This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Good morning. Injuries; [LB NaVorro] Bowman and [LB Michael] Wilhoite will be back to practice today and [RB Carlos] Hyde and [TE Garrett] Celek will be the only two guys we’ve got sitting out.”
Have you guys made a decision on G/C Daniel Kilgore and WR DeAndre Smelter and whether you’ll bump them up before Sunday?
“As of today, we haven’t made a decision.”
What about Celek? Is his injury short term enough for him to come back by the end of the season?
“Again, in the process of that right now. Don’t have a final say on that just yet.”
You have two tight ends on the practice squad now. Are you looking to see how they both do in practice?
“Looking at all options there. For obvious reasons I’m not going to get into personnel moves.”
You said last week you liked the direction Kilgore was going and he said yesterday that he seems fine physically and he’s ready to go. He’s just waiting on a decision. What is preventing that decision from being made at this point?
“Well, last week was going good and we’ll see. Yesterday was good. We’ll get through this week and see how we’re doing this week and make a determination on that. But, he’s in practice. He started off at the beginning with giving all the look-team reps. And then you saw him get involved in the offensive reps last week and he’ll be more involved in the offensive reps this week and we’ll just see where he’s at at the end of the week.”
You talked about the first topic of your conversation on Monday was getting everybody in the mindset for going on the road and changing that. You said you weren’t going to change any of the routine. What have you done just to kind of get them in that mindset?
“Well, we started off the week with it. First thing of getting anything corrected is identifying it. But, we did actually with coaches, players, everything, we got some input on the schedule, which is a fairly normal schedule in terms of leaving. I’ve been here nine years, it’s pretty much the same schedule. And we had input on that before we did it, coming into the year. So, looked at that and just talked to the guys and just having that mindset and working through the week with that mindset.”
Will LB Ahmad Brooks be limited again today or is he–?
“I think so, yes. I think so.”
But, you expect him to be back?
“Yeah. I mean, I’ll know more after practice today, but I do. He’ll be out there in a limited way and we’ll just see where he’s at.”
What are your impressions of Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler and how he runs the Bears offense? He put some touchdowns up against you guys last year and just how he’s come along?
“First of all with Jay Cutler, it’s well documented with him with the way he’s battled through the diabetes and what he’s done there is, to me, an enormous thing. The utmost respect for the man and the way he’s done that. And as a football player, I think Jay Cutler is a tremendous football player and I think he’s a tremendous quarterback. He’s doing a great job this year, but I’ve always thought he’s been an extremely talented quarterback and nothing but respect for him.”
You obviously know the two coordinators pretty well. Do you see their fingerprints on this? Can you tell a Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio defense when you see it? Can you tell a Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase offense when you see it?
“Yeah, there’s changes to the personnel that they have. You see those things. But, two really good football coaches and sound. The schematics and things, you see them change to the people that they have and those kinds of things. They are well coached.”
Regarding RB Shaun Draughn, I would assume since he played every snap he now has a pretty good handle on this offense. Is his ability to pick it up been unique given how long he’s been here?
“I think the biggest thing that was impressive with Shaun going backwards, and I hate going backwards, but the first week that he was here and learning the protections, there’s a lot to that. There’s a lot of different verbiage when you go different places and just the way he worked through that and has continued to work and has the protections this last game. What he did stepping up and working in conjunction with the offensive line and the protections, he was a big part of some really solid protection there.”
So that first week when you started talking to him, coaches started talking to him about protections, it was like, yeah, OK, I’ve heard that before?
“Yeah, I mean, and [running backs coach] Tom Rathman does a wonderful job as does all the guys there. But, they just, the way they worked and got that from the mental side of things, it was and is impressive.”
Regarding Carlos, I know you said earlier that shutting him down for the year has always been on the table. Is there a certain date that where a decision is going to be made?
“Again, I know that we’re in a grey area there when it comes to Carlos and his foot. It’s a medical thing. So, I don’t have a lot of facts, this is the day, you know? We’re not in that phase. Obviously, when it comes to the medical and it comes to those things, that’s a bigger decision when you’re talking about a guy in the medical side. So, we get together, we talk about it. I just want to know what’s best for the player and where he’s at and that’s where we stay.”
I’m asking because other injuries, you might need a roster spot.
“Yeah. We’re very aware. Yes. You’re right on it. But, those discussions do happen. I’m not going to talk about them here, but that’s what we’re doing.”
Is there anything that you’d like to say about what Vic Fangio meant to this defense for all those years he was here and working with him, what that was–?
“Yeah. Vic’s a really good football coach. Obviously, we all had a great run during that time. Vic and [Chicago Bears defensive backs coach] Ed [Donatell] and the players, where we were there, that was good. So, I don’t have anything but fond feelings and that was really, it was good stuff. You get that, the guys you’re coaching and the way everybody’s playing. So, that was a very good thing.”
Anything you picked up from him that is especially meaningful?
“Yeah. Vic does a nice job. He’s got his breakdowns and the way he approaches things. I mean, everybody does it different. So, when you work with different people, you see different things. So, yeah, every day you’re learning from guys and Vic is a really good football coach.”
Back to Carlos, we’re know in I think the sixth week since he’s practiced. Is there any sense that there’s been enough time that the injury can heal on its own over that span? Is that part of the discussion at all?
“Yes. The healing and the injury, that’s all part of the discussion. Again, for legal reasons, for all kind of reasons, I’m not going to talk about the specifics of a guy’s injury and things like that. We truly do leave that up to the doctors and the medical staff to monitor that and to stay on top of that along with Carlos. And that’s where that starts, and then we are informed. It’s clearly two different things when it comes to an injury. We’re not going to crossover the coaching lines and the medical field.”
Yesterday, special teams coach Thomas McGaughey Jr. indicated with WR Bruce Ellington he’s kind of on a one more fumble and you’re demoted situation?
“I hope he didn’t say that. That would be, I would not want him to have said that. I’m sure he didn’t say it like that.”
It sounded like he’s on thin ice. I mean, obviously as a returner, you can’t be fumbling the ball.
“We just need to catch the ball the proper way. You get the hands down. He’s been coached on it. Bruce is our punt returner. We need to field the ball with the hands in the proper place.”