Harbaugh losing confidence Edwards will play this Sunday

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh just said in his Wednesday afternoon press conference that he’s “not as optimistic or confident” as he was the other day when he said he expected Braylon Edwards to play this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

Harbaugh says his waning confidence applies to the other injured players as well – Adam Snyder (right shoulder stinger), Parys Haralson (hamstring) and Tramaine Brock (broken left hand).

Stay tuned for the entire Harbaugh transcript which I will post here shortly.

UPDATE: Braylon Edwards ran routes and caught passes during today’s warmups. He looked healthy – he did not limp or favor his right knee. However, he was the only player take take a knee between reps. His cardio vascular fitness seems behind the rest of the offensive players, which is not surprising.

Here’s the complete transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Q&A, courtesy of the 49ers.

From what you saw from WR Braylon Edwards, how does he look out there?

“I think we need a little more evaluation. Might have been a little overly optimistic, just in general, about our guys making it back for this ball game. We’ll assess it and determine it day by day.”

Why? Once you saw them on the field, they weren’t where you thought?

“Just might have been a little overly optimistic as to how far along some of the fellas were.”

What’s your concern with Braylon?

“Just that it needs to be assessed day by day.”

At the beginning of the year, your quarterback was Alex Smith and he has done a very good job it seems. Maybe not a superb job, but good enough. Are you pleased, and how do you judge a quarterback? Is it that the game is won or his numbers, or what?

“I think there’s different measurements. Certainly our goal is to win games, that’s our only goal. Then there are other standards. I think Alex has done a superb job. We just keep trying to build on that.”

When you played, did coaches tell you the same thing, win the game or don’t worry about the numbers? That was the emphasis when you were a QB?

“You’re doing your job, everybody’s trying to execute their job. But, what’s the most important thing? Winning the game. That’s the team objective, that’s the team goal. Then you want to play well at your position and do your job to contribute and find creative ways that you can contribute to the team’s success.”

Can you remember when in your playing career or coaching career you realized the importance of special teams to the unit as a whole, the team as a whole? Is that something you always had with you or something you realized after you started coaching?

“I think I’ve always had a great appreciation for it as a player. Field position that arises from the play of the special teams, that struggle to gain that advantage. The fact that it’s a fifth of all the plays in the game. You can’t underestimate it.”

You talk about field position, your final drive against the Lions was set up by a nice punt return. Are you overall happy with the field position this year, do you think that’s been a nice component of your offense, what the special teams has given you guys?

“Yes. It’s been superb and we keep trying to build on that. The guys on our team take great pride in it and will continue to do that. [Special Teams Coordinator] Brad has done a tremendous job, Brad Seely. Phenomenal football coach, great teacher, technician all the way around.”

I was going to ask you about him. You seem to be next to him on the sideline throughout the game. Are you leaning on him for things other than special teams, is he sort of a sounding board? What’s his in-game function for you?

“Oh yeah, leaning on him. Like Abraham leaning on his staff. With all the guys on our coaching staff. I would say Coach Seely to a high degree. In-game and during the week, during preparations, there’s so many times that I just go into his office and pull up a chair and we talk. Sometimes even put the feet up on the desk and talk, and hash things out and bat things around. He’s a tremendous resource.”

I think people would say that that’s rare for a head coach to lean on the special teams coach as much. Is it because of his experience, because of his sharp mind, what about him makes him such a good resource for you?

“All those things. I feel great that way about everybody, all of our coaches. There’s several guys that I’ll go talk to the same way, pull up a chair and talk football with. I think the guys on your staff, I would categorize as my mentors, who I talk football with and learn from. Definitely Brad to a really high degree.”

The team’s done very well so far, is there a danger in feeling too good and too comfortable having the game ahead?

“We’re definitely worried about it. Dangers lurk, no question about it. The thing we’re just stressing is to keep climbing, we don’t want to hang on like a mountain climber, like a rock climber. It takes more energy to hang out than it does to climb, so we’ll just keep climbing. That seems like the obvious thing to do. And have more questions than we have answers. I think that’s how you improve and how you get better. We’re not changing, we’re striving to improve. Haven’t got off of that course and left that track or that way of thinking from the beginning.”

Do you expect C/G Adam Snyder to play or is he in that group you mentioned who you’re not sure about?

“Yes. Not sure. Need to assess that.”

Could you share with us what Braylon and Snyder and some of those guys were able to do at practice yesterday or where they were?

“I could, but I don’t think I would be accurate enough to share that at this point. You start speaking for other guys and how they’re feeling and what they’re going through. You mentioned almost all the guys that are going through something right now and they’re working through it. We’ll assess it each day, but I’m not as confident as I was, or as optimistic as I was the other day, but that will all be determined over the course of the next couple days.”

As the head coach going into the middle of the season, have you had any time to talk to General Manager Trent Baalke about the future contract situations with players and any deals you would like to extend to these guys during the season?

“There are discussions. Nothing that we would really talk about specifically again.  Because then you start speaking for other people, specifically the players. This is our team, these are our guys. Hope that there’s guys that want to come back and can continue to be a part of this concept of team players this year, next year, and in to the future. That’s a good thing, I think everybody’s, they want to be a Niner and I can understand it. It’s a great place to be.”

Is there a balancing act? Is it something where you don’t want the focus on the future when you’re in the middle of the season or is it a relief for some guys to get it hammered out now as opposed to waiting until the end of the year?

“Personally speaking now, this is just me talking, that’s where I choose to live, is in the future. Plan, save, prepare, work, to make a better future. That’s where the wheels are turning in guys’ minds. I know they are in mine. I think it’s a positive thing.”

Frank was able to get his deal done before the season started. What have you seen in him, the last few games, to kind of get him going again? He’s gotten a couple big runs here and there. What’s made that transition after the first couple games?

“Again, we don’t have answers. Everybody wants the answers, the why, the how, the what, what are the keys. Frank’s been great since he got here the first day of training camp. The unit continues to grow and improve and that rising tide lifts all ships. Where’s the question in that? The question is: are we good enough to keep doing it? Are we tough enough? Are we disciplined enough in our study habits? Are we smart enough? Are we learning? Are we getting smarter? Lot more questions that we’re asking ourselves than answers.”

You always talk about Freddy P. Soft. Your brother’s team on Monday had a game against Jacksonville that was kind of a disappointing loss. Do you use that as a teaching tool with your guys, how anybody can beat anybody in this league and you can’t look past the Cleveland Browns for example?

“We’re well aware of that. As it relates to us, everybody that we play on our schedule has the ability to beat us, and we have the ability to beat anybody on our schedule. Getting physically prepared, getting mentally prepared, getting emotionally motivated to play are the keys. Each week is a sprint; you have to treat them like 16 one-game seasons.”

DT Ricky Jean Francois has become quite engaging with us in the locker room. He’s also said he’s open to debate with you, the head coach, about Andrew Luck’s draft status.

“Is that right?”

Yeah, he thinks that if this guy played against an SEC school, his draft stock would fall. Will you engage in that, or just let him have his opinion?

“That’s a constant topic in NFL locker rooms in general. It certainly is here. The fellas have a lot of pride in their schools. That’s a real constant. They have a lot of pride in their conferences, etc. There’s just a lot of fun that goes on about this, laughing at each other, those kinds of things. That’s normal. We’ll agree to disagree.”

We know what you did during the bye week in terms of entertainment with your daughter. Did she work on a handshake with you at all? You did say that was on your agenda last week, to work on your handshake.

“She’s got the high five down.”

So you guys worked on it?

“She high fives.”

TE Delanie Walker seems like a very unique weapon. How does his versatility help you accomplish what do you want to accomplish?

“It’s huge, it’s big for us. I was reading one of the clips where I think the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times pointed out how many different places Delanie has lined up in formations. I wasn’t aware of that, that he’s been in that many spots. The thing that really is remarkable is that he learns and understands all those things. That doesn’t happen without astute, sharp football guy that really studies and takes pride in that part of his game. Delanie’s top shelf when it comes to that. He has been since the day we started training camp. So, it’s huge, it’s big. It doesn’t happen without guys that are quick, quick-minded and study.”

Do you consider Pat Shurmur a friend? I know you don’t like to have “friends” but he said he knows the Harbaugh family quite well, and has for years and your dad. So, is that a friendly rivalry or how would you categorize that?

“None of these rivalries are friendly when you’re out there. Go back quite a ways, back to college days competing and then Pat was on the staff with my brother in Philadelphia, so got to know him a little bit there. Very friendly at the owners meeting, that kind of thing, etc.

What is characteristic of a Pat Shurmur team that you have seen since he’s been at the Browns?

“Really, you say this almost every week, but they’re really a well coached team. Very salty on defense, very, very physical. It shows up in really all three phases, so that’s a characteristic, that’s a habit for this team. They are tough; they are clean in their assignments and fundamentals. They do the right things on the football field. The special teams are very daunting with [WR] Josh Cribbs, the way they use personnel, they way they play the game of football. They’re doing it the right way.”

What exactly do you mean by salty?

“Tough, rough.”

Having said that, regarding this upcoming opponent, would I be accurate if I said for you guys it’s pretty much how you play, not so much how the Browns play? It’s kind of about us, not about them type thing?

“It’s about us . It’s about them, yeah. Their team colliding with our team, our plan against their plan. How motivated we are, how strong our will is versus theirs. Those things collide every single week and your will versus their will. Expect another hard fought football game, like they are every single week.”

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