SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman’s Thursday press conference transcript, courtesy of the 49ers.
“Good afternoon. Really proud of how our guys finished out that road trip and we’re back here working on the Bills. Got a lot of respect for what we’re seeing of the Bills. They had tough second half the other day, but really it’s just as much a credit to the team they were playing as anything they did deficiently. They’ve got a very good front four, the best we’ve played. Their secondary is playing really well. We’re knee-deep in it, getting into the situational stuff today. Any questions?”
What are you seeing out of Buffalo Bills DE Mario Williams on his film?
“He’s got such great length and people are staying away from him. He’s getting a lot of attention. Guys chipping him, tight ends banging him, sliding the guard to him to try to get one and half men essentially. So, he’s getting a tremendous amount of attention. He keys and diagnoses things very well. He played kind of a hybrid outside linebacker position in Houston, so he’s got a good sense of what’s around him. Just a very talented player.”
I guess he was telling the Buffalo writers yesterday he’s been bothered by a wrist injury these last two weeks, but he hasn’t come up on the injury report. When you guys do your reconnaissance of opposing players and they’re not on the injury report, is that something you can spot on film?
“No, really didn’t notice it. Certainly didn’t notice anything wrong. Apparently he’s working through something, but nothing we’re going to pay attention to.”
Your thoughts on Buffalo Bills DT Marcell Dareus?
“Really good player. Talented, very physical, runs really well. He can do it all, he’s an impressive player. Their front four is very impressive. [Bills DT Kyle] Williams, number 95 is a buzz saw, I think he leads their D-line in sacks and tackles. I think he might lead the defense in tackles. Really heady player, physical, doesn’t have the length [DT] Justin Smith has, but similar style of play. A lot of different ways, it’s going to be a handful, our guys up front know it and they’re looking forward to the challenge.”
What accounts for the high scores, you said they played Patriots QB Tom Brady last week and Brady got hot. What else do you see that accounts for some of the big scores they’ve given up?
“Short fields have played into it at times. What was the score, 21-7 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter last week? That was just on of those games, can’t recall seeing one quite like that.”
“Yeah, and I think the Jets game was the other big points game and a lot of that happened in the first half. And a lot of that was turnover driven. But they play really, really well on defense. At times, as evidenced through almost three quarters against the Patriots, they held them to 7 points. I’m telling you, these guys have a really good defense and it’s very disciplined. They play really hard, their linebackers are very fast. They’ve got some young corners that do a really nice job in coverage. I guess [Bills S Jairus] Byrd’s going to play and he’s a really good safety, I think he had nine picks a couple years ago. So, they’re a good defense. Every game is different and they’ve been in a couple games that were just unique kind of games. It was 31-7 against the Jets before you could blink. A lot of it was just turnover driven.”
How far in advance do you like to know if a player’s going to be available? If Bradon Jacobs is available for Sunday, does that alter your gameplan?
“Little bit, a little bit. It sure does. A lot of those things truly are game day decisions or thereabouts. Once you get through the week of practice and give them a chance to get out there and see how they’re feeling on Saturday. You’re always talking through the different options, but at some point the decision needs to get made. There’s really no need to make a decision until you have to. Why would you limit yourself? So you wait, kind of weigh your options and see how things go as you wade through them and make a decision.”
What were you thinking, up in the booth, when you looked down and saw QB Colin Kaepernick with nobody covering him on the sideline there? Were you hoping that snap would just get off?
“I don’t know what play you’re talking about.”
It’s on TV.
“We have ways to get rid of that [laughs]. Yeah, I think he was talking to the official about the previous play, next question.”
Given how successful that was, is that Kaepernick package, is that something you can expand and grow as the season goes on?
“We’ve had something up every week. We just chose to use it last week. He’s our backup quarterback. He’s in an understudy role, an apprentice type of role and he’s doing a nice job with it. So, it’s just week-to-week, it’s going to change week-to-week. He did a nice job with what we asked him to do last week. He’s doing a great job at practice. The more guys we can get involved, the better.”
A lot of us were expecting to see similar things last year from him around the goal line, just given what he did in college. How come as a rookie, he was never inserted in that position?
“It was just our decision. Right or wrong it was our decision. It’s ancient history now.”
Is that the same for RB LaMichael James and WR A.J. Jenkins in terms of just an adaptation to the speed of the game and system, both? Or is there a particular?
“They’ve got to keep working and wait for their opportunity. That can come a lot of different ways for a lot of different reasons. I think they’re practicing very well and are certainly game ready. It’s just a matter of the numbers and where the need is that particular week. Nothing’s out of the realm of possibility at any time. They’re practicing hard, just got to wait for that opportunity to come and really work towards it.”
Back to special plays, backup quarterbacks talked to officials on the sidelines. The Rams ran one with WR Danny Amendola being off the sideline last week and scored against the Seattle Seahawks. In terms of trick plays, there seems to be more of them a little earlier, reminiscent of some of the plays you were able to pull last year. The more teams do it, does that make it less likely for you or does that help you in terms of being able to be prepared for other teams, more frequency of special plays guys are running?
“I think you can regulate the defense sometimes with different types of plays. I don’t look at them as trick plays, they’re just football plays. The rules are the rules and you work within the rules. So, I don’t know that we have trick plays. They’re what I like to call mixers. You might want to mix in from time to time. The more you do them or they work, now a defense has to maybe not run that blitz they were going to run. Maybe not try to dictate the tempo quite so much because something, oh forgot about that. So, now you can regulate the defense a little bit at times with that kind of stuff. So the more people use those unique kind of plays, the more it probably regulates defense.”
Do you see a dramatic improvement in the offensive line from a year ago?
“At times, I do. At times I do. I think we’re just working for that consistency week-in week-out, down-in down-out. Really, really feel great about our players, the players we have and their attitude. And feel that they can be an elite group. And I think they’re working towards that. At times they are that. We’ve just got to keep working to where it’s all the time, regardless of opponent. We’re working towards that. So, those guys have a great attitude and that’s where it all starts.”
When it’s not that way, what goes amiss?
“It could be anything. It could be anything. It’s just a matter, as a unit, the offensive line has to work as one and that’s five guys. So, a lot of times it’s communication, or something that we didn’t, an un-scouted look by a defense, that type of thing. And the more you go through all those situations, the more guys can just communicate and adjust as they go. That a lot of times is very important.”
How much do you think those trick plays and using QB Colin Kapernick more, how much do you think that helped jump start the offense last week? It seems like it give the offense a lift.
“Again, they’re not trick plays, they’re just football plays. But, whatever those plays were, if they worked, any play that we ran that worked helped jumpstart us. And any play that we didn’t, decidedly did not help start jump start us. No matter who’s out there, or what the play is, run pass, it doesn’t matter. We’re always striving have successful plays or set something up for the future. Some of those plays gained a lot of yards, so they were great.”