This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers P.R. department.
“Injuries: [DT] Quinton Dial has the back strain from last night. [DL Arik] Armstead had a leg contusion. They X-rayed him, that was all negative. And, [LB] Eli Harold dislocated a finger, but they put it back in and he went back in the game. So, we feel good there. Still guys coming in, so we will keep you posted as that comes.”
Looking at those penalties; two guys lined up wrong, two guys mistimed blitzes, three guys jumped. What can you do about that?
“There’s no excuse. What can we do about it? We’ve got to be disciplined. They did a nice job of working their snap counts and changing the timing and rhythm of the snap counts. Obviously, I coached in that area a long time, there’s no excuses. Again, they did a nice job with that. They did a nice job of changing protections and moving the ball. We can get into all that kind of stuff. It’s part of the game. Absolutely inexcusable. I don’t have an excuse for it. That should not be.”
Is it particularly troubling in Week 16? I guess this is the kind of thing that you would think would happen early.
“Yeah, I mean that was no good. I’m not going to sit up here and defend it in any way. I’m not going to give you 19 excuses. I’m not going to tell you this, that and the next thing. Can’t happen, I mean that was seven times.”
Do you guys have disciplinary rules in place like if you jump off you’re out or anything?
“No. Not like that. We don’t have those rules, but we do have, each room a penalty is committed, whether it’s a gasser, we do those kinds of things.”
What did you think about the defense in general? It seemed like there were some good moments but also a lot of missed tackles.
“Well, the inconsistency in the tackles. Again, a big part of what we are building and what we talk about in staff meetings is developing consistency and that’s what we have to do. That’s what we are charging with. The tackling drills, and I look at them specifically every single day as we do them and we do them in individual. And we’ve changed them up, we’ve move them around, we do them in different areas. We’ve just got to stay on top of it. And the biggest problem we had yesterday was, it wasn’t the contact, it wasn’t the setting up, it was the bringing the hands. Wrap tackles. Wrap tackles.”
At this point in the season, how much of what you do is geared for next season, for trying to see what guys have, how they fit into the future?
“Well, a lot of areas we’ve been, with the way things have gone and injuries and things like that, we’ve gotten a lot of people on the field. Young guys and gotten them reps and things like that. Where we’re at, the way I see it, is we’re definitely on a one-week calendar in terms of this team and where we’re going and what we’re doing and preparing to win a game. But to me, in that itself, we’re building. Building the week-to-week and the way you prepare and the way you work and what you’ve got to have done and where you need to be when you show up on game day.”
You’re talking about building. Do you expect to be the coach next season here?
“Yeah. I’m going to coach until somebody tells me I’m not.”
Have the 49ers addressed that with you, your status?
“No. I see people every day and we talk about, the biggest thing that I get asked is can we help? Is there anything we can do for you? Do you need anything? That’s what I get asked constantly. And quite frankly, from that end of it, they couldn’t give us any more than they’re giving us.”
Having watched the tape, what’s your takeaway from the second half’s offensive struggles?
“Well, you know, they come out and they started bringing the safety, they started loading the box up there. You saw us get into the three wide receivers and running the ball a little more out of 11-personnel. They were giving us some routes. They were giving us some of the passing game there and we needed to get after it and we didn’t. We didn’t make enough plays in it. But, we still had the problems special teams-wise. We had the one penalty on the kickoff return where [LB] Ray-Ray’s [Armstrong] got the guy and he blocked him well but you can’t finish pulling the guy down. So, clearly, no questions about it, penalty. Guy goes to the ground like that it’s going to be a penalty. We lose field position. The other one, the punt return. What was it, 14-10, I think we were 14-10 us. [WR] Bruce [Ellington] comes out, boom, we get a nice wall there and we get the ball up to the plus-49. And we get a penalty there on I was told holding and now we’re on the 10-yardline. Not the plus-49, the minus-10. Now, that one I’ve sent in to get clarification on what we need to do on that one. But, that right there, that’s where we’ve got to take that ball at the 49-yardline and now points needs to be on the board. That’s where that needs to continue to move. But, second half, I mean we just, making those plays there, we need to make them.”
You mentioned about the front office asking what we can do for you. Have you had conversations with general manager Trent Baalke about what needs to be done for next season and where the roster is and where it needs to go?
“Well, no. Everything is all encompassed into the week at hand. And that’s really the way I keep it, from my terms. There’s obviously conversation. Not big meetings, not things like that and none of that that I’m going to get into.”
And when you look at where this team is, do you feel like the team, the coaching staff is in a better spot now than where you guys started?
“Yeah, I think there’s been a lot of growth that way. We’re in a performance-based business. We’ve got four wins, man. It’s volatile. I understand that, everybody understands that. When you’re a coach, the minute you sign the contract, boom, clock stats. We’re fine with that. We’re just going to keep working. We just work.”
At the start of this month, you had a victory over Chicago. In the subsequent weeks, things didn’t happen. Why do you think that is and what as a coach do you think maybe you could have done to make it go better? Why do you think that happened, that you weren’t able to build off that?
“Well, I think in certain areas we did. It didn’t equate to the win-loss record, which is the ultimate. I got it, that’s the measuring stick. But, in certain areas we did. And I don’t like going backwards, but when you go backwards there, obviously, the Cleveland thing was, that was just no good. That was a big step down. But, then as I’m watching the guys and I’m watching the way they’re working and I’m watching some of the things that we’re doing, that the coaches are doing and what some of the younger guys and where they’re getting and the gel that you’re starting to see happen there, I think that is good. What could I have done? Probably, Cleveland I put a lot of emphasis on starting fast in terms of throwing the ball, getting it down the field and things like that and that’s just not how we’re built right now. So, that’s a Jimbo. I went into the offense, talked about that. ‘Let’s stretch the field here early. Let’s get some things going.’ I think that’s what you’re asking.”
It’s an open-ended question.
“The tackling has been something we’ve been on defensively quite a bit and we’re attacking that. We obviously don’t have all the right answers yet. We don’t have that nailed down. But, that’s where I’m at.”
You said you changed up some of the tackling drills. How so?
“Well, we changed different angles, different things. There was one where Arik Armstead came out of the stack yesterday, did a heck-of-a job to come out of the stack and make the tackle. That’s one we’d like to see him punch through that ball. Get that ball out. That’s a drill you see on the field. So, just those drills.”