SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Curtis Modkins’ Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Good morning. How’s everybody doing? Needless to say, regardless of some of the things we did well, I think everybody here and everybody in that building knows that we can’t have self-inflicted wounds at the nature like we had and expect to win a football game. No matter what, we’ve got to clean those up and then go from there. Anybody have any question?”
When you look at QB Colin Kaepernick from game to game that he started, are you seeing progression? Are you seeing an arc that you like?
“Yeah, Colin hadn’t played in a while and he’s played a few games and I think there’s things he’s getting better at. I think he’s progressing, but he’s like all the other players and all the other positions, he’s got some stuff he needs to improve on. He’s working at it, but I do see him progressing. Yeah.”
What specifically do you think he’s getting better at?
“Well, I think specifically this last game, we all know he made some plays with his legs. He was able to get out of the pocket and was accurate with the football. Like I said, he did some good things in that aspect. He needs to improve in others just like all positions, but we’ll see. We’ll work at it this week and try to get better.”
What happened on that interception? Was he staring down the receiver? What happened there?
“No, I don’t think he stared him down. They had a backer that showed up front and dropped out, he saw it and I think he just tried to fit it in and couldn’t get it in.”
What else do you want to see him improve on?
“I think in the pocket being able to throw, throw and catch from the pocket. Being accurate from the pocket and he’s working on it and I know he’ll continue to do that.”
What can you do, obviously running back fumbles is an ongoing thing, kind of what else can you do? I’m sure you’re coaching it.
“Yeah, we coach it. We coach it. We talk about it and we address it. We’ve got to continue to do that. You can’t stop doing that. You’ve got to continue to do that and then they’ve got to make sure that it’s just got to be the way you live on the practice field and how you carry the football and that translates to the game. You have to train your body, train your muscles, muscle-memory on how you carry the football and we’ve just got to be very cognizant of how we carry the football. We can’t let go of coaching that and we’ve got to do a better job at it.”
Whether it’s on the practice field or in games, do you feel like WR Quinton Patton is starting to develop and kind of find himself as a receiver?
“Yeah, QP did a nice job. I love the energy and the passion he brings and I do think he’s developing into a good receiver. Yeah.”
Have you watched the tape of Colin’s last game in Arizona?
You didn’t watch it in the spring?
“I’ve seen it before, yeah. But, I don’t remember it specifically, but I’ve seen it before. Yeah.”
How do you envision or how do you think that game impacted Colin from a mental standpoint?
“If you’re referring to some of the issues he had in that last game, I think Colin is a strong young man and I don’t think he’s going to let anything that happened in the past shackle him for what he does in the future.”
You mentioned energy and passion with Quinton Patton. Do you think that’s something that more players need to bring to not just the offensive, but the team, that there’s not enough fire from the group?
“I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t say that. I think everybody shows, I think guys aren’t at this level unless they love to play. Everybody shows it differently. I show it differently than [wide receivers coach] coach [Bob] Bicknell and he shows it differently than [defensive coordinator] coach [Jim] O’Neil. So, everybody shows it differently. I think our guys love to play football. I was just speaking specifically of QP. But, I don’t see us having an issue with energy and passion. I think our guys play hard. We just can’t win a game if we turn the ball over like that.”
It seems obvious that RB DuJuan Harris is the most dynamic backup running back when he has the ball in his hands. What kept him from playing until recently?
“Well, there’s a lot more to the position besides running the ball. There’s some things he needed to work on and to his credit he’s worked on them. He’s more reliable. [Running backs coach] coach [Tom Rathman] Rath and our staff trust him more to go in in non-running situations or situations where he’s not going to have the ball in his hands. He’s worked to improve on that and he’s gotten better at it and over the course of that time he’s earned the opportunity to play and with that opportunity he’s done a lot of good things.”
Are you talking about pass-pro in particular?
“Yeah, I mean pass-pro is a big part of it. Understanding your assignments, where you fit. All of that’s part of it for a young player. It’s a position that’s surrounded by a lot of other things going on. He’s gotten better at those things and the result is he’s got a chance to play and the most important thing is that he’s done a good job with that opportunity.”
ME: What do you see form him as a runner?
“I think he’s dynamic as a runner. I think he’s strong, he’s shifty, he’s got good lateral quickness. I think he sees it well. He’s got to still learn, like all of them, patience. When to be patient and when not to, but the kid no doubt has a lot of ability as a runner. A lot of natural run instincts.”
ME: How did he grade out last game?
“He did good. Outside of the turnover at the end, he did a really good job. Obviously, he made some big plays for us, had some good runs for us. He did a good job.”
WR Aaron Burbridge got some snaps at the end of the game. How did he do and how is he progressing this season?
“I think Burb did a good job. There wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity the snaps he was in. I know at the end we had a third down play we missed him. But, Burb did a good job when he was in there, whether the opportunities versus the coverage, the route we called verses the coverage dictated he get it. That didn’t work out as much, but we don’t have any, we have confidence when we put him that he’s going to do the right thing.”