Roman: “Frank is just getting better and better.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.


Opening Statement:

“Good afternoon. I’d just like on behalf of the offensive staff to send out best wishes to [Houston Texans head] coach [Gary] Kubiak, [Denver Broncos head] coach [Jon] Fox and their families. Our thoughts, prayers are with them and their families and their health. [Offensive line] Coach [Mike] Solari is growing his beard. Therefore know two things: number one, it is November. Number two, we have Sean Connery on our coaching staff now. It’s always great to come in. We have a great staff. They’re working very hard as always and doing a great job as are our players. Getting ready to play a very good Panthers defense. Just talking about their defense a little bit. They’re much heralded. They’re very talented to a man and I think the statistics back that up. They’re at the top of the league in scoring defense. They’re number two against the rush and their film and the results pretty much speak for themselves. Their D-line is playing at a very high level. Their defensive tackles, the rookie three-technique is playing at a very high level. [DE Charles] Johnson and [DE Greg] Hardy on the edge, two savvy, experienced that players are doing a great job. Their linebackers, [Thomas] Davis, as fast as they come, [Luke] Kuechly is all over the field, great instincts, great transition, and [Chase] Blackburn seems to get better with age. So [CB Melvin] White, [CB Captain] Munnerlyn, [S Mike] Mitchell and [S Quintin] Mikell. Mikell was in St. Louis, we know him. He’s doing what he did in St. Louis, doing a great job on the back-end. So, we got our work cut out for us and love how our players are approaching this week in meetings and practice. Any questions?


What’s the significance of coach Solari growing a beard? Is it because his line’s been playing better?

“No, it just seems like every November. I’ve never really probed him on this, but every November he starts to grow the beard. He’s been doing this a long time and I think it’s just, ‘Hey, it’s November and it’s the back-end of the season and it’s when we’ve got to be playing our best.’ So, I kind of like the look.”


You got off to a little bit of a slow start with the run game this year, yet here you are going into the second half of the season #1 rushing team in the league. How much have players relied on you with that? It seems like they kind of got off to a slow start too, but has the line really been paving the way for that running game? Is that why you guys are #1 in the league right now?

“It’s one of the reasons. There’s never just one reason. And I know everything gets over examined so much and everything seems to get titrated down to one thing, but it’s not. It’s a lot of different things. It’s the blocking of our wide receivers, which is not often commented on or acknowledged, but it’s very important. If you’re not carrying the ball, you’re blocking somebody. The quarterback’s blocking somebody with a fake, with maybe getting us out of a bad play and into a better play, if that were to happen. The running backs, Frank [Gore] I would say specifically is just getting better and better. I think there’s a little cohesion going on there with our offensive line and they’re doing a great job and they’re a big part of it. [TE] Vernon Davis, big part of it. [TE] Vance McDonald, [FB] Bruce Miller, big part of it. We’re very fortunate to have that stable to where you can move, mix, match, move people around and kind of shuffle the shells around as they say. So, it’s a lot of different reasons, but we’re just getting started. It’s halfway through the season and we’ve got a lot of improvement to make.”


Have you been able to run despite teams focused on stopping the run? I mean have you been able to run despite eight-men boxes and things like that?

“Yeah, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge every week and Carolina’s an interesting team because I really believe they think they can stop the run with a seven-man front and they’ve been doing that quite well. And that’s always, from a football perspective if you’re a defensive coordinator and you feel good about playing seven-man spacing against an offense and stopping the run game, man you are living large. You’re playing with house money. And it’s going to be a challenge because they’re the best team we’ve seen that plays the run in seven-man spacing.”


The rookie three-technique whose name you didn’t try to pronounce.



Star, yeah. Talk about him. What does he bring and how important was he putting into that mix to be able to stop teams with seven men?

“Very big. Very big. He reminds me a little bit of [Ravens NT] Haloti Ngata in a sense that he’s big, strong, but he’s explosive and he can penetrate and get off blocks. And that’s what these guys have done. They get off blocks as good or better than anybody in the league. Their linebackers play off their front very well. Kind of reminds me of us a little bit with how our linebackers play off our front. Different scheme, but they have really good cohesion there.”


Will he be pretty much across from G Mike Iupati?

“It could be Mike. It could be [G] Alex [Boone]. I mean they’ll play different sides. They’ll move him around a little bit.”


How important is it for you to establish a threat early in the game on Sunday other than Gore and WR Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis?

“We’re just going to run our offense. We need to execute our offense. In the run game, we’ve got to be efficient. Everybody’s got to do their job. The backs have got to hit holes against this team. You can’t stutter your feet and then we’ve got to throw it to the open guy. You can’t wish people open against this defense. They’re too good. They’ve created too many turnovers and their offense has been very opportunistic converting those turnovers into points. So, it’s more of a big picture thing than just this guy, that guy. If coverage dictates throw the ball to Bruce, we throw it to Bruce. That’s how you play winning football.”


Will this be one of the first teams this season you expect seven men in the box? Most of them have been eight or nine or more. Have there been any other defenses this season that just come with seven?

“No, absolutely not, and I say that emphatically. But we’ve seen some extreme looks. And it’s a credit to the coaches and whatnot you go against. They draw up things that you haven’t seen before and then you have to adjust during the game.”


Head coach Jim Harbaugh and Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera played together under former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka. Do you see different or I guess similar styles or philosophies and personnel of these teams, what they like to do, anything you could point to?

“I wouldn’t draw any conclusions other than they’re playing very good football. And they’re a physical defense. Seen a bunch of their offense and really not going to comment on that, but their defense is playing very good football. I think with coach Harbaugh you’re always going to have tough, physical, well prepared, competitive teams that play extremely hard. I’ll only speak about us and that’s what we’re all about.”


Have you talked about the wide receivers blocking and the importance of that in the run game? You have guys like WR Mario Manningham and WR Michael Crabtree that are kind of working their way back. Is it a challenge to get their blocking up to speed when they’re coming off of an injury?

“That’s an interesting question. It’s definitely factored in about what you’re going to try to ask them to do coming off an injury. But if they heard me say that they would not be happy. They want action, they want to be in the fray and they do a tremendous job. Michael Crabtree does as good a job as I’ve ever seen consistently blocking down the field since I’ve been here. And Mario, same thing, does a great job. And it’s a great and unique thing when you see our offensive line flying 15 yards down the field, our receivers competing like maniacs down the field. It’s a special thing to see. I don’t think you see it too often.”


How do you expect to use Mario on Sunday?

“That remains to be seen with Mario. It’s day-to-day with him and we’ll see how it progresses through the week. Thought he had a good day yesterday, but it is day-to-day.”


He said he expects to be up there making plays. Do you expect him to be making plays?

“It’s day-to-day, it’s day-to-day.”


You’ve had extra time to prepare for the Panthers and there are obvious benefits to having the time to prepare for a team, but is there also a danger of the game plan becoming too exotic or taking on too much volume? Is that something you consider and how do you balance that?

“I think you just have to balance that every week. And you just got to try to make great decisions when it comes to what gives you the best chance to win the game.”

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  1. I think what will determine this game is how well the guys on the OL tasked to stop Lotutelei perform in that said area.

    1. I think secretly Roman is licking his Chops!

      If the Panthers continue their 7 Man Front on the early downs. The 49ers O-Line will Man handle any Front 7 when they are focused & ready to play.

    1. Sorry Coffee, but I didn’t implement the trade function of the league because it’s my first go-around in fantasy football, let alone owning said league.

      1. No worries, if it was just an oversight I was bringing your attention to it. A lot of leagues trade deadline have passed by now so I’m not all broken up about it.

  2. Adrian Peterson is so doggone good. Due to his height and breakaway speed I’ve always thought of him as being like Eric Dickerson. But Adrian is so In-Yo-Face Fysical that I now think of him like Jim Brown (my highest possible compliment).

  3. Just like the Houston game last week I had a great pick snatched away at the last second. FCS Redskins, ever heard of playing defense?

    1. Vegas paying out on that one! But they aren’t going broke any time soon.
      I had to laugh about that when the Casino opened in the North Bay this week. The day before it opened the PD ran an article about how they expected to make $500M by their second year. The next day hordes of people from 2 hours away showed up to be first to give away their money. Where does anyone think that $500 million dollars are coming from? Smh

  4. Congratulations to Stanford for another successful Duck hunting trip! Harbaugh probably was too busy to attend the game, but he would have been happy to see a dominating D and a relentless running game keep his old team in the hunt for another Rose Bowl trip.

    With regard to Frank Gore, I hope they reduce his number of carries for the second half. Hunter seems ready for an increased workload, and LMJ needs to be accommodated. Gore will sorely be needed for the post-season.

    1. Looking back at last years pre draft, you called the Tank signing. Great call. Fired up to see him on the field….

  5. Jim ( ” I support Jonathan Martin” ) Harbaw.
    You spent time with six NFL teams as a player.
    You spent one season as a QB coach for the Raiders.
    A few years with Stanford and the University of San Diego.
    And now… as the head coach of the 49ers
    you tell us that you “support” a player who appears
    to have been subjected to some outrageous hazing.
    Question: Has there ever been a time when you
    declined to participate in similar behavior as a player or
    defended an individual or a group of players in such situations
    or directly addressed that issue (giving a true warning) while
    you were serving as the head coach of a team?
    Please advise us of when & where you stood up for what is right.
    The postscript to all of this is that players tended to be drunk
    when some of this kind of thing took place.
    Are you willing to give us a rundown on the role which alcohol
    played in your life during your career as an NFL quarterback?
    Some of your colleagues have already spoken to the issue…okay?

    1. This post is exhibit #1 in why I think people need to have an IQ test in order to vote, have kids, or…. post comments on this blog. I’m for free speech and all but sometimes you just have to protect imbeciles from themselves.

    2. Just wondering if you are expecting Harbaugh to answer your question on this blog? Maybe you should post your number or email so he can get a hold of you to answer your question. Ha you are one weird dude, sorry if I was hazzing you.

    1. As always Jack, good stuff. I predict that the 9ers come out throwing and I am hoping for over 300 yards for Kaep but my guess is about 270. This week they will throw to set up the run.

    2. Good stuff Jack. Do you think the 49ers will stick with a heavy dose of run game in the first half against the Panthers? Or do you think they will try and get cute and go for a more pass heavy attack?

      I’m half expecting the 49ers to start off with a higher % of passes than runs this week – the whole ‘favourable matchup’ business the coaches like to talk up. Panthers have a good run D, suspect secondary, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Roman looks to beat them through the air early. Hope I am wrong, as we’ve seen that usually ends poorly.

      1. Scooter,

        If Roman does a good job of self scouting they will stick with the run. As you know, I am big on trends and if Romans trend holds true he is do for a bit of a clunker this week.

        All of the talk about the Panthers front 7 is valid, but they haven’t faced a power run team like SF. I want to see the 49ers take a page from David Shaw’s playbook and just grind it out, and take away possessions from Newton and that Panther offense.

        It’s not sexy, but I love watching them just impose their will on opponents.

    3. Jack:

      Thanks for the preview.

      I was right with you until you gave us your score prediction. You foresee more scoring than I do. I am curious why you think the Panthers will score (a) above their season average against the 49ers’ defense and (b) 10 points above the 49ers’ points against average. I would be surprised if Carolina scored much more than 20 points.

      Also, why do you think the 49ers will score 34 points against a defense that gives up only 13.3 on average?

      1. Claude,

        I based the final score off the fact that when the 49ers have extra prep time and the opponent is on a regular week they won by an average of 30.8 to 13.2.

        I also noticed over those 6 prior instances they have alternated between blowouts and closer wins. The last time they had this situation was against Houston and they blew them out, meaning the trend makes this a closer score if it holds true.

        The average score of that every other game is 33.7 to 28.6, thus the 34-28 score.

        49ers 20 Cleveland 10 **
        49ers 26 St Louis 0
        49ers 36 New Orleans 32 **

        49ers 24 Arizona 3
        49ers 45 Green Bay 31 **

        49ers 34 Houson 3
        49ers __ Carolina __ **

      2. Jack,

        If the scores for that every other game that you have posted are accurate then:
        49ers: 20+36+45, Average=33.67
        Opponent: 10+32+31, Average=24.33

        Using your approach, predicted score: 49ers 34 Panthers 24.

        That’s one way to look at it but I would consider the Panthers defense to be a bit better than that of the 2011 Saints or 2012 Packers.
        The oddsmakers have set the Total for this game to be 42, this in spite of both teams scoring in the 30s in the past three games.
        Don’t know why but I feel a Roman clunker coming up, my guess would be 23-17 or something along those lines. I hope that my guess will be proven to be incorrect.

    4. How many teams have the luxury of bringing a guy like Aldon off the bench? Dorsey is off the injury report and I’m sure Ray McD & Cowboy will be fresher with a week off. I’m looking for the D to be dominant. Can’t see the Panthers putting up 28 on us unless we have some crazy turnovers or special team plays go against us.

      1. Not many Maui, but look how dominant he was doing that in 2011. Him playing all the downs last year may have worn him down a bit, and played a role in his being injured.

        He hasn’t been on a football field in 6 weeks, so I think they will bring him along slowly this week. My guess is he will play about 50% of the snaps, so somewhere in the range of 25-35 plays.

      2. No need to guess. Godfather Fangio said his time is predicated on stamina. According to reports, that will not be an issue.

  6. This will be the 49ers best test since the Indy game. I’m seeing a lot of blowout scores. Which usually means we lose. Stop that crap!!!!!!
    Carolina’s defense and offense is similar to seattles. Except the secondary. This is a good measuring stick for the offense and CK.

    1. totally agree! started the season with a test, 3 straight playoff teams. went 1-3. realized Kap IS NOT Peyton Manning just yet ( although he looked the part against G.B.). Got back to the basics, 49er football, run the ball, play action, good D and special teams.
      Started rolling bad teams ( not always as easy as it should be, just look at Seattle…..lucking out, winning games by the skin of their teeth! Teams they should be blowing out). Now we have started to get healthy. The Panthers are playing the best football ive seen em play in the Cam Newton era. This will be a battle of heavy weights. The following week will be even bigger ( in New Orleans). This is a mid season test! I like the way the schedule has shaped out.. We got tested early, 1-3, then we kinda got left alone to “study”, 5 straight blow outs. Now we got a mid season test, then the schedule will lighten up again. Then the REAL test…..the playoffs.!!!

      These next 2 games are gonna be a measuring stick! We will find out how we stack up against other really good NFC teams. Very important when you look at seeding. Im really excited!!!

      GO 49ers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. And Carolina should have beaten Seattle in week 1. Damn lucky fumble in the redone. Their luck has got to be just about out.

  7. warning: Extreme Violence Alert. For those of you who miss ESPN’s segment “Jacked him up!”, MTV’s ‘Ridiculousness’ will give you more than you need. Yikes!

  8. Let the Panthers load up in the box. Doesn’t matter. Roman is the railroad engineer driving this Hamburger Train, and I don’t anticipate any unscheduled stops en route to victory….

    1. Oregon got there butts kicked last nite. If they have to lose glad it was against Stanford. Oregon always has trouble with physical teams.

  9. Brotha Tuna sez:
    questions about integrity are nonissues…….if
    Mister Harbaw brings home a Lombardi trophy
    in February 2014.
    MidWestNIner, Dude, Ghost of Mustard, and jshaw:

    If the Niners go out early & come home emptyhanded,
    then it is a different story. In that case, get out the golfclubs
    and stand by for a full ration of heckling. Oh, yeah….

    1. Why do you never reply to responses in the original threads you start? Is there something you fear by directly responding to other posters in the same thread? Seems odd that a grown man would be afraid to reply in his own thread. Ain’t nothing going to bite you, lol.

      1. He can’t do that, Space. It might make it more obvious that Tuna never said that. Methinks Golem is arguing with himself again.

      2. Come on folks, let us not be too quick to criticize the entity Alex Smith (still undefeated).
        While there is little doubt that the Alexista is strong in this entity, please recognize the toll it must take, being an Alexista:
        —maintaining a 24/7/365 irrational hatred of Jim Harbaugh
        —trawling through pressers/post game interviews to critique Kaepernick’s attire and demeanor
        —relishing the personal troubles of 49er players
        —hoping, wishing and praying through the week for a 49er defeat on gameday
        —trolling 49er blogs and forums
        Think that is easy? Have we forgotten the case of the Intergalactic Space Cadet who used to post on this blog? It could not handle the stress of being an Alexista, snapped one day and went poof.
        So, please be kind to this and other Alexistas.

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