Jim Harbaugh on Ray McDonald: “I feel like the way the facts are and what’s known that he has the liberty to play in the game.

Jim Harbaugh was interviewed Friday afternoon. Here’s a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. staff.

Have there been any new discoveries from your standpoint with DT Ray McDonald?

“Everybody’s weighed in on that. I know I have, the organization has, the Commissioner has.”


Will he be on the flight to Dallas?



And will he play?

“Yes. As it stands now, yes.”


And what’s the reason behind that?

“Well, we’ve been pretty clear on that. Two principles are woven together here. I feel like the way the facts are and what’s known that he has the liberty to play in the game.”


Are we to assume then that everything you’ve heard points favorably for him?

“As we talked about the other day, in terms of that question, this is a legal matter and I’ll refer it back to that.”


How’s he practiced this week?

“He’s been fine. Been fine.”


He was late a couple days coming out to practice. Was that because he was dealing with some of this stuff upstairs?



With team officials or with league as well?

“He was dealing with the matter, to answer your question, yes.”

What is the plan? I know T Anthony Davis hasn’t practiced this week. Will you have him listed as out for this game?


So, T Jonathan Martin would be next man up?

“Again, we’re not going to go into what exactly is going to take place.”

And have you made a roster move with G/T Alex Boone?

“We’ll make that tomorrow.”

So, that obviously means that he would be up for the game?

“Alex Boone?”



Did you talk with any of the players or anything regarding Ray’s being active in this game? Did any players give you feedback whether they wanted him up or did not?

“Again, there’s probably a lot of questions that could be asked. Not going to answer every possible question that could be asked and that’s one of them. As I said earlier, I believe that I weighed in on it to the best of my ability. I know the organization has, the Commissioner of the NFL has. Nothing more to add right now.”

When you say the commissioner has weighed in on it, are you talking about those public comments he’s made or to your organization?

“His public comments.”

How did you feel the mindset of the team is going into the regular-season opener?

“I feel like we’ve had a very good week of practice. Feel like the team is ready to go. Very excited about it and always the case in the opener. We want to play well. We want to improve as a football team, we want to win the game. And it’s a great opportunity to find out where our team is, playing a team like the Dallas Cowboys on the road.”

You guys have won all three season openers under you. Is there a common thread into the secret ingredients of that? Is this a lot of the preparation you’ve done has paid off with that extra time to prepare?

“Well, again, we’ve talked about this many times with you and as a team, what good you’ve done in the past, if you haven’t done anything good today, then you’re still talking about what you did yesterday. So, we’re focused on the task at hand, the challenge at hand. We know what a big task and challenge that is and that’s where the mindset and the focus of the team is.”

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett the other day was talking to us about, speaking about you guys, you don’t know exactly what the other team is going to do because the exhibition season, nobody really shows their cards. So, you kind of anticipate and then you react. From a coaching standpoint, do you kind of feel that way about your own team because you haven’t seen them do you things that you guys have been doing on the practice field for the past couple weeks? How the team is going to look once the regular season starts and you really start doing the stuff that you plan on doing.

“There’s unknowns in the opener. I think the greatest share is with the opponent that you’re playing. I know we’re studying hard, have been studying hard, will continue right up to the game in terms of understanding them as a team and what they could or could not do, but I’m sure they’re doing the same thing. Things will be revealed that they haven’t put on tape or haven’t shown. So, that’s also part of the excitement of kickoff. There is uncharted waters.”


You guys have a pretty different secondary compared to last year. What are you expecting to see out of that group?

“I have high expectations for them. Feel like the group has the license, the ability to be a very, very good secondary. I think they’re excited to show what they have and like every single player on the team, they’re champing at the bit to compete.”

The other day you likened LB Dan Skuta to a Civil War soldier. What are the qualities that prompted that metaphor?

“First, I think he’s just a real football player. Talented, gives tremendous effort, always executing his assignment, doing his job. He’s very much to me like a young captain in the military would be. He’s a leader. He’s a strong person. Got a very strong will and very disciplined. Just everything that you’d want. All summed up, he’s a real football player.”

Does he have a throwback quality to him that reminds you of players who have played in the past or anything like that?

“In terms of the analogy that I made, I can see him. It just came to me one day. I was just looking at him and I just got a vision of him in the gray of the South, or he could have been in the blue of the North. I just had a vision of him, so I said it.”

Have you seen him play Peruball?

“No, I haven’t seen him play Peruball.”

He’d be good though?

“He’d be good.”

WR Bruce Ellington was listed as the primary punt and kickoff returner on the depth chart. Is that the role he’s going to have in the game against Dallas?

“Well, there’s not something that we talk about. Who’s doing what and how many times you’re going to do it and in what form or fashion they’re going to be used in the ballgame. The depth chart is a guide, but you couldn’t take it as Gospel and verse.

Watched the game last night and both teams had a player WR Randall Cobb with the Packers and WR Percy Harvin for the Seahawks that they can move around in different spots. Is Bruce potentially a guy like that that can have a varied role in the offense?

“Yes, he definitely has the potential for that.”


Have you decided whether QB Blaine Gabbert and QB Josh Johnson will be the number 2 or 3 quarterback?

“We’ll list that on Sunday.”


With G/T Alex Boone being up will he start?

“Again, the information you’re asking me, I would love to get from the Cowboys. Each question, darn near each question. I’d love to have that same information to ask from the Cowboys. So, if we can glean that prior to the game, that would be very helpful. So, understanding I’d like that information, I’d be hesitant to give it. Would rather choke the flow of some of that information.”

This article has 92 Comments

  1. What if Boone comes out at RT? That would be a surprise for them. Sounds as if Duke Ellington is the returner unless he underwhelms. Can’t wait to see him on the fly sweep….

      1. Why? Martin was fine in preseason. If you are going to start Boone, why not play him where he’s been playing the past two years, and where he’s going to play this year?

        1. He’s a better Tackle and the position is more important, but I don’t expect it. Just thinking outside the box there Scooter….

          1. I had no probs with it as a suggestion razor, more a comment to Dude as to why he’d bet on it happening. It’s possible, but would seem unlikely to me for the reasons I mentioned above.

              1. Hasn’t Boone only played one NFL game at OT? And he’s not played any preseason. I’d rather go with the guy that has more experience at OT in the NFL and played there during preseason.

              2. That’s fine Scooter, and I don’t disagree. Boone was one of the top left tackles in college football. If they didn’t have Staley, Boone would be that guy…..

              3. Boone has played two games at tackle. The Rams game last year and a game at the Cardinals back in 2011 when Joe Staley got knocked out after only 10 plays.

    1. Razor im on your side. Ellington in space would be great…The question is, will we actually run plays like that. Hell we have wasted LMJ’s speed. Hope we dont do the same with El

      1. I suspect that they will use Ellington more than they did LMJ. Ellington is not a running back so inserting him would not tip off the defense. With LMJ in the line up it was a given that the Niner’s would be running wide. I really am also convinced that LMJ does not have close the the speed he registered in the combine and showed in college. People always seem to assume that a players speed remains static. They assume that they maintain their combine numbers though out their careers. Some players times would actually drop off while others might get better. A lot of players train specifically for the combine and thats the best they will ever do in their lives with a considerable drop of there after.

    2. Razor, you mean Boone at RT and Looney at RG? Would be a surprise, yes, and not a strange move. As for Ellington, I sure hope they eventually use him like the SS use Harvin.

      Hey, maybe we should start calling the Seattle Seahawks the SS, you know, like in Hitler’s SS.

        1. Boone’s the swing tackle. Makes total sense to put Looney at RG and Boone at RT. Last year the move be automatic.

          It all depends on how the coaches think Martin is coming along. If he can handle RT, keep Boone at RG. If not, Boone is RT.

          1. Boone’s been the backup OT in case of injury in the past while starting at RG because the other backup options at OT have been horrendous. Getting a new backup OT was an offseason priority, which is why they got Martin.

            If they believe Martin is any good, which they appear to, then it makes total sense for him to be the backup OT this year, get the start with Davis out, and let Boone concentrate on the position he will be playing this year and has been practising at the past 2 seasons.

        2. Yes George, it would be a surprise move. I’d really like to see the 49ers go Captain America on the Seahawks….

          You mean Kaeptain America, right Razor?

    3. I don’t understand this confidence in Martin. He was terrible in Miami, grading out at something like 73rd out of 76 tackles in the league. He seemed weak and slow and stiff when I saw him in preseason and I know some of you guys love the dude but sheesh… I think Boone at right tackle is a far better idea…

    1. im having tablet issues..lol..the media wants to know everything..Why dont they ask Harbaugh to recite the whole playbook to them…

  2. Green Bay made it clear how to avoid victory in many ways last night. The part that impressed me the most was these four plays.

    1. A defensive lineman can’t avoid the Seattle punter on a fourth and two play. First down which lead to a score.

    2. Brad Jones grabbed the tight end about 10 yards down field on a third and five play. First down which lead to a score.

    3. Rogers out of the pocket to his left needing four yards for a first down. He can’t decide to run or pass, then throws the ball at least five yards over the head of his very wide open receiver. Following the punt, Seattle drove for a score.

    4. See number two, only this time it was a bear hug closer to the line of scrimmage. First down and another score.

    The only time Seattle failed to take advantage was the Rogers interception near mid field.

    The new concentration on defensive holding doesn’t seem to bother Seattle at all. Their pass interference call would have been called no matter. One down side of ignoring Thurmond is that he’s not likely to be grabbing if he’s not targeted.

      1. Rogers made the Alex pick look good last night. Alex is still improving and Rogers is starting to decline. He may have maxed out a couple years ago.

        1. Smith hasnt improved
          Hes been the same since harbaugh got a hold of him..
          He will throw between 3000-3500 yards
          15-20 tds
          wont be a top ten QB

            1. Alex looked way better than Alex. He was always mediocre until Harbaugh made him average. His fear of throwing downfield and propensity for the checkdown doomed him. That, and the 1 for 13 on 3rd down with only one completion to a WR in the biggest game of his career did him in. Of course forgetting the first play of the NFC Championship game didn’t hurt in his demise. It seems Harbaugh himself designed a trick play that had Delanie Walker wide open down the middle of the field for a sure TD. Alex “forgot” the call (his words, not mine) and checked off to Crabtree for his only completion to a WR of the day. Not smart to forget your coach’s pet play in the most important game of either man’s career to that point.

      2. Every player has scale of production that on any given day will slide between his best and worst. Even elite players are not robots and are capable of producing subpar performances. It’s just that the scale between their best and worst is higher. Their average game might be the equivalent of a lesser players best effort. And their bottom the equivalent of a lesser’s average game. So percentage wise it stands to reason that they would have less real stinkers.

        What is really absurd is when a QB who doesn’t have the rep misses a throw and the announcers and fans state that ( name any elite QB) will make that throw. BS. What they mean to say is that they can make that throw. Being able to and making a throw is two different things. Just because you have seen them make such a throw in the past does not assure they would make it in all the time and in every situation. I have seen too many of the elite/all time greats make bad decisions and passes. Yet let a QB with a lesser rep not be perfect and they will be compared to the standard of the elites best throws on their best day. The announcers do this all the time so the cant think for themself public will buy into it.

        Manning, Rodgers, etc are very good QB’s but none of them are as good as their hype. Mannings Superbowl performance and this last game by Rodgers are examples of their feet of clay. Rodgers is not perfect as is no QB. I actually thought in the frigid bowl Kaep was the better passer. The cold weather affected him less and he was able to get more distance and snap on his passes. Rodgers limited his passes to short to medium distances. Am U saying Kaep is better? No I am not. Rodgers is an elite passer and the limitations put on him via the weather set the standard. Am I saying that Kaep is better- No! I use this as an example of the unrealistic and unfair standard that certain fans set. They still use the GB frigid bowl passing stats as an example of Kaeps ineffectiveness as a passer adding that GB has a bad pass defense. The best pass defense that day was the weather and it effected both QB’s. Yet no one mentions Rodgers ineffectiveness as a passer for that game only Kaeps.

        Every game has differentiating and variable factors that influence the games outcome and the resulting stats as well. How effective we evaluate the results is dependent on how many of the variable factors our minds can process and co-ordinate at once. The majority of people are rather limited in that respect. They can only see each aspect in isolation rather than as a piece of a greater whole. Of course this sort of simplistic thinking comes in handy when defending a hasty and not well thought out conclusion because the individual aspects can be taken out to context to support any perspective you want. This is constantly being done to Kaep in respect to his QB play.

  3. Even going up against the Cowgirls Martin will be a liability. You can point to his OK play in the preseason if you want to but the guy is garbage as far as I’m concerned. Kaep had better keep his head on a swivel because they’ll be coming from the right side on Sunday for sure.

    1. His play improved with each game Coffee. And Martin isn’t the one that you should worry about being a liability if he starts. It’s Iupati. Hopefully he cleaned up his ‘technique’ or Kaep is going to be in trouble.

  4. May sound crazy but I’d like to see Martin out there at T than at gaurd. It’s ck’s visible side, and we need to pound the ball. Ck can escape trouble if he gets beat. Rather have that than a spot in the middle where you can’t run the ball. And besides it’s Dallas. If he can’t stop anyone on that team he needs to be cut and we need to search elsewhere.

  5. Look for Captain Choke to live
    up to his moniker as someone in the Niners
    secondary gets a birthday present .. early

    (sorry Grant)

  6. One thing I noticed was this guy Lockette looking natural and skillful catching and running to score a touchdown, something that he couldn’t begin to do for the 49ers.

    1. curtjester– Niner’s not known for recognizing talent and developing WR’s. Not really important now but I felt that Lockette was one of the players who was not really given a chance to make the Niner’s roster due to their over emphasis in the preseason on salvaging AJ’ career here. Lockette spent all summer working on developing chemistry with Kaep and then in camp and preseason he was never given the opportunity to catch passes from him running with the first team. He was thrown too mostly by the back ups.

      While I can understand why they cut him as a receiver, it made no sense what-so-ever that they didn’t give him more reps and keep him as a gunner on special teams. He might well be the best gunner in the league and he showed that in the limited reps he got here with the Niners.

      1. He’s a good gunner, I agree.

        But curtjester’s talk about him looking like a natrual and skillful WR now he’s not at the 49ers seems a bit silly. We’re talking about a 28 year old with 9 career catches, including the two yesterday. And that TD he scored yesterday was manufactured by a great play call. It was a busted coverage off a play-action read option. He was wide open, and he didn’t have to do anything to get open. He made a decent move to avoid a tackle, but it was a rubbish attempt at tackle by their rookie FS. Not wanting to disparage the guy, but he’s still got a ways to go before he can be talked about as a decent WR.

  7. The only Cowboy that will perform well Sunday will be wearing #94 and wearing red and gold……….All Romo’s are chokers now….Sergio and Tony both can’t close out games. 34-17 Niners!

    1. Want to talk choke. Take a look at my (Ch)Oakland A’s. Yikes. Time for me to move on to football. No sense in getting pissed at a serious choke job.
      I’ll just record and ff till I see some scoring. Which means the delete button will pop up in 2 minutes.

    1. Hofer posts on 49ers webzone (assuming it is the same person). He still hates on Kap every chance he gets. Reminds me of Fansince77’s posts.

  8. Anybody got any thoughts on who the player of the game will be?
    I’m going to go with Boldin. He’s an opening day terror.
    And the odds of 6 receivers having “double digit” yardage? Lmao sorry I couldn’t even type that without a laugh.

  9. The Duke will take one from 4 yds deep (in the end zone)
    to the house … and Eric Reid will snag one of the three
    INTs Romo throws .. and runs it 38 yds

    The game will be over half way through the third qtr

  10. If the contribution of Dan Skuta/linebacker
    results in a Super Bowl win for the Niners,
    then we will agree with you and pronounce him
    a “REAL” football player. If his season ends early,
    then your repeated use of the word “real” becomes
    hollow… just more Harbaw jargon…bla, bla, bla.

    I am the Super Bowl monkey and
    I approve of this message.

    1. Please excuse my patient – The Super Bowl Monkey. He has been prescribed a particularly powerful antipsychotic drug and is not regularly taking the required dosage.

      1. You just made it’s day by getting caught in its web. Do us all a favor by not responding to it.

        Back to the game:
        49ers 34 – 16.

        Crabtree 1 TD
        Ellington KO return TD
        Boldin 7 catches
        Gore 87 yrds rushing
        Hyde 55 yrds rushing 1 TD
        VD 1 TD
        CK7 96. PRating
        ALynch 1 sack
        Wilhoite 2 sacks
        JSmith 1 sack
        Ward 1 sack
        Reid 1 INT
        PWill 11 tkls

        I may keep or throw away my crystal ball after tomorrow’s game? :<)

  11. Pass completions in the middle of this Cowboy defense should be available to the 49ers whenever Roman wants to dial the number. Studying the tape, the Cowboys defense also looks vulnerable on the edges. Mr. Hyde should get big chunks of yards, and if Duke Ellington gets the fly sweep, he could take it all the way. The Cowboys corner Mitchell looks susceptible to double moves, and I’d expect the 49ers to try and abuse him. They have some blitz tendencies to include letting McClain key and go….

  12. Maiocco’s guessing Brandon Lloyd, Quinton Patton, Josh Johnson, Anthony Davis, Marcus Martin, Quinton Dial, and Aaron Lynch will be inactive.

    Notable is Ellington replacing Lloyd and Patton.

    Dial and Lynch could come in handy if Jones keeps the roof open and its 90+F. I’d be tempted to sit Derek Carrier for one of those guys, unless Carrier is a budding special teams stud.

      1. Good point. Not in the Harbaugh era. Kyle Nelson can (technically) play TE but I think Carrier would be more game ready.

        The one scenario that could derail SF… of its 91 F and the defense can’t get off the field. Dial looked great in preseason, and there are never enough late game pass rushers (like Lynch).

        1. They should be able to control the tempo and time of possession with their offense, keeping Romo, and the 49er defense on the sidelines. That might be a point of emphasis if the heat is a concern….

    1. That would still be 6 DL suited up, more than they need for a 3-4 that will spend a lot of time in nickel.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carradine inactive as well, with one of the WRs activated.

        1. If they are worried about being short on STs units, then Patton will be the one they keep active. He played on a few of the STs coverage units in preseason. If they feel comfortable on STs, then they’ll probably keep Lloyd active to provide something different on offense.

            1. Yes, Osgood’s release would appear to open a spot on STs for someone.

              I’m curious to see who the gunners will be. I’m guessing D. Johnson and McCray, though I’ve read it is expected to be Ward and McCray, with Cook an outside chance. Who do you think they’ll have at gunner?

              1. Yeah, I saw McCray tweeted that he and Ward were slated to be the gunners. So you are probably right.

              2. I like the combination of Ward’s sure tackling and McCray’s thumping.

                Sparse highlights of McCray. From what I found he’s a fast, physical safety. Everyone he tackles goes backwards.

                He also returns kicks with an unusual physical style. Little juking. Its a “one cut and power through” style.

    1. Ravens? Really???

      Some interesting tidbits Maiocco has going there. MVP: Matthew Stafford? OROY: Carr??? Jacksonville’s coach of the year?

      I suppose anything is possible.

  13. Sessler reporting sources have indicated Harbaugh is losing the locker room. Veteran players upset about having had to travel to Baltimore for practices. We’ll find out today….

  14. Again, we miss the central crux of the issue – Why is gorvnnmeet telling private individuals what they can or cannot build? Hero Dan Soucek tried to address this through doing away with zoning laws, but RINOs wouldn’t let him. And we are whining about this now? You’ve already lost the issue since YOU allow the Boone Town Council to tell YOU what to do. How do you plan to further service your liberal masters? They already have a hand in ALL your business cradle to grave. If you accept zoning laws then what’s the problem with the Boone Town Council telling you what you can or cannot build? You miss the forest for the trees kind of thing.If you accept metal detectors in the Watauga County Courthouse (being treated like a criminal) then there’s not a chance in hell that you’ll go against the gorvnnmeet telling you what you can or cannot build. If you accept status quo from the lame Watauga County Commissioners then what’s to make the Boone Town Council do anything other than suppress your freedom? You asked for big brother. He’s here now and not going anywhere. YOU ASKED FOR IT. Hope it’s distasteful.

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