Head Coach Pete Carroll:
(Opening) This is right in the middle of the finish of this season and this is a really exciting time. Like I've said before, I really like how the schedule is-it just makes for so much interest. Coming home to CenturyLink, come home to the 12s, listening for the 12s this week, expecting to hear them to turn up. I know our players are really revved up to finish this season on a great note and they're ready to turn up also so we're looking forward to it.
(On Max Unger) Max is working, he'll be out on the field today-not quite full speed yet so we'll see what happens today and tomorrow and just keep going one day at a time. Coop [Cooper Helfet] is going to practice today, we'll see how he does.
(On Demarcus Dobbs) He's got a pretty severe ankle sprain-we're not sure about the time line for getting him back at this time.
(On how different do the 49ers look from the last game) Well they can't look that much different; they're only a game old. We see it the same in essence, but we have our game to evaluate which is different-our game and the Raiders game so we're diving right into it like we would regardless if we just played them or not. It's really important that we take a really good approach in that manner.
(On the 49ers asking Colin Kaepernick to do more now than before) No they have everything available-they have all of their run game. It shows up and they have a diverse pass game. They probably spread out a little bit more because of their receivers that they have, but they've done that in the past also so it doesn't look like they have a new notebook. They're still loaded with stuff-they still give you a lot of problems because we have to prepare for so much.
(On preparing for a team that the Seahawks just played) We start all over again really-we're starting all over again with the preparation and try to look at it like brand new. Of course we have more immediate information, but we're going at it in the same fashion that we always would-two really important games to add to what we did before so we'll see if that ends up a little bit differently so we're adjusting to that.
(On Tharold Simon and if he's been a surprise) If you go back and listen to us talk about him back in camp, we were really fired up about him. He had a great camp, great reps, got banged up and kind of got held back for a while, but in coming back from the year before, he made a big improvement. From OTAs, we could see it in all of that time so I don't think we're surprised now, I think we've been pleased that he's able to go out there on the field, come through, make things happen, and play as a regular. He's got tremendous talent-he's a big kid just like we like, he understands our scheme, and technique wise, he's really solid. He had a big offseason; he really did improve a tremendous amount so I don't think it's a surprise, not since OTAs-no.
(On Tharold Simon's biggest strength) It starts with the reach that he has-he's a real tall, long guy that makes for the problems our style of corners presents for your opponent. He's got terrific speed and he's got really good ball sense too so he's got a lot of attributes that fit right in and he makes for a very competitive guy for playing time on our team. It's a wonderful draft pick for us-he really fit in just right.
(On Tharold Simon's technique change) I think he's more poised now-he's been in games, he's been around. I think he was a little desperate at times; just trying to make things happen and not let anybody get away from him. His conscience is very turned on about it now and he's really worked hard in practice to clean up that stuff, which always carries over to the game. He's making progress-Sherm [Richard Sherman] has done a really good job working with him, Sherm's really taken him under his wing. Sherm went through the same transition and his experience has helped. Tharold's done a really good job of taking the information, listening, and allowing Sherm's help to fit in.
(On playing young guys like Tharold Simon and Jordan Hill early being helpful) I think that's a great example-that's exactly the example of it. Even though he's a second-year guy, he didn't get anything done last year so he's just like a redshirt freshman. He's benefitted from it-right now is a great example. We're talking about him, he's a regular starter for us in the nickel, he can play on both sides, and he can play on early downs as well. We have no hesitation of playing him in the game. He's accomplished that exact formula for us-Jordan is doing the same thing. So it's just been a formula that's worked out for us in the past and we're seeing some examples of it now.
(On assessing what he said to Russell Wilson about the grounding penalties) Well those are difficult situations-that one in particular was tough on us because of the field goal opportunity lost. We just talked through it and generally it's the conversation about what's going on and to make sure that we're clear, he's on the same page as we were thinking. Sometimes you say, ‘ok we can't take a sack here,' and it happens sometimes. So he was trying to avoid taking the sack to lose the field goal opportunity so I don't remember what exactly was said, but that's the kind of conversation we would have right there.
(On the 49ers struggling) We don't see this game any different-we see the same players, coaches, style, and we remember what's going on and how they've been. They're very close to being how they need to be at the end of the year and nobody knows how this story is going to be written at this point. We count on them being a very difficult team to play as always and nothing has changed.
(On Russell Wilson throwing more in the 2nd half of the Eagles game) I think it worked together really well with protection, the way the game had gone, we had ran the ball a lot, and really put ourselves in position where we could do a nice job in the throwing game-I think they were looking for the running game. We took advantage of it and I think it was really the sharpest we've looked in the segment of time. I really like the way that the pocket was set up-Russell was really affirmative, he was ripping the ball; guys were making their catches known. That complement to the emphasis that we pay in the running game should make us hard to deal with if we can keep that going. So we're really hoping that we can continue to present that to our opponents, they're going to have a tough time, and they don't know where we're coming with it.
(On was it the protection or Russell trusting him more) I think we definitely protected better-I think we felt better about where they were coming from. I think the run game had something to do with the way that the rush was coming and the emphasis of the calls they were making to present themselves for the run-all of that worked together; it's just the factor that we liked to see. You don't always see that early on in the game, you have to establish that you're legit and we were. I think it worked together really well.
(On the timing to call a Russell Wilson bootleg) It's a part of the game plan, I can't tell you a whole lot about that one but it's just part of the game plan and it fits in. Hopefully, in a timely fashion, he has to make good decisions. It's a very difficult decision to make and it happens in a flash of an instance, but he's really good at it so we give him chances and it depends on what goes on in the game.
(On Russell Wilson making the call to run a bootleg) No-we make the call when we're thinking about doing it and then he has to read it and execute it.
(On Byron Maxwell) It's good because of his style of play. When we play Jeremy [Lane] or Marcus [Burley] in there, they matched up differently with guys because they have a really big slot in [Jordan] Matthews last week and I thought it was a just a nice matchup for Maxy [Byron Maxwell]-not that he can't hang with other guys, but I thought it was just a good one to see. It gives us tremendous flexibility and as we're rounding in this week, we have everyone available back there-it gives us some choices. As receivers and teams change their style of guys, we have the flexibility to matchup in pretty good fashion right now.
(On Kam Chancellor) I think he feels really good about letting it rip and making all the plays he can make. I think there was a time where he was concerned about making sure he didn't get out of position in case he couldn't get out of his breaks as well as he needed too. Anything that's like that that takes you into your mind about being concerned, that you're not quite all there, can take away from your play. He's been cutting it loose for a month now and really rolling. It shows up in every aspect of our game. It shows up in the locker room, it shows up on the practice field, and it shows up on the game field for certain and it's wonderful to watch him cut loose and play his game.
(On how satisfying is it to be at this point in the season) Regardless of whatever happened in the beginning of this year, we would have liked to have been in this position right now with a chance to win our division and we are. We're there-regardless of what happened. If we had won every game, we'd be in the same position right now wanting to figure out how we can finish this thing off right so we can win our division so I don't think it feels any different. I think as we look back, when we talk about it after the fact, there will be some drama to the story. I think we would have overcome a lot, but right now we're in the middle of it, having a blast, and looking forward to a great week.
(On the Seahawks defense) In general, guys understand what is asked of them so that they understand the scheme really well so they know what their responsibilities are-to the point of that they can go to the next level of what the offense is doing, the strategy, tactics that they're deploying, and then take all of that information and make use of it. It takes a while-it takes experience, it takes enough confidence in the scheme so that they can go to the next level of concern. You can't just play and line up in the right spot, then what's the offense doing, what are the looks, what's the style, and the down and distance. We're an experienced defense, these guys have been around-they've played together a lot, they can communicate on a really high level, they can make sense of things with a glance or with a word of what to expect or the alerts that need to be done-that's a tremendously valuable asset. It allows a team that plays a fairly basic scheme play really fast and if there is anything that you should have witnessed here in the last month is that our team speed picked up. You can see us playing faster as we're going and that's in the continuity, that's in the communication, that's in the confidence from being together and being out there. We're hoping it can happen again one more time this week.
(On seeing more now than last year because of the defense's chemistry) Well I think that last year, by the end of the season, we had found this tempo. We're in that same portion of the schedule now and there's a lot of time in the middle of last year that we were not right, we got our butt kicked a number of games and we weren't on it, but we found it again and we have done it again this year at this point. It's so fleeting-the past couple weeks. This week's a whole new story and we've got to find it again and make sure that the preparation and planning allows our guys to play really fast and they're ready to go and when they get there, then they make the hits that they make and we're counting on it. We're counting on these guys, their leadership, the coaching staff and myself all contribute to the right mind set so that we can play a really good football game here at CenturyLink again.
(On Bryan Walters's status for the week) Good, his status is good-we'll see; good status though.
(On fans wanting Seahawks to protest for Ferguson and Eric Garner) First off, we don't know anything about that-it's the first time I've ever heard about it, maybe it's going on and I didn't know about it. The fact that there is a call out around the country is totally in order. I think it's totally in order-people have strong feelings about what's going on, very well grounded feelings, and everybody wants to see change. Our guys are pretty out-spoken guys, and I trust that they speak on behalf of the feelings in their heart and they'll make whatever decisions that they need to make and if we need to consult on that we will. At this point, I don't think we need to but it's a very powerful time right now. It's a lot going on, and everybody needs to be tuned in to what's happening and I know our guys are-they're in the conversations. I hear them when we're traveling and when we're together-these guys are talking about what's going on around the country. They're concerned, they're interested, and they've got people that are involved in some difficult places. So as the league recognizes our role, we have something to say, and people are listening-I think our guys are doing a pretty good job. I can't say anything specific about it but we'll see what happens-this is the first I've heard of that.
(On the NFL's policy change) I don't know much about what's going on-I just saw it on the ticker, I don't know what's happened with it, but it's absolutely in order to making this next step. We needed to and we'll continue to need to in order to stay abreast of the changing times that have gone crazy right now and we just have to. The league has to do it for all of the right reasons so I don't know how they acted on it but I'm sure they're doing it with great interest and concern and all of that and it's necessary.
(On Brandon Mebane's replacements exceeding his expectations) Kevin Williams has done really well-I'm really fired up about what he's done, he's made the transition to somewhat of a new position for him and he's been very effective. Like I've said before, his style is different, the make-up of his body is so much different, but he's played really well. He's a terrific football player and we're lucky to have him on our team and I'm really thrilled at how he's come through. Jordan [Hill] is really playing the best football he's played for us-we have the opportunity to move him around some, he's played a lot of third down stuff, he's been very active, and really consistent. They're totally different make-up and style players as well-so as we've always said, we have a way to tailor the play to the nature of the player and hopefully put them in the best light for them to do well and we're coaching Kevin differently than we are Jordan and have expectations differently because of their make-up and the fact that their contributing-we're very lucky right now.
(On coaching philosophy) We do whatever we think we need to do to get it done and if we've got to do it in combinations or in segments of the game, some of that is to figure out what's the best way to go, sometimes we're actually experimenting to see how the play goes, how a guy fits, how they handle their opportunities, and then we'll tweak right away. I learned a long time ago not to try and make everybody the same-that's not the way we go. We're going to try to figure out what our guys can do and what they're really good at, what we can help them with the most, and we need to be the one to make the adjustments to fit that. It's basically always helped us in every position across the board with that thinking and it's trying to bring out the best that the guys have. We've been through this quite a bit so usually it works out ok in time.
(On the Seahawks defense playing faster) We've found the game speed that's indicative of the way we can play. And we were just off that-on a consistent basis, we weren't quite right. We were thinking too much, trying to do some things instead of just playing football, and Dan Quinn has done a great job of just making these guys come together and really start to draw on their best abilities. The last three weeks is the kind of style we'd hoped we could play since the last couple years. It's fleeting-it doesn't always stay. We're trying to maintain a tremendous level of consistency that's uncommon. So it's about playing fast, it's about trusting the scheme, trusting each other, the great trust that the players have so they're not thinking is the other guy in the right spot and they're already a beat behind so it's a lot that goes into that.
(On Kevin Williams playing a different position) He plays nose tackle-he hasn't played a lot of that. He's played a lot of three technique and five technique over the years. He's always been moved around where he's in there some, but now-where's he's really called on to be a nose tackle, that's the shift. In his mentality, he's had to shift gears a little bit: they box hit him a little differently, the timing of things were different-down and dirty, and it's different than playing other spots. He's such a cool kid-he just bought into it, dug in and figure out what we need and what we want, and find out how he could best present that to us and he's done it.
(On how Kam Chancellor has become a force in the locker room) I think he's done it perfectly naturally-just the way in his fashion that he's capable. He's always been a voice-he's always been a guy that our guys look up too since he was back in his first year. He just commanded the respect because he was such a stud player and such a great kid. I think he felt really comfortable with moving ahead with what we needed at this time and been a great spokesperson-he's not alone, but it's been noticeable and it's been a real thrill to watch it happen because we really believe in the kid and love him. So for him to just embrace what's going on and I think that he and the 12 guys that we started with a couple weeks ago, have really been instrumental in spreading the word.
(On Doug Baldwin's pass interference play) Doug is a savvy football player-he didn't miss that opportunity, he knew exactly what he was in, he saw the flight of the ball, knew what was going on, and put himself in position. It was almost a no win opportunity for the corner-he was going to run into him, he was going to disrupt him, and I thought Doug played that perfectly.
(On 49ers linebacker Chris Borland) Wow, he's really good-he's an exciting football player to watch. I really have a lot of respect for his style of play. He reminds me of Lofa Tatupu-very similar in savvy and the instincts of playing the game-really good player.
(On the 2013 NFC Championship game) I thought it was a great football game, it was a great night at the stadium, memorable for the fans, the players, and the coaches because it was a perfect night of championship football and we're fortunate to come out on the end. They were coming to down to try and take it away from us and we win the game. In that sense, just kind of as a fan, being part of it was a great football game and a great night.
(On limiting Frank Gore) We have to take care of him, he's a terrific football player. We have never played a game against these guys in five years where we haven't focused on him. He draws that much attention because he can run you out of a ball game and he's done it to us. So when he's in the game we have to play the running game and keep him to a minimal and it's really difficult to do that because he's such a fantastic player and they know how to get it to him too.
Pete Carroll talks Jim Harbaugh rumors, Colin Kaepernick, Levi's Stadium atmosphere - Niners Nation
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll chatted with Bay Area media on Wednesday. He had some interesting insight into Jim Harbaugh, Colin Kaepernick, the atmosphere at Levi's Stadium, and more. We've got the transcript.
49ers Media Center | Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll - December 10, 2014
Pete Carroll joins Bay Area reporters on a conference call.
Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell:
(On his contribution to games like last week) There's a lot of things that went into it. We possessed the ball in terms of executing pretty well so we were able to sustain some drives. Converted a few third downs. We were able to drive the field a long ways also the defense was getting three and outs and they were happening pretty quickly as well. So I think that all plays hand in hand.
(On the two young receivers) Yeah they're coming along. I thought P-Rich (Paul Richardson) did a really nice job on the one scramble play where you could see him at the high point of the ball and actually felt that the guy was coming so he really tucked it away and pulled it down. You know [Kevin] Norwood was able to get a couple catches as well. Sometimes it can be tough for young receivers. They're still learning each and every day they come out here, but we're really liking the progress that they're making.
(On splitting the receivers wide) It's spreading the box out as well. It's spreading the defense. Just giving the quarterback some cleaner reads and last game we added a little bit to it to try do a little bit more out of it and so it's not always the same thing and it really helped us in our game.
(On what improved pass protection) We're always trying to change up the pass protection. We don't want to live in one thing. There's all different kinds of protection that we're doing. One thing that I think really helps is us obviously running the football so some of the actions off of the play actions we're able to create more space because they're seeing it as a run. The linebackers stepping up, those kinds of things, maybe getting the DBs to get their feet in the ground a little bit. I think that helps with some of the shots down the field. But the protection has been pretty good, I mean there's still some things that we're still continuing to clean up it will happen every game. Russ [Russell Wilson] saves some plays for us and is able to make some plays with his feet. I think we're getting better each and every time we're going out there.
(On the recipe last year) The runs definitely help set it up. We always try to find things off of that because that's our bread and butter; our run game's our go-to and we're the best at it in the NFL so we want to use it to our advantage the best way that we can. You can't always take the shots down the field, we try to, some teams just legislate away from it, they keep their guys really deep and then you have to be able to make adjustments and throw the ones underneath if they give them to you.
(On if anything is being done on third down to be more successful) We work really hard on it and each and every time we come out we're going against the best defense in the league as well and we get to work against them every day and just continually trying to work our schemes, work our plays, work our protection, all of those things kind of go together. We slowly have been getting better and we were able to get 40% or 44% something like that, we keep trying to push for that 50 mark as kind of the goal that we'd like to get to.
Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard:
QB Russell Wilson:
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson - December 10, 2014
Russell Wilson joins Bay Area reporters on a conference call.
CB Richard Sherman:
(On the way Byron Maxwell moves in and out during the game) He's incredibly versatile. He's a very smart football player. He has a great and very unique technique about him that applies both inside and out and I think at the end of the day he's just a great player. I think it takes a tremendous amount of versatility and intelligence to be able to move in and out he does it seamlessly. I think that's a testament to him and we're lucky to have him.
(On Maxwell being a little bit longer versus the smaller guys that play in the slot) Yeah he is. He is. I think that works to his advantage but he is also really quick, he has great feet. He's relaxed, he's calm, and in very tense situations and I think that works to his advantage as well.
(On how Byron Maxwell's technique is similar to his) He's just patient. I don't go into slot that often, I guess we're similar when I go in there but he's just unique. You can't compare two people's style like that. Like no two quarterbacks throw exactly the same. No two corners play - our technique is similar but it's not the same. His footwork is a little different. His stance is a little different. But I'm a fan.
(On if guiding Tharold Simon as a young CB is the only one or if he does the same with other young CBs as well) You try to do it with any corner but I think I saw a little bit of myself in him. I also saw a little Brandon Browner in some of his ways and I think he has the potential to be a great corner in this league and I want him to reach that potential and anything I can do to help him, I'm trying to do.
(On anything that is better right now over the last month or if it is the entire defense) I think it's the whole defense. I think all of us are just playing for each other and having a blast. I think anytime all 11 guys are out there having fun and sprinting around, hitting, and enjoying the moments things like that are going to happen. You're going to have great stats. I'm sure everybody has great stats like that throughout the whole defense. I'm sure you can look at Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright's stats, I think he got a couple forced fumbles and Bobby [Wagner] leads the team in tackles every week. I mean that's nothing new. Kam [Chancellor] and Earl [Thomas] and Byron [Maxwell], you saw them all over the field last week. Our D-line has been playing incredibly. I think we're top three in run defense right now. I think it's a testament to the way everybody is playing I think those things, you're playing tight coverage and doing everything you can but without the team playing as well as they are some of those plays might get in there.
(On his take on Roger Goodell's announcement of changes in the conduct policy) I think it's interesting any time you make changes to a policy that we collectively bargain for and you don't collectively bargain for it. Like the PA was saying before, doing it by the seat of their pants, making things up as they go along. You would hope that anything having to do with the players, especially discipline and things like that players would have some say, so in the policy it be something we could agree on, everybody is comfortable with. Obviously that wasn't what they saw fit.
(On if him or the NFLPA agree that there needs to be a change) Yes, the PA has always been interested in discussing a change with the league and the league saw it fit to make a change without consulting the PA. So yeah, it is what it is.
(On Coach Harbaugh stating that the Seahawks defense is good at diagnosing and how it has improved/sharpened since last year) I don't know if we were sharper than we were last year. I think last year we were pretty sharp. But I think that's something we learned last year as a defense, as a whole. I think certain players were better at diagnosing than others at different points last year and I think at one point we came together as a defense and started recognizing formations as an entire unit. Recognizing what we thought was coming, what plays were coming, what formations dictated certain things, understanding down and distance and not just individuals like I said but as a unit and I think that has carried over to this year. I think that's what's helping us on this journey. This good run we're on as a defense and as a team. It's recognizing the formations, understanding how they're trying to attack you, and that goes back to the continuity I talked about earlier this year. Having Bobby [Wagner] back, getting everybody back, Kam [Chancellor], Byron [Maxwell], having everybody out there because those are the guys who are used to being in those situations. There's a different level of communication with those guys than there are with the young guys like Brock Coyle and KPL (Kevin Pierre-Louis). Those guys play with tremendous effort and talent but I think their understanding is a couple years behind guys like Bobby [Wagner] and Kam [Chancellor].
(On being less prone to thinking about playing so you're able to play faster) Most definitely. Guys go out there and there isn't much thinking at all. Guys understand initial formation and once you get your indicators, guys are believing what they see and are playing fast.
(On Coach Carroll saying that this is ‘fleeting') Yeah that's what he stays on. He's been harping that since we've been here, since we got here in 2011. Its championship mentality every week. There's nothing guaranteed in any given week. I don't care if you've beat a team a bunch of times, the next time they can beat you bad. That's the way this league is. That's why you have to be prepared. You have to prepare every week like it's its own individual match up. There isn't any effect. The scores from last games don't affect this game.
(On the swagger of the defense at this time versus last year) I think we're the same. I think we're pretty much the same. I think we have a different cast of characters in some respects. Tharold Simon wasn't playing last year. Byron Maxwell was playing a different role last year. Obviously Kevin Williams wasn't here but I think the confidence and the energy is coming from trust and belief from one another and also just love for one another and just an appreciation for everybody's job and their contributions. It's something Gus Bradley used to tell us have a genuine appreciation for the contributions that the men next to you make because that's how you come together as a defense.
(On what he thinks of what San Francisco is going through and the impact it has) We don't think about them at all. We don't watch them. Unless we're playing them it really has no bearing on what we do. We have to focus on what's in our building and what we're doing. So that's all that matters.
(On how he's seen Colin Kaepernick change over the past few years playing against him) Not much honestly. He hasn't changed much. Their offense is built around him. They do the pistol formations. They throw the ball down the seam while he throws a seven cut. They're going to run what they run just like we're going to run what we run.
(On the line in the running game from 2012 and the vulnerabilities) Not really. I see the same guys that I saw then. You see [Anthony] Davis, [Mike] Iupati, the center is gone, but Joe Staley is still there. They're the same guys and [Frank] Gore is still back there. You still got Anquan [Boldin], you still got all the pieces still there. You don't see any weaknesses. You know those guys are big time players in this league and I think anytime you have them on the field they're going to play like big time players. They have pride in their game.
(On knowing Colin Kaepernicks tendencies compared to other quarterbacks) To a degree. It's like you know all the teams in your division's tendencies a little better. I'm sure they know Russell's [Wilson] tendencies a little better than every other quarterback. Just from playing them so much -I think this is the third time we've played them in 2014 so you see a team so much you've got to get something unless you're just not paying attention.
(On Bobby Wagner's speed assisting with defense) Well Bobby Wagner is a Pro Bowl player and he's the heart of the defense. It all starts with the D line up front and our backers. Everything starts with them. If they fill their gaps and he cleans up a lot of mistakes made by guys and other guys clean up mistakes like Earl [Thomas] and Kam [Chancellor], we got a lot guys who are like erasers out there and he has such an instinctual game -he believes what he sees, he plays what he sees on top of the immense talent and speed that he has that he makes for a fantastic football player that I hope everybody recognizes, Pro Bowl, Bobby Wagner.
(On what the 12s mean to the team at CenturyLink) To tell you the truth, they've been on the road. The 12s have been on the road. But they mean a tremendous deal to us. They give us a lot of energy and you just feed off of them. You feed off the energy, the noise, during the peaks and valleys of the games, they never have peaks and valleys because they're loud 100% of the time. On the road it's always great to see some familiar jerseys and faces out there in the stands and when we're playing well to see them enjoying it and getting Seahawks chants on the road, it just gives you a different kind of energy.
(On if he thinks it would take away from the rivalry if Coach Harbough wasn't coach anymore) I don't know. I don't think so. I think it would take away from a few story lines but the rivalry would be just the same between the teams and the fan bases. I don't think the fan bases would care who the coaches are on either team. I think they have their own disdain for one another.
(On fans wanting players to make a statement about the Ferguson situation etc...) It's something you talk about, but it's something that everybody has their own choice to make and I think it's our duty as a nation to come together in these times to recognize it. I don't know how much one individual gesture or even a team or a lot of guys making gestures that are very respectable and send out a message. I think that being together and being great role models as players is our duty. It's the thing we can do. Not going out there and doing things that aren't reputable. I think the guys that are making a stand are admirable. They're doing a great job and I think that the rest of us could make a stand like that and that would be fantastic because everybody should have the rights. Nobody should walk out and be scared when they walk out of their house. If they're not breaking any laws, they shouldn't be fooled with. I think as a nation we have our things to clean up and I think until we get to that point, I think the best thing we can make as players is to be great role models.
(On if he feels compelled to make a statement on game day) I feel like every time I make a personal statement they think I'm being an individual and trying to bring attention to myself so I think an issue like this, attention has been brought to it. Players have recognized it, players have made statements and the biggest statement I can make is be true to yourself, come together. There shouldn't be these color lines and racism and all that everybody thinks it's gone and it's not and I think the moment that we recognize that as a nation is the moment we step forward. The moment we recognize these moments as opportunities to take a step forward and improve our society, but I could say that all day. What difference does that make unless a lot of people change.
FS Earl Thomas:
WR Doug Baldwin:
RG J.R. Sweezy:
WR Kevin Norwood:
LB K.J. Wright:
DT Jordan Hill and CB Byron Maxwell:
San Francisco 49ers:
Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman:
Thursday, Dec 11th, 2014:
"Morning. Getting ready for a very good Seattle defense. I think these guys have gotten healthy the past couple weeks and are playing at a very impressive level. Very impressed at their Philly game and they certainly did a good job against us a couple weeks ago. I think we helped them out a little bit there, but can't take away the production they put out there on the field. They've got a very cohesive unit here and it really starts across the board with this defense. If you look at their secondary, I think [CB Byron] Maxwell has really upped his game. [CB Richard] Sherman is doing what he does over there to our right. And then [S Kam] Chancellor and [S Earl] Thomas, very good football players. Very good football players. Linebackers [Bruce] Irvin, [Bobby] Wagner and [K.J.] Wright are doing a phenomenal job there as always, and their front, I think there was a lot of questions about their front this year. They lost [DE] Red [Bryant] and they lost 91 [DE Cassius Marsh]. Very good players. They got some guys in there doing a heck of a job. So, excited about the challenge and guys are working hard. Had a very productive morning today in meetings and looking forward to getting a bunch of work done today. Any questions?"
What do you have to build on for these final three games? What can you really sink your teeth into and what have you seen that gives you hope that you guys can start being more productive?
"Yeah, the last two games, the last game in particular, there were a lot of positive things that happened really at every position. There just weren't enough of them and we know that. We can't turn the ball over. We can't have penalties, etcetera. These are things that I think we have a true grasp of. That really doesn't fit what we're trying to do. But, in and of the football itself, there were a lot of very positive things and there were some real improvement at certain positions throughout the game. I highlight our center Marcus Martin. Think he continues to improve every week. I thought our fullback Bruce Miller, who is getting to be a little bit of a gray beard in the sense that he's got a lot of snaps and experience, played in a lot of big games. I thought he did some things better than he's done up to this point. I thought there were some really good catches out there. There are a lot of positive things, but to your point, man, I'm excited. Last week didn't go the way we certainly wanted it to, but last week, last month, last year, it's in the past. We're excited about this game and really focused more so on this week than, I know we've got three games in the regular season and anything can happen. You never know."
You mentioned Marcus Martin. He went out of that game and he didn't practice yesterday. Do you believe he will play?
"Hopeful, yeah. He's very engaged in his preparation, as always, and we've just got to work with our medical staff on that and make the appropriate decision."
G Joe Looney would be the guy if not?
"There's a good chance of that. We're working a couple guys at that spot."
You also just mentioned Miller, who played in, I think, 16 percent of the offensive snaps. Why not have him more incorporated in the offense more than he has been some of these games?
"A lot of it comes down to not only the plan going in, but where you're at in the game. We've been in some very limited possession games recently, where unfortunately we've been behind the 8-ball a little bit as the game goes on, so that's going to limit Bruce Miller's snaps. If you have a lead in the game, you're probably going to have the fullback on the field, we will, late in the game pretty much every play. And when you're in a two-score situation, then pretty much time becomes a factor and that eliminates his snaps. So, it's which came first, the chicken or the egg."
TE Vernon Davis said yesterday, ‘I'd like to be more of a playmaker, but that's ultimately your call.' Do you need to talk to him at all?
"Oh yeah. Vernon and I have a great relationship, starting from the day I walked in this building. We've had a very, very strong relationship. And sure we want him to get involved and there have been opportunities for that, but it's just something we've got to work through. He's done a tremendous job, though, of dealing with that fact, the certain circumstances and really, really applying himself. Like he's blocked. He's blocking right now as good as he's ever done. What does that tell me about him as a professional? What does that tell me about him as a teammate? Man, it tells me everything I need to know because he's had some really tough duty as far as blocking goes. Like there are some blocks that are easy, some blocks that we say, ‘You have the sombrero on this block.' One guy usually has the toughest down and he has had a lot of those downs the past five, six games. And he's blocked as good as he's ever done. So, what does that tell you about Vernon Davis? It tells me everything I need to know."
Are you talking about blocking defensive ends?
"Yeah, and the angles you've got to block them at. A lot of times, he's been left with the toughest angle. He's got to make up ground based on alignment, if that makes any sense. He's had some really, really tough angles and that's important stuff. That's really important stuff when you get down to it."
You don't sense more frustration with Vernon than anybody else with the way things have gone in recent weeks? Maybe it's just?
"I can't tell you how proud I am of Vernon since the moment I met him. Just what a professional he's grown into, and if anything, he's really being a great leader with how he is handling positives and negatives that come along. So, like I said, he has spoken volumes to me with how he conducts himself."
Without getting into the whole schemes of how you attack Richard Sherman, how do you, with what he's done the last couple of meetings, how do you approach his side of the field and what's made him who he is against you these last couple of meetings?
"Yeah, we've definitely helped out his stat sheet the past couple games, but he's a very good corner. He's one of the better corners you go against in the National Football League. I think they do a great job with how they use him and I think he does a great job doing his job. He's physical. He's long. He's very smart. He understands what the offense is trying to get done. Week in, week out, he's produced pretty darn well. So, I think you've got to be precise. You've got to be precise when you work anywhere against this Seattle defense. The scheme is very similar to what [former 49ers head coach] George [Seifert] used to run here with the Niners back in the day. George Seifert. They do a very nice job of taking their players and giving them a little freedom to do what they do well within that scheme. They might let one defensive lineman do this and somebody else comes in and plays the same position and he kind of does that and the DBs the same. So, it's a pretty basic scheme, but it's really played cohesively. And Rich on the right most of the time is a guy you've got to be extremely mindful of, but you've got to be mindful of the whole defense. They play that free safety, Thomas, a little bit [former NFL S] Ed Reed-ish in the sense that he's got some freedom to watch the quarterback and straight-line it and come downhill on runs, etcetera. So, they do a very nice job to a man."
When you say that Richard's pretty smart and can sense out what the offense, do you have to just try to disguise things more than you usually would against any other corner?
"I just think it comes down to competing. You're pretty much locked in to one or two coverages you're going to get and you've got to be precise. Everybody involved has got to be precise."
A couple of history questions here, did you ever have him as an offensive player?
"Yeah, a little bit. He played a little bit of offense. Yeah, he was a little bit of a two-way player there at Stanford."
What kind of receiver was he?
"Pretty good. Pretty good. I remember one spring game he was on the other team and caught a big play against the team I was with. But, yeah he was good. He was a versatile guy."
And then the other question is when you first got here was he flipping sides a little bit? I know the last couple years he's only been on your right, his left. What makes him better fit on that side?
"You'd have to ask them."
What do you think though? Why would a guy be a better fit on one side than the other?
"Well, when you get time invested on a side of the field, especially to the offensive right, you'd have to ask them specifically, but I know that some people will try to put the corner they feel best about to the offensive right and let him settle in there. But, he'll matchup team to team. He'll move around. He'll go inside some. He's done that against us in the past."
And that's because a right-handed quarterback is mostly looking to his right?
"Yeah, in a nutshell. But, I don't know why they're doing what they do. You'll need to ask them."
You said the word precise a couple of times. We saw Colin hit WR Anquan Boldin on that play against the Redskins. Just a really precise, perfect throw. But then against the Seahawks, he had the two picks. There seems to be some wavering in his precision. What's behind that? Is it footwork? Is it him being rushed? What causes him to be really precise sometimes and not so other times?
"That's a discussion really you could have about any player. In Colin's case, I think he's had a couple plays he'd like to have back. We all know that thankfully over the course of time, the majority of the time he's playing at a really high level. If he has a couple plays or a couple at bats where he doesn't get on base, you just got to get back, get back to fundamentals and precision. And it's not just about the quarterback, guys. It's about everybody on offense. It's about everybody doing their job. It doesn't work when people break down. And that goes for everybody."
When you move indoors for practice, is there a to-do list? You probably can't do everything that you would have done. What are sort of the priorities for you of what to get done?
"There's definitely, it's a little bit of a situational day for us, Thursday is. So, there are definitely some situations that we need to get covered and we'd probably just do it at a different tempo. There'll be a lot of mental involved, there'll be a lot of mental, a lot of communication. And when you play on the road there's a lot of nonverbal or visual communication that needs to take place. So, there'll be great opportunity there to practice those things."
With the sound, with the noise there, are there ever any problems just you and head coach Jim Harbaugh communicating from booth to sideline?
"Not really. Every once in a while, but not really, no. I think we've played up there enough our guys are getting a little bit more adjusted every time we play."
You said it's about not just the quarterback. Your offensive line, I think in 2012 for example, the offensive line missed less than 100 snaps. You had pretty good continuity last year. Obviously that's not the case this year. Guys have combined to miss 1,200 snaps. How big a deal is that and just fit in a different guy here and maybe a different guy there each week?
"Firstly, I did not say that. I said it takes all 11 guys. I did not specifically say the offensive line. But, to try to answer that question, how important is it? It's pretty important. Those guys, cohesiveness on the offensive line is very important. And that's something we've had to work through all season. That comes with the territory. It's just something that the question was asked earlier as far as what are you looking forward to these last three games? Well, that's one of those things that I'm looking forward to is seeing that cohesive play. We've definitely had that at times, but anytime you're missing guys, a bunch of guys missed training camp and you're trying to get them back into the flow and then they're in and out, in and out, it gets a little disjointed. But, it's definitely not ideal."
It sounds like you could have your third different center there. When Marcus Martin came in, was he doing the same things as C Daniel Kilgore?
"Yes. Yeah, I think Marcus, gosh I don't want to make this statement and I don't want to jinx him either, not that I'm superstitious or anything, but I don't know if he's had a mental error."
He's making the same calls?
"Oh yeah, sure. He's playing the center position just like everybody else, yeah."
Colin yesterday said that he's been thinking about how he deals with every part of his job including after frustrating moments and how he expresses himself. Do you notice him making those adjustments week to week? Even something like how he responds publicly when scrutinized?
"Yes I do. And I definitely think he's trying to get better and be the best he can be really as a player, as a teammate, dealing with the media, understanding what you guys have to do. There are some common threads that define the quarterback position in this league. There's a lot of responsibility on that player. And Colin, he's outdueled a lot of great quarterbacks, right? Do I need to list it? Do I need to make that list? He's had a great career in his short span that he has been a starter. And I think when you look at some weeks we've had this year and whatnot, it's great opportunity for him to take another step forward professionally and just grow even more as a quarterback and as a leader. I think he's definitely in tune to that. And it's a very important part of playing that position. I think there is some real common threads that bind some of the elite quarterbacks in this league. I think he works very hard every day. I'm really proud of how he is working through it."
A few of the guys have said it this week that when they look back at the NFC title game last year, they view it as one of the best games they've been a part of, including head coach Jim Harbaugh. When you look back at that game, do you think that and what stands out to you about it?
"Yeah, I mean it was a great football game if you were a fan. There were some things in that game that linger with me. But, it was definitely a knockdown, drag-out, all the chips on the table, everybody letting it rip, everybody letting it fly. I was really proud of how our guys, we put a very specific game plan together for that game, came up with some stuff really never seen before. Thought it would work and they made it work. It was one heck-of-a football game on both team's parts. Very cleanly played for the most part. Just a credit to the two teams involved."
What lingers with you?
"I really don't want to get into that."
Colin says that he throws that same pass again. In that situation today or yesterday, he would same call same play, if it were a little further you guys are going to the Super Bowl. Do you feel the same way?
"You could look at a bunch of plays from that game. The things that linger for me really happened earlier in the game quite frank. Opportunities lost, missed, etcetera. But, that's a tough competitive game and it's going to come down to a couple of plays and it's not necessarily just the last play. It's what happened in the first quarter, you know, it's a lot of different plays you could go back and find. Alright, thanks have a great day."
Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio
Thursday, Dec 11, 2014
Last week, obviously, we saw that LB Ahmad Brooks was on the sideline. How difficult of a decision was that for you to make?
"It was difficult to do, but it was an easy decision. He missed an entire meeting on Tuesday and then was 20 minutes late on Wednesday, so, at that point, and on top of what happened in New York, it was just time to not start him and take drastic measures. Told him he wouldn't start on Wednesday. He knew that. And last week was not a good week of practice for him after that happened, so, that's when I basically decided that he wouldn't play very much unless we needed him."
How is he? Is he getting back in your good graces this week?
"Yes. We talked on Tuesday, or, Tuesday, yeah, we talked. He's fine. Had a good day at practice yesterday and expect him to be fine."
He told us that Tuesday was a mix up. He mixed up the schedule Tuesday. What happened Wednesday?
"I don't know."
Can you say, is he back as a starter?
"Yeah, I think he will, provided he keeps practicing like he did yesterday."
It seemed that you guys had a lot more issues besides him in terms of the pass rush against the Raiders. What did you see on film in terms of why you couldn't get more pressure on Raiders QB Derek Carr?
"We didn't have a good day rushing as a unit. We had some good rushes. The ball got out there before we could get there. Overall, it was not a good day pass rushing for us. And it was across the board, wasn't just one guy. Everybody had some that were good, but we didn't have enough together. Give the Raiders credit. They pass blocked us."
Can you give us just a progress report on LB Aldon Smith since he started out strong against the Giants and then just how he's played?
"He's been fine. He was like the rest of us in that game. His pass rush was inconsistent. He had some good ones. One where he could've had a sack but we didn't cover right and the ball got out. But it was inconsistent in that game, his pass rush. Otherwise, he's been fine."
Do you feel like Ahmad Brooks apologized to you, and do you feel like it's a fresh slate then?
What are you guys going to be able to do today indoors and where are you guys headed?
"I'm not sure where we're headed. All I know is we're on the bus at 11:50 a.m., I believe, and it's somewhere close, I don't even know."
How about DL Glenn Dorsey? Do you think that he starts on, or plays on Sunday?
"It's still not looking much better than last week. He is getting better, but it doesn't look like it."
Did you have to introduce yourself or reintroduce yourself to CB Tramaine Brock yesterday at practice?
"Yeah, I went up to him during stretch and had a little joke with him about it, but yeah."
He played well last year. In the big picture, just as far as his career, does this set a guy back that he wasn't able to get on the field much at all and kind of build on what he did last season?
"Well, it's never good that you basically have missed an entire season outside of the 60, 70 plays that he's played, if he doesn't play in these next three weeks. Setback? Yes, it's a setback. But I don't think it should have a big negative effect moving forward into his career, other than he's lost a year of experience and playing. Every time you play, you learn new things. You just do. The more you play, the more you practice, the more you improve. He has lost that, and it was evident in the Denver game when he did play. He had a good week of practice, but it was his first week of practice and he was rusty. We practice for a reason. In defense of him, he was rusty and wasn't ready to play such a good passing team."
LB NaVorro Bowman said he never once wanted to rule himself out for the year. Regardless if he plays a game for you or not down the stretch, what does it mean to have him active and perhaps getting back on the practice field maybe next week and his attitude through this whole thing?
"Well, his attitude's been fine. I see him putting everything he's got into the rehab and I see with my own eyes what little I see, and that's what the guys that work with him daily tell me. Nothing's really changed from this week from last week. Yes, he's on the 53, but he didn't practice yesterday, so, I don't see a big change yet."
What's CB Chris Culliver's status for this week?
"Luckily, I think we dodged a bullet there. I think he, ultimately, is going to be fine. He was out there yesterday doing a little bit. Hopefully, he'll be able to do a little bit more today. I don't know what our practice will be like today. I don't know how big an area we're going to that's inside. Hopeful that he'll be playing and ready to go."
He basically started every game except I think the one in Denver. For a guy who missed all of last year, when you talk about missing time with injuries and practice, how has he played this season?
"I think overall here, and especially in the last month, month and a half, he's played good football for us. Unfortunately, at the corner position, you only highlight some of the catches that guys get on you. But he's done a good job for us and we missed him on Sunday after he went out. I think he's had a good year overall."
Could Brock play on Sunday?
What about CB Leon McFadden? He's a former third-round pick. Obviously, hasn't panned out to this point. Do you see things that indicate, ‘OK, this is why he was a third-round pick'?
"Yeah, he's got good quickness. He's a savvy guy. He's a confident guy, too. He's into the game, wants to play, likes football. So, there's some hope there for us that he can be a part of us these next three weeks and into next season."
What about DT Tank Carradine? He's gotten some more and more snaps each week. What do you see from him?
"I see improvement. I see a guy that's playing the run better than he was. I see a guy that's being better in his assignments and I see a guy that's into it. I think the arrow is up on him."
Was the run game the missing element for him? Something he didn't do much of?
"A part of it. A part of it. But not totally, part of it."
If DT Justin Smith decides that he's not going to come back next year, would Tank be in the mix? Would DL Quinton Dial, Tank, DT Tony Jerod-Eddie, would that be the kind of competition to kind of succeed Justin there?
"Well, basically, with what we have right now, yes. I'm trying to think if you left somebody out."
You got DL Lawrence Okoye.
"Okoye. And Glenn will be in that mix, too. Glenn's a versatile guy. He can play nose or end."
I think I've asked you this earlier, Okoye, do you still see him as a defensive lineman or have you caught any glimpse of him on the other side of the ball? What do you think is his best fit?
"On defense, yes."
Can you speak to the Seahawks? You just saw them two weeks ago. What are you expecting to see out of them that you maybe have not seen?
"Well, I hope we see a lot of new stuff because what they're doing lately has really been working for them. They've evolved into a really good offense. They've got two very special players in [Seattle QB Russell] Wilson and [Seattle RB Marshawn] Lynch. Their offense is built around those guys. They're doing a great job of, when sometimes offenses and defense evolve over time, and I think theirs has evolved to be their best offense schematically and player wise that they've had in the four years we've been here. Those two guys are dynamite. Their receivers are good. [Seattle WR Doug] Baldwin's a good receiver. [Seattle WR Jermaine] Kearse is a good receiver. They're really clicking on all cylinders right now offensively."
Is there another quarterback that comes to mind as far as doing what Wilson does now as far as being able to extend a play and keep his head up?
"No. The only other guy that scrambles as well as this guy in the last 10, 15, 20 years, may be [Jets QB] Michael Vick. Vick was quicker to go. This guy is quicker to keep looking downfield, looking for the throw, seeing if you broke down in coverage because of the length of the play. He's got a special knack for that and he's really good at it."
Have offenses been doing a better job of taking advantage of Bowman's and LB Patrick Willis' absence in recent weeks? It seems like tight ends have been particularly troublesome for you guys.
"I wouldn't say that they're trying to do that. Inside linebackers are going to be in the middle of all the action, so, I don't think you have to particularly try and pick on them. They're going to be involved in a lot of stuff, and particularly the way we play. They're going to be at the stress point in a lot of routes. I don't think that they're designing it that way. They're an important position."