Jon Baldwin: “When I was in K.C., Steve Breaston was there. He always talked up Anquan Boldin.”

SANTA CLARA – Jon Baldwin spoke at his locker Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what he said.

Q: Do you like your new number?

BALDWIN: I like it.

Q: Randy Moss had it last year.

BALDWIN: Yeah, I know he did. I’m just looking forward a great opportunity here. I’m just going to work hard and learn all these plays and understand the concepts of the offense and go from there.

Q: Have you gotten a chance to take an early peak at the playbook?

BALDWIN: Yeah. I got on it as soon as I got in. I did all of the things I needed to do from the physical standpoint, and as soon as I did that, I got into the offense and started learning the concepts and the plays. I’m starting to get on top of it and take an early jump.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you got traded? Were you elated to be coming to a team that went to the Super Bowl last season?

BALDWIN: It’s a great opportunity. I’m happy. It’s a blessing. I’m just looking forward to this great opportunity.

Q: Is it unsettling to get traded?

BALDWIN: It’s a business. There was nothing I could do about it. I’m here now I’m happy to be here. All I can do is just do whatever the coaches need me to do and learn these plays as fast as I can and get out here and help the San Francisco 49ers continue to win ball games.

Q: How do you best describe your game and what you bring to this team?

BALDWIN: Just making big plays. That’s what I want to do and that’s what I want to continue to do. When the opportunity comes, just make plays.

Q: You were the Chiefs’ 26th pick in 2011. Is there less pressure for you here?

BALDWIN: It’s a fresh start. I’ve just got to do what all of these coaches need me to do. Just be real precise with things and soak all of it in and get around Anquan and learn a lot of things from him – he’s been in the league a long time and he knows all the ins and outs and all the different things to beat certain coverages and things of that nature. Just soak all of those things up and just learn from him and take that step on to the field.

Q: Have you spent some time with Anquan already?

BALDWIN: Yeah, I spent some time with him. I spent some time with a lot of the guys, trying to understand the concepts. Being here less than 24 hours, you have to learn a lot of things. It’s coming. I spent a little bit of time last night before I went to bed trying to learn some of those things, so it’s coming.

Q: You’ve been in three offenses in three years?

BALDWIN: Four, actually.

Q: How tough is that?

BALDWIN: When you’re in a new offense, you can’t go back on the old offense you were in. You’ve got to starting learning the new stuff. The last offense I was in, there’s a little bit of carryover to what it is now. It helps to be able to hear some of the verbiage and terminology that I had in K.C. Some of that is the same here. That helps out a little bit.

Q: You dropped a pass against the Niners Friday night. Has that been an issue for you?

BALDWIN: No. We’re professionals, we want to catch them all but we may drop one or two. You pride yourself as a receiver to want to catch them all, but you can’t get too down on it. You’ve just got to go out and try to make the next play.

Q: Some people would look at your size and speed and wonder why you haven’t put it all together yet. What would you say to those people?

BALDWIN: People are going to have their own reasons for thinking that. I can’t change the way people think. As human beings, you can’t make everybody happy. The only thing I can do now is look forward to the future and look forward to the present.

Q: You have not had a quarterback like Kaepernick. Is that a big deal?

BALDWIN: Kaepernick’s a great quarterback – he’s fast, he’s athletic, he can throw the ball down the field and he has some zip on his passes. And he’s a very smart quarterback. Those things definitely help.

Q: Have you caught some of those passes already?

BALDWIN: Yeah, I have.

Q: How would you describe them?

BALDWIN: It’s kind of funny because before the game (Friday night), I was watching him in warm-ups. I was saying, “He throws a pretty good ball.” And I was talking to some of the receivers on Kansas City about it, and they were saying, “Yeah, he does throw a pretty good ball.” And then two or three days later I’m here. It’s kind of funny how things work out. It’s a blessing in disguise and I’m looking forward to this opportunity to be here.

Q: A lot of receivers are trying to make this team. With only two weeks before final cuts, how much pressure is there on you to get the reps you need?

BALDWIN: You can’t play the numbers game. You can’t really think about how many receivers are on the team, because once you get in your own head in anything – it doesn’t matter if it is football or life, period – once you’re in your own head, you already lost. The only thing you can do is when you’re called upon to go in, just execute to the best of your ability.

Q: Do you prefer Jon or Jonathan?

BALDWIN: Jon.

Q: Greg Roman said a young wide receiver who didn’t go up to Anquan Boldin and pick his brain should be popped in the noggin. It sounds like you’re already ahead of that.

BALDWIN: Yeah. When I was in K.C., Steve Breaston was there. He always talked up Anquan Boldin, how smart he was and how he learned some things from him. Now with me here, I can do the same thing and learn a lot from a player who’s done it in the league and excelled for years and years.

Q: Did you seek him out?

BALDWIN: I saw him in the meeting. I talked to him a little bit before we had the meeting. We have another meeting and I’ll get to talk with him. I’m going to be talking to him periodically.

Q: How many catches have you caught from Kaepernick so far today?

BALDWIN: About 15.

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  1. Could have been worse………
    “For Fleener, it’s been a frustrating couple of weeks. After losing a fumble and dropping a touchdown pass in a preseason opening loss to Buffalo, he was diagnosed with a concussion. Fleener recovered in time to practice late last week, then had a ball bounce off his back against the Giants. He left the game early because of the knee injury, but the MRI came back negative.”

    1. Then again, Fleener has actually caught passes in real games. He isn’t fantastic but he’s far, far better than AJJ.

  2. Well at least he interviews pretty well. Refreshing to hear him say he wants to learn from Boldin. AJ seemed to have no sense of desire or urgency. Andy Reid is going to give him a wake up call in KC.

    Baldwin is a better matchup with seattle’s secondary as well. We need big physical receivers against them, willing to street fight for the ball. Boldin is usually not that open but he makes the catches. Blowing the top off the defense is overrated. Let Vernon do that and drag 2-3 guys with him

    1. This guy is plenty different from AJ. When AJ was born, they threw away the mold, and I don’t mean that in a flattering way.

  3. Baldwin is saying all the right things, now we get to see if he can do the right things.
    I do expect a fair amount of dropped passes from him the next two games. That will happen while you thinking about what you have to do instead of doing it. I look for effort in running routes, blocking and everything he does. My coach in high school said if your going to make a mistake make an aggressive one.

    1. I don’t think he will drop any, actually. In the league, he dropped only 1 pass out of his 40 targets. That’s pretty good.

    1. Thanks! I must say, I wish A.J. spent as much time conditioning and learning his routes as he does with his grooming. That man’s sideburns were impeccable.

  4. As much as I want to read something into how well an athlete communicates with the media, I’ve learned to ignore it. Some of the most intelligent and articulate college football players end up a bust in the pros … and some of the most ineffective communicators excel at the Pro-level.

    It’s not an Exact Science but it really does distill down to the Four Fundamentals: Mental (the intelligence to comprehend the complexity of a Pro-level playbook), Emotional (the ability to process and leverage personal success, failure and others’ perception), Physical (how well raw talent and skill is leveraged and applied to the speed of a Pro-level game), and the Intangibles (the depth and breadth of personal drive, discipline, and commitment).

    It has always amazed me how early you can see the DNA of these fundamentals show up in a young player’s performance – even during the Pre-Season. While some personal attributes can evolve over time, I do believe they are mostly hard-wired and will not dramatically change either way. While there are always exceptions, I do not believe the long-term odds are in the favor of players like Jenkins and Baldwin.

    On the other end of the bell-curve, I think of players like Jerry Rice or Peyton Manning who, in my opinion, have demonstrated exceptional football intelligence and physical ability coupled with an relentless pursuit of perfection and obsessive discipline over a sustained period of time. They had all the right ingredients, took full personal advantage of those, and were given the opportunity to demonstrate and perform.

    As a 49er fan, I hope for the absolute best with Baldwin, but have low expectations.

  5. How do you describe your game?
    Baldwin – “Just making big plays”
    If you were making big plays Jon, you wouldn’t of been traded for a receiver with ZERO NFL catches! Slow down big boy.

    1. Crabs, Shhhhhhhhh…… Don’t tell him that. Maybe he really believes it. He could be in a state of self induced hypnosis, hopefully it lasts for a couple of years.

    2. he made big plays

      problem is, its a selective memory issue. He didn’t make enough big plays, and he didn’t make the small plays.

      I would refer again to that deep pass from Cassel that he leaped and caught while wrapping his arms around the back of Brian Dawkins. Thats an Amazing big play, and I think thats the kind of highlight reel big play he is talking about.
      But again, he didn’t make enough of those, or do the little stuff well enough.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSjhZWXhdjw

  6. So much this year relies on Kap. He put up a lot of numbers in college. Passing it would be interesting to see where his pass catchers are now and if any put up large numbers at NV.

    Can Kap make a good WR out of anyone? Like the top QBs in the league, we may have a situation where Baldwin will actually be effective. Then again I would not be surprised to see him cut.

    1. Kaep’s best WR at Nevada was Rishard Matthews, who was a JC transfer in 2010, Kaep’s final year. He had over 800 yards receiving. Matthews went on to do very well in 2011 after Kaep was gone, when he became the best offensive weapon left on the team, and he had +1000 yards receiving in 2011. As far as I can remember, Matthews is the only offensive player left from 2010 who had a better year after Kaep was gone than when Kaep was there. Matthews was drafted by the Dolphins in 2012. I think he is still on the team, but I do not think he did anything much last year.

      Kaep’s most reliable target for most of the time he was at NV was TE Virgil Green. He was the third-string TE for the Denver Broncos last year and has caught a handful of passes in the NFL the last two years.

      Other than Matthews and, to a lesser extent Green, for the most part Kaep elevated the offense players at Nevada. Let’s consider the record breaking Wolfpack three-headed running attack from 2009 as an example. In that year, Nevada became the first team in NCAA football history to have three players break 1000 yards rushing in the same year (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=293250166). The three 1000 yard rushers were Kaep and running backs Luke Lippincott and Vai Taua. Tau signed as an UDFA with the Bills in 2011 but was waived after camp. He then signed as an FA with Seattle but did not make the final cut. He actually had a decent pre-season in 2012 but was injured and waived. He is not with a team now. Luke Lippincott never was signed by an NFL team.

      The threat of Kaep running opened up lanes for the running backs and made them look better than they were (see above), and it also helped the receivers exploit the secondary because the safeties had to be worried about the QB running. Further, Kaep spread the ball a lot as well, so all of his receivers had okay numbers, but none until Matthews looked like a star. Without Kaep, those Nevada teams would have been mediocre in the WAC, at best.

      1. JPN,

        I actually coached against Lippincott while he was playing HS ball at Palma down in Salinas. He was a heck of a running back.

      2. Jack,

        Lippincott was very popular in Reno, and by all acounts is an outstanding guy. Unfortunately, neither he nor Taua were fast enough to be NFL running backs. They both ran the 40 in the 4.6 – 4.7 range. They both had good vision and could exploit the lanes that were open for them, but I do not think either of them would have been the first-string halfback on a Div 1A team without a dual-threat QB like Kaep.

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