This is the transcript of Geep Chryst’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“We just got done with practice. Obviously, we’re excited about Arizona. Feel like we have a good game plan, but they’re a good team. All three phases are playing at a pretty high level for them. But, we like our chances so we’ll see what happensSunday.”
What do you like about your chances? What are you seeing?
“You know, we’re starting to develop some continuity. This is [QB] Blaine’s [Gabbert] third consecutive start. So, he can start to see the field, find some rhythm within the game. In the game’s he’s played, there’s been moments where he’s gotten into rhythm. You can feel the offense moving and I think that’s something that you’re seeing on the practice field as well. So, that’s what excites us. But, it’s a formidable foe, another good defense we’re seeing. So, we’ve got to match whatever it is we’re doing with what it is they’re trying to stop us from doing.”
He had looked good in the preseason. I assume he looked pretty good in practice. But, has he surprised you at all that he’s done it in the regular season?
“We probably forget how long it had been since he was taking snaps. So, how will it turn out? I thought not many people go 92-yards for a drive right before the end of the half and get seven, which was good. And then we came out at the start of the second half and found some rhythm as well. In the Atlanta game, I don’t want to say it was a slow start, but it picked up as the game went on. Even in the second half in the Atlanta game, we were getting first downs from backed up territory. So, you felt like there was an efficiency. A couple balls, one was a drop that turned into an interception. Another interception where you didn’t even feel like that was the situation with Seattle. So, can he continue to improve, ramp up and take that next step.”
Is part of that step maybe being more aggressive with some of his throws, particularly in the red zone?
“Yeah. First off, we had some calls that were shots down field in the first half, to [WR] Bruce Ellington, one. The tough assignment in the protection, trying to move the different protections was [FB] Bruce Miller had a tough matchup on 56 [Seahawks DE Cliff Avril] in the Seattle game. But, we were taking our shots in the first half there. Also, on a third-and-three we took a shot. In terms of the red zone, he’s actually played at a fairly high level. We wanted to get touchdowns. So, anytime you want to get something and you don’t come up with it, it feels like a failure. The second drive of the second half where we took the false start penalty, those things hurt in the red zone. But, the things we weren’t doing earlier, for example, that was a penalty but we’re the fourth fewest penalized team in the National Football League offensively and we’d cleaned up a lot of the holding penalties that plagued us in the Minnesota game and the Pittsburgh game in the red zone. So, in the second half also, we got into the red zone with some chunk plays, maybe those plays that we didn’t hit in the first half. We hit [TE] Garrett Celek on kind of a scheme play. We also hit [TE] Vance McDonald on a straight vertical route as well. So, we were hitting the plays to get down there, but you want to come away with seven. And anytime you get three against a good team, it feels like you come up empty.”
Did you go into the Seahawks game thinking that G Andrew Tiller would play the whole game or was it was wait and see how he does and then he played well?
“I think it’s see how he does, and he was playing well. We know the way that the game played out the first time here, we had some matchup problems. Plus, we want to give him a chance to get into a rhythm and improve himself. And I think he is improving out on the practice field. He is improving in games. He still is who he is, but I think he’s earned the right to take another series or in this case, get another start.”
And what about G/C Daniel Kilgore? Any thought of elevating him to the 53-man?
“Oh, we’re trying like crazy to get him up, but you know we’ve got to be realistic for him. Last week we were joking around “How did the third day of training camp feel?” because he was going through some of that soreness and some of the natural ramp up. When all the guys are thinking that he’s got the fresh legs, he’s feeling like he’s only getting seaworthy. So, he’s on the boat, probably feeling a little bit of seasickness while everyone else is used to rocking and rolling in the waves. But, we’ll see. He’s such a great guy and we miss him. So, you want to have him up. Now, realistically, remember when [Denver Broncos TE] Vernon [Davis] came back and we put him on a pitch count? Realistically, you’d love to have him dressed but then how much playing time will he get. And you definitely don’t want to feel like he’s going to be playing 78, 83 snaps but you want him to feel like he’s on that natural path to getting back and playing full time. And that next step would be what, get a uniform on game day.”
With RB Carlos Hyde out for the third or fourth straight game, RB Shaun Draughn your starter, what do you see and expecting out of him?
“First off, he had one of the greatest plays we’ve seen this year where he was helping in protection, and if you remember the play sequence, Blaine had scrambled for a first down to midfield. We had a hold called on Tiller. The very next play, Blaine scrambles again but now has his eyes up and finds [WR Anquan] Boldin for a catch and a first down, kind of back to where we were. But, when you watch the play, Shaun Draughn not only made a block in the protection, he ran downfield and I think he was beating the Seattle defenders to the pursuit of the ball and got a block for Anquan. So, things like that. A running threat, a receiving threat and willing to do the dirty work. I think he’s now coming into his own and we’re really happy to have him on our team.”
What was your reaction when you saw Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu’s comments this week about the differences between Blaine and QB Colin Kaepernick?
“You know, there’s probably enough game tape now for Blaine when you combine the preseason along with the last two regular season games that I wouldn’t be surprised that there’d be some comparison, apples to oranges as opposed to apples to apples. I don’t know, I wasn’t in their meeting what they thought of Kap before the first game when they were making their commentary. But, they’re a good defense. He’s a good player. A couple of our coaches that have come from LSU think highly of his playmaking ability, his football instincts. So, you give credit to what he had to say, knowing that he’s trying to make some type of comparison. But, we’re concentrating more on what are we going to do as opposed to what the opponent is saying about us. But, the more successful plays you have, the better off you feel about yourself independent of what the opponent may be saying about you.”
One of the things he said was his defense was able to pick up on Colin’s tendencies. Did that factor into making the decision to go with Blaine?
“Not really. I think Blaine was playing well. I think that he’s provided an offensive spark. I think that he’s providing confidence for the offensive unit and we hope that he takes that next step in terms of that consistent play. But, he’s done some nice things and deserves the opportunity to go out and test his game against the Cardinals.”
Regarding Draughn, he’d been with like eight teams or whatever, so it seems like he comes in off the street. Has he surprised you by what he’s been able to do?
“Yeah. You don’t want to have too high a bar. We were joking around that you’re trying to carpet 10,000 square feet with carpet remnants sometimes and you might not have what you’re looking for just kind of waiting outside the door to come in. But, he’s exactly what we’ve been waiting for in terms of coming in the door and helping out. We didn’t want this as part of our formula. The backs that we had in training camp, we didn’t expect that we’d have to go down this path, but we’re thrilled that we have Shaun and he’s been a nice fit for us. And we hope that his game continues to improve as he’s gotten in the mix, kind of again, got his sea legs and I’m excited to see him play against the Cardinals again this Sunday.”