Jim Harbaugh: “This is a big game, big challenge, big task but we’re excited to compete.”

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

You talked on the radio this morning how the challenge that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense gives you guys, but you said that you think your defense is going to be up for it. So, what are expecting out of your defense and how well they’ve been playing this season?

“Big challenge. Huge task. A tremendous offense. Great quarterback. Capital ‘G’ at the highest level. And that competitive challenge is something that I think our team, our defense, will be up for.”


How much more do you have to do with LB Chris Borland this week in practice if he does get the start if LB Patrick Willis is not able to go? Practice with the ones that way he gets first-team snaps?



From what you’ve seen from a rookie in just limited time in his game, just seemed like he’s playing beyond a rookie.

“Yeah, I really believe that. Credit to our assistant coaches. Across the board, young players that are playing very well that are doing a great job and credit to them. They’ve stayed with it, stayed in it, kept coming and put themselves in a position to play very well. And expect that from Chris. He’s shown that he can play. Shown it on special teams. Two weeks ago, four tackles. This past week, tackled well, broke up two passes. Excited for him.”


Is he far enough along that LB Michael Wilhoite really doesn’t have to worry much about him? Michael’s been in the system. Does he have to help Chris out during the course of a game?

“I don’t think Chris Borland needs a caddy. He’s a fine player. But Michael Wilhoite is in position – that experienced inside linebacker, signal caller – he’ll be helping out. That’s part of the job description.”


Does LB Patrick Willis have a sprained toe?

“It’s nothing to characterize. We’ll evaluate. It’s day-to-day.”


Would you characterize it only as a toe injury?



CB Tramaine Brock has a toe injury and he’s been out, for what, six weeks now? Can you say whether Willis’ injury is less severe? It sounds as if you’re saying it’s less than severe than what Tramaine Brock has been going through.

“That’s the way it’s been described to me.”


Do you think that Willis will miss six weeks?

“It’s not for me to say. Day-to-day is day-to-day.”


You described Peyton Manning as great with a capital ‘G’. What do you admire about his game? What do you admire about the way he plays quarterback?

“It’s just everything about it is at the highest level.”


What do you admire the most?

“All qualities. Great competitor, great player. He’s done it and done it and done it and keeps doing it at the highest level. Tremendous player.”


When you were able to spend some time with him in 2012, what kind of stood out? What was the takeaway from, in your mind, what has made this guy so great through the years?

“Everything that’s been reported about him. Everything that teammates, coaches, have described about Peyton Manning. I think it’s well documented. Everything about him, his game, his career, has been at the highest level.”


What thoughts do you have about his chance of setting the career touchdown record against you guys this Sunday?

“What are his chances? I don’t know.”


Well, what are your thoughts about the fact that he’s three touchdowns away from doing that? You guys could be the team that he does it against?

“We’re preparing for the game. Our expectations are to have a great day today. We’re going to have to be at our best. So, meetings, practice preparation, needs to be at its finest.”


Would you consider him to be one of the greatest to ever play that position?

“Yeah, I don’t think that would be going out on a limb.”


Who would you think is the best quarterback to ever play that position?

“I don’t really like to compare.”


He likes to use the word ‘Omaha’. Do you have a word that when you were playing the game that you might’ve used? When he checks down he always yells out, “Omaha.”



Is there any more motivation for your defense about not being the team that he sets that record against?

“As I’ve said, we’re going to have to be at our best. Great challenge. It’s a prolific offense, but it’s a very good football team defensively. Their special teams is exceptional across the board. This is a big game, big challenge, big task but we’re excited to compete. And it starts today – competition, understanding our opponent and preparing for them.”


They did a lot of work in the offseason addressing their defense with free agency. How would you say those guys, Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive end Demarcus Ware, have played for them so far?

“Very good. Ware missed last season but he looks like the player he was in 2012 and before. Think he’s moving really well. They have 10 sacks between the two outside linebackers, putting pressure on the quarterback, getting hurries, getting sacks. Playing extremely well. Same with the secondary.”


When you had some injuries, TE Derek Carrier stepped in and played pretty well. Is that a week-to-week thing as far as who the guy behind TE Vernon Davis is? I know TE Vance McDonald played a lot more than Derek this last game. Is that a static situation or has Vance pretty much won that job?

“I think we’ve gone over this before. We don’t get into … when we talk about quarterback, starter. That’s about as far as we go. Vance is a valued player. Derek’s a valued player.”


Is the altitude there a real thing for an opponent coming in? Is it something that you kind of have to expect you might have to adjust to or do you just game plan and prepare just like you normally would?



Which one?

“We would prepare like we normally would.”


How far back have you guys started preparing for the Broncos?

“We did some work on it this week with the extra time, extra day.”


Is that just the coaching staff or do the players get involved in that preparation as well?

“Coaching staff.”


It’s somewhat unusual with the schedule that you’re playing a road Monday night game then going on the road again to play on Sunday. If you see NFL senior vice president of broadcasting Howard Katz in the offseason, are you going to mention this to him or have you mentioned it? Does it seem like, I guess, unfair? Does it seem unfair the way the schedule has you setup, does it seem unfair?

“No. That’s a big job that Mr. Katz has. I think every team could look at their schedule and say, ‘Oh, this is beneficial, this is a challenge.’ Every team could say that every season. I’m pretty sure we played a Monday night game (12/19/11) and then played a Saturday game (12/24/11) at one time in our stay here. Did we? Pittsburgh and then a Saturday game against Seattle, possibly, 2011? But that would be my answer.”


What strides have you seen from T Jonathan Martin from Week 1 until now and also CB Chris Cook as well being counted on? Did you get a chance to see what he did on special teams?

“Chris did a fantastic job on special teams, a heads up alert play. They were lined up for a fake punt and Chris diagnosed it and they ended up taking a delay of game. So a real good heads up play by him. He’s been good in other weeks, too, so, been good. Jonathan Martin, really good. Talked about it before, he keeps improving. Very good this year. Really glad we have Jonathan, he’s doing a great job.”


Regarding QB Josh Johnson, is part of the situation with him you really want him to be taking as many practice snaps so he’s sharp if you need to call upon him at some point this season?



Is he Peyton Manning this week? Will he practice for your scout team as Peyton Manning?

“Both [QB] Blaine [Gabbert] and Josh will.”

This article has 27 Comments

  1. To Blitz or not to blitz.
    Nothin to lose. I hope they just pin their ears back and blitz the old man all day and make him throw those outs. Take away the middle of the field and jump his wobbly floaters.
    Offensively RUN RUN RUN!!!!

    1. I wonder if Fangio will prepare the defense the same way his did for the Eagles game.

      Fang rotated WRs. As soon as a play was done, another pair of WRs lined up for snap. That got the DBs ready for the fast pace, with an emphasis on eliminating alignment errors against the hurry up offense.

      1. Stop Thomas, give Peyton the dump off stuff underneath, tackle well, and hit Manning after every throw-legally.

  2. Some of these questions asked by the Bay Area reporters know that they are not going to get answered, right? JH does a great job of giving vanilla answers like he’s testifying on the stand. Go Jim!

    1. Speaking of which …

      ” … Who would you think is the best quarterback to ever play that position? …”

      This coming from a 49ers beat writer .. ??

      Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me ?

      There’s only one answer to that question …

      And the caveat “hands down !” … must
      be added to the answer, as well !

  3. Wow same ending for the broncos as the Niners last week. Pick six to end it. Same score.
    Watching Denver vs NY.
    I noticed them bringing safety help for the rush vs NY. I wonder if they gamble like that vs sf.

    Offensively Manning was throwing the ball everywhere. He doesn’t have the zip he once had, disrupt their timing and he won’t be the same qb. Everything is timing routes. He throws ducks to the outside. The Jets rushed 3 and manning picked their zone apart. If the Niners blitz and bump I think they may have something to beat their offense. Cover 2 I think will give manning problems too.

    I think we need to throw vs them all day. Bring out a hurry up and 4 wr sets. Make it a sprinting contest. IF the run doesn’t work, and Denver plays the runs well. Throw all first half and tire them out, run the ball to seal the game. It’s this simple IMO make manning throw more an he’s blind to make mistakes vs this secondary. Take away his timing routes over the middle. Make him beat you outside. Again he throws floaters!

  4. MD ..

    Peyton can’t throw much while he’s lookin’ up at the sky ..
    As with the Lambs QB .. we gotta get the sack totals up ..

    and who better to use as a tackling dummy but him ?

    Niners all day !

    1. He will fall down if we get close. He’s not trying to get hurt. Denver’s O-line is tougher than Stl. And manning will throw the ball before the sack on time and on route. It’s going to be tough. That’s why I’m thinking bump their receivers off the line, spy his outlet at all times. Take away his quick throws in the middle. Instead of running to set up the pass manning sets up the deep throws with the short ones.
      Until this team puts four quarters of football together, I’m not going to be that confident in saying they will win.

  5. I hope the 49ers do blitz. That way the huge TD will be given up each time. I’m sure what they did to the Rams, Broncos got it all covered. After all, they watched Monday Night Football.

  6. note to Coach Harbaw:
    We talked about this before…
    Putting the ball in the hands of the opponent
    late in the game, having only a 7-point lead.
    Meaning you leave the door open for a tie
    (sending the game into overtime) or….or….
    with a TD and a 2-pt conversion, you lose.
    To the St. Louis Rams….? Really.!!!???
    Try that “game plan” against Denver, why doncha…
    You will end up sucking eggs, my man.

      1. Sadly Razor our brand of trolls have a hit and run comment style of dropping bombs and rarely viewing your youtube troll informational videos though they posses some genius. Not sure there’s a cure for Mora or 8-8 and they clearly just enjoy poking the bear and get attention anyway they can.

        1. Wilson ..
          I wonder how successful a campaign (to Grant)
          to have his web masters include an “ignore”
          button added to this forum, would be ?

          1. Unfortunately I think there’s no chance of that here. Good forums have a rating system where you can mark folks comments as positive, negative or neutral. Its a good system. Each profile has a rating when they post under their name. Lets you know who you are talking to and if its worth your time. Also lets the moderator track someone’s history. I think some general guidelines, user agreement and a forum moderator would clear things up. I am all for freedom of speech and for the privilege of getting to participate in forums. I like a healthy debate and divergent opinion. Some posters are clearly aimed at just attempting to enrage the locals. Others have such a hate for Harbaugh and Kaepernick that nothing will satisfy them until we all brandish the same disdain they possess. Someone aptly called it a dumpster fire.

            I can tolerate the second group but not the first. Eventually I just stop engaging with both groups.

            1. Agree with you Wilson ..
              I never could understand the attraction of
              being a butt-head, and acting like an idiot
              while so engaged was …

              Strange way to get your jollies

            2. What you guys seem to want is not an opinion blog, but a ‘mutual admiration society’ . Those guys have opinions just as relevant as yours, believe it or not! If everyone starts parroting each other, then Grant’s blog totally loses it’s integrity and none of us get diverse opinions…only our own. And who’s to say that it’s not OUR opinion that gets the ‘ignore ‘button…?

              1. No, Oregon .. not a mutual admiration society ..
                just a modicum of maturity and / or intelligence …

                I enjoy the occasional roundie-round some of
                the regular posters, here, engage in … heck ..
                even Mary, (sometimes) provides some intel from
                the enemy camp … but..

                I just can’t do stupid

              2. Oregon, not sure you read anything I said according to this post. Please go back up and reread what I wrote before making such a claim. I believe in opinions and diversity. I am actually glad when someone corrects my wrong information or challenges my assumptions. But that’s not what I am talking about here.

              3. If someone wants to ignore my opinion, I have no trouble with that. All I ask is I have the same opportunity to ignore. Do you think our two resident well-poisoners qualify as divergent opinions?

  7. NFL power rankings for week 7
    Niners are rated #11……….
    Note to Mister Harbaw: please,
    tell us more about your “destiny”, sir…
    Seeya on Sunday.

  8. I’m a 49er fan that is just sick of Harbaugh’s antics and what CK does. CK can never give a good interview: you look at an interview with somebody like Peyton, somebody like Eli, R Wilson, Drew Brees, somebody like Carson Palmer even, what do the Qbs do? Eye contact, talk openly, candid, answer questions. CK doesn’t do any of that. Wanders, speech isn’t right, not answering questions, I don’t even know why NFL is obligated to have CK talking at all to the media if he can’t do what the other Qbs are doing and answer candid questions. Harbaugh’s stuff with the officials, reporters, game planning, it’s all high school stuff. And you know what it compares to? De La Salle football, but this NFL and De La Salle people is HIGH SCHOOL.

    Tom Brady sure made some great plays tonight. Too bad CK can’t make plays like that other then hand the ball to Gore.

    And a difference of opinion is not trolling. Saying ‘troll’ and leaving spam makes you people the trolls thinking you’re ridding the trolls by going to their level. I’m just giving an opinion. A sporting fan doesn’t have to like the entire roster of a team do they? As a Giant fan, I should like Barry Zito?

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