SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Sunday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Let me give you this real quick. Practice yesterday, everything is the same. [WR Issac] Blakeney is the one thing. Blakeney, he’s got a muscle pull. It doesn’t seem real severe, but he won’t be in practice today. So, that’ll be the only guy that will be changed in terms of practice.”
And where will the practice be?
“It will be in the stadium.”
You will be in the stadium. And the turf is fine, obviously?
“Yes. Just to address that, in terms of the team periods, there were no issues at all. You will see the individual periods will be adjusted a little bit. We had the problem there with the wide receivers and the DB’s with all the stopping and starting and planting and driving. So, we’ll get those moved and go from there.”
Did you need to go out on the field this morning or did you need to see something to convince yourself that you could put the team back out there?
“I don’t think it was convincing. Actually we got a phone call this morning from the guys who went out to work the field and check the fields. Every morning, here’s our procedures on every day, the way everything works every day; on our practice fields every morning, [equipment manager] Steve Urbaniak, our equipment guy, meets with [sports turf manager/head groundskeeper Matthew] Greiner, our grounds guy, and we dictate where we’re going to be on the fields. So, we’re on the game field, they’re in the same meeting. So, the same meeting was there and we’re going out.”
Your decision or general manger Trent Baalke’s decision?
“Well, it all lays on me. All 100-percent lays on me there with that decision.”
I think a lot of people, maybe just me, would say, “Well, risk/reward-wise what’s the harm in making sure the field is absolutely right and why not just go to the practice field?”
“We’re going to go on to the game field. The guys, we are going out there and we are going to practice on the game field. We feel like we are in a good spot with the game field. That’s what we are going to do.”
Is there a timeframe on DT Darnell Dockett and when he starts to get worked into the rotation and get ready for the season?
“Yeah, well this I think you will have some background on me with knees. I’ve had different guys coming back off of the knees. And he’s ready to go. There’s no limitations from him from the training room. But, just the point of sitting down, sitting on double teams, all the base work, which we did predominately yesterday. Darnell, we aren’t going to have him in there doing that. I don’t want him in there doing that. That’s not from the training room. That’s just from being a coach. He will be doing more of the nickel stuff, the sub stuff, you’ll see that stuff going on right now, that’s the way we will start that.”
Is that kind of the vision for him for the regular season? You envision him being more of a nickel inside pass rush guy?
“I think there’s great value in Darnell in that role. But, I also think Darnell can play, he’s got what, 11 years? We’ve all seen him sit on double teams and dominate on first and second down. He can do them all. I don’t really want to pigeonhole anybody right now because we are still sorting everything out obviously in training camp.”
Is there a point in time when Darnell will sit on double teams and take that practice rep and be ready for it? How long before you get to that point?
“I don’t know. I can’t tell you that, but he’ll practice. He’s doing it in individual. We’re doing it there, but that’s not the same as the team period. But, that’s nothing new, nothing different than I’ve done with any other guy I’ve ever coached personally at that position when they come off. I’ve had three of them, so I know them. It’s just the point of all the weight, that’s six or 700 pounds. I just don’t do it. That’s just my preference.”
How players view nickel, it used to be a small role but now it seems like you can be out there for half the snaps in a season. It’s not quite the limited role that it used to be. Do you see the players understanding that?
“Yeah. My personal views on those things is we obviously have to give you a starting lineup. We obviously have to go through the pageantry of announcing players onto the field before a game. That’s all part of it. But, again, when you get into personnel groups we have starters, you could have D-Linemen and say there’s three guys out there for base. So, that book that you get on game day has the three guys that start in base. But, when I’m in the D-Line room I could have seven starters because I got these guys starting base, these guys starting nickel, these guys starting dime. So, that’s the way we talk. That’s the way I always talk. The value in each guy and where he’s going to be. Same thing with wide receivers. If we start the game, we tell you 21 personnel is our base and that’s what’s announced and the fullback runs into the game or runs out of the tunnel. You read your book and everything is good. Then the first play of the game we go to 12. He’s not on the field. That’s just the reality of it. So, that’s the point we are trying to get to. That’s the way I talk all the time.”
In a big picture, what are you most excited about. I know it’s training camp, but what are you most excited about when you look at this team heading into this year?
“The people. I really am excited about the people. Just last night after practice the way they are all in there, the laughter. There was a boxing match on or something. The TVs got on and the guys getting together. There’s something neat there. That really excites me. All the other stuff, we’ve got to do. A certain amount of time, we’ve got to get it done and that’s when the rubber meets the road and there’s a score at the end of the day. We’ve got to be ready for that. Those things, I feel like we’re where they need to be. We’re not into predicting the future. We are going to talk about today.”
You had the emphasis of getting out of the huddle quickly, you were talking about it last night. Was that specific to something offensively you are pointing to or maybe is that a message to the team that you want things to move quickly with this team?
“You’ve got it. Everybody has put that on offense. From a defensive perspective, if we can operate in a real fast pace, well then defensively we are that much further ahead. So, by being able to, thinking about it offensively because that’s the play clock, the offense breaks the huddle, but when you think about it that way, if you are on the line of scrimmage and you have time you can snap that ball whenever you want. Defenses, now your cadences and all those things become part of it. If you get to the line of scrimmage with six seconds, as a D-Line guy when I’m looking at the quarterback, I’m looking at him break the huddle, there’s a play clock right behind him. That thing starts saying six, I’m raising my tail end up a little bit and as soon as I hear something I’m gone. So, that gives us the ability to do what we want to do on offense, but on defense it also helps you. You’re able to work cadences. You’re able to work those things against each other. So, everybody, the sword is getting sharpened on both sides. That’s the overall philosophy. You’re right on it.”
What makes DL Glenn Dorsey a good fit at that left end spot and how do you think he’s adjusting to that after working as a nose primarily the last couple years?
“Really good. He was one of the guys I was talking about last night after everybody watched the tape, after we watched the tape as a staff. Glenn’s, he just, he’s wonderful and he’s a really, really good player. So, he’s adjusted to that well. And he’s still taking snaps at nose, you’ll see him in there. We’re not trying to get tricky. He’s dual-training just like he always has.”
Did you guys only work in base defense yesterday?
“Yeah. You may have saw nickel out there, might have been once or twice, but it was a base emphasis day.”
Are there going to be practices where it’s going to be a nickel emphasis?
“Oh, yeah. Just getting back into it with the installation. We’re going back through our installations, so we get that going. Our goal is to get third downs on the sticks every day. Instead of it being a third-and-nine, maybe it’s a third-and-three, third-and-two. Those personnel groups change. You can get a third down going on, but be in a base defense. Today, you’ll see more nickel.”
On the tempo thing, how much offensively is that the responsibility of QB Colin Kaepernick and the quarterback there? How much is it on him to get guys in and out of that huddle?
“I’m putting it on him. Actually, yesterday, as you’re making that point, I took it off of him a little bit. Not off of him, but I started talking to the O-Linemen. I talked to [T Joe] Staley a little bit, I talked to [G/T Alex] Boone because he’s getting the play, he’s listening to the call. So, it’s the mechanics and the operation of the whole thing. Obviously, that starts, we’ve got to get the communication to him, but guys got to get back to the huddle. So, everybody’s responsible for it, but just in his role, he’s the quarterback. He’s making the call. I’m putting it on him. I’m letting him know what time just so he’s got a feel all day long on what that operation is, but they can all hear me. That’s why, the two reasons I stand where I stand is for that reason and to get the play cut if I see somebody in a bad spot. Pull off, pull off, woah, woah. That’s why it’s there.”
How much involvement day-to-day are you having with Colin right now? Are you in the meeting rooms or do you pop in with the quarterbacks? Do you have discussions with him?
“Oh, yeah. Again, they’ve got that office over there they put that nice couch in that new thing, that’s for the guys. That’s in and out all day. Guys are in and out and we’re talking there. But, stopping into the meeting rooms and doing that stuff, yeah.”
You might not have known him real well before, but what’s your relationship with him say now as head coach and quarterback?
“I think really good. From my perspective, great. Him and Staley and Boone and [TE] Vernon [Davis] and [WR] Anquan [Boldin], all those guys, I think is from my perspective is really good. I don’t want to speak for them, but for me it’s fantastic.”
A lot’s been made of Colin’s offseason work and working with former NFL QB Kurt Warner. What have you seen? Have you seen any difference in him? Do you see a little bit of a different quarterback this year?
“No, I see the same guy. Again, I’ve said it before, for three years, his first year when the season ended, he met with [offensive coordinator] Geep Chryst, that was his coach. I think it’s Friday at the end of the year. He meets with him. Geep has a list of things that he wants to work on. Colin brings a list of things that he wants to work on. I do it with defensive linemen. It’s the end of the year and here’s what we’ve got. It’s the notes from the season. So the first year that happened, he went to Atlanta and worked out and did work. The second year, he went to Miami and worked out. Last year, he went to Arizona and worked out. Colin goes and finds somebody that he wants to work with and he’s got his game plan on what he wants worked. And then he pays somebody to help him. So, that where that’s at. Now, with the Kurt Warner thing, it is exciting. Kurt’s been there, he’s done that. I was chasing Kurt Warner around in 1997 in Amsterdam and England. With Kurt, the road he traveled to get to where he is, is really unique, it’s really cool, he’s a wonderful guy and he’s obviously a heck-of-a quarterback, or was, so that’s a positive.”
Is there an optimal time that you want the offense at the line of scrimmage lined up for the play clock?
“Quite frankly, we start off at 22 seconds because I know from a defensive perspective, when they get to the line at 22 seconds, any operations they might to do, a shift, a motion, shift back, they’ve got the time to do all that stuff and still be able to snap the ball at a good time. So, I set it at 22 seconds. There’ll be days when we push it. Yesterday, with that first group, we were between 28 and 32 seconds. That’s where we were staying. Now, the other groups were down a little bit. We did have two plays there that we were not happy with at all. One was at 17 seconds and then one of them we had one of the young guys wasn’t sure what personnel group he was supposed to be in, so that kind of set us off on that one. We actually would have gotten a penalty. That was our starting point and we’ll work it from there.”
You’ve seen him for a couple months, are you surprised WR DeAndrew White was not drafted?
“Yes is the easy answer, but we’ve always thought DeAndrew White was extremely talented. We’re happy he went where he went. We’re happy he is where he is. But again, it’s first day. It’s first day, let’s not over, it’s first day.”
But, in offseason practices and OTA’s and everything, he seemed to stand out.
“Yeah, and there are a few of those other young guys that are going to. And then some guys that were here. It was pretty great watching [WR] Bruce Ellington run around yesterday, wasn’t it? [WR] Quinton Patton, obviously you see the other guys and Anquan is Anquan. That whole group, that whole room, what’s happening in there, the way everybody’s working and the way the coaches are coaching and just where that is and where it’s going, is really exciting.”
What’s your impression of LB Aldon Smith been this offseason? Do you sense some reinvigoration from him considering the way the last year went?
“Yeah, I’m really happy for and excited for Aldon. I respect what Aldon’s doing and I respect the road he’s on. Life throws things at you, man. Sometimes you cause them, sometimes you don’t, but things happen. To me, the answer’s always in you. The answer’s not if it’s going to happen or what’s going to happen. The answer is always in how you handle it and where you go from there. Own it, fix it, let’s go. The work, obviously the shape he’s in. You see the conditioning he’s doing. I am really excited for Aldon.”