SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Greg Roman’s Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Good afternoon. Have a really good opponent coming in in Seattle. You look at their defense, they’ve had some injuries. That’s a bunch of guys in there. We’ve seen [Seattle defensive lineman Demarcus] Dobbs and [Seattle fullback] Tukuafu, Will, in there at times. They’ve gotten their guys back and had a really good win last week as did we. That’s a short week, so, the challenges are many and we embrace that. Any questions?
You looked at your watch. Has this been a topsy-turvy week for you guys? What’s the workload been like for the coaching staff?
“Well, I mean, everybody in the league pretty much goes through it with a Thursday game. Once you get done with your previous game, kiss the wife and kids, wave to them and get back to work. But you see it on the schedule months ahead, so, you try to get ahead on it a little bit.”
What about the physical challenges of it? Does it affect the way you use your personnel? Only short-day’s rest, not everybody’s totally recovered?
“I think [head coach Jim] Coach Harbaugh does a great job of really kind of letting the guys tempo and build up during the week. Really, just get them prepared for the game day on short rest. As far as personnel and decision making in the game, not really. Both teams have the same challenge. We traveled to Baltimore a couple of years ago on Thanksgiving. That was a short week.”
Can I assume no contact at all this week, right?
“No, absolutely not. It’s just a day-by-day thing. Just gradually building up. On a short week, it’s not like you’re going to reinvent the wheel. It’s more about getting guys full speed mentally just so they can go play fast on game day, turkey day.”
What went into the decision to practice here at Levi’s® Stadium tonight?
“You probably want to talk to Coach Harbaugh about that. We had a little walkthrough in there yesterday as well with the lights. The day starts a little bit later for these night games. When in the North Atlantic, right?”
How many times have you been in there since the start of the regular season?
“I believe that was our first.”
You guys haven’t played real well at home. You guys seemed to be more effective on the road. Do you think it’s still kind of an unfamiliar setting on game days?
“I wouldn’t say we haven’t played good. We’ve won more than we lost. Certainly would’ve liked to play better. I don’t know that we’ve played our best football yet and certainly not at home. I definitely think there’s a little bit of an adjustment period there breaking it in.”
Guys have said you guys feel like you’re close to an offensive breakthrough. What do you feel like you guys have to do to kind of make sure that happens here down the stretch?
“I think our best football is ahead of us. And really just tighten down a few things here and there. A thing here and a thing there. At times, we’re playing like we want to play. I think some drives end based on one play or one thing that happened. I think we’ve been pretty successful over the course of time doing what we want to do. But we;ve just got to eliminate that one play within a series that would put us behind the eight ball from a down-and-distance standpoint or end the series before we want it ended. We got the guys to do it. We’ve done it before and we look forward to doing it again.”
Harbaugh after the game said that QB Colin Kaepernick’s playing great with a capital ‘G’. Is he playing his best right now that you’ve seen and what do you like most about it?
“I think at times he’s playing better than he’s ever played without question. I think there’s a play here or a play there that he’d like to have back. I think he’s commanding the offense extremely well. I definitely think he’s moving through his progressions in a good way. He’s making some clutch throws, too. I think he’s led us down the field in must-have situations or gotten us out off the goal line in critical, clutch situations. Think he’s done a very good job. I mean, that last drive, that ball he got in there to [WR] Anquan [Boldin], that was just a great throw-and-catch. You just don’t see that. You can look around, keeping looking, but not a lot of guys can put that ball in there in that situation. But it was a great play. And then Boldin, who can only be described as double tough, what a play by him. Not only to catch it, finish with the catch, and continue on. That play kind of encapsulates Anquan and it’s really indicative of what Kap’s capable of, too.”
We know how the NFC title game ended over the last few plays, the turnovers. But he also, Colin, kept you guys in the game offensively with a lot of stuff he did. Do you look back on that game and think that was a pretty good game by Colin?
“Again, I think there was some amazingly good plays, a couple plays you’d like to have back. Thought it was a great effort. You’re always striving for the perfect game. But he keeps coming in every day looking to improve. I’m very glad he’s our quarterback, let me just say that.”
We all know the backstory about these two teams. From the outside, looks like there have been stories about guys almost having personal grudges against each other. How do you coach to that? Do you have to talk to these guys about not making it personal and just playing as a team against another team?
“I don’t think we really have to because I think some of that’s overblown. Our division, every game is truly a, it’s a battle, a true battle. Every game in the National Football League is. But our division especially brings a special kind of football and it’s not for the meek. We have a great respect for Seattle and every other team in our division along those lines. Everybody understands that it’s going to be a tough football game and it’s all about the football, just playing good football.”
You don’t get concerned that guys are having personal stuff going on?
“We’ve never had any issues with that.”
What does the fact that the first-team offense finally scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter this season, what does that do for the confidence, not only for Colin individually, but for the unit as a whole going forward?
“I just think in-and-of itself. It was just a great drive and we had to have it. We had some turnovers and whatnot and some unique situations early in the game. It was a tough football game against a pretty good defense. We had to have it. They went down and got it done. I don’t think anybody really blinked or thought anything else was going to happen.”
In the offseason, a lot of people were talking about how WR Michael Crabtree just never got back to full strength last season. Do you see this year that he’s, even though the stats might not reflect it, but do you see that he’s running better and that he’s closer to what he was pre-Achilles?
“Yes, in short. There’s no question. I think he’s moving better now than he has since the injury. By now, I mean today, even more so than earlier in the year when had some other things going on. Yeah, I think he’s moving as good now as I’ve seen him since the injury.”
Colin, in his career against the Seahawks, has three touchdowns and seven interceptions and a rating around 50. Obviously, they’ve got a really good defense is part of that. Is there something about that matchup that he struggles in?
“No. The stats are what they are. They’re very good on defense and they always have been. I remember when we first got here, in what was it, 2011, in the offseason looking at their defense in 2010 and going, ‘Wow, these guys are really good.’ And now, I think they’ve gotten better, but they were really good back then. It’s just a function of executing it one play at a time, just taking the game one play at a time against this team.”
Question about their defense. With Seattle DT Brandon Mebane out and then DT Kevin Williams going in, what are their styles like? Does that change them at all?
“Not a whole lot. Mebane, I think, is kind of a special kind of guy. I think they just bring a little bit of a different skill set. Mebane has played in that system and he’s physically a unique guy with a center of gravity and whatnot. They’re both very good players, very accomplished players. I don’t think you’re going to see a whole lot changing from them.”