Greg Roman held a press conference Thursday afternoon. Here’s what he said about the 49ers offense and quarterback controversy, courtesy of the 49ers.
Can you clear up what’s going on with the quarterback situation right now?
“Well, no decision has been made. We’re hopeful that [QB] Alex [Smith] gets cleared tomorrow, physically. We’re confident in both quarterbacks to be on the field. We’re always going to make way all the information as we have it and make the best decision for the team at the time. But we have ultimate confidence in either. When you look at the Saints defense, as multiple as they are, it’s very important that we get the proper attention paid to their personnel, their schemes, everything throughout the week. Very multiple as we know, [Saints defensive coordinator] Steve Spagnuolo, who was most recently with the Rams, has a very multiple system on defense. There’s a lot of unique blitzes, different looks you see. It’s not a cookie-cutter defense by any margin.”
To clarify, Alex has not been cleared?
“Correct. We’re hopeful that he gets cleared tomorrow.”
Even if he is cleared tomorrow, you guys are taking off tomorrow for New Orleans. Does that leave enough practice time for him to play?
“That’s something that we’ve got to evaluate and make a decision on.”
Because he hasn’t been cleared, he hasn’t been practicing?
“He has been practicing. He’s not cleared for contact, but yeah he’s been practicing, looking sharp. Both quarterbacks are looking sharp. There’s maybe a couple plays today we’d like to have an extra couple reps at, but [head coach Jim Harbaugh] coach wanted to get everybody back home for Thanksgiving.”
There was a report yesterday that QB Colin Kaepernick was going to be getting first team reps in practice, is that accurate?
“Colin’s been getting pretty similar to what he got last week. He’s getting some of the reps and Alex is getting some of the reps, and that’s how it gets divvied up. It’s more play-by-play than first team reps, second team reps, really don’t know what that means. But the reps are divvied up accordingly.”
There’s another report that coach Harbaugh told Alex that Kaepernick would start, and just to clarify that, did that occur?
“No. I’ll repeat that no decision has been made.”
Who has worked with the scout team?
“Well, [QB] Scott [Tolzien] has taken most of the scout team reps. I know Alex has taken some and Kap has taken some. Everybody’s working together, a team, everybody’s working as a team.”
Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt said yesterday you guys are on pace to have more 10-yard runs than any team in NFL history. What do you attribute that to?
“It’s a lot of things. It’s players executing plays. Good players executing players, and I hate to minimalize things, but when you really cut down to it, I don’t care what play you have. And I’ll just tell you from a coaching standpoint, you might have the best play in the world and you know it is and you see the defense and you say, ‘Here we go, here we go, and this is going to be great,’ and then somebody makes a mistake or got beat physically. It’s the ultimate, ‘Dahhh,’ you know. So, I think I’ve learned, we’ve all learned as coaches over the years, no matter what you draw up, it’s the players getting it done that matters. I think our offensive line, our wide receivers have been very big key part of those extended runs down the field. I think when you look at our receivers relative to most in the league, you’ll see them working a little bit. I think they work better than anybody down the field blocking. So, tight ends, running back, [FB] Bruce Miller, who I think is just a dynamic fullback in his ability to adjust and make the appropriate block as he approaches it, which changes all the time. And our backs, [RB] Frank [Gore] leading the way, [RB] Kendall [Hunter], and we’ve got where our other backs are working real hard too. So, it’s a lot of things. It’s everything. I think it starts with coaches’ commitment to running the ball, being balanced and devoting time and effort to it in practice.”
Head coach Jim Harbaugh termed Colin’s performance vs. Chicago A++. Were you as impressed as he was?
“Yeah, I thought Colin handled the quarterback position, his duties in this offense, extremely well. Just as Alex has. I thought it was a really good performance on a lot of levels, not just what happened after the ball was snapped. Managing the huddle, getting us up to the line, getting things done as we prescribe them. The beauty of having a quarterback like Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick is what a situation to be in. Alex was what a couple of weeks ago, what was it, 18 of 19 and he’s befallen by injury and Colin steps in and performs the way he does. So, it’s a great situation to be in, but what’s happen up to this point is history. It’s all about going down to New Orleans and trying to find a way to get the win.”
When you have a young guy like that does it take more of a village to kind of help him? Maybe even pre-snap?
“I think it doesn’t matter. I think everybody has to do their job and whichever quarterback’s playing that is very important. It takes a village no matter what. If nobody’s blocking properly and guys are just running free at the quarterback, hey a play or two he can make something happen, but over the course of a game that takes an effect. Not being able to run the football effectively and putting ourselves in pour down and distance situations on 3rd down, that kind of stuff. That all just falls on his shoulders at some point, whoever’s in the game.”
Getting back to no decision has been made on the starter. When you see reports that say the decision has been made does that bother you? Is that something that you have to address with both of your quarterbacks?
“That’s something that the door’s always open. We always communicate. But really do not pay much attention to what’s going on, reported, not reported, rumored, that stuff. Don’t pay much attention to it. Our focus is on the team, the team, the team and those that are interested in helping us win.”