This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“The injuries; first of all, not an injury, but [LB NaVorro] Bowman will be off today as normal. [G/T Alex] Boone had an MRI the other day, got it classified here as a knee sprain, taking that week-to-week and then same with [LB Michael] Wilhoite with the ankle, week-to-week. [RB Kendall] Gaskins, he’s in the concussion protocol, so he won’t practice today. And then, [WR] Torrey Smith won’t practice today. The medical staff has continued to treat his back. He had those spasm things, so they’re continuing to treat that. I’ll keep you updated on that, but we’ll just see how that goes. And then, [DB] Jimmie Ward is back. He was the other guy that got a ding.”
What about LB Aaron Lynch?
“Aaron Lynch, he’ll be practicing. He practiced last week. I don’t know if he’ll have the blue shirt on or not. I’m not sure if he’s finished with that, but we feel really good about him and [TE] Vance McDonald I know we feel really good about.”
McDonald stayed here over the weekend, right?
But you took Lynch there. What prompted you guys to declare him inactive?
No. Lynch, because he went there, right?
“Yeah, he went there. Just talking to the trainers, they just didn’t like where he was at. So, they thought it would be best if we just shut him down that day and get ready to go this week. Purely medical there. He did know his stuff and was here and all that.”
When you’re preparing for a different quarterback, what can you gauge from the short time you’ve seen Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron?
“Well again, you go back to the preseason games and you’re obviously aware of him from his college career. He’s a talented guy. He can throw the football. He can run their offense, you know that. But, he’s a good football player, obviously. We all know enough about him to know that he’s a good football player. So, I just see them running their offense.”
A couple times this season after a team has lost you hear the players say, ‘We’ve had a good week of practice and it hasn’t translated to the games,’ and most recently with Cleveland. So, this week with three games left, where has the disconnect been between having those great practices not translating to the games and what do you do as a head coach to bring that gap together?
“Well, we discussed it in Cleveland because we really felt like it was a really good week. That was a big part of the disappointment. But, we’re attacking it this week and going back to doing it and practicing and doing those things Saturday. And the awareness to me is on Sunday morning. That’s what we talked about here yesterday as a team. Sunday morning, we have to not see how it’s going to go. We don’t need to be on the sidelines saying, ‘OK, here we go. How’s this going to go today?’ We need to get on the sidelines and say, ‘Here we go and here’s what we’re going to do.’ So, that’s just as honest as I can tell you what we talked about yesterday.”
Does this team have, just by their presence and their work ethic former 49ers Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, you didn’t really have to say much, but they just had that intangible that raised their teammate’s play. Has this team developed those types of leaders yet or is there a couple key players that fill that role?
“Well, I think we’re in the process of that. I think we’re in the process of what you’re talking about there. There’s a core of young guys that you’re really excited about. We keep talking about them, that you see that in them and it’s growing. And, I think that is what we are in the process of building. If there’s something we’re building, that’s what we’re building. Those guys, those people. And, that’s why I have a lot of faith in the locker room. I do. There’s the right mentality and the right people and to keep raising that. I hope I’m answering your question.”
It’s obvious that you respect and admire your players from the way you talk about them. Do you ever wonder if you’re too nice a guy?
What’s the meanest thing you’ve done to them?
“Well, I’m not going to get into personal things, but I handle those things in there. I’m not going to handle those things out here. So, yeah. Too nice, I don’t think that’s near correct.”
Did you talk to T Joe Staley and just kind of see where he was coming from?
“Yeah. Not in depth, to be honest with you, not in depth. But, ‘What the heck?’ and ‘Yeah I didn’t mean it that way.’ So, there’s nothing to it. We’re moving forward. There’s nobody that overlooked anybody or anything like that. That’s very clear.”
You talk about that right mentality and the right guys. Is it discouraging at all that it’s not translating every Sunday? You have some good moments and–.
“Yeah. There’s been some (up and down), that’s what we’ve got to get away from. That’s, you know, when we talked about we’re not going to go around it, we’re going to go through it. OK. There’s some (up and down), things and we’ve got to get that out. The consistency needs to, and that was a thing you were feeling good about. There were a couple weeks there where you saw it and then we stepped on our foot. Now, let’s get back on it and pick that up and keep going.”
QB Blaine Gabbert is known for watching a lot of film and stuff. So I’m wondering, do you go in there at all with him after a game like this to see him break it down or see how he reacts?
“No, I wasn’t in there. I mean, I’m in with the team. But, those individual meetings in there when he’s with [offensive coordinator] Geep [Chryst] and [quarterbacks coach] Steve Logan, no, those guys are handling that. Blaine is, you accurately described him.”
That he goes over his mistakes and–?
“Oh, yeah. When I say own it, fix it and move on, he’s an own it, fix it and move on guy.”
You add up those nine sacks, do you assign some of them to Gabbert?
“Yeah. There’s a couple there. We step out of bounds. You know, throw it away, things like that. But it’s everybody. The quarterback doesn’t work in a, what do we say all the time, doesn’t work in a vacuum either. But, it takes all of us. We need to protect, we need to run the correct routes, the timing needs to be correct, the spacing. So, there’s a lot of things there that go into a play and it’s not all Blaine Gabbert.”
You said after the opening game win you thought you still had a lot of work to do despite the outcome of that game. Do you think your team has gotten better in some areas that you wanted them to improve upon from that point on?
“Yeah. I think there are areas that have gotten, yes, dramatically better. There are, in terms of what we’re talking about, building through the locker room and the players, I think they’re really working hard. When you go through a tumultuous season like this, you get stretched at the seams. And a lot of times, again, that’s what ends up happening in newspapers and internets, the seams pop and then you’ve got chaos. None of that. We’ve got, I mean you get stretched, but these guys keep pulling it back and the intentions and where we want to go stays strong. So, that part of it. Now, in terms of the performance on the field? Again, we just talked about the (up and down) nature in which we’ve played. And that can’t happen. It can’t happen. That’s the focus right now, getting that straightened out.”
If Gaskins can’t get cleared concussion-wise by later in the week, is bring RB Jarryd Hayne back up from the practice squad something and are you curious to see him return punts again later this season?
“I’m not going to talk about any roster things. By the way, Kendall did look good today. But yeah, I mean, we see Jarryd in practice. He’s practicing very hard.”
Back to leadership, you have a young team. I would imagine that young guys are sometimes hesitant to overstep their bounds.
Do you encourage them to start, at this point, to start taking on–?
“You’re just starting to see more of it happen. You are. To me, I don’t think you can force those things. I don’t think you force them. I think you provide an environment for it to grow and foster. I think that’s just what I believe. So, I’m not forcing anybody. And people lead in different ways. Some people are very verbal. Some people are not. So, to me you can’t fake it either. You have to be who you are. But, we do have some guys that you see it growing.”