This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Good morning. Injuries; [S] Antoine Bethea was down at Stanford, had his surgery on his pectoral yesterday. They said everything went wonderful. [LB NaVorro] Bowman will be off today. [RB Carlos] Hyde will be off today. There’s a handful of guys that will be in limited things just in this part of the season, but nothing else of note.”
How close is G/C Daniel Kilgore coming to being able to be cleared for practice?
“Well, and again, we met on that Monday and he’s amped up, he’s pushing sleds and things now. There’s a certain protocol for him to go through there. So, pushing the sleds, they are filming all that stuff and they will lead us on that stuff.”
Obviously, not this week?
“No, I don’t foresee it this week. No.”
You talked last week about shoring up that offensive line. Are you making any changes to that starting unit?
“Not right now.”
Not right now, but possibly–?
“Well no, I don’t mean to lead in. We’re looking at trying to work combinations with the two guards, obviously, and also trying to look at formations and things like that that we can do to help ourselves.”
You said last week you were going to go through every position on the roster and evaluate. What was that process like, what evaluation?
“Again, we just had extra time. It’s what you do every week, but we had extra time so we were able to spend two days there looking at ourselves. And, a lot of things that come out are what positions we’re putting guys in, trying to look at it from that angle. How can we better do something to help a guy with his skill set? So, that was the approach that we took with it. And, I think there was some good discussion and some good things. I don’t want to get into all that, but I think there were some good things.”
When you mention formations as far as helping with the offensive line–?
“I opened the door for schematics. I’m not going to go there.”
I was ready for you to detail some Xs and Os. But, the Rams defensive line is obviously pretty darn good.
“Coached really well too. [St. Louis Rams defensive line] Coach [Mike] Waufle.”
Obviously you’re not going to get into specifics, but do have to change things as far as max-protect type stuff just to deal with that this week?
“Yeah, I mean, you have to account for it. They make you account for it. That’s a talented group, well coached and we have to account for that strength that they have.”
Did you know St. Louis Rams DT Aaron Donald was going to be as good as he is?
“Well, we had him pretty high. We thought he was going to be pretty good. He’s a, as a three technique, he was that way in college. We know a lot about him. Obviously, he was at Pitt, played for [offensive coordinator] Geep Chryst’s brother. We know a lot about that guy. He’s really good.”
Does S Jaquiski Tartt just step in for Antoine? Does he just take over his position or is that going–?
“Yeah. Jaquiski is there. Obviously we have between Jaquiski and [DB] Jimmie [Ward], we’ve got two guys there that play the safety, but they also play our star and our money. And, we’re real excited about both of them. I mean, both of those guys the skill sets is what we’re excited about, and just who they are. With Antoine, you don’t replace an Antoine with everything that he brings in terms of his experience, his leadership and all those things. And, we never talk about replacing people, but we’re excited about those two young guys and have been. Now it’s just time to move forward with that.”
Will they both get reps with the ones today, this week?
“Well, they have. They have gotten reps at the safety position all the way through. We go to nickel, Jimmie goes down and plays the nickel. And then, we started playing around with Jaquiski and [S] Eric Reid playing that money. Sometimes Eric was up, sometimes Jaquiski was up. So, we’ve been working those things.”
“A dime, when we go to a one-backer look and you’ve got the other dime guy in there.”
Will Tartt continue to play dime or will he just be a safety fulltime?
“Yeah, he can do both. I’m going to answer it that way. He can do both.”
How did you guys seem coming in here after the little break and getting back to work?
“The constant that I keep saying, it’s a really good group of guys. We need to win football games, but they are in here, they are working. They do all that. We don’t have any question marks in terms of guys coming to work, guys doing those things. Quite frankly, there were a lot of guys in here Friday, Saturday, Sunday. They didn’t have to be in here. We wanted to give them a little bit of time. But, quite a few guys in here throughout the weekend and then we got ramping up on Monday. So, they are here and they are working.”
Was QB Colin Kaepernick here all weekend?
“I think he took a couple. I can’t tell you. I didn’t do a roll call.”
I know you addressed this yesterday, but there’s been various reports that Kaepernick is isolated or on an island in the locker room I think was the phrase. Do you think he could do a better job of communicating with his teammates?
“I’ll tell you, when you’re referring to yesterday, that was one of the things we talk about as a team, communicating, everybody. And, everybody communicating, not just him, all of us in the communication side of things. If something’s on your mind there is a way to talk about things and go. So, that was close to a month ago, I believe. But, no I would tell you right now I don’t see an island at all. I don’t. I see a lot of interaction. I see the guys interacting. I see the guys doing those things.”
If you addressed the whole team about it, have you seen better communication? Obviously it must concern you a little bit.
“Well, what happens is the frustration thing. They felt a frustration there. I mean, we all did. I’m not going to lie about it. We had a tough stretch there and you get frustrated. What I don’t want is all that pent-up, then we start having boom, boom. So, I wanted to be in front of that before anything comes up in that way. So, communicate and let’s talk. Communication is going to help us get better and guys just working from the football side of it, in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, on the field and getting the communication. One of the things, we were going with the music in every team period. I cut that music out so that we can communicate. When you talk about changes, I don’t get into a bunch of things, but that was one of the areas where we took out in two of those team periods, the music is off so that we can all communicate instead of just using our hand signals and body language.”
But coach, the report was specifically about Colin and it wasn’t about the whole team.
And I understand you want the whole team to communicate.
“And I will directly answer your question. No, I don’t see him on an island.”
I have a question for you.
How do you know how he reacts to players or interacts with players in the locker room? I’ve been around football teams a long time and it’s my impression that the coaches don’t spend a lot of time in the locker room, that that’s the players place. So, do you really know? I mean, you may see in meetings, but do you know in the locker room how he gets along with other players?
“I think I’m a guy that’s in the locker room more than most coaches, to go off of that statement that you just made. Your statement, not mine. I don’t know what other coaches do in terms of how much time they spend in a locker room. I do. I spend more time than most, I think. I don’t see, I mean, we’re 2-5. Here it comes. Everybody’s going to, here comes all the stuff. That’s the business. That’s where we’re at, but I don’t see it.”
Speaking of communication, someone from here is communicating stuff to national media about Colin Kaepernick, similar to what happened last year with reports about locker room friction. Do you have concerns about–?
“Who and what are you–.”
There are two national reports about portraying Colin as being somewhat aloof. They haven’t attributed to where the information is coming from, but the reporters aren’t in this building, don’t spend time here.
“He’s aloof? I don’t the report you’re–.”
The ones that he was specifically on an island, Jay Glazer FOX Sports. I think the gist of his question is does it concern you that individuals, this individual Colin Kaepernick, is being pointed at and focused for criticism possibly from people within this organization?
“Well, that would be an absolute concern. But, I don’t address those things that I don’t know where they come from. There’s stuff that comes all over the place. I don’t know where people are getting their stuff. I don’t believe it’s coming from here. I don’t believe that. In that locker room, I don’t believe there’s anything–.”
Maybe not in the locker room. How about in management?
“Oh gosh, no I don’t think that. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe that stuff. Any of that stuff is counterproductive.”
Is part of this being the quarterback that you’re just going to be this kind of focus? Is some of this something that Colin has to deal with? You mentioned at 2-5 you’ve got to win games, but is just part of this when you’re the quarterback, particularly of the San Francisco 49ers, some of this is just going to have to be dealt with?
“Well, since I’ve been, I’ve been here the whole time he’s been here and it seems like this has been what’s gone on with him since I’ve been here. It’s always, there’s always something. I guess that’s what goes on when you’re the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. I was here with [Kansas City Chiefs QB] Alex [Smith] and I saw the same thing going on there. There were all kind of reports. You heard about all that stuff all the time.”
Has Colin at all mentioned to you or people on your staff that he’s upset by these reports?
“No. A big thing I talk about with the guys is look if they’re not in the room when we close the door with 53 and the coaching staff, they really don’t have our best interest at hand. If you’re not in here with us, if you’re not in the building with us, if you’re not working here with the 49ers, anything outside of that doesn’t have the same interest in what we need to do that we do. I mean, we’re intimate with what we’ve got to do if you are employed by the San Francisco 49ers.”
Carlos Hyde, you’re not going to practice him today. Is the plan for him to be limited the next two days like the previous weeks?
“Yeah. And again, when it comes to his reps and all that stuff we’re going to definitely stay on exactly what the medical people do.”