Roman on the NFL’s new read-option rules: “The interpretation could be abused.”

SANTA CLARA – Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here’s a transcript.

ROMAN: Afternoon. Excited to move into the regular season. I think we’ve had a very productive preseason-phase. I’d like to thank everybody that was a part of the team during that time. We’re set and ready to go. We had a great practice yesterday and looking forward to having another great one today. Any questions?

Q: How concerned are you about the information Scott Tolzien and maybe even Seneca Wallace may be able to Green Bay? Do you have to change some things?

ROMAN: Green Bay, they have a great defense. Looking at them in the preseason, they played really well. I think it’s really going to come down to the players on the field. I could say something pretty clever, like once they think they’ve got all of the answers we change the questions. That may or may not be true, but I’m not going to say that. It’s really going to come down, especially in the first game of the season, to fundamental football, blocking, ball security, execution. All that other stuff, it tends to get a little overrated. When you pin your hopes to stuff like that, there’s a flipside to that coin, too. Scott was a very good player while he was here. I’m sure they’re picking his brain. It’s really not going to have any impact on the game.

Q: A week before the game, is it easy to change all of the verbal cues at the line of scrimmage so that what the other team hears isn’t consistent with what it meant a week or two ago?

ROMAN: Nothing’s really easy. To execute something, it requires everybody to be in tune. Whether you change a play, a route, a quarterback read, a run-blocking scheme, whatever, verbiage, it requires a tremendous amount of focus. Fortunately our guys are very focused individuals and I love working with them.

Q: How would you assess Vernon Davis’ offseason? What strides did he make?

ROMAN: Vernon’s had a great offseason. How many offenses has Vernon Davis has in his career? He’s setting in in his third season together, all of us together. He’s really taking command of route-running. He’s had some big days in training camp catching the football. His run blocking probably if anything is getting better. He’s really learning the offense, where he fits in the puzzle of everything. It’s allowed us to possibly expand what he does.

Q: Jim Harbaugh was pretty adamant about not liking the new rules about quarterbacks being unprotected when they carry out the read-option. What are your feelings about that?

ROMAN: My feelings are the rule needs to be refined to make it a good rule. I’m not going to get into the wording and the terms and the specific legalese of it, but if it’s not refined, it will be.

Q: Do you think Colin took some illegal hits in the Super Bowl?

ROMAN: No, I thought Baltimore played a very clean game. That was very clean, within the rules.

Q: So you don’t think the rule as it stands right now is a good rule?

ROMAN: I think the interpretation of it could be abused and not in the best interest of the players or the league.

Q: When you hear Clay Matthews say what he said, do you think defenders are going to target Kaepernick?

ROMAN: I don’t know. I think they’re going to do what they do and we’re going to do what we do and we’ve got to do what we do better than they do what they do.

Q: With the injuries in the Packers’ secondary, has your game plan had to alter or change?

ROMAN: I think we’re very aware of each member of their secondary, how they play, where they play, their personality on the field.

Q: Do they have a lot different personality without Charles Woodson back there?

ROMAN: I was very impressed with what they’ve done this preseason, their communication, being in the right place. Woodson has been a great player for a long time. It remains to be seen how that plays out.

Q: This week in practice, how much have you worked with Chris Harper on his multi-faceted role, and how much is, “You’re on the scout team now, do that.”

ROMAN: A little bit of both. We’re teaching him how to get into a stance and get comfortable there, play some receiver, play some tight end, play on the scout team, play with our first team. He’s done that, and really want to get him pushed into what we’re doing and see where it goes.

Q: Do you see Delanie Walker similarities?

ROMAN: Each player is different. I definitely wouldn’t compare those two players, but I do think he could fulfill a similar-type role that Delanie filled here. It’s just going to require some time on task. We like what we see so far.

Q: He was a wide receiver as Kansas State. How do you project whether or not he has the toughness to do what Walker did?

ROMAN: I think you hit it on the head. That the one thing, and we mentioned it to Chris. You have the physical skill set, you’re going to work hard physically to develop and then it’s going to come down to your toughness and want to. That’s it in a nutshell, really. Did anybody watch Kansas State last year? High-powered passing offense? No. He’s done a lot of blocking, mainly on the perimeter, some in the core. There’s a curve there for him to get on and play at a high level inside.

Q: How does Harper compare to Garrett Celek and Vance McDonald? How is Harper unique compared to those two?

ROMAN: I think just coming from the wide receiver position, he’s probably a little bit shiftier and niftier. He’s got a little bit better straight-line speed, quickness, that type of thing. Doesn’t have the girth, the mass, the ability to line up on the line of scrimmage but every tight end is different. You can take some tight ends in the league – are they really tight ends or are they wide receivers? When was the last time they’ve had to block a defensive end? If they haven’t, they’re probably being hidden on their depth chart as a tight end but they’re really a wide receiver. And then there are tight ends that, is this guy a tight end or is he really an offensive tackle? Each guy is very unique.

Q: If LaMichael James is unable to play, how is your running back rotation looking? What do you expect to get from Kendall Hunter in his first game in nine months?

ROMAN: Kendall is itching to get back out. We’re all excited to see him back out there. He’s got such a great team spirit. He’ll do anything he can for the team. We’re really fired up that he’s back in the lineup and back out there competing.

Anthony Dixon had a nice preseason. He cameoed some at fullback.

Frank’s looking sharp. Frank’s looking really good. Frank’s looking like he’s got some real good bounce in his feet.

Q: The Packers have devoted a lot of time and energy on stopping the read-option. Do you feel like you could have a very successful offense without every running a read-option play?

ROMAN: I would certainly hope so. Plays are plays, it’s all about execution no matter what you have called. Any success we’ve had in the past against that team was simply because of the players on the field and not because of scheme. Players get it done on the field. Whatever play we call, those guys do a great job understanding it’s all about the execution.

Q: Have you seen improvement from their defensive line against the run?

ROMAN: We felt pretty impressed by them last year before we played them the first game and before and after we played them the second game. The week before we played them, they played Minnesota who has a vaunted rushing attack and shut them down. We’re very aware of how good they are from a personnel and a coaching standpoint. I think our players do as well.

Q: Do you see your receivers other than Anquan Boldin as interchangeable?

ROMAN: That’s a really good question because yes, these guys do a great job of learning multiple positions. Really feel good about them playing multiple positions. Really everybody. That’s one of the things that group really gives us some flexibility with is lining them up all over the place. It’s something that we’ll probably do.

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