This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
“The injuries; again, the guys are still coming in and you know this, but [G/T Alex] Boone is going for an MRI today on that knee. [RB Kendall] Gaskins did have a concussion, so he’s in the concussion protocol. [WR] Torrey Smith that back spasm did happen to him in the game. It was going back and forth. He was getting it rubbed out, going back in and then they pulled him. So, he is getting treated with that. And then, [DB] Jimmie Ward, what I’ve got here is elbow contusion. So, that tells us that he obviously got hit pretty good, but it’s not broke when they say contusion so we’re good there. Questions?”
How do you respond seeing some remarks from players that maybe they overlooked Cleveland or took them lightly?
“Yeah, [49ers vice president of communications Bob Lange] Bobby was telling me that. I guess [T Joe] Staley was one of the guys. And I’d have to disagree with Joe on that. Maybe he was speaking from a personal note, I don’t know, but that was something that was addressed all week. Number one, we have no right to overlook anyone. Number two, in the NFL, I don’t care if you’re 14-0, you better not overlook anyone. I don’t see that as a factor. And again, it’s a group that comes to work and they work. But, I didn’t see that. I saw a game where we didn’t, and I don’t use this word a lot, but we didn’t execute. I didn’t see an effort problem. We talked about that, but we didn’t execute.”
Does it concern you that’s coming out of your locker room from more than one player, those kinds of thoughts?
“Yeah, I disagree. What are you talking about half the locker room?”
Well, LB Ahmad Brooks used the word bigheaded.
“Well, those two guys. Yeah, I would just have to disagree. I don’t think that was the case at all.”
Being eliminated from the playoffs now, what’s the approach for these last few weeks?
“I mean, you’re a professional football player, you play. We have a one week calendar and we’ve got Cincinnati Bengals and they’re a good NFL football team. We’ve got to figure out a way to correct and prepare and go play to win a football game.”
You said effort was there, but the execution wasn’t. Given 24 hours and given some time to look at the film, why do you think that was the case? What caused that?
“The execution. The fundamentals. Blocking out up front. Tackling. Wrap-tackling. Just wrapping up when you tackle. You can’t do that.”
Is that distressing at all at this point of the season? You maybe expect that early.
“Yes, you don’t want it. Last week, I thought we did a nice job of tackling. Wrapping, you can’t get away from that. You’ve got to stay true to the fundamentals.”
Was there any part of you that thought maybe the team got too much of a sense of relief, there wasn’t a sense of urgency after getting that win in Chicago?
“You’ve got to be able to channel, and again, we missed a great opportunity. We missed an opportunity for ourselves. We had a win and we wanted to put two together. That was the goal and that was the focus. And we didn’t do that. We’ve got to continue, you know, we’ve talked about it, getting better. Now, we’ve got to get back on the horse and continue to get better.”
Your coaching staff is the same for the final stretch?
After some of these losses, you say it starts and ends with you and everything goes through you.
“Yeah, it does.”
What can you do now at this point to try to improve your teams play during the week?
“Well, to me the first thing is we try to make sure the same guy comes to work every day. We think our way through things and we adjust what we feel like we need to adjust. We look at, taking a look at where those things are and the heavy corrections. And making sure that the young guys, that we have our older guys and our younger guys are working together and we’re finishing each other’s sentences.”
Are there young guys that maybe now that you’ve been eliminated that you’d like to take a longer look at?
“No. I think you’ve seen us working everybody all year.”
Their coach was pretty candid about saying he felt like they exploited a weakness in your run defense and that was why they were able to gain so many yards on the ground. As you know, they had been struggling a bit on the ground before that. Do you think there was a weakness?
“Well, we gave up 104 yards on two plays. You can’t do that. It wasn’t fit right and then we missed the tackle. So, you can’t give up explosive runs like that. It changes the field. It changes everything. It’s the same on offense. You’ve got to catch the ball. You’ve got to run the correct route, things like that. You can’t make those mistakes.”
Are those mistakes in the run defense, are those fixable or is that–?
“Yes, they’re fixable. Absolutely.”
With Alex’s status uncertain and your challenges protecting QB Blaine Gabbert, how do you guys make adjustments on that offensive line this week to give him a better chance?
“Well, that’s what we’ve got to get done this week. We’ve got to get that done. We’ve got to figure that out. If Alex can’t go, next guy steps in and we’ve got to solidify it and we’ve got to make sure that we put our guys in a position to get it blocked up so we can throw the football.”
What did you see when you look back on the film that were some of the breakdowns?
“We’ve got to block them. I mean, lose leverage on a guy and a guy comes through the inside of you. You’re blocking a guy on the edge and he gets your outside hand down and he gets over top of you. I mean, technique, fundamental things that have to stay consistent all the time.”
Can’t imagine that you expected G/C Daniel Kilgore to play that many snaps. But, how do you think he played despite the circumstances?
“Well, a positive out of the game, Daniel getting his reps there and he did a lot with them. He did. So, there was a positive there.”
Back to remarks by Staley and Ahmad, will you speak to those two guys specifically?
“Yeah. I’ll ask them. I talk to them all the time. So, yeah that’ll come up. Not in a, just in general conversation. You know, ‘What do you mean? Where are you at?’”