Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports




Do you feel confident that you know enough about the system, about the offense to be able to succeed on Sunday?

"Yeah, I think we're working in the right direction. This week, getting the first-team reps and all that stuff will definitely help. But, it's a process."

I don't think you've played a game in Chicago since 2011 when you were in college. How much extra pressure will playing in Chicago bring to you this week?

"No extra pressure. It's not just another game, but it's just how football is. It's a good opportunity. Chicago, they've got a good team, a good defense, and it'll be a great challenge for us."

Is it easy for you to say, 'It's just one game, getting the playbook, study the defense' or is part of you thinking this could be the beginning of an era here?

"I'm just trying to take it one game at a time right now. I know it sounds very cliché, but there's a lot of football left in the season. So, we're trying to make the best of it. But, we've got to take it one week at a time. If we start looking too far ahead, we'll get ahead of ourselves. I think we have the right mindset going into this one."

What's your comfort level with WR Marquise Goodwin and RB Carlos Hyde and the guys you're going to be working with on offense? How many reps have you been able to get with them over the last month?

"I think this week will really help. Getting the live reps with them against the scout team defense and even the competition periods. Getting that timing down with those guys is a crucial thing between quarterback and really any skill player, tight ends, receivers, running backs, all those guys. They all have specific things that they do well. We're trying to showcase those."



You've been here for about the length of what a training camp and preseason would be. I asked head coach Kyle Shanahan if maybe your acclimation period was like that, but he said no it's not like that at all because in the middle of the season things are just a lot crazier. Has that been your experience that you've just been thrust into this fire here?

"I've never been here for training camp, so I can't speak to that per se. Training camp you're here for just different hours, and you're with guys for different times and stuff like that. In season guys are trying to take care of their bodies. I mean, we're however many weeks into this thing. It's a long grueling season. Just that alone changes everything for the learning curve I guess."

What kind of reaction did you get the last 24 hours from family and friends and just everybody in Chicago?

"I had to put my phone away for a little while the last couple days. You know, I'm trying to focus. It's a great opportunity for us this week. Chicago has a very talented defense. We need to prepare throughout the week very well and get ready for those guys because it's going to be a challenge."

Are you going to have a ton of family and friends in attendance?

"Oh yeah. A ton."

How do you budget your time this week trying to learn about Chicago's defense while also continuing to learn about your own?

"That's been the tricky part the last couple of weeks. I've kind of gotten into a little bit of a routine with that. I know I was the backup the last couple weeks, but you still prepare as if you're the starter. Learning the other team's defenses, watching as much film as you can while still, there's things that we'll put in and I'll learn from the first time. That part of the learning curve I'm pretty comfortable with now. I've got a nice little routine for it. It's coming along well."

Will you share your routine?

"That's top-secret man. Come on."

You kind of indicated the other day that you were hoping that maybe you could get through this week and maybe not need the wristband. What is it going to take for you to get to a point where you feel comfortable without it?

"I think it's just kind of a feel thing. I don't think there's really one thing or another that'll tell us, 'Hey, you're good on the wristband.' Me and Kyle have been talking about it. We've got a nice game plan right now for the week of practice and how we're going to go about it. We'll see what happens at the end of the week."

Your extra study with the playbook, is that just something you do by yourself or have you enlisted teammates or friends or anything to kind of quiz you?

"Yeah, the teammates have been so helpful. Those guys, some of them know it almost as well as the quarterback. They're smart guys. We have a very knowledgeable offense. It helps me a ton. The quarterback coach [quarterbacks coach] Rich [Scangarello], he's helped me a ton. He's putting in some serious hours with me, so I thank him for that. Really it's everybody. It's a group effort. It's a team sport."

Outside of football, have you gotten settled into the Bay Area? I know you were living in a hotel there for a while. Have you gotten a chance to do anything else?

"I finally got an apartment. That's a big step for me. Haven't gotten to experience much of the Bay Area, but I keep hearing things from people. It's a great area. The weather is tremendous. I can't even explain it, how different it is from Boston and Chicago. It's been a real fun time."

There's been talk this week about the franchise tag, you being the quarterback of the future for this franchise. How do you deal with those expectations or what are your own expectations for this week and the future going forward?

"Like I said before, I'm trying not to think about the future too much. I've learned in the past that when your mind wanders like that, quarterbacking in this league is hard enough. So, when you start thinking about other things you're going to have a tough time. I think just staying focused on the Bears this week. I hold myself to a high level. I've been doing that my whole life and I think that won't stop."

I have two questions about you playing outside linebacker as a sophomore in high school.

"Oh man. Old school."

There's a rumor that you could've been pretty good at that position. I assumed you wanted to be a quarterback, but did you enjoy that and do you think you could've played that in college?

"I enjoyed it, yeah. I loved defense growing up. It's a completely different mindset than quarterback. That took me a little while to get used to initially becoming a quarterback. It was fun. I don't know how good I would've been at it. That's a whole other story. Coach [Doug] Millsapps back in high school put me at quarterback, and I think it worked out pretty well."

My second question is there's also a rumor that you would occasionally as a sophomore, whatever your size was, would ask your coaches 'How big is that offensive lineman you want me to face?' or whatever. Is that accurate and how did you do on some of those?

"That's funny actually. My sophomore year of high school I was probably about 175. As tall as I am now, so I was real skinny. Going into the game, I would always ask coach how much does this guy weigh? Because I knew I wasn't big enough to just man him up. I would have to think of other ways to get creative with them. Certain techniques were different, and it really helped me. To be 175 and be an outside linebacker is tough. Good old high school days right there."

Have you heard from Tom Brady this week at all?

"Yeah. We texted a little bit here and there. Me, him, [Indianapolis Colts QB] Jacoby [Brissett], we had a good friendship. So, it's nice to keep in touch with those guys."

Tom grew up a 49ers fan. Was that ever mentioned when you got to come here?

"He's been telling me about the Bay Area. He's telling me certain things to check out and whatnot. Where he grew up. I just haven't had the opportunity. So that'll probably be more in the offseason."

Getting to play the final minute, throwing a touchdown last week, I would assume every little bit helps going into the Chicago game?

"Yeah. Tough situation with [QB] C.J. [Beathard] going down and everything, but that's football for you. It happened very quickly; I'll say that. Tough way to lose, but some good things in there."

* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers