Here are some more conference call transcripts from Wednesday.
Richard Sherman conference call with Bay Area reporters:
On feeling about this game with both teams struggling:
It always feels the same. It's another game, it's another division game. At the end of the day you're always playing for something, so that's why our guys come out. If we weren't playing for nothing, people wouldn't show up. I think guys treat every game like the same, regardless of record, regardless of circumstance.
On feelings with no Harbaugh on other sideline:
No, it doesn't make much difference to me. You go up there and execute the responsibilities to the best of your ability.
On Blaine Gabbert and his performance vs. Falcons:
Well, he successfully ran the offense. He led them down the field, he made some great decisions in terms of running it and passing the football. Obviously there were some mistakes in there as well, but to come off the bench and do what he did against the Falcons, it was a good performance.
On difference between facing Colin Kaepernick vs. Blaine Gabbert:
The offense doesn't change too much, regardless of who the quarterback is. I think at the end of the day, guys just have to play disciplined and understand assignments, and we'll be fine.
On preference shadowing receiver vs. playing one side:
Not really. Whatever they ask me to do, I'll do.
On why so few teams have winning records right now (fewest number after 10 weeks in 25 years):
That's a great question. I have no idea. That's very interesting. I didn't know that stat. I mean, it's just an odd year, in terms of what teams are playing well, and what teams aren't playing well. But at the end of the day, guys are still going out there and playing to the best of their abilities. It's just odd sometimes, it happens like that sometimes.
Why don'y you guys have a winning record:
Because we lost more games than we won.
Can you go a little deeper? Why do you think you guys have five losses:
Because we didn't score more points than the other team.
OK, let me try again, what hasn't clicked for you guys this season:
We've just, you know, sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes you don't. Guys played hard, they've done everything they're supposed to do. You win some, you lose some.
On matching up with Torrey Smith and him being brought in to be a deep threat:
I think he's done exactly that. He's been a tremendous threat for them. He has tremendous speed, and versatility moving him inside and out. But I think he's created another element for the offense in terms of explosiveness, in terms of just getting the ball down the field.
On if Smith was open at all in their last matchup (Smith had said he was open):
You know, I don't know. I was just out there covering, whether he was open or not, I'm sure it's on tape. I'm sure if he was open, they're going to try and go after him this game. We'll go out there and have another fun game.
On NaVorro Bowman return and if he's followed it:
I have, I have. I'm so impressed by the way he's come back, and how well he's played, especially as of late in the Falcons game. You see he was everywhere. And it's just a testament to his hard work and dedication to his craft and what he does, to see him get back to form like he has.
On touching base with Bowman during his rehab:
We were both just out in LA. And you just support the guy, and tell him to keep his head up. Obviously at the end of the day, both of us are competitors for different teams, but at the end of the day, it's a brotherhood. You don't want anybody to be hurt, you don't want anybody to go through what he had to go through. You just wish nothing but the best for him.
On secondary struggles against Arizona:
Just a few mistakes, here and there. It happens sometimes. We played well for a while, then every now and then they had some places they made, and you give them credit for it.
On Kaepernick benching:
I mean football's a crazy game, so not really. It's who's playing well at the time, at the end of the day. Who would have thought when they were playing well and Alex Smith was out there that a year later Alex Smith would be gone from San Francisco, and Colin Kaepernick would be their guy. I mean, things like that happen in football, and you just gotta roll with the punches.
Thoughts on Cal-Stanford Big Game:
Yea, I think we got a great chance. I was obviously disappointed last week. We fought hard. Oregon's always a tough match for them. But yeah, go Cardinal! I think we're gonna get this one. We're at the house, we got the better team, we should win.
On getting antsy for interceptions:
You treat it the same. You just go out there and try to execute your ball. The opportunities will come when they come. And when they come, you just gotta take advantage.
On teams throwing away from him instead:
No, I've gotten opportunities. I just haven't capitalized every time, like I usually have.
Head Coach Jim Tomsula
"Everybody will be on the field today for practice. [LB NaVorro] Bowman will be normal Wednesday. We're just going to stay on that deal leading into the game. As far as [WR Anquan] Boldin, [RB Carlos] Hyde, [CB Tramaine] Brock, they will be out there, they will be going and we will just see where they are at. So, that's it for that."
Has Hyde had an MRI or anything, or X-Ray, to see where that stress fracture is?
"They had him checked. He was here Monday doing something. I know the docs were with him and all that stuff and we are staying on our protocol with him. Seeing where he is at this week."
Is it your understanding that he's healed, obviously, sufficiently enough to get on the field today?
"Yeah, he'll be out on the field today."
Will this be the first time he's really run on that foot since October 22?
"No, I think they've had him doing, I mean, he's been out on the field doing the drill work there. I know he's done stuff on the treadmill, the bikes. I know he's done stuff with the trainers on the turf. He's done some things. I haven't watched everything that he's done, but I know he's been doing some stuff. I mean, obviously not at game speed, but he's been doing things."
Has the possibility of surgery been raised to him and is he the one that's saying, "I'd rather not have it now?"
"Yeah, I'm not going to get into that whole part right there because that's getting into private conversations. So, he's where he's at and we're going."
Just for clarification, was WR DeAndre Smelter's window open Monday?
"Yes. And then, Monday, you're probably not aware, but Monday we did our thing with the whole team. We did it last week, we did it again Monday, the three year and less guys staying out and getting some work. Not all of them, but most of the three year and less guys. And, Smelter was out there and that got a little, we went a little harder and he looked good. And, [G Daniel] Kilgore was out there going. So, that looked good."
When you say the thing with the team, you're talking about a walk-thru practice?
"Well, we did a walk-thru, it was a little faster than a walk-thru and we got some work there. But, we got more competitive with the younger guys."
Is that similar to what you did in training camp when young guys would stay after?
"Yes, exactly that type of drill. That's where we went with it."
How do you work Carlos back in? I mean, does he just start with the ones right away? Do you ease him in? How do you get him back in?
"Well he still will be, they'll warm him up more. It's my understanding that they'll warm him up more and he'll do some individual and then he'll come off. I think you see people do that. You're out there enough to see that, aren't you? When the guys warm up, then they come over to the field, work with the trainers, get warmed and then get back into the team periods."
Will RB Shaun Draughn get most of the carries if you do team drills later?
"There will be a distribution with the running backs throughout. They're all going to get their work."
Considering everything with the running backs, would you guys have been interested in bringing back former 49ers RB Kendall Hunter? I mean I see where he's worked out with some teams the past couple of weeks. Would that have been something that you would have considered or wanted to bring him back?
"I mean, obviously we know how we feel about Kendall. We love Kendall. But, the other thing we are trying to do is we have a couple of nicks and bruises right there. So, getting guys in that don't have anything, not coming back from something right now."
Meaning, Draughn and RB Travaris Cadet have no injury issues?
When you talked about DT Tank Carradine the other day, you said that you're looking to get him involved and sort of tweaking his role a little bit. Are you talking about moving him to outside linebacker or more rushing in the third down packages?
"Well, just more rushing overall, playing more edges basically. I don't think I have any secrets here. Looking to get him playing on edges more, playing some outside edge. Whether you want to call it a D-End then we're going to get caught up in, we all know that, I don't want to get into that conversation. But, where he just plays out on the edge. He rushes and plays the game from outside and then he has the ability to come in and play off the three technique working edges. It's just his skill set. And again, I've gotten more involved in that conversation just because I've been with Tank for two years and I see where he's at. It's just something I feel. So, that's where we're going with it and talked to Tank about it and feel good about where that is. He's doing a lot more explosive work, getting back with get-offs and doing those things has changed up a little bit of his weight training. Those kind of things."
You list him as 295. I mean, that's a heavy weight.
"Yeah. He's in the 280's right now and you'll see that move. We have a plan together with all that with him."
So the plan is for him to drop a little bit of weight, make him a little bit quicker so that he can be on the edge?
What's your reaction to the Oakland Raiders LB Aldon Smith suspension? As someone who knows him, are you fairly confident that he can use this time to get his life back in order and have a productive life and career?
"And again, obviously, because of where it's at, he's with the Oakland Raiders. On a personal note, I wish all the best for Aldon. We don't wish anything but the best for Aldon. So, we want good for him. We want him to be able to have a good life."
When you were watching the Seattle film, specifically against Arizona the last game, what did you see from their team overall? Is that defense, I mean, they have most of the same guys on defense, so even though they're giving up a lot more yards on passes, why is that?
"I mean that was, when you're referencing the other night, that was two really good football teams playing a football game. That was, there was a lot of good football played. Hard football. Hard fought. That was two teams battling. So, respect to both teams. And Seattle is a really good football team with a lot of really good players and a lot of really good coaches."
Does their record maybe speak to, and you guys have been in kind of a similar situation where you're contending for those three years and it seems like it's really hard to keep up that level of contention over a long period of time. Is that difficult to do, to be at the top for three, four seasons in a row?
"Well, I think I'm going to separate your question. First off, to answer that question would be that I had a view that Seattle was on the decline, which I do not. I think Seattle is really good. The second part of that is in terms of it hard to stay consistently winning in the NFL, yeah. I think we all know that. Winning a game in the NFL is extremely hard, let alone multiple, let alone for years. It's a tough business."
How much of that do you think is just the physical grind? I mean, you guys played three seasons of three extra games, probably higher intensity level, more strain and wear and tear on the bodies. Is that the main part of it you think?
"I don't know. I wasn't expecting that question today, but yeah. It gets longer, it gets this and that. It's why you respect the people that stay at that place a whole lot and what they accomplish and the way they consistently accomplish it. And obviously, that's our goal so that's where we want to grow to and be there. But this is, the National Football League's a tough business."
With Seattle's atmosphere up there, obviously well documented. QB Blaine Gabbert's going into his second start. It's his first road start. How do you get him prepared for that environment not only controlling the line of scrimmage with the silent count, but just being able to embrace the chaos that's going to be around him?
"Once you get into the field, once you're between the white lines, really all that chaos that everybody talks about is the noise. Really I mean there's no fans that can put their hands on you or none of that. It's within the context of a football game in a very loud environment. We've been having a lot of loud music here since the spring. Obviously, I know some of you have made comment about it, but we've practiced with a lot of really, really loud music from the sidelines since the spring. There's been a few of you that have made note to me on that. Yeah, this is part of that, yes. But, it's loud. Everybody plays there."
When you talk about the silent count, it seems like sometimes maybe you guys have been predictable a little bit. Do you guys need to vary that up, the silent count, and when the ball is snapped and not just get to the point where they know as soon as G/T Alex Boone taps they're coming?
"Yes, very much so. We started off going on two on hard counts at the beginning again eight months ago. So, we need to make sure that we continue that with our silent counts. There's still a cadence."
But, you've also rotated players on the right side. When you go into an atmosphere like that and depend more on the silent count, do you feel you can rotate as effectively?
"Yeah. We'll rotate as effectively as we need to. If we don't need to rotate we're not going to rotate. Let's get out there and get them blocked up and get going and we won't rotate. We rotate to get the best combinations."
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey Jr.
So, were the coaches able to get some time off?
"A little bit. Just kind of hung out with the family. Kind of decompressed a little bit, but it was good. Not a lot of time, but enough."
Were you able to look back at the first nine and make any sort of global judgements?
"It's still a work in progress. It always is. It's a really good group of young players that we're excited to coach and we've just got to continue to get better. That's the one thing that I always talk to the guys about, just always working to get better. I know it sounds like coach speak, but that's just the reality of our league. The teams that get better as the year goes on, those are the teams that are in it at the end. And, we're just trying to focus on getting better every week and that's the main thing that we're sending to our room."
It seems like nine times out of 10 on kickoffs, the kick returner is not in a position to return it. He takes a knee or it goes sailing out of the end zone. Does that start to change this time of year with the weather and especially with you guys going to Chicago and Cleveland?
"Absolutely, especially going to Chicago. When you start going to the East Coast teams, and I think we talked about this earlier in the year, once you get past the halfway point it gets colder, the ball doesn't fly as far, wind starts to come into play, especially when you go to a place like Seattle. It's going to be 48-50 degrees, so it's not like being here where it might be 82, 81 or being indoors. You've got to deal with the elements. Once you get on that back half of the season and you start making those East Coast trips, definitely they come into play a lot more."
P Bradley Pinion leads the NFL in punts out of bounds. Is that by design?
"Yeah, we're a directional punting team. That's one of the skills that he has to perfect. We're working on very good direction, hang to distance with him. That's something that the great punters I've been around, the [former NFL P] Jeff Feagles of the world, those guys, they can control the direction of the ball. You look at [Baltimore Ravens P] Sam Koch, he has outstanding control of the football and that's something that we're trying to work on with Bradley, to have the power with the hang to distance and to be able to control the football. And, really you can neutralize the return game when you get that skill and he's working on it. He's getting better at it."
Is trying to do that, would that maybe impact his overall punting numbers in terms of what we see in the stat book?
"Absolutely. If we punt him in a straight line, obviously that will be a longer punt. But, when you play in our division, when you have guys like [Seattle Seahawks WR] Tyler Lockett, guys like [Arizona Cardinals CB] Patrick Peterson, guys like [St. Louis Rams WR] Tavon Austin, you better be able to control them and put them in a confined area as opposed to giving them the whole field to work with and that's something that we're trying to do as a coverage unit."
What are some of the guys that are younger guys that are really making strides?
"You hate to single one guy out, but before [S] L. J. [McCray] got hurt, L.J. was just taking off I think. When you look at [LB] Eli Harold and even [CB Marcus Cromartie] Crow, young Marcus Cromartie coming off the practice squad you hate to shame them. There's so many guys. All those guys, [WR Quinton Patton] QP, just all those guys that that are starting to make those steps. Those younger players, the second, third and it's a team of second and third year players. But, it's so many different guys that are getting better every week and it's exciting because you know you've got a good core of kids that you can work from and they're getting better. They've embraced the coaching, they are playing for each other and it's fun to watch."
Is RB Travaris Cadet, is he a core guy? Would you expect him to be on a lot of your units?
"We're working him in. He just got here so we're just kind of trying to work him in and see where he fits, see what he feels comfortable doing and that's kind of how, anytime you get these new guys in here you've got to kind of find out what they feel comfortable doing, what they've done in the past and just kind of work them in."
Did they ask you at all about your thoughts on him as a kick returner before they brought him in?
"A lot of times, they bring guys in, I find out when they get here. That's just kind of how we operate. And, whoever they bring in we're going to coach them and whatever their strengths are we'll try and play to those strengths."
Do you think he might be in the picture as far as kick returner?
"Could be. You never know. The other day we had three corners go down. You never know. That's the nature of our business, adapt and overcome. You've got to be able to midstream adjust."
QB Blaine Gabbert
What did you do over the bye week?
"I actually got a chance to go back to St. Louis. Hang out with the family a little bit. I got to see my little brother's state semi-final game, so that was pretty fun."
How did he do?
"He's a freshman so he's a backup on varsity but they won. So, they're going to the state championship, I think, in two weeks. Yeah, so it was pretty fun."
Does he have your size and athleticism?
"I mean, he's 15. So, he's got a lot of growing to do. But, I think he's got a chance to be pretty talented."
How many brothers do you have?
"Two little bros. 24 and Brett's 15."
Going into Seattle this week, I mean obviously, it's a big environment that's known for being loud and tough to play in. What's the toughest stadium you've ever played in, be it college or in the NFL?
"I think any away stadium's tough to play at just because it's a hostile environment. It's not your, kind of, your home turf. I enjoy playing on the road. It's kind of a sweeter victory when you win on the road and makes you focus on the details, really prepare and focus on the little things throughout the week so you can go out there and execute at a high level."
Did you spend a lot of time last week before you went to St. Louis focusing, like working on things like that that you--?
"Yeah, we started kind of before we left. We had a couple practices just to get a jump start on Seattle and kind of going into the bye week, find things that we had to focus on to go up there and play a good team. So, we've been working on those throughout the bye week and then so far this week."
Head coach Jim Tomsula has made it clear to us, at least, that the starting quarterback is going to be a week-to-week decision and he's going to think about it after every game. How do you react to that? I mean, would you rather know that you're going to be the starter at least for the foreseeable future?
"I think the biggest think for me is I focus on this upcoming game and that's how I approached last week and you really can't get to far ahead of yourself, especially in the situation that we're in. I'm focused on going out to practice today and having a good day and then really focus on the game this Sunday. Whatever happens after that will happen. But, at this point in time, I'm worried about Seattle and that's it."
Were you able to watch the Seattle-Cardinals game?
"Yeah, it was a great game."
What did you take away from how that game ended defensively for Seattle's secondary?
"They played tough the whole game and at the end, I think [Arizona Cardinals RB] Andre Ellington had a big run down the sideline to seal it. But, that was a hard fought game. It was back and forth and those are the type of games you see in this conference, especially between two teams in Arizona and Seattle. So, we're expecting that physical type of game this week and we're going to be ready for it."
They haven't allowed those type of points, passing yards in a long time, particularly at home. Do you see things that may be different with them from a defensive perspective as opposed to the last couple of years?
"No, they've been extremely consistent running their scheme the last three, four, five years. Arizona hit some big plays. [Arizona Cardinals QB] Carson Palmer stood in there and made some great throws. But, that's the things that you have to do against a great defense like that. You've got to take your shots, take your chances when they're there."
What's the key to deal with noise as a quarterback?
"Really just blocking it. It's going to be loud, we know that. But at the same time, we have a job to do. We have to work around that and just really focus on that task at hand. In these kind of stadiums where it is extremely loud, you really have to focus one play at a time because if you don't hear a call, you don't hear the play, one or two guys aren't going to be on the same page and that's the difference between winning and losing games."
What's the loudest stadium you remember playing in?
"I don't know. They're all pretty loud. Houston can get loud when they close it in. Seattle's loud. Indianapolis can get loud, but any NFL away stadium, especially with a conference game, is going to be a tough environment."
Given where your career is now, do you view these opportunities with a great sense of urgency? Is it safe to say this is one of the more crucial opportunities for you and your career, especially where it is now?
"I would say it's a great opportunity. I wouldn't approach it any other way, but it's a great opportunity to go out there and start again this week and play football. And I don't take those opportunities for granted, and I'm going to enjoy them."
You said after the Falcons game that check downs, you've come to realize, are not a bad thing. I mean, earlier in your career, did you feel more pressure to make great plays, make big throws, maybe force things that weren't there?
"Yeah. I think any quarterback when you want to perform you start pressing and trying to push the ball downfield and not necessarily if it's open or not. But, kind of as you mature playing this position and being in the NFL, you realize you just take what the defense is giving you and that way you can string drives together and execute at a higher efficiency."
When you see their pass rush on film, how do you not get, intimidated is the wrong word, but how do you think, ‘Wow, they really get after it'?
"The thing that we do is we look at the defense as a whole. You can't focus on a certain guy. You know who their personnel is, and you know what you have to do to execute versus that personnel. But, at the same time, you can't let one guy kind of deter or knock your focus off of the big scheme of things. So, when you look at film, yes, they have talented guys on the defensive line. Yes, they have talented guys in the secondary. But, we're focused on ourselves this week and want to go out there and execute at a high level."
The last time the 49ers played Seattle, WR Torrey Smith didn't have much production or any production as far as catches go. What do you have to do to get him, kind of, into it and get the ball into his hands in this game?
"I think the biggest thing is going out there and executing at a high level. And being a receiver, being a tight end, being a running back, the ball's will come your way. You may have no catches one week, one catch the next week, but you could have ten catches the third week. So, the distribution will come but you just can't press and try and force guys the ball. You just have to take what the defense is giving you."
You say you can't focus on one guy, but I'm just curious what you think of CB Richard Sherman's, what he brings to that defense?
"He's talented. He's a cornerstone of that defense and he's been doing it at a high level for a long time. You have to be cognizant of where he's at on the football field because he can make plays when the ball's in the air."
You threw a lot of nice back shoulder throws against the Falcons. Is that something that's kind of always been in your bag, just that throw?
"I think it's just more of, kind of, the leverage that they were playing. They tried to stay on the high side. So, those were the throws that were open and our guys did a great job adjusting to the ball when it was in the air."
How much more difficult is it to account for Sherman when he's moving around the field more, covering more guys instead of staying on one side?
"You've just got to, kind of open up your peripheral vision a little bit and see where he's at. You're never really just locked in on the front and the linebackers. You've got to see the big picture of things and knowing the formation that you're in, having an idea of where he could potentially line up."