SANTA CLARA — Here’s the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Injuries: [G Ben] Gottschalk’s got a foot, he’s up at Stanford getting a procedure today. I don’t have any information on that. Obviously I haven’t gotten a report since. [WR Issac] Blakeney and [WR Bruce] Ellington, they both have muscle strains and Ellington, we’re holding him. I want to make sure, we’re going to make sure that we’re good there. [T Joe] Staley will be back today. Joe’s in that rotation, you’re going to see Joe, we’re not going to have him going five, six, seven days in a row. Been there, done that. Nine years playing that spot, we won’t put him through that, as we will with other guys. Other guys, I mean just to let you know, guys that we’re monitoring reps, [LB Aaron] Lynch we’re just on a monitor deal the whole way through. [DT Darnell] Dockett monitoring, you saw him in sub yesterday doing things that way. [DB Jimmie] Ward again, that’s coming from me, I just want him monitored and let’s keep it going, let’s keep progressing and do everything we can possibly do from our end to prevent any setbacks. [RB Reggie] Bush, again, Bush is another guy. Bush you can kind of put in the category with me, I had with the D-Llineman here that you didn’t see practice a whole lot and then he played pretty well in football games. So, you can just go ahead and put him in that category. Not hiding anything. Again, [RB] Kendall Hunter, we’re going to keep on a rep count. Again, progressing really well, just want to stay, we’d rather be proactive than reactive. That’s it with that sheet. Obviously, pads today, exciting time for everybody. The practices up to this point, I think, we’re, I know we’re very happy with. Yesterday, the day three, you talk about the day three blues every year in camp, and the thing that was really encouraging yesterday is the mental aspect of it, in terms of the plays, the assignments, things that like. Really good, really good. Now, some of the physical side of it, there’s drops there through the practice. We got some, a little bit of the operation got on us a little bit there in the middle. There were two or three plays there that we just didn’t like. We’ve got to get that operation clean. We’re going to stay on top of that and I think where we’re at with it right now is really good. I like the way that we’re not waiting to implement any things in our operation. We’re going to implement now, the cadences, all those things, substitutions, sidelines. So, that’s where we are there. What do you got?”
Is Bruce Ellington’s condition, is that related to what kept him out during the offseason program?
“No. It’s not even the same leg.”
What areas have you seen the most strides or growth from DT Quinton Dial in terms of using his technique, leverage, all those things that you’ve seen from him?
“The one thing I can tell you about Quinton Dial, from the day he got here until today, every single day Quinton Dial has gotten better. Every single day. He is an absolute, I don’t know, I’m trying not to cuss, he just busts his tail, I mean, every day, he busts his tail. And he’s an incredible person, incredible father, husband, friend. Great in the locker room and he is incredibly scary when it comes to putting a helmet on. So, he’s that guy that we want. He’s the true definition of a switch.”
The punch and post drill that you used to do in the individual drills, how does that translate on to the field because I saw him do that and it looked identical to the drills that you guys are doing in individual periods?
“Those, and again, carrying it from individual periods, you know, that’s the whole thing. We talk about it. We get through the schematics and the meetings and then we watch all the technique in the meetings, we do those things, we want to carry that over into the walk through, then we want to carry it into the individual, individual to group, group to team, team to game, day to day. And we just keep growing that and he’s doing that. That’s a double team drill. That’s just when you see those guys coming down field on that and long-arming it and obviously with as long as he is, it’s a pretty thing.”
I know you’ve addressed this before, but what’s the issue with the sod on the field at Levi’s® and why does it continue to be an issue? Do you know why?
“[San Francisco Chronicle columnist] Ann [Killion], I don’t get into that wheelhouse. I don’t know the first thing about grass. But, I will tell you this, I am responsible for the team and where we practice and our field guys are phenomenal. We feel the confidence in them is tremendous.”
You might be the only coach to be asked a lot of questions about Taylor Swift, but do you have any concerns about the condition of the field after the Taylor Swift concerts? Are you worried? You’ve got million dollar, multi-million dollar athletes out there, are you worried about their safety?
“Absolutely. I mean, dually noted, we do. But more important, we have great guys that we care about a whole lot. But no, to answer your first question, no. I have no concerns at all that we won’t be ready to play football on the game field.”
Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst said recently he learned most, more about the players when the pads go on and that’s one of his favorite days. I assume that’s maybe the same for you. What is it you get the most? What are the two or three things that you learn the most when the pads go on? What does it mean in terms of evaluation?
“First of all, that’s what makes our game different than all of the other ones, so it does fire you up. You’re not truly playing ball yet until you get the pads on. So, that’s the excitement level. Number two, football is a test of will. It’s a test of will, it’s mano e mano, it’s winning your battle, it’s putting everything that you have physically and mentally together and busting through obstacles, so you know, the collisions. Now, the evaluation process, obviously you’re seeing if people can translate the weight room work with the explosion work with the speed work. Can we put all that together and can we make it happen. D-Linemen and O-Linemen, obviously it’s easy to see, who’s pushing who, that’s a little easier. You go to DB’s and wide receivers, who can get off press? Who can get off those things? Who’s good in press? Just evaluating those kinds of things and making sure. And then you’ve got our, like [RB] Jarryd Hayne, that’ll be great to see. He’s tackled before, he’s played a physical game where you strike and it’s body on body, but he’s not done it with a pair of shoulder pads and a helmet. So, that’s good to see. So, we’re excited about those things.”
You mention trying not to cuss, which leads me to your nickname for Quinton Dial. How did that come about?
“I got to talk to him too. That’s one of those things that stays in the locker room. Yeah. That explains Quinton. And he will tell you that I’ve only called him that nickname on a field with a helmet on. That explains who he is. When you meet him, and I think you all have met him, he’s such a soft spoken, kind, deep voice. And when he gets on the field, again, it’s hard to describe it without using swear words.”
Is that his alter ego? Is that the switch you were talking about?
“Yeah, that’s the switch. The guy has a switch. To me, that’s that thing that we all love. That mean, nasty dude on the football field that plays it the way it’s supposed to get played and then when he comes off, he’s that gentle giant, loving guy, you know? He’s that guy. That’s who he is.”
Would you say he has the nastiest mean streak on the team?
“We’re not going to start comparing that. I’ll have craziness. We’re going pads today. I’m not going to try and start, no comment.”
How much do appreciate a guy like K Phil Dawson when you have a rookie punter in here and also, can you speak to the strides of P Bradley Pinion in a short amount of time?
“Again, Bradley’s not done a thing with a live rush or anything. So, I want to make sure we temper that. But yes, we all see the same things on the field with the talent. It’s there. And how hard he’s working and what he’s doing, very excited about it, for today. We haven’t put him in those situations yet. Now, with Phil, Phil is, he is that guy. He’s going to talk to Bradley. If you brought somebody in and you want somebody, not only Bradley, anybody in that locker room, you want to get them around Phil. Again, great family man, good person, has his head really locked in right and knows how to be able to perform in this game and then walk out the door and perform everywhere. He’s just a quality person in every sense of the word. So, anybody that we have around him, but he and Bradley working together, it’s been wonderful.”
How is G Brandon Thomas coming along?
“Really well. Really well, and he was playing a lot of left, we were playing him a lot of left. We worked him over to right some in the spring. That’s one guy I will tell you, settling him in with some more right right now, and he’s again, another guy that’s getting better every day. Again, too, let’s not forget, he didn’t play last year. He’s a rookie.”
Just on Jarryd, we’ll learn more this afternoon, but have you seen the footballer in him yet?
Have you guys talked about keeping him on the practice squad or do you think he could make the 53-man squad? What’s your gut-feeling at the moment with Jarryd?
“Well, number one, again, talking to our guys, just to answer your question the way we speak in there in the locker room, I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t want to predict. And, it doesn’t do any good for anybody and I don’t want to put undue things on him. Let’s see where we’re at. Up to this point, the one thing we knew going in was he’s an explosive athlete and he’s a professional athlete. He’s one of the best in the world. We’ve seen him run carrying a ball, although it’s a different ball. We’ve seen him run. We’ve seen him in space, the explosion. We’ve seen him tackle. We’ve seen him catch what we would call a punt. So, we’ve seen all those things going in. Now, pads. Now, when he got here, now learning the game, the assignments, the things like that, the tighter spaces that you have to work in a lot, he’s adjusting every day with that. And, [49ers running backs coach] Tom Rathman is, and a lot of these people are, he’s second to none when it comes to teaching the protections and the things that he does. So, Jarryd’s in there with a phenomenal teacher. And, he’s got those things. Now the pads go on today. This game changes today.”
Can you talk about maybe a defensive role rather than–?
“No. No, not from me, I didn’t look at it that way. I looked at it in the backfield as a runner, using his vision, using those instincts. Just looking at the things he’s done in his career, in sports, and trying to put him in a position to where he could have the fastest amount of success.”
You talked about the pass protection and talked about how Tom coaches them up at that. Indianapolis Colts and former 49ers RB Frank Gore was really, really excelled in that aspect. I’m curious, how big of a hole is that to fill?
“Again, I’m not looking at it as a hole. I mean, I don’t think in that way. I don’t see it as a hole and we are not replacing an individual. The guys that we have there right now are doing a great job on air. They’re on air, they’re in their suits. You want to talk about assignments and those things, you want to talk about individual drills, the guys are doing a great job. But, we will get a little better taste of that today.”
Is LB NaVorro Bowman going to be full-go in drills, in those contact drills too?
“Yeah, Bo will be full go, I mean, there’s going to be limits, I want to reserve there. I don’t want to mislead anybody. I am going to reserve the right to be able to limit, monitor, change up with Bo, with those guys. And, quite frankly, I just see that as my job is to get a guy everything he needs to get so that he can perform at the highest level he can on game day.”
It seems like LB Ahmad Brooks has really been flying around…
“Fun to watch.”
What changes did you see, his offseason habits, if there were any this spring and now this summer?
“Well, you know again, changes, I mean I just like to talk what he’s done. I mean, what Ahmad has done is worked out. He’s been here. He worked out extremely hard. He’s in great shape. His body feels good. He’s not battling anything. And, he’s strong, so you’re seeing, and there’s a lot of competition at that position too. But, again, Ahmad, where he’s at and the way he’s going about his business right now is really good.”
Do you think he’s motivated by that competition and maybe the fact that he might have to–?
“Yeah, the competition in that room, I mean, look at the five guys in that room. The one guy nobody heard of was named [DL Marcus] Rush. I think after yesterday’s practice, everybody knows that name. So, it’s a competitive group top down. I mean, up, down, whatever way you want to shake it out. So, you’ve got to have your ‘A’ game.
Jim, it does seem like through the first few practice here that the defensive front has pretty much controlled the line of scrimmage. Obviously, the pads aren’t on. Is there any concern with the offensive line and do you at some point look outside to see if there’s anybody out there that can help you?
“Well, I don’t think anybody in the NFL does stop looking out. I mean, that’s the nature of the business, that’s what the personnel group is always doing. But, to your question of do I have any concern? No, I do not have any concern right now. Are there things we are looking at? Yeah. Am I excited about the guys in the mix with that inside two there? Yeah, I’m excited about them, [G] Joe Looney, where he’s at right now, the best shape of his life, stronger than he’s been and really fired up for him. Watching [C] Marcus [Martin] at guard with the length in those arms and what he’s doing right there, excited. He’s still going back and snapping the ball. You’ve got [G Andrew] Tiller, there’s a guy. Where’s he from? Tiller, here all last year, nobody knows about him, works his tail off. He comes in, in-shape, strong, heavy handed guy. So, you’ve got some cats that way. And then you have a couple of rooks that you throw into the mix. But, real excited about Brandon. I mean, you’ve got a nice mix of guys right there, working in that group. So, we’re excited about them. It is kind of neat, it makes it a little, it’s enough youth and competition right there to put a little edge to things. It’s kind of nice.”