough. But, second opinions and all those things, I know that’s all facilitated through our medical department. So, any second opinions and different things and all the information, that’s all presented to players, who are people, human beings. So, they’re obviously not told, ‘You do this.’ They obviously have a major say in what they’re doing. That’s not just Carlos, that’s in everything we do.”
I don’t want to get you in trouble with the officiating stuff, but philosophically, have you thought much about the issue of full-time officials versus part-time officials and do you have a feeling about that?
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t like speaking of things that are not in my wheelhouse. I’ve been a big advocate I think of officials and officiating and I have a unique, again in my history with the NFL Europe, that was where all the officials went and they did their training camp. I sat in the evenings with officials and ate dinner and talked about their vantage points and what they see and how they see it. I was, it was actually just a tremendous experience for 10 years to be able to get that kind of information and back and forth conversation with guys while they were working their craft and I was working mine. So, there’s officiating, offense, defense, both teams. There’s always going to be something for you to write about. There’s always going to be something great, something not good. We’re always going to have discussions on what we believe and what we don’t believe. But, to stand up here and be critical of things, I’m not going to do that.”
I’m not asking that. I’m asking if the issue of whether full-time officiating is a good idea or not versus the system that it is now?
“I don’t have enough information to tell you that. I mean, I’m not even sure what their, they work pretty hard at it, I know that. But, I don’t have an educated opinion on their contracts.”
RB Shaun Draughn has carried the ball pretty much every running snap in the last couple games. Can he continue to carry that load these last five games or would you like to work in other running backs? Do you even have that option?
“Yeah. We have wanted to work in other running backs. Again, going in every game these last few games wanting to, but Shaun’s done a really nice job. He’s sturdy and he’s running well, he’s running hard. His pass protection this past week I thought was really good. So, he’s doing everything with an every down back. But we are, it is the intention to get reps with the other guys.”
QB Blaine Gabbert has 16 third down completions, but only six have gone for first downs. Is that, I mean, obviously some of those are third-and-10, third-and-12 situations, is that OK? Would you like to see a more aggressive approach?
“Absolutely not OK. I mean, we need to get first downs on third down. So, we’ve got to do a better job there.”
Throw beyond the sticks more?
“Yeah, we need to throw beyond the sticks. We need to protect. We need the entire play. In that situation, we’ve got to do a better job there.”
Has QB Colin Kaepernick started his rehab yet here in the building?
“Yes. Actually, he’s in today. He’s coming in today. Yesterday, they told me that last night because they heard the press conference. But, he’s coming in today. It’s my understand he’s in today to start his rehab.”