Harbaugh expects Kaepernick “to make great strides” next season

Jim Harbaugh was interviewed Friday morning on KNBR. Here is a transcript.

Q: What goes on in a late-May OTA?

HARBAUGH: There are nine weeks that we can be with the players in the offseason. It is broken up into three phases. We are now in Phase 3, Week 5. Ending Week 5. There will be three more weeks after this. The phase that we’re in now, we can coach the players on the field. We can do seven-on-seven. We can have team offense versus defense. Work on technical skills and fundamentals. About a two-hour practice. We have meetings with the players. They’re allowed to be here for six hours during the day, and they also do strength and conditioning.

Q: So, it’s like a training camp day abbreviated?

HARBAUGH: About half of what a training camp day would be. A training camp day is about 12 hours, 13 hours.

Q: How much 2013 review are you doing, and how much 2014 install are you doing? Do you tinker with the playbook and make new plays? Is that something that gets done in a camp like this?

HARBAUGH: I consider it all 2014. This is preparation for the season, getting ready for the games, getting ready for the next game against the Dallas Cowboys. That’s the way we look at it. Are there new plays going in there? Sure. There are ideas coaches have, we study film, review 2013, and then can’t wait to implement it. That’s what we’re doing now. That’s what our players are absorbing and practicing.

Q: What is the next step for Colin Kaepernick?

HARBAUGH: It’s a very good question, because he has been so good so quickly as a starting quarterback in the National Football League. In some ways it’s unprecedented. When he first played in 2012, he came into the lineup mid-season and had a great game on Monday night against the Chicago Bears and really has taken off since then. In his debut season, he takes his team to the Super Bowl. Comes back in 2013, and I thought that he improved, made strides. I thought he was playing at such a high level that it’s going to be tough to see incremental growth. And the growth would be incremental. It wouldn’t be big inflection points because he is playing at a high level. But I really see him this offseason as maybe there is going to be another inflection point here because he has that look. He has that confidence, that knowledge. Tremendous athletic shape. He’s been throwing the ball with pin-point accuracy. I’m expecting an inflection point. I’m expecting him to make great strides. And that is not unprecedented when a quarterback gets into his third or fourth year playing that they make a big jump. It has that feel to me. That’s in my opinion.

Q: Do you coach Colin Kaepernick on how to deal with the off-field situation in Miami?

HARBAUGH: Where I stand is due process. I stand opposed to punishment without due process, to the rush to judgment without hearing the other side of the story. I think we saw that in Colin’s case.

Q: How is Aldon Smith doing in OTAs?

HARBAUGH: He’s doing well. He’s showing up. He’s working hard. He’s listening and he has an opportunity to do what he says he’s going to do and that’s what we’re all hopeful for. I want you to know where I stand, and that is due process. And another place that I stand is I can help someone, we can help someone. Someone comes to us and asks for help, I don’t want so ever say, “I can’t help you.” We’ll help somebody or find somebody who can, and that includes working with a player like Aldon. And some changes have to be made. And some of those changes ought to be made at the top. I’m not at the top-top, but I’m at or near the top and I’ll do anything it takes to get something done or to improve something. That’s where Aldon is. That’s what Aldon has said he is going to do. We give him that opportunity to do what he said he is going to do.

Q: Your brother John made some strong statements against his players’ off-field troubles. You haven’t. Do you think it’s time to make strong statements like the ones your brother made?

HARBAUGH: I have said those things, similar things. I want our players to be above reproach. I want them to strive to be above reproach in all things that they do. That’s a daily process, that’s a yearly process, that’s a lifelong process and I don’t think any of us would offer counsel that would be any different. That’s what we want, that’s what we’re striving for, that’s what we’re going to work to help these young men do.

Q: Are you concerned about Vernon Davis and Alex Boone missing time?

HARBAUGH: I don’t think it benefits anybody to talk about contracts publically. That’s just my opinion. That’s what I choose to have a stand on. These workouts right now are voluntary. Sometimes jokes are made that they’re voluntary, but they’re really mandatory. They are just that – they are voluntary workouts. Reporters come out to practice and rather than talk about the players that are out there, it’s who’s not there like we’re taking attendance. Who’s hear? Who’s not here? Why aren’t they here? Where are they? What’s the reason?  Do you know the reason they’re not here, Coach? Yeah, I know the reasons. I’ve talked to the players. If it comes to contracts and you want to speak about contracts, I’m not going to speak for another player. I’m not going to speak for another man or what they’re trying to get done with their contract. If they think it’s beneficial for them to talk about it publically, then they will choose to do that. Certainly you could have Vernon or Alex on the show and ask them or talk to their agent if that’s something they think is beneficial. I just choose to not do it.

Q: But are you concerned about them missing time?

HARBAUGH: I’m concerned about the guys that are out here. We’ve got some exciting things going on. We’re going to coach the heck out of them. I’m going to adhere to these being voluntary workouts. Somebody that’s not here is not going to lose their job because they’re not at a voluntary workout. We will coach the guys who are here.

Q: Any moments from the OTAs that stick out to you so far?

HARBAUGH: There have been several. This has been a really good rookie class. They’ve studied extremely hard. They’ve prepared themselves. They’re in great shape, and mentally have done a great job of picking up the system and applying it on the field. It’s one thing to get it on the chalk board and answer questions in the meeting room, but to go out on the field, line up, you call plays in the huddle and then they execute it, they get their alignment right – that’s big. We don’t stand out there with cue cards and tell them where to line up. These guys are doing a heck of a job absorbing the information and then executing it. Very excited about it. A bunch of the players have stood out, new guys. I feel really good about our team. I think we’re going to be darn tough to beat. We’ve got some firepower, we’ve got some ammunition and I’m excited as heck about it.

This article has 64 Comments

  1. “Pin Point Accuracy” sounds excellent. I agree with Coach. Kaepernick is poised to kill them all, and he’s got the ammunition to do it….

  2. I also believe that Kaep is poised for a great season.
    This is the “make or break” season for the 49ers and especially for CK7.

    My reasons:
    1. Justin Smith, Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin, and perhaps Andy Lee are entering the twilight of their illustrious careers.

    2. Michael Crabtree (perhaps CK’ favorite target) may opt for the big payday after this season. Same goes for Iupati.

    3. No player(s) backing up JS, FG, AB, have yet to show that they could easily transition into a starting role.

    4. Red-shirt (injured players) drafted over the last two years (Lattimore, Carradine, Brandon Thomas, Keith Reaser, and Trey Millard), will need to be fully healthy in order to help the team. As of now, the questions of full and complete recoveries still persist.

    5. Offensively, this may be the best team that Kaep may ever be surrounded with.
    MC, AB, SJ, VD, a better VMac. B.Miller’ return a more polished Q.Patton along with incoming talents like B.Ellington and C.Hyde make this team very potent at least on paper.
    This type of talent should usher CK into a top ten QB status.

    Exciting times ahead!

    1. This team is set up to be competing for Super Bowls for seasons to come, not just this year, so long as Baalke does his job right.

      Yes, there are a couple of older guys on the team, and some guys coming off contract. Same as every team, every year. But for the most part the 49ers already have their replacements on the books. And other guys will come in through future drafts and free agency. The key is Kaep, and so long as he plays at a high level this team can compete.

      1. Scooter,
        “This team is set up to be competing for Super Bowls for seasons to come, not just this year, so long as Baalke does his job right.”

        Yes, with a strong but.
        Yes, we could be contenders for years to come. But, we don’t know what we have with our young players until they hit the field.

        The Patriots can be considered contenders with Brady and Belichick at the helm but many of their core players have not been equally replaced which makes a SB win more difficult.
        Wes Welker, A.Hernandez (self-inflicted career loser) Gronkowski (injured) have hurt NE’ chances of getting over the top.

        Although we have a good group of young talent that will be worked into eventual starting roles, we don’t know if they will be equal or better than the players they will replace. Hence my reference that we look good at least on paper.

        Personally, I think that there is a difference between contenders and SB ready teams.
        The Patriots are contenders, the 49ers are SB ready.
        It sounds like an oxymoron, but the reality is that the 49ers are a much better team than a team like NE who are considered contenders.

        1. “Yes, we could be contenders for years to come. But, we don’t know what we have with our young players until they hit the field.”

          No, we don’t, which is why I said so long as Baalke does his job right. But I’ve liked what they’ve done in the draft the past two seasons – this team looks to have some quality depth already on the roster to offset future losses.

          My point is that I keep hearing how it is this year or bust, that the window is shutting. I disagree – I admit with the talent laden team we have the window is wide open this year, but while it is unlikely to have as much talent on the team in future I don’t think the window will shut for some time. To me assuming the window is shutting is akin to assuming Kaep won’t develop and neither will the young guys on the roster. If Kaep turns out to be as good as Harbaugh says he is, and Baalke does/ has done his job right, this team has the talent on the roster to offset a few losses and be legitimate contenders.for quite a few years yet.

          1. Scooter,
            I believe that in theory we’re on the same page. I do believe that CK will have a banner year and exceed all expectations.

            But as I specified in my first thread, we don’t know if any of our young WR’s can replace a Boldin (after he’s gone) or a Crabtree (if he walks).
            Frank Gore has been “bank” for us over the years and I don’t believe that we have a proven player to replace him after he’s done.
            If CK is going to have a breakout season it looks to me like 2014 is the best opp for him to reach that goal.

            My hope is that young players like Carradine, Dial, Lattimore, Ward, Dontae Johnson, C.Hyde, Lemonaire, Borland, Skov, VMac, Lynch, Ellington, Reaser, Patton and others can develop into top flight players.
            But of all the above mentioned, we no definitive answers on what they will bring to the table.

            That’s why I’m hedging my cards on the proven players we do have going into 2014. What we do have (at least on offense) is:
            These are proven players that can be counted on to produce in 2014.

            1. No player is proven until they are given a chance. So of course the guys behind Justin Smith, Frank Gore, etc have yet to prove themselves.

              Anyway, yes, this would appear to be a “no excuses” year for Kaep and the 49ers – plenty of talent on the roster this year. But the only reason to believe this is a “make or break” year is if you think the young guys won’t be able to replace the older guys, which basically means you believe Baalke is doing a poor job of replenishing talent. Too soon to tell of course, but I believe he’s done a pretty good job of getting talented players in the draft. As they start getting their chances to play this year and in future years we’ll have a better idea.

              The point I was trying to make though was simply that every team goes through this, and the ones that do a good job of holding onto a core of talent and replacing older guys through the draft are the ones that stay at the top and competing for Super Bowls for long periods. At this stage I see no reason to believe the 49ers are in a “this year or bust” situation.

              1. Scooter, as long as you have the type of coaching staff teams like the Patriots, Seahawks and 49ers do, there should be playoff expectations, especially when you have a talent provider such as Baalke. I think they fullfilled those expectations in 2013, with far less firepower offensively……

    2. AES ..

      Well said …
      Can’t wait to see Kaep step into Jerry’s World
      and show Grant .. (as well as Romo)
      how it’s done !!

      Speaking of which..

      Grant …

      Are you picking Romo (this year)
      to win it all … again ?

      You know, of course … you’re probably not
      gonna ever live that one down …
      (at least any time soon, that is ) .. :)

        1. I for one think the exchange of idea’s has worked far better with him not as active in the conversation. It seems when he is most of the posters efforts are spent either contradicting or one upping him rather than focusing on expressing their own perspectives and idea’s. I mean Grant pretty much expresses himself through his blog. I think he has been doing really well as a facilitator the last few weeks.

      1. Something tells me there had to have been some sarcasm with that prediction(Romo). No one in their right mind would make given…well…Romo, and that horrific Dallas defense.

  3. Coach Harbaw sez:
    ” I’m excited. Very excited. ”
    He thinks Colin has “that look.”

    …somebody explain to the man
    it takes more than a slack-jawed stare,
    more than stink eye…
    to win a football game.

  4. I don’t understand why this kind of thing even needs to be said by Harbs. Just prepare for the season, win a Super Bowl, then humbly REFLECT on Kaep’s accomplishments rather than making hype-filled predictions.

  5. This is just SO MUCH FLUFF. His footwork hasn’t improved, his accuracy hasn’t improved, and I haven’t heard anything about him being able to read his progressions any better….so of course we should give him a ton of money before he earns it…I’m losing all confidence in our front office. ….’like anyone cares….

    1. “……This is just SO MUCH FLUFF. His footwork hasn’t improved, his accuracy hasn’t improved,…”

      Have you been to camp to watch him, yet this season ?

      Wrong time to hit the panic button, Oregon ..we
      haven’t played the Cowboys, yet !

    2. Ah, my good buddy Oregon : -)
      We have all hashed and rehashed CK’ issues ad nauseum.
      Rather than continuing to ‘kick a dead horse’ why don’t we just let the season play out before putting the failure label on CK as you are prone to do.

      I too have been disappointed with the final outcome of our last two seasons but I’m far from putting the entire blame on Kaep and ready to replace him with someone else.

      I’ve asked this question of you before and I’ll ask it again: Who would you rather have at QB for this team?

      While we’re at it, what other QB (besides CK) has taken us to the SB over the last twenty years?

      1. @AES

        You mistake my intentions; as I have stated before, I think that Kaepernick is an AMAZING athlete….but NOT an amazing QB. In fact, I believe that CK just might have all of the qualities that we were looking for heading into the draft…he has the speed to get downfield to where no D-backfield could afford to not double team him…..as a receiver. Can he catch the ball? I don’t have a choice, we’ll HAVE to let the season play out…then what? Have a long-term $18 million a year QB who, to this point hasn’t shown us that he can get us to the promised land…Lombardi.


        As I explained, I just don’t think that he’s a franchise QB

        1. Oregon.
          “In fact, I believe that CK just might have all of the qualities that we were looking for heading into the draft…he has the speed to get downfield to where no D-backfield could afford to not double team him…..as a receiver. Can he catch the ball?”

          Ah, you’ve pretty much made your intentions known with the above statement.
          Nuff said.

        2. I’m sorry but CK would be a horrible WR. His 40 times are not fast for a wr, if anything they’d be considered just average, good but not great, and the guy has no wiggle in his movements…he’s a straight line runner, not a guy who I’d expect to be good at running routes, with his what look to be too long of legs….great for running straight ahead but ask him to cut (like moving around in the pocket) and he becomes 2 left feet.

          But I do feel that he should play this year out, people want to equate the teams success and say he’s great because of it, when if anything, his stats and production are hardly a reason for their success. This was a qb who went over 250 passing yards just 4 times all year and had 10 200 or less passing yard games, anyone remember 91 yards, 0 tds, 1 int and a 42 qbr against the Panthers IN CANDLESTICK? Look at his performance last year against playoff teams and its bottom 5 numbers save for the 1 game against a horrible pass defending Green Bay team. He really needs to show that his success is not a biproduct of being the guy lucky enough to QB one of the top 5 teams in the NFL

    3. Oregon we know you don’t like him. But get used to him. He’s our franchise Qb like it or not.

      1. just cause you call him a franchise qb doesn’t mean he is one…it is interesting how everyone ignores/fails to respond to the facts Oregon lists (# of games under 200 yds, you could add completion % under 60%–3 turnovers in 4th qrt of most important game of the year-choke choke–terrible decision to throw to crabtree with Sherman on him)
        Oregon you aren’t the only one that has doubts about the great kaepernick

        1. mark,

          Well mark, maybe you could answer some questions that mr. factual Oregon seems to evade.

          1. Who would you rather have at QB?
          2. Which other QB has taken us to a SB in the last 20 yrs?

          Hey, I for one am calling CK a franchise QB. But when compared to other franchise QB’ that have gone up against the likes of Seattle over the past two seasons, I am sticking with Kaep.

          Franchise QB’s: Drew Brees, failed. Payton Manning, failed.
          Franchise QB’s that CK has faired well against: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady.
          Now mark tell me, are those facts?

          1. Yes those are facts. Brady in Brady’s house, Rogers three straight times, Brees IMO twice since they blew the Ahmad Brooks call. Matt Ryan twice, Cam Newton in the playoffs and he’s undefeated against Seattle at home.
            IMO franchise guy.

        2. Oregon and Mark,

          Passing yardage means nothing if the attempts are low, which they were. Kap was top ten in yards per attempt which is much more telling in terms of performance.

          It’s fine to question whether Kap is a franchise QB, but to ignore what he’s already accomplished is simply being biased against the player.

          1. rocket,
            I don’t put much weight to Bleacher/Report entries but I thought that this was an interesting article.
            When I look at some of the QB’ mentioned in this article as being franchise QB’s, I have no problem putting Kaep in the franchise conversation.
            I like how they divide ‘franchise’ vs ‘elite’ as well.

            I don’t believe CK is elite, but he certainly fit the criteria for franchise.


            1. AES,

              I agree with the assessment. I’ve often stated many around here have an unrealistic standard of expectation they hold Kap too, and you see it with some of the comments on here the past couple of days. A few knocking Kap now are some of the ones who used to blanch at the criticism of Alex Smith, so it’s ironic they are doing the same to Kap.

              The fact is Kap was a top ten QB last year in passer rating and QBR. He was top ten in the rankings at year end by PFF and PFO, and he has led the team to a SB appearance and two NFCCG’s. No matter what your view is on his footwork or maturity or ability to improve as a pocket passer, the overwhelming evidence shows a QB who has won more games than anybody, and has become a top ten QB in a year and a half as a starter.

              All the questions being thrown out about whether he can improve pale in comparison to what has transpired on the field. As I said it’s fine to question whether he is a franchise level QB right now, and there is no doubt he has things to work on, but his natural ability puts him at higher level than most of the starting QB’s in the league right now. If he improves in the areas he needs to, we are then talking about how he will compare to the elite of the league. Fans can be fickle, but really need to appreciate what we have here because most of the teams in this league are dying for a player of this caliber.

              1. rocket,
                Good stuff.
                Sometimes I want to kick myself for trying to reason with people on here who still wave the Alex Smith banner, but it is what it is.

                I am looking forward for CK to improve in all facets of the QB position this season.
                The offense is stacked this season and is primed for CK to have a great year.

    4. “So much fluff”? You know this how? Is Oreganiner code for Geep Chryst?

      The position he plays takes at least three to four years of playing(generally) to see close to a player’s full potential. He’s played a year and half’s worth of games.

      Gil Brandt made mention that he believed “We won’t see the real Kaepernick until the end of 2015”. That’s two years off. Is he right? Maybe, or maybe not.

      Greg Cosell had a similar critique. He believed the learning curve for Kaepernick would be a little steeper, given the offense he ran in college.

      His first full season end with almost 3,200 yards passing, 21 TD’s, 8 INT’s, passing at almost a 60% completion rate. And rushing for 500+ yards. Not bad for kid finishing his first full year starting, on an offense that ran the ball more than every other team in the league, with basically, one legitimate WR for most of the season.

      Have faith man, have faith.

    5. OREGONIN: “His footwork hasn’t improved, his accuracy hasn’t improved, and I haven’t heard anything about him being able to read his progressions any better”——— As MWNiner states it’s too early to hit the panic button. You are stating your opinions as facts. Opinions based on little actual information. Now you might say that you doubt Harbaugh’s evaluation as spin, but you don’t really know that for sure do you. Then you follow that up by saying that you haven’t HEARD anything about his being able read progressions better. If you don’t trust Harbaugh’s earlier assessment about his accuracy why would you care that any statement about his ability to go through progressions was left out. You in directly imply that that means that he hasn’t improved in that respect. Sounds like debate tactics where individuals are trying to spin any information to reflect their perspective rather than using available information to form an objective conclusion.

      I the same type of rationalizations were used last season in respect to AJ. People saw what they wanted and wished to see. In that case they were hoping for the best and their perspective reflected that. You use the same type of reasoning but in reverse. What you chose to see is influenced by you pre-conclusion rather than letting what you see influence your conclusions objectively. This is validated by your use of the term ” hasn’t” in respect to things that you haven’t yet had the opportunity to observe. An unknown to you then becomes fact because you want it to be so.

      1. Willtalk

        I’m sure that you were great on the debate team….I have no desire to go point by point with you about your post…it’s too long, and there are some statements that seem confusing , at best. To my ‘limited’ understanding, this an opinion blog, which sort of eliminates the whole idea of facts. In a later post, I did ask questions, which should find either agreement or disagreement. Incidently, that his footwork, and reads came from CK’s own quotes.

  6. chalk boards, cue cards, ammunition…

    olive jars full of… (what do you know..?!!)
    * * * * *……….OLIVES…. * * * * * *

    somebody remind Coach Harbaw that
    the jar is not yet full; we are still missing
    Lombardi trophy #6…

    ….the Super Bowl monkey is not going away.
    Do you feel me, Mister Harbaw???

    1. You keep saying we, there is no we, or us, in you speaking of the 49ers. Its just you, your asssssylum mental aspects, and your living in the mommy basement with your infatuation with Coach and Kap. If there is any Super bowl for us 9er fans, it willbe celebrated at the wimb and expense of your dumd “harbaw sez” crap. Go get some pu..y and smile. Im sure coach and kap are doing very well in life, and practice, and preparing with OUR team. Have a good day Mr. Prez

      1. Steel ..

        maybe if you ignore him .. he’ll go away ..
        (Nah ! .. no such luck) …

        Hey .. I did a little hacking on his IP..
        and used his web cam to find out what he looks like ..

        Curious ?? … Look Here

        1. HAHAHAH! so funny MW! that made my day! Hes even got his “tough guy face” on ! lol!

      2. Steel, this idiot has NEVER gotten any of what you suggested. He’s Steve Carrell
        in 40 year old virgin minus actually being funny. I bet he’s got a framed Asia poster and a bunch of plastic super heroes still in their original packaging too.

    2. Hey Monkey? Maybe that space between your ears could come up with something other than feeble regurgitated comments.

  7. For the Josh Gordon fans:

    1. Mary,
      Nice report. But Kelly’ failure to mention N.Bowman (impact due to injury) in his article puts his reputation at risk.
      How could anyone sports writer worth his weight in gold overlook such an impact player?

      In any case, the key word in his heading is “potential.” On paper these teams have an abundance of talent but it has to come together on the field.

      The same holds true for many of the young and return from injury-list 49ers.
      C’mon September!

      1. Kelly also failed to include arguably the best LB in game; Patrick Willis.
        Sorry (but thanks for the article), but I am forced to dismiss Kelly’ report (lol).

        1. It was an article about the best defensive lines. Nothing wrong about not talking about the inside linebackers when the article is about the top d-lines. Now, I’m not sure I agree with his assessment, but I wouldn’t dismiss it over not discussing an entirely different position group.

          He also wrote about the linebackers, too. If you want to see what he said about Willis and Bowman, you can do so here: http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/5/30/5742946/best-nfl-linebacker-corps-bills-49ers-kiko-alonso-novorro-bowman

          1. Euclidite,
            Thanks for the link. I was working off Mary’ earlier link in which some impact players were not mentioned.
            Kelly is back in my good graces (lol).

    1. Grant ..
      this time .. try to get on camera ..

      (right in front of TK would be nice)

  8. Vernon Davis is signed through 2015, when he hits free-agency he’ll be 32 and probably not worth elite TE money (two years from now). You can’t pay everybody, Vance McDonald…raise the freaking bar.

    1. I wonder what Davis pays his employees at his Jamba Juice franchise? Minimum wage or are they getting paid the third highest wage amongst all Jamba Juice franchises?

      1. Moonlighting as a Jamba Juice cashier. Who’d of thought.

        You’re right this blog seems to have a far less number of trolls. Although I see a V/UFO/ Badfinger/Haley individual is posting on this particular blog. Hopefully this isn’t a recurring thing.

  9. note to MWNiner
    (still in my original packing…) ha, ha..

    When the 2014 Niner season (under Coach Harbaw)
    ends early… again (!!! )
    please post a picture of the “Internet Tough Guy”
    with the face of Mister Harbaw photoshopped on it.
    In the meantime, the San Francisco head coach
    is the person who belongs in the “mommy basement”.
    …unless and until he brings home a Super Bowl win.

    1. So if he does win a Super Bowl will you cease to post here?

      BTW, do you play an Epiphone?

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