Jim Harbaugh says he “wouldn’t categorize” the 49ers’ offensive identity

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

We talked to Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly today. He told some of the stories about offensive coordinator Greg Roman going up there and then him coming here. Can you talk about when he came here, I believe it was 2012, just what ideas were exchanged between him and your staff and yourself?

“First, he’s a great guy to talk to. Great guy to talk to. Great coach to talk football with. Just find him to be, like all the coaches I really like. He’s a football guy.”


Is that common to share ideas with other coaches?

“It can be.”


You seem to be a guy that’s pretty tight-lipped when it comes to what you do. Was there any concern at that point that, ‘What if Chip Kelly goes to the NFL?’.

“Yeah. And he has.”


And he coaches the Eagles [laughter].


There is no concern?

“They do a phenomenal job. That’s evident. Whether you’re having a football conversation with him or watching their tape. Wonderful, wonderful job coaching football.”


He was saying that watching the film of the Arizona game that he got a little chuckle now that there’s another wrinkle to your offense with the four and five-wide look. What is the identity you want people to know about your offense? Are you guys still the power-run team or have you changed up and you’re now going to be a spread offense?

“I wouldn’t categorize it. In terms of identity, we want to be about moving the football, picking up first downs, scoring points, scoring touchdowns.”


ME: Was your intent going into the Cardinals game not to feature the base running game with RB Frank Gore because of matchups against the Cardinals’ base defense?

“As we talked about the other day, we felt like it was a personnel group that would help us in the game. And we wanted to use it.”


When you see the Eagles on film, do you see a lot or do you see the Chip Kelly Oregon teams that you faced twice?

“Very much so, and much, much more. It’s evolved. They’ve done some great things offensively. I see their fingerprints on the defense as well. You see a progression and consistently good football and great adjustments and sound schematics. Very clever, well-schemed ideas.”


How concerning is it that you guys have been outscored 52-3 in the second half, obviously, but they’ve scored 74 points after halftime. Seems like that could be a recipe for something not-so-good for you guys if things don’t go right.

“Well, we’re striving to improve. That’s definitely an area that we’re working on getting better at.”


Has conditioning become a factor when you’re preparing for his teams? Do they exact more on opponents than the typical opponent?

“They put stress and pressure on the opponent in various ways. That’s certainly one of them.”


They have Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz. Did you guys take a long look at him and interested in possibly drafting him last year?

“Of course. We definitely did. He’s done a phenomenal job. He’s done a great job in receiving, catching, stretching the defense. Tremendous job as a competitor.”


Can you talk about just what the growth you’ve seen, the most growth you’ve seen in TE Derek Carrier and his time since he’s been active last year and even this year getting more playing time?

“Just a greater understanding of his role, the system, the stage. And taking his ability, his toughness. He’s improved his blocking. He’s improved in all areas.”


You were able to see Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles a couple of times in college. I’m curious to see what you think of his NFL development so far?

“Very impressed.”


Did you anticipate that from what you were seeing at Stanford when you were playing the Arizona teams and what have you seen out of him this season?

“The same that you have. He was impressive in college, and he’s been very impressive at the pro level. Just right away good and has continued to be good.”


Have you seen enough of opponents’ offenses’ film where you can, like, say what kind of connection he has with Philadelphia receiver Jeremy Maclin. Just describe that?

“Really with all those receivers. He’s got a great awareness, great feel and very accurate thrower.”


There have been reports that QB Colin Kaepernick, two weeks ago, he did indeed use a racial slur on the field, something that he originally denied. And I’m just wondering about your thoughts on that from the leader of your team?

“I’ve never heard Colin use that word and I’ve never heard him lie, so.”


So, you think the reports are inaccurate?

“I think what I think. I’m very tuned to hearing that word, and I’ve never heard him use it.”


Would it disappoint you if it turns out that he did?

“As I said, Colin, I’ve never heard him use the word. I’ve never heard him lie.”


ME: Is your personnel no longer suited to run the power off-tackle runs and weak-side leads that have been staples of your playbook for years?

“No, I don’t think that’s true.”


Where’s Frank Gore at? Have you talked to him since Monday? What is his attitude going into this weekend?



Does he feel confident he’s going to be a bigger part of the offense this week?

“I would see no reason why he wouldn’t be confident in that regard.”


Do you have to talk to the team this week specifically about penalties after what’s happened the last two weeks? Is that a point of emphasis more than it normally would be?

“It’s an area we’re working on.”


You said you don’t make excuses, you don’t complain about officiating and you don’t want your players to. You have in the past. Has something prompted you to change your stance as far as, you know, at least publicly discussing referees calls?

“I don’t agree that I’ve complained in the past about it publicly.”


For example, you talked about Seattle’s corners in 2012 being a little hands-y, being a little too physical you felt.

“I think if you went back and checked exactly what I said, I don’t think that was a complaint or an excuse.”


How’s T Anthony Davis coming along?

“Anthony Davis? Hopeful.”


Do you expect to get him at least in a limited fashion out on the practice field today?

“We’ll see. Hopefully he will be.”


What about CB Tramaine Brock?

“Continuing, hopeful. Don’t know that he’ll practice today.”


How much of those injuries kind of affected the offense, though, and what you are able to run? You talked about personnel matchups in Arizona, but having key players also out for injury, including TE Vernon Davis for that last game?

“How much did that affect it?”


Just affect, like you said, it was personnel matchup that obviously went more four-wide receivers. But there were also other things maybe that some of the other players are still learning because they’re younger – a RB Carlos Hyde or a TE Derek Carrier coming in. How much did that affect also the play calling in Arizona because you had several key starters out?

“It affected the personnel group. We talked about that. In terms of young players, their role, and they’re stepping up and getting going. We’re working on several things. As we said earlier, great challenges in front of us, Philadelphia Eagles, and that’s where our focus is.”


You touched Monday on WR Stevie Johnson’s ball security and run after the catch. Have you just seen him take another leap in this offense in terms of his ability to grasp the playbook now that he’s been here for a few months?

“He’s done a very good job with that, and he is going. He is playing very well and it’s been very encouraging.”


You guys seemed to have struggled a little bit getting pressure on the quarterback and you guys drafted DT Tank Carradine a year ago to help in that regard. Why hasn’t he been active for two of the three games and then even the one game he was active, he didn’t have much of a role? Why is that?

“He’s coming. He’s in that role of getting going. Excited about his development and his future.”


It hasn’t been a disappointment that he hasn’t been able to make a contribution up to this point?

“He’s going.”


Do you look at Chip Kelly as being any more unpredictable than other coaches you’ve faced?

“They definitely have that element of surprise, of unpredictability. They do a great job in that regard.”


Is the onside kick from the 2010 game something that you factor into your preparation this week that anything could happen?

“Yeah. It’s a race to be prepared. All of those things are factors – what they’ve done in the past, what they could do. What they are doing.”

This article has 33 Comments

  1. My blood is boiling for the way NFL, the National Football Flag League is handling infractions which ultimiately can impact the teams season. We continue to get rob without any action from the NFL. We were penalized so many times last year in crucial situations and again in the last few games however there is no fines!!!


    Yes me must play better as a team, the coaches and the players are responsible to play within the rules however this type of consistent error by the NFL refs is destroying th game. They must be instructed to be certain to call a game changing penalties or allow reviews.

    1. Your actions and outlook on here could get you heckling and name calling for being such a treasonous action. Watch it pal.
      You will be put on the No Post list. Conspiracy theory’s are frowned upon on this board.

    2. I’m not a guy who believes in whining about the Refs; to me it’s like the weather; you just have to play through. That said, the players do need to adjust to how the games are called and the Refs have to dial-in how they call them. To that end I think the Refs should be full time employees and should be in on-line classes midweek with Park Avenue Refs Mgt doing film work (more than currently) getting the group all on the same page. Tricky tack calls are annoying, but if everything gets called that way the players and coaches can adapt. Step up, NFL, make these guys full time, pay their freakin’ medical benefits, go Big Time with the refs who referee your Big Time league.

      1. That’s easy to say. But how come we aren’t getting those calls. Ranked 8th overall defense in the league. And they all of a sudden forget how to play on third downs? C’mon our receivers aren’t that bad not to get those calls as frequently as our defense is getting. Again it’s not even how many you get it WHEN you get them. I never complained about refs before, but if it’s obvious I’m gonna say something whether others call it complaining or not. These calls are so ridiculous it’s making news outside this blog.

        1. Ninermd
          I saw the bad calls too, not disputing that. I personally don’t like excuses and I don’t want to spend my energy worrying about stuff I can’t impact. I dont blame you for being pissed. I was frustrated too, but you have to just get to the next play.
          Some of the penalties were deserved. On the two flags on hits to the QB, the Refs were wrong, but predictably so; they ALWAYS rule for the QB. Some of the coverage calls against our DBs and receivers were embarrassingly bad. The calls did not even out between teams. Plenty to be irritated about, but it’s done.

          1. Brotha Tuna,

            Your attitude about blown calls by the refs is the best approach, if you’re a player. Analysis of a game wouldn’t be complete if factors important to the outcome are ignored.

            Boldin’s light face mask mashing didn’t have to be called, but it was stupid by Boldin and he put himself in that position. He’s to blame there. But what about the consecutive phantom roughness penalties on Skuta and Willis? You just can’t ignore those calls, IMO. They were horrible and they were devastating.

            Yes, the 49ers could’ve (should’ve?) overcome the questionable calls by the refs had they just taken care of business, but the fact remains, if the refs had taken care of their business, we’d be talking about how the 49ers were lucky to get out of Arizona with a close win and that they need to clean up their play, etc.

            Finally, you say that you don’t waste energy on things you can’t impact. I’m not trying to bust your spheres, but surely you don’t think you can impact the execution of the players, or play calls, or anything else that goes on during a game, right? Your comments would be pretty bland, regarding what we talk about on here, if you limited your posts to things you had an impact on.

            Again, your attitude is great, for a player, but if used in analysis of a game, important aspects of the game will be lost, IMO.

            I enjoy your posts, especially when you take Grant to task, and I get what you’re saying here, but I don’t think it applies well to nonparticipants of the games being discussed.

    1. Especially since the refs have such a bad track record calling them correctly. I have watched games where the refs are far less squirelly that the ones the niner’s always seem to end up with. If there is a conspiracy it might be that they seem to assign mostly bad crews to the Niner games.

    2. @Niner addict,

      The 1 area that every Team should be able to challenge is the plays like Skuta & Patrick Willis on the QB (Stanton).

      Clearly on the Skuta play Stanton had not begun to get down when he hit him, and when he did hit him he hit with his shoulder so you have a double negative call on the play.

      The Willis play where he blitzed up the middle he hit Stanton with his head up going into his chest.

      Either the play is happening too fast for the Refs on all they see is the end result or they’re not in position to see the play (Willis).

      I’ve been SCREAMING for these types of plays to be challenged for several years now because they change the game so much. It’s not right, and lessons the product.

      1. We heard Skuta didn’t get fined, what about Willis? That’s says something, but remember Whitner only got fined last year I think one time for all is illegal hit penalties and it didn’t stop the flags from coming each week.

  2. I’ve been away for a few days and am just getting caught up after another disheartening loss.

    This Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde transformation the 49ers make at halftime is not fun. If they look good in the first half on Sunday against Philly, I’m turning off the TV and going out so that I can enjoy the next couple of hours. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me four times and I might spend the mortgage money on meth.

    Speaking of meth, are some commenters actually suggesting that it’s time for Harbaugh to go? Smh.

    1. How quickly people forget just three years ago how hard it was to wqtch this team every week..Some fans have gotten spoiled quick..Im really hoping he doesnt leave for Michigan..Everyone keeps hinting at that but why would you leave the Niners for Michigan? More power? I dont see it, hopefully Im wrong.

    2. Claude,

      “This Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde transformation the 49ers make at halftime is not fun.”

      This is another “groundhog day” scenario. If you go back and look at the 49ers in the second half of their week 2 and 3 losses in 2013 you’ll find that they were outscored 41-3.

      In their week 2 and 3 losses in 2014 they have been outscored 38-3.

      It’s actually an improvement…..

      1. Jack:

        That’s an interestingly odd coincidence. The only difference seems to be that last season, the offense was missing missing important players, and this season, it’s the defense.

    3. Claude, I’m glad you’re back. This blog could have used another voice of reason like you here the last couple of days. It’s getting ugly.

    4. Yep! Nothing’s changed. Am even of the Niners didn’t blow big leads in the second half the eagles like to come back anyways. This is looking like an interesting game. A tale of two halves you might say.
      Who will win their half bigger?
      That tis the question.

    1. This is fairly well traveled road. He’s a liability in the run game and tho he has flashes of brilliance he’s doesn’t know the playbook and misses his assignments. He’s not an OLB, he’s a DE. Its a different scheme than he played in college. Fangio is committed to playbook and assignments before potential.

  3. Coach Harbaugh’s assessment of Kaepernick:

    1. no racial slurs
    2. no lies (including about #1) and
    3. no Super Bowl ring.

    The jury is still out on #1 and #2, okay?
    #3 will be holding true for at least one more year.
    Maybe Kaep & the Niners will get ‘er done under
    a new head coach….. next year, huh?

  4. I can coach. In a cartoon term
    1st half….. Popeye when he eats his spinach.
    2nd half…. Casper the ugly gho… .. . !

  5. Per my Post yesterday on “Little Cohn” ;

    ME: Is your personnel no longer suited to run the power off-tackle runs and weak-side leads that have been staples of your playbook for years?

    = REACH!

  6. Grant’s question was silly and was treated as such by Coach. When I see Grant at these pressers in my mind’s eye, I see the Church Lady from the ’80s SNL. Smug, condescending and completely clueless.

    It’s a shame because once in a while the boy gets his ego in check, works his craft and writes some dandy stuff. Then he reverts to cowardly name calling, denigration and mean spiritedness which is a total turnoff.

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