Jim Tomsula on the 49ers’ offensive play-calling: “We have cut down verbiage.”


This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

First off, how’s LB Aldon Smith’s foot? Is it minor?

“He got it stepped on. He had it stepped on earlier in OTAs. So, then he got banged again yesterday, that’s all. It’s aggravated. We’re not going to push it. He’s got the ice bags on and there’s really nothing else to do, just ice bag. But, he got stepped on. If it was something in the season, we’d play right through.”


But, you won’t shut him down for this minicamp?

“Yeah, well today, initially today, talking to Ferg [Vice President of Football Operations Jeff Ferguson], Ferg was talking about him doing some individidual. No. Right now, no.”


I saw LB Corey Lemonier and LB Eli Harold were getting a lot of reps because of that at that right outside linebacker spot. How have those guys done this offseason?

“Really good. I wouldn’t say because of that, they might have gotten a couple more of his. I would never say it was because of that. Those guys, particularly Corey, he’s really doing well and I’m excited for Corey, I am. Any young guy that works so hard too you know? He’s coming along. He’s doing a great job with knowing the defense and he’s bending and moving, you can see there. You’re watching the same thing I’m seeing. He can get off the rock.”


He didn’t do much dropping back into coverage in college and he’s having to do that? How is he doing with that?

“The movement-wise, we have to keep cleaning that up. But, the assignment-wise, he’s really grabbed. That’s what I’m talking about.”


You talked about G/T Alex Boone yesterday at right tackle, but he was actually at left guard quite a bit yesterday?

“Yes. You know what, [Vice President of Communications] Bob [Lange] said something to me about that. I hope I didn’t allude to the fact that he was, we have him slotted and working at left guard. That is the plan. [T Erik] Pears, I like Pears at right tackle. I got to tell you that. We’re not saying anything’s in stone right now, but I do like that guy at right tackle.”


What do you like about Boone at left guard as opposed to right?

“Well, again, we’re working him at the left guard position, and again, you start talking about creating some depth. The stance is the same if you did left tackle. So, having some depth there and your footwork’s the same. So, that’s what we’re looking at and he’s comfortable there. So, we’re getting some work there. And again, I don’t want anybody to hold us in stone that that’s where he’s staying. Boone can play the right guard, the right tackle position. And Boone is getting a little bit of work at the left guard position right now. Again, that’s more for the footwork and the stance and looking to create some depth at the left tackle spot.”


What are you seeing out of RB Reggie Bush on the field, what he’s brought to you?

“Reggie’s really moving around. You’re asking that because you saw him moving around yesterday. Reggie’s a spry guy. He has a lot of energy in his legs and in his body and his attitude. What a wonderful addition in all aspects. He’s another guy you’ve got to pull back. We’re definitely talking about rep counts on Reggie. But, he’s doing really well, he’s moving great and we love having him here.”


GC: It seems the offense is practicing a lot of roll out passes during team drills, more so than the past few years. Is that a fair assessment, fair observation?

“You’re absolutely right, yes. But again, yesterday we were working the boot game. So, when you start seeing these things come out in chunks, there are certain things that we’re emphasizing that day. You might see one period where it’s boots. We’re going against ourselves, so we’re looking to, defensively, ‘Hey, we got to work the edge a little bit here. Backside, inside zone and the boot off it.’ So, we’re working for those guys to get the visual of that defensively. And then offensively we want to work it, so we put that all in one period. I can’t say the whole practice, but you’re going to see chunks of that happen throughout the practice.”


GC: Is it more of an emphasis in this offense this year or do you not want to talk about scheme?

“I don’t believe we are talking about schematics. The bootleg is something that comes off if we’re going to run a zone scheme. We’re not solely a zone scheme, you all see that too. There’s no secret to that. That is something we’re working. And we can work it more. You work the gap scheme stuff with no shoulder pads on. Now you start getting piles, you start getting a bunch of clogged up stuff and a lot of bodies in it. You’re running the power and you’re running on the inside, the iso, those ones are predicated on getting movement. Without pads on, we’re trying to do a little bit more.”


GC: Does rollouts complement QB Colin Kaepernick’s skill set?

“Yeah, well, him moving his feet it does, yes. Again, I don’t want to make too much of it because in fairness, today and tomorrow you’re going to see more drop back, you’re going to see us in the pocket. That’s just the different phases that we’re working.”


I don’t think CB Tramaine Brock or CB Shareece Wright participated in team drills yesterday. What’s their status? Is there anything to that?

“No. They both were tight. Shareece was just a little tight. Legs were a little tight out of there. Brock has been in and out, we’ve been going back and forth there. Just making sure we’re bringing that full load back with his legs. But, Tramaine’s doing well. ”


Is he coming back slow because of maybe the toe injury last year?

“Well, yeah. The toe and the legs, just getting everything back on him. His offseason program with the running and the lifting has been really good. And there’s other guys we want to look at. There’s some other guys we really want to see.”


DT Darnell Dockett has talked a couple times about you and him would have midfield meetings after every game when he was with Arizona. Sounds like there was a lot of mutual respect between you two. Can you just talk about what you admired about him from afar?

“Yeah. And again, I can’t tell you I ever knew Darnell personally. My job, I watch a ton of film. And watching Darnell on tape, I’ve just always had a ton of respect for how hard he plays the game. That was it. He’s a talented individual. But, just how hard, how important you could tell it was to him or is to him. That’s my respect with that. Any time I see guys like that and you get an opportunity to tell them you admire what you see. That was just all it was, really. Now he’s here, but that’s where that all starts from.”


He was known as a real 49er antagonist. He’s a pretty loquacious guy and needling the 49ers–?

“In their minds and where he was he saw this as the great foe. And he was going at it. Some of that stuff, on the receiving end of it, you get kind of a kick out of it, listening to that stuff. It’s not the way we want to do business. But, yeah I heard bits and pieces of it. I hear the guys talking.”


Do you tell him when he comes here that this is how we do business?

“Yeah. We’re not into a lot of what we don’t do. We’re trying to spend a lot more time on what we do do and how we do it.”


What kind of communication have you and [defensive line coach] Scott Brown had with DL Arik Armstead? Is it permissible for you to call him?

“Yeah, everything within the rules. We have not touched, we are not going to mess around with the rules. We knew, when he was drafted we knew he was on the quarter system. You get an Oregon guy, you get a Stanford guy, their on the quarter system. That’s the rules. And we’re not going to, I’ll make that clear. There were some points there where you could Skype earlier on. We did some of that. But, we’re not going to do that. There’s no need to. That’s just the way it is and we’re going to play within the rules.”


What’s the biggest improvement you’ve seen in RB Jarryd Hayne in the short time that he’s been here?

“You know what, he’s starting to get it. Early on, you’re seeing him, again, especially yesterday, you saw him catching punts at the end. The guy’s a, he’s a world-class athlete. And when you come into our practices, it was a lot slower at the beginning. He’s getting the ball as a running back and he wasn’t moving as fast. Now you’re starting to see his speed show up. As he’s attacking the line, running his tracks and attacking the line and feeling more comfortable that way. Also, the pass protections. He’s never had to do any of that. When you take football, we’re crammed in more. He’s used to playing that wide open game. Now, it’s all crunched up. In there, that’s where you get used to the run game. And then pass protections, obviously, he’s never done anything like it. All that stuff is really good, he’s doing really well.”


You said one of the things obviously is his running style. He’s always been up high because of rugby, he needs to get lower. You say he’s doing better but–?

“We’re not hiding behind that now. I let him know there could be a play where you come through there and you’re tree-top tall and 53’s [LB NaVorro Bowman] going to hit you in your chest and I’d like you to listen know before you get the wind knocked out of you. We all know it, one of those is going to happen and we’ll be fine and we’ll get up. It’s just a little reinforcement.”


He seems like a natural on catching those punt returns, you were right in front of him yesterday. Does it seem like he’s made for that kind of duty and also will he do kickoff returns?

“Well, I mean, you saw. We are doing some of that. He is catching some kickoff. But, the punts right now, he’s been doing it all his life. And you can tell that. I know where that question is coming from because yesterday, he’s fielding those things. He and Reggie, really two guys that are really solid, really good at fielding that ball.”


You continue to emphasize tempo in these practices. Is that going to be kind of an identity of this offense or is this just something that you’re emphasizing now for when games slow down you guys will be better prepared?

“There’s no secret to it. We want to be able to move in the game offensively, you’re on offense, you’re on the offensive. You want to be able to do it on your terms. So, if we want to go faster, we want to be able to go faster. If we want to slow it down, we want to be able to slow it down. Right now, we’re more or less working the operation of it and giving different, 22 seconds we started at, now we want to go to 26, let’s get on the ball. I want to push it, I’ll say 30. We’re just trying to change just that idea of how we’re moving and operating from the thought of the play call, through that operation, to the quarterback’s ear, to the huddle. So, we’re trying to do that and we want to be able to. I think that’s all offenses, you want to be able to move at the speed in which you want to move for that particular time in the game or that situation and if we see a defense that’s struggling getting people on the field, can we speed up? That’s simply what we’re working on.”


GC: Are you cutting down the verbiage the quarterback says in the pocket so they can get out of the huddle quicker?

“We have cut down verbiage as we’ve installed. Again, I’m not comparing it to last year or anything like that. But, as we started it was longer and then as guys started understanding it and getting concepts, you can shrink that and it can go to five, six, seven words instead of starting off with 12, 13. So, that’s the intent.”

This article has 49 Comments

  1. JimT seems to need to tell you guys that he understands why a given question is being asked.

    1. I grew up with Casey Stengel managing the Oakland Oaks and TV coming to Sunnyvale, so I can enjoy Tomsula. Let’s hope he has 10% of Casey in him.

  2. Is there a cost cutting or plausible situation in which Dylan Thompson is the only backup QB SF keeps? It doesn’t make much sense to pay a backup 2 million dollars when that backup is the caliber of Gabbert.

    1. I think Gabbert’s salary is fully guaranteed but don’t trust my memory on that. Perhaps someone else can confirm/dispute.

      If it is, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, of course. But they appear to have a much higher opinion of him than many fans do.

        1. Thank you George, Htwaits. I first thought the signing of Thompson was a camp body, but with the team’s recent transactions and retirements, I am left wondering about Gabbert.

  3. After the guarded way Harbaugh used to talk, it must be quite refreshing for the beat writers to have Tomsula who appears quite content discussing most topics and giving what appear to be honest, open answers.

    1. It takes him a long time to get there, but yes no doubt Tomsula is more open with his answers.

    2. What does JimT think about Boone at right tackle? Are you clear on that.

      My impression is that’s he’s honestly open and the actual result is pretty much a blank. Harbaugh is/was irritated talking but saying nothing, but JimT enjoys talking (endlessly) and saying nothing. Since all coaches try to say nothing, Jim seems very qualified for that part of his job. What’s entertaining is when he contradicts yesterday’s nothing with today’s nothing.

      Let’s hope he has an overall strategy of his own, and that he is able to communicate that strategy to his coaches and to his players.

      1. This is totally hilarious, Yoda!

        This snipet doesn’t do it justice but is my favorite:
        “Since all coaches try to say nothing, Jim seems very qualified for that part of his job. What’s entertaining is when he contradicts yesterday’s nothing with today’s nothing.”

        How do you come up with lines like this?

          1. htwaits; You could title it. “Word Magic or creating Something out of Nothing”.

      2. Yes htwaits, based on this interview and yesterdays I think I have a pretty good understanding of what the plan is with Boone and the OL. They haven’t decided anything for sure yet, and they intend to let the guys compete at multiple spots to find the best combination. Its the same as yesterday.

        A lot of people have assumed Boone will be the RT, and when the beat guys asked Jimmy T about it yesterday he said that is something he could do. Not that he would. He’s been pretty clear over the past couple of days that he likes Pears as the RT option.

        And I think Jimmy T can be taken at his word that Boone is getting practice at LG because they want to create more depth at the LG and LT position.

          1. Not really sure what you mean htwaits. Are you suggesting Baalke is going to be pissed that Jimmy T is being somewhat forthcoming with his answers?

            1. No. I’m saying very honestly that I think Baalke is very pissed off at Boone and that he is putting him in his place. I have no idea how long it will last or how far it will go. On the other hand, JimT is putting the only face on it that’s open to him.

              This is an aside that I noticed today. JimT has an outside linebacker “really getting of the rock.” In JimT’s first press conference, Baalke interjected “running the rock”. It’s entertaining in some strange way.

              By the way, I’m pissed at Boone too.

              1. Right. You think Boone isn’t getting reps at RT as some sort of punishment being handed down by Baalke, who is pulling Jimmy T’s puppet strings.

                If that is what you want to believe there is nothing I or anyone will say that can change your mind. It is a theory based on conjecture with no evidence to prove or disprove it.

              2. Time and observation may change my mind, or someone with inside information. Baalke doesn’t have my number.

                As for JimT’s strings, my impression of Baalke’s role dates to the first press conference and the overall way in which JimT was “selected” to coach the team.

                It’s clear that what Boone has been doing in camp has caught the interest of some of the beat writers. September is the time when most things should be clearer.

              3. Scooter: Yes conjecture- but reasonable conjecture. That scenario was my first impression as well. It make the most sense considering the circumstances. By the way I would approve if that was what Baalke was doing.

              4. Willtalk, I’m not at all surprised you agree with this, its a theory that is right up your alley. You and htwaits should start a conversation about the various conspiracy theories you have regarding Baalke. :-P

                As to your point that this theory makes the most sense, only if you believe Baalke is (a) ticked off at Boone, and (b) pulling Tomsula’s strings. It is also predicated on the idea the team actually sees Boone as their best option at RT, thus by not putting him there it must therefore be out of spite.

                I think a simpler theory is that Boone is practising at LG with the 2nd team because (outside of what Jimmy T has said) they have an opening at LG which they see Boone being part of the competition for (a more important position than the RG spot he’s manned the past few years), and Boone has not been practising with the team at all this off-season so is probably behind in terms of learning the new ZBS being installed.

              5. Scooter,

                No, I don’t think you have that right. It makes too much sense and is too simple. Just because Boone has been playing G (and playing quite well, at that), you leap to the conclusion that the team might like Boone at G, rather than T? Come on, man.

                I suppose next you’re going to try and say that Boone is running with the two’s so he wouldn’t interrupt the flow of the one’s as he learned / adjusted to the new system. Again, way to simple of an explanation.

                It’s much more likely that an NFL team would not use their best option at a position to teach a player a lesson. Not only would the organization not put the best team on the field, they would get the added bonus of ensuring that Boone wouldn’t re-sign with the 49ers.

                Now, let’s talk about the world being flat…

              6. Lol! I know Ex, I’m clearly coming up with some wild ideas here. :-P The most obvious reason is of course that the team is doing it out of spite towards Boone, and at the say so of Baalke…

          2. JimT was gave a different impression of what Boone would be doing from day one to day two.

            1. He did? How so? This was his response yesterday to the question about Boone at RT:

              “Yeah, well Alex can go to right tackle. He played it in college. Right now, we have (G Erik) Pears at right tackle. Alex, I’m sure at some point, will get some work at right tackle. Obviously, we’ve got the rookie [T Trent Brown] that is a right tackle. But again, he’s developing so we’ve got something’s to go there. We just have to see where that’s at. We’ve been playing guys at different spots and you’ll see that over the course of the next three days, but we’ve been doing that all offseason. But, Pears will be out there right now. I really like Pears as a right tackle.”

              He not only states that he likes Pears at RT, just like he did again today, he says Boone will likely “at some point” get some work at RT. Not that he was getting work there now.

              Seems to me like he has been very consistent in his responses. I really have no idea where you are getting the idea he has been anything but.

              1. Do you think anyone but Pears will get time at RT with the first team during this camp?

              2. By this camp I assume you mean the three day mini-camp. During these three days Pears will probably see at least most if not all first team reps at RT. If anyone else goes in with the first team, it will probably be Brown before Boone. And none of that is not counter to what Jim has said.

          3. What? You think Scooter is beholden to Trent? That, my friend, would require a rather massive conspiracy indeed! Maybe Baalke’s daughter has threatened to expose Scooter to his neighbors that he’s hopelessly addicted to ‘Merican Football.

            1. I’m amazed at how understanding the written word can go in so many directions.

      1. George take another look. That’s not Mindi Bach. I have not seen her before she may be new to the Bay Area or from outside of the region. In any case the blonde that appears around 10:05 in the video is not Mindi Bach.

        1. I just checked your 10:05 marker. You’re right, TfH, it’s not Mindi. Never seen her before.

  4. The best thing about Tomsula is what you see and hear is what you get. No hiding, no false pretense, no innuendos. Just straight football man!

    1. yeah, prime ..

      seems Jimmy the T goes out of his way to
      answer Grant’s questions …

      I bet Grant likes interviewing JT .. more than
      he did with The Harbs ! .. lol

  5. The most telling thing Tom Shuler said was this:

    Do you tell him when he comes here that this is how we do business?

    “Yeah. We’re not into a lot of what we don’t do. We’re trying to spend a lot more time on what we do do and how we do it.”

    This seems to be classic Carroll, and pretty much the opposite of Darth Harbaugh. Tom Shuler is a happy-maker, not a drill sergeant. It’s the new NFL. Arians, Carroll, Pagano. Rah rah optimists!

  6. As I always say it’s all a question of if a persons pluses out weight their minuses. I am sure that a lot of these new positive changes were implemented by Trent Baalke. They were the things that the front office objected to Harbaugh’s system Frankly they were pretty obvious. Who knows we might be surprised how well this team will play once the infighting has been removed. Not sure as to who created the greater negatives for this team Harbaugh or Baalke but it was a given that one of them leaving with more control for the other was sure to produce some sort of improvement. Now which one leaving would have been better is up to personal conjecture.

  7. i’ve been hoping that the offense would switch to an Earhardt-Perkins system. that “concepts” would be used to communicate pass plays as opposed to the overly clunky WCO verbiage. I don’t know if the Niners have switched play calling systems or if they’ve simply figured out their own way to cut down on the way the WCO communicates plays by integrating passing concepts.

  8. Tomsula is correcting past mistakes. The up tempo offense is like a breath of fresh air to me. No more DOG penalties, which were self inflicted wounds.
    I hope he takes it further and scraps the whole play calling system which was unwieldy and inefficient. I would like Kaep to be able to call plays at the line of scrimmage, and let him run the offense with scripted plays. The offensive coordinator should be able to give input, but waiting for a play to be called in the booth and sent down to the field just wastes time.
    The Pistol or Read Option allows the QB to decide whether to run or pass during the play, so defenses cannot defend against only the run or only the pass. Therefor, Kaep should employ that strategy and decide what to do after the snap of the ball.
    The OC should have input, but with scripted scenarios, Kaep should run the offense.
    Also, if signals are sent from the side lines, there should be 2 players giving different calls, and the OC should randomly choose ahead of time which one would be the designated play, so the other team cannot steal the signals. Last year, opponents admitted they knew what play was going to be run just by looking at the formation, and it seemed as though the Niners were way too predictable.
    By being crisp, efficient and unpredictable, the Niner offense will improve.

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