Harbaugh says it’s important for the 49ers to gain momentum going into the playoffs

This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.


How was your Christmas?

“Happy Holidays. Yeah, warmest holiday wishes to everybody. Yeah, excited to be back. Big week for us. And looking forward to a great week of preparation.”


Can you give us any update on WR Mario Manningham? His status?

“Yeah, he’s not going to be available the rest of the way.”


How do you compensate for that? I know WR A.J. Jenkins got a few games in there. Do you think he’s ready to take it to that next level?

“Yes. A.J. will step up. We’ll look at a couple other options there at receiver. But, that group will have to step up.”


You have a couple guys with NFL playing experience on the practice squad, wide receivers. Are those a possibility?

“Yeah, those are possibilities. We’ll give that a real good look this week.”


Will you be bringing anybody in from the outside?

“Not at this time.”


TE Vernon Davis’ concussion, is he OK? Is he cleared to practice today?

“I don’t believe he’ll be practicing today.”


Has he had any setbacks at all?

“Not that I’m aware of.”


How about DT Justin Smith?

“Continue to rehab there.”


WR Randy Moss, he’s 35 years old. Do you think he can take on the added work load without WR Kyle Williams, without Mario Manningham?

“Well, he’s been doing that. There’s been an added workload for Randy and he’s been handling it well.”


When you went back and studied the Seattle film, what particularly jumped out at you, in terms of concerns you need to address going forward?

“Like we said, we didn’t do anything well enough to win the game. There were some positives, but we just didn’t win the down enough, nearly enough, to be competitive in the game.”


The third downs in particular, they converted almost all of them. It’s uncharacteristic of the defense. But, is that something that’s reflective of Justin’s presence not being in there?

“Well, you don’t want to ever make any excuses. So, I think it has an effect. He’s a great player. But, it’s still our responsibility to get the job done.”


You had mentioned those wide receivers on the practice squad. Will there be sort of an internal competition there to see who can possibly get that bump up to the 53-man roster?

“Yes. I believe it will come from somebody on our practice squad, whether it’s a wide receiver or a different position.”


How much does it help to have somebody like TE Delanie Walker to spread out wide if you need him to?

“Yeah, that helps. We have some versatile tight ends. And that’s a factor.”


Will we see more of TE Garrett Celek this week?

“Yeah, you saw some more of Garrett Celek last week and his play’s been positive, and continues to be an ascending player.”


He talked earlier in the season and he himself had said his hands weren’t very good. He didn’t have reliable hands and it’s something he’s really worked on. Vernon and Delanie have worked with him on that. Have you noticed that? Do you feel better when the ball’s going to him now?

“Yes. He’s been very good in that regard. He didn’t get a lot of balls thrown to him in college. But, he’s shown steady improvement in all areas. And feel like Garrett’s an ascending player.”


The Cardinals had a lot of problems with their offensive line with injuries and shuffling. You guys have had the same starting unit all season long. And just how have those benefits evolved throughout the season with that continuity?

“It’s been a real positive for us. Our offensive line that plays together, that has that cohesiveness. It’s very important for that unit.”


You guys had like 30 or some odd false starts last year. And more than half that this year. Is that another indicator of a line that’s been together, that’s more cohesive?

“Yeah, I think that is a stat that’s reflective of that and understanding the offense. That’s the cohesion that goes in.”


Do you think momentum is a tangible thing you can sort of sense as a coach?

“Yeah. It’s something that definitely we want to do. That’s a main objective to play for the Western Division championship this week. And then also a running start into the big championship. I think that’s important.”


Will we be seeing more defensive line rotations in and out to give them some more rest heading into the playoffs?

“We’ll see if that’s possible, considering what are numbers are on the defensive line.”


Arizona’s obviously lost 10 of 11. It’s still a dangerous team, or what problems do they present?

“They’re all professionals. We’ve played against this team three times. We know what they’re capable of. Sometimes in a game like this, anything goes. And their mindset will be to win the game. So, you have to be ready. You have to be alert for just about anything. Could be a new quarterback, could be a new offensive system. Anything’s possible.”


Speaking of new quarterback, Cardinals QB Brian Hoyer, do you know much about him?

“Yeah, from what we’ve seen of him from New England. And recently acquired. Then playing the snaps he got last week.”


On Christmas, what did you do?

“Spent the morning opening up presents with the kids, and then worked the rest of the day.”

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