SANTA CLARA – Here’s what Jim Harbaugh said about the 49ers offense at his Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.
We talked to offensive coordinator Greg Roman yesterday. He noted that it was obvious early on that QB Alex Smith was hot. That WR Michael Crabtree was hot. When you see that early on, do you then start to tailor the calls to fit the hot hands, so to speak?
“Yeah, and really great credit to Greg Roman. And just the game that he called, the plan that he had for our team. We all have just tremendous confidence in Greg. And he is a shining light. He is a real, real superstar. And the same for [defensive coordinator] Vic Fangio, [asst. head coach/special teams coordinator] Brad Seely. Great, great games for both their resumes. Exceptional, exceptional job by all those men. Alex definitely had a great game. Alex had a tremendous game. Playmakers, Michael Crabtree and [WR] Mario Manningham and [TE] Vernon Davis. All of our receivers, [WR] Kyle Williams, [WR] Randy Moss. Just outstanding performances by those men. Real shining stars on our offense. Also, [TE] Delanie Walker. There’s a guy who had no catches in the game, but just does it all, ‘Mr. Do It All.’ Outstanding game for him. And the one penalty that he got, wasn’t a penalty, or it didn’t seem like it was. That’s really the only thing you could say about his performance. It was outstanding. Just multiple alignment, multiple assignment. Really well executed. A couple other guys, [T] Joe Staley and [T] Anthony Davis had tremendous games against very good players, very good pass rushers along the front. And really besides one hurry by [Anthony Davis] A.D. And again, I thought it was an outstanding block by Joe Staley that was flagged. Was a tremendous block on his part. So, really those two exceptional games as well. And the rest of our offensive line, again a great performance against a really solid unit.”
With 556 rushing yards in the last two games and averaging 6.1 yards per carry, has the addition of guys like Manningham and Moss help to open things up in the running game? I’m sure there are various reasons for that, but is that one of them?
“Yeah, I think that goes both ways. It helps open up the running game as [RB] Frank [Gore] noted. That’s an obvious thing. Those guys are doing a great job. And then the running game helps the passing game as well. But, protection was really good. The route running was exceptional and throws were exceptional.”
How tough is it for a quarterback to throw a pass that’s not designed to be thrown the way it was, such as for the ball that Alex threw to Kyle Williams?
“Pretty tough, pretty exceptional. To make that kind of snap decision without the muscle memory of really practicing it on that particular play. That’s something that’s not the intent on that play. But, Kyle made an adjustment and a cool-headed decision by Alex. And they were both in sync and executed it flawlessly. So, I think that speaks volumes for both those guys.”
In terms of the personnel that you guys have now and just the way you’ve been able to evolve the playbook in your second year, how different is this offense than the one that ended last season in the NFC Championship game?
“Different in some ways and similar in most of the ways. They’ve been consistently good with their attitude, their approach. Talent level I think has been upgraded and guys are playing really well. Playing really well together. Again, talk about just a good attitude amongst the offensive players. Whatever they can do to help the team move and score points and pick up first downs, etcetera, they’re doing it very much as a group and as a team. And to a man, you could highlight every one of them. Delanie Walker, again, everything that he does for our offense, without the statistics that most people look at. Randy Moss has been just great. A lot of people talk about the past or whatever, I’ve seen nothing other than a guy that just works hard and wants to contribute and practices, just says and does all the right things. If there was something in the past it’d be like that etch-a-sketch you have a as a kid and you lift that piece of paper up. It’s been nothing but great, nothing but good. Same with Alex Smith. To a man, our line, everybody.”
Getting back to Randy, he seems to be the single wide receiver in a lot of times when you have your running personnel out there. Is that because defenses need to respect him and he’s taking two guys away from what could be a running play?
“Yeah, in some cases that’s definitely been happening.”
And the long play to – I forget the yardage, to Vernon Davis, I think it was 53 yards. It seemed like Randy was part and parcel with that is that right?
“Yeah. It definitely can – and I wouldn’t say just Randy. There are a lot of players that are proving that you’ve got to respect their presence, their ability. Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, Randy Moss, Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Frank Gore, [RB] Kendall Hunter, [QB] Colin Kaepernick. We feel very confident in all those guys making plays and doing their assignment and doing it to the best of their God-given ability every play.”