This is the transcript of Greg Roman’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“Morning. Getting ready for a really good Oakland Raiders defense, a good mix of youth and experience. [Raiders DE] Justin Tuck, still playing at a high level. Very, very smart player. I enjoy watching him on film. They brought [Raiders DL Antonio] Smith over from Houston, [Raiders DT Justin] Ellis from Green Bay, [Raiders DL C.J.] Wilson same. They’ve got a good front four, a big, strong front four. [Raiders LB] Khalil Mack, very impressive as a rookie, play him a lot like they would a 3-4 outside linebacker, but they do play a 4-3 scheme. And, [Raiders LB Miles] Burris and [Raiders LB Sio] Moore, two active guys inside. Secondary led by [Raiders CB] Charles Woodson, who is still playing at a very high level. I believe this is 17 years for him. And then, [Raiders CB DJ] Hayden and [Raiders CB Tarell] Brown. Tarell we’re very familiar with and [Raiders S Brandian] Ross back at the safety. So, certainly didn’t play the way we wanted to play the last game and guys came in and took a hard look at it and rolled up their sleeves and got back to work. Got to go get this win. It’s that time of year and it’s that kind of game. So, any questions?”
Obviously after last game your name was in the media a lot from what GM Trent Baalke’s daughter had written on social media. He said that he had an opportunity, both he and Cassie had an opportunity to talk to you and apologize. Can you discuss that from your standpoint of what that interaction was like?
“Yeah. It was very concise, very clear. I have children. I understand. And, we talked about it briefly and it’s over, and period. It’s really a non-issue.”
When you heard about it was it upsetting to you to hear about it?
“Didn’t really react in an emotional manner, just kind of a matter-of-fact manner. I understand these kind of things do happen. We talked about it, cleared it up and it’s over.”
You talked about the guys rolling up their sleeves. How do you make that jump back this week to get back where you need to be?
“Well, we’ve got a resilient group and we’ve got a group with a lot of pride. We’ve got a lot of high-quality, high-character individuals. Take out the football part of it. We’ve got guys that I want to be in a trench with. And, when you go out and you have that kind of performance you’ve got to evaluate it, look at it and we’ve got guys that are their own harshest critics as well. So, I think we’re dealing from the high ground there. We’ve got the right kind of guys and we’ve just got to get back to work and focus on the next challenge which is the Oakland Raiders. That’s what everybody has done because that is what is relevant right now.”
When you guys look at the offense, how much of a complication is it that you’ve had different pieces on the offensive line, that you’ve had tight ends in and out, as far as trying to figure out what you guys do best on a weekly basis?
“We’ve had guys in and out and all that, but I’m not going to stand up here and make excuses. We’ve got the players to get it done, I know that. I know we’ve got the coaches to get it done. We’ve got a rich tradition of getting it done. And we need to dial in and whoever’s out there we’ve just got to simply get it done. And that really starts with me. Got to do a better job on my end and fully capable of doing that.”
FB Bruce Miller had talked about, obviously you guys have been extremely creative in the run game, and he was talking about how motions can in the past tip things off as far as what a defense intended and there was some deception there. Anyway, a lot of that isn’t working anymore just because teams have seen it. Has that been an adjustment this year? Did that maybe start last year? Has that been an issue at all?
“Yeah, I mean, I think we’ve evolved a little bit in what we’re doing this year with all of the guys in and out of the lineup. I do think we’ve simplified things quite a bit. That can be an advantage, but it can also be a disadvantage as well. I’d say there’s a little bit of that maybe. But, the overall theme is really we’ve simplified things and that’s good sometimes and sometimes it’s not so good. It’s really results oriented. I definitely think in this league, which is a copycat league, when you’re successful, every team studies you and you need to evolve and move forward as well. I think that’s definitely part of the equation.”
You talked about simplifying things. Is that run game, pass game, just overall?
“Yeah, overall in general. But, specifically to your point in the run game.”
Why did you have to simplify things so much, Greg?
“I think it’s more so just guys in and out of the lineup that type of thing, time on task, cohesion, that type of stuff. But, again, not up here to talk scheme or make excuses about anything. We’re 7-5, we’ve got a big game this week and we’ve got to load up the wagon and go get it.”
As a coordinator, how much do you manage the emotions of the players? Is QB Colin Kaepernick, he seemed very upset yesterday, maybe disappointed with the way things are going. Do you have to spend time propping guys up and making sure that they’re emotionally ready?
“I think that’s part of the job of any coach at any position. I can remember being a position coach that might be the most important thing of a position coach or one of. At the same time, we’re talking about professional athletes. Everybody has their own way of working their way through things. The beauty of Colin is he’s his own harshest critic. When we have a rough game as an offense he usually comes back out swinging for the fence and pretty dialed in.”
Do you think he thrives under that kind of mindset of putting so much on his shoulders?
“What do you mean specifically?”
Well, I mean, like after games whenever you guys lose he seems to take it very personally.
“Yeah. He’s a very competitive guy. He wants to win and that’s his ultimate goal as a football player is to win. And when we fall short of that he takes that tough. He’s a competitive guy. He’s out there laying it on the line.”
Head coach Jim Harbaugh said this week that it’s not in his genes to worry about what’s next with his job future. Do you sort of take on that same approach? He’s come out and publicly supported you and there’s so much still going on in this season, you can’t think about that kind of stuff.
“I think any time you, when you’re in our position, any time you listen to all that noise out there, you are really setting yourself up for problems. We’ve been through rough stretches before, rough patches. It just comes with the territory. It’s just a fact. Sixteen teams deal with it every week and it’s all about learning from what just happened, good or bad, making sense of that, getting that message right and moving on to the next one.”
Since Colin took over as starting quarterback, before this year you guys had a lot of success using play action and the play action numbers, his passing numbers in play action, are down considerably and in turn you’re using it less. Is that just a product of the running game and inability to be consistent with the running game or are there other factors like cohesion and things like that that you referenced?
“Yeah. I think there’s a little bit of everything, but I don’t think we’re getting what we need to out of play action game and think we need to do a better job there starting with me.”
In turn, can play action actually, being successful in play action, help the running game?
“Oh, it all works together. It’s all one. It all works together, yes.”
Jim said that T Anthony Davis was going to lift and do some cardio yesterday. Any update on what he can do today for you and whether — ?
“Yeah, nothing in concrete at this point, but he did take another step forward, so we’ll see where that goes. I can’t give you anything that’s substantial or substantive in terms of where that leaves him for this game though.”
When you say takes a step forward, that means today from yesterday?
“Just took a step forward yesterday from the previous day with his protocol.”
As you know, if things don’t go well or you lose, people say, ‘Well, you didn’t do this,’ and, ‘Why didn’t you do that?’ So people said why didn’t you have any designed runs for Colin because he was so successful with his legs in the NFC Championship Game against Seattle? Was that part of the game plan? Is that just the way the game evolved? Why wasn’t he more mobile?
“Yeah, there was definitely some plays in the plan. I think the way things unfolded minimized those opportunities a little bit. So, really that’s the long and short of it.”
It’s no secret TE Vernon Davis is not having one of his better seasons. Aside from the injuries earlier in the year, are there some keys that you see that lead to that and are there signs that you see that these last four games could be different for him?
“Yeah, he’s out there working hard every day. As we’ve said before, we’re just waiting for the olives to pop out of the jar. I remember our first year here, I think there was a five or six game stretch we had like that and it’s a little bewildering then, a little bewildering now. But, it’s definitely something we want to happen. Definitely something we want to happen because Vernon can impact the game so mightily and really, really even out how the defense plays. He’s drawing some attention at times, but just got to do a better job of getting him involved.”
Is the tight end position the one skill position that could benefit the most from being good in play action?
“Well, I definitely think really all of them, really the entire offense from a good play action game. And we’ve been there. Shoot, we’ve definitely been there and we’ve just got to keep chopping wood in that area because, like I said, it all works together. It all intertwines.”
The run game and the pass game obviously working together and intertwined like you just said. Could simplifying the running game actually have an adverse effect on Colin?
“It’s really a results oriented thing. If it works, it’s good. If it doesn’t, it’s not. There’s a lot of ways you can approach it and every team has their approach. I definitely think that we have had a lot of success here being multi-dimensional in that area and we look forward to getting back to that point, which I think we can do. As a matter of fact, I know we can do.”