SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
Generally, people will probably second-guess your decision to trade Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith if they could. I mean, they probably do anyway, especially if they come in and win. Does that add any weight or any perspective to this game for you?
“We said before, playing against a team that was your team at one time, it adds to the competitiveness. It’s already at a very high level. It’s a big game for both teams. Looking to take care of business.”
Do you expect T Anthony Davis and TE Vernon Davis on offense to be in the lineup for you on Sunday?
“It’ll be questionable.”
Is TE Vance McDonald – last week he thought he’d be able to play in that game – how’s he doing this week? How’s he running around?
“He’s participating. We’re taking all those guys that you mentioned day-by-day.”
You mentioned on Wednesday DT Justin Smith’s performance in the game against the Eagles. Does he look like a different guy this year than he did last year dealing with the shoulder injury last year?
“That’s a good question. He’s someone I watch so much. He’s always playing at such a high level. Your eyes go to him as you’re watching the game. There’s just so much energy and aggressiveness the way he plays the game. It always looks good to me, [Sacramento Bee writer] Matt [Barrows].
Are you especially proud of the way the defense has played considering that a lot of people had predicted that they would struggle and now they’re No. 2 in the league, total defense, considering who’s not there and the way the guys have filled in for the absent players, the big names, critical.
“Yes. Very pleased. Speaks volumes for the guys that are playing, the coaches. [defensive coordinator] Vic Fangio, [secondary coach] Ed Donatell, [defensive line coach] Jim Tomsula, [linebackers coach] Jim Leavitt, do a great job. Really proud. Really proud of [assistant secondary coach] Greg Jackson and [defensive assistant] Ejiro Evero. And the way the guys are playing. They’re playing team defense. Eleven guys playing their assignment and that’s good. That bodes well for us. Then we have a big task this week. This is a stellar offense that we’re facing yet again.”
Being in the locker room since this locker room opened, it’s tough not to notice that some guys are here, some guys are still over in the other locker room. Is there any concern on your part about just what that does to the dynamic of the team to have players split up in two different locker rooms?
“Well, the players don’t all go sit at their locker at the same time. They’re in the weight room. They’re in the cafeteria. They’re in the film room. They’re in the training room. Very rare that everybody just takes off their helmet, puts it in their locker and sits down on their stool. Those guys are very busy all day long, including the lunch time.”
It looks like you guys will get a big look at, a long look at Chiefs WR A.J. Jenkins on Sunday. What kind of problems does he present? Has he changed himself in the year and a half that he’s left the 49ers?
“I believe he has. I believe he’s continued to grow as a player. He’s also on the field goal extra point block coming off the edge and he’s gotten close a few times. We’re aware of him and need to be.”
I think 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said on draft day he was somebody that needed to get into the weight room and add some strength and get a little bit bigger. Can you see that? Can you see a guy who’s stronger on the field when you look at the tape of him?
“I can’t tell that.”
Would you agree with that though, that that was one of his issues when he was here, just wasn’t physically as strong as he could have been?
“That’s the case for a lot of the first-year guys that get drafted. He’s progressing.”
What makes Chiefs LB Justin Houston so effective and difficult to block?
“He’s speed. He’s power. Got a good savviness for the game. Very effective rusher rushing the quarterback. He gets sacks. He’s got the presence and the athletic ability to get the quarterback down on the ground. [LB] Tamba Hali, another good example of that.”
When you have such a strong pass rush that you’re going to face, is that when you count on QB Colin Kaepernick to use his legs and his mobility and all the things that we talk about all the time to especially shine through?
“You count on everybody. It’s really team offense, the pass protection, the backs and the pickup, the route runners, Colin. It’s a group effort.”
Is there anything new regarding the team’s position on DT Ray McDonald?
“Not that I know of, no.”
What’s your relationship with NFL Network Analyst Deion Sanders? Do you have any bad blood with him?
Or any rivalry?
Hali and Houston, is this the biggest test the offensive line is going to face as far as from a pass-rush perspective?
“Yeah, it’s hard to imagine one bigger. It’s a big test, no question about it.”
The metrics suggest your offensive line pass protection hasn’t been stellar. How would you rate it four games into the season?
“It’s been very good at times. I think we’re real close to playing our best football. That’s what we’re striving for.”