When you were on the Bye Week and you're going through the offense, what did you see as the reasons, the causes of why things aren't clicking?
"I think it's the same thing we talked about before; it's just inconsistency in terms of our production. And I think at times there's a breakdown up front. At other times there's a drop. At other times we're not accurate with the throw. It's never, you don't think it is, but you go through the process to study everything and go through what you've got to do. But, it's not like, 'Hey, it's just this. We make this maneuver here and everything is going to be great. We're going to come out and score 50 points.' It's a combination of everything and really it's like anything. The game of football comes down to the fundamentals and it's about executing the fundamentals, whether it's the proper technique in terms of blocking somebody or it's the proper technique in catching the football or separating at the top of a route to give yourself an opportunity to get open or putting the ball where it needs to be at certain times."
Does that mean that this week you're focusing more on fundamentals?
"No, I think we do focus on fundamentals. But, I also think it's one of those deals where it's about being able to take it from the practice field to the game field and that's the transition that we're not making at all times right now."
Is that why you have optimism, because you do see it in spurts sometimes and you realize that if you didn't have that consistency problem--?
"I think everybody, you watch us play, everybody sees it. There's times where we play really well. You look at our defense, there's times where you'll go four, five, six series in a row where we're playing really, really good defense and we're getting people off the field but then something happens. I think the last game was a prime example where it's a close game at halftime, we come out, the first thing our defense does is a three-play drive for minus one. Now we're playing good defense, we punted. But, then the gunner runs into the returner and we put the ball on the ground and now the defense has got to go back out on the field. So, it's about being consistent in all three phases because all three phases contribute to it. That's just one of the examples of it."
A pessimist might say aren't good teams--?
"Just say you. Just say, 'I would say.' [Laughter]"
Aren't good teams and good players consistent? Isn't that a hallmark of being a good team, you consistently do things correct?
"You're correct in that."
So, is this a matter of young players haven't figured it out and they're not consistent--?
"Well, we do have some young players, but I'm not in the excuse business. You just asked me what it is and I'm just saying we're not consistent. I'm not going to make excuses, because you're a young player you're allowed not to be consistent. There have been young players that are consistent. It's just a matter of us going out and executing. You are what you are and our record right now tells us what we are. That's what we are."
Are you looking at shifting any lineup changes because of this?
"No. I think we've, aside from the move we made at the quarterback position two weeks ago, like I said earlier, everybody has played. So, it's not like we haven't played somebody. I mean, everybody that's up and is eligible in the 46 is contributing in some shape or fashion. We rotate our defensive line. Our linebackers are playing. We rotate the outside linebackers. Our secondary is all, depending on our packages, sometimes we've got four or five and even six DBs in at the same time. All of our receivers play. Our running backs have rotated. You've seen all of those guys. It's not, I don't think there's a, 'Hey, we need to insert this guy into our lineup because we haven't given him an opportunity.' I think everybody has had an opportunity to play at this point in time."
You've mentioned, obviously, a lot goes into the passing game, the receivers playing well, the protection being there. But, for QB Colin Kaepernick, what does he need to do to improve his consistency?
"I just think, a lot for Colin is more reps. Again, he missed some valuable time there. When you're not the starter at the beginning of the season, the amount of reps you get from a practice standpoint, whether you're here at the 49ers or at any team in the NFL, there's only X amount of reps you can get during the week and most of them and a lot of times they are all devoted, some teams they are all devoted to the number one quarterback and none are given to the backup quarterback at that point in time. We did get him reps when he was the backup, but now we're getting him obviously the majority of the reps now that he is the starter. It's just that. The more reps you get the more consistent, he has more opportunities. How many times you see a route, that's one of the things in the self-scout part of it, is this a good play or a bad play for us? Well, we've run it four times. We're one of four with a drop. Is it a good play or a bad play? Well we may not have enough information because we haven't run the play enough. So, a lot of the stuff you do from a self-scout standpoint, not only did we look at the season, but then you've got to look at the last two games because those are the two games that Colin played in. So, we look at something and say, 'Hey, this wasn't a good concept for us. We've run it. The statistics aren't good on it, but we only ran it once with Colin. We ran it seven times with [QB] Blaine [Gabbert].' So is it, does the quarterback change affect that play? There's still a lot of unknowns out there in terms of the lack of reps that he's gotten at this point in time."
So, he's still not getting 100-percent of the practice reps though?
"No. No one does. I mean, your backup still has to get reps. That's just switched between him and [QB] Blaine [Gabbert]. So, what Blaine was getting before, Colin gets now and what Colin had gotten before, Blaine gets now because you still have to get your backup ready. I said there are some teams in the league that do that, but that's not, I know [former NFL QB] Peyton Manning was notorious where he wanted to take every rep. But, you also as a coach have to get your backup ready because if the starter goes down with a sprained ankle in the first quarter, you can't say, 'Well, the guy we just put in the game hasn't taken reps in the last three weeks because we were trying to get the bulk of the reps to him.' There's X amount of reps you can run. Everybody has, the ones have so many reps they can run during a practice. How many of them are devoted to the starting quarterback? The majority are. We're probably about 80-percent to our starting quarterback and 20-percent to our backup quarterback."
Has the quarterback change improved the offense and if so, how?
"I think in certain aspects. I think Colin's ability in the run game has given us a little bit of added bonus in terms of it. I think sometimes people's decisions to how they play you. I think Tampa Bay started our game off the other day playing a little bit more man in the beginning of the game. Colin took off on a couple runs on designed pass plays, but when the defense has their back turned and now they're all running with receivers, he's taking off. So now it forces you to say, 'Hey, if I'm a defensive coordinator, do I want to play man and now not have our back turned to the offense and then have the quarterback be able to take off?' So, now we get more zone in some situations. So, I think there's been some aspects of our offense that Colin's helped and made an impact on."
What led you to decide to stay in Orlando between Miami and Chicago?
"Just the convenience of where it is. We had looked initially to stay out because it's an extended stay. We're playing two games out East so to speak. I know Chicago's not in the East. So, don't quote me. I know it's in the Midwest. But, to not come back and travel and I know they've done it here before. To us, it was more convenient to go from Miami to Orlando to Chicago then to go somewhere else. So, wanted to try and make sure we had a warm weather area but also still if it's a storm, they have an indoor facility. So, and I know [University of Central Florida head coach] Scott Frost who's a good friend of mine and coaches at UCF. A lot of times you say, 'Hey, let's do it here,' but can you? So, took a little while to work out the logistics but that's the reason why. A lot of teams have done it. I think Oakland just did it. They stayed out in Florida for their back to back games and I know a lot of teams that come West do it. So, it's something that's kind of common place in this league."
Did you survey your team to see what they thought?
"I talked to the players, you know, [T] Joe [Staley] and some of those guys that had done it before and they actually liked it. So, we have a leadership council and those guys seemed excited about doing it."
Is there a sport science advantage to doing it that way?
"Well, you're not changing time zones. So, the lack of time on a plane obviously will have an effect on you in terms of not having to travel. So, the travel part of it is eased a little bit. So, there's an effect from that standpoint."
Did you do something like at that at Oregon, travel East for a few days or something like that?
"No. If we were to play, like we played Tennessee but we're only there for a day. So, it wasn't, we never stayed. When never played Tennessee and then played someone else. Never played at Michigan and then stayed to play someone else. So, there was no extended stays. And in the bowl games, you always go in seven or eight days before the bowl itself. So, you've got time to get acclimated to the time. But we never, I don't think we played on any East coast bowls. So, we were either in Arizona or the Rose Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl or the Rose Bowl."
RB Carlos Hyde practicing in a non-contact jersey. Does he have to be fully cleared in practice to play in the game Sunday?
"He needs to be fully cleared by our medical staff to play in a game. So, we'll see how that goes and what he can do. A lot of the decisions that are made on who plays on Sunday are all made by the medical staff. So, I can say, 'Hey, I think Carlos looks great,' but if the docs and [vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg don't clear him, then it doesn't matter what I think because that's not my field of expertise. That's their field of expertise. So, the process is to get him back involved. He was in a non-contact jersey yesterday. I would anticipate him being in the same thing again today and then we'll just see how it goes. We still have, it's still really the beginning of the week for us. Yesterday was day one, but we've got a couple more days before we get moving forward."
What strikes you about the Saints defense when you analyze them?
"Well, I think defensively it starts with [New Orleans Saints DE] Cameron Jordan. He's certainly the guy that gets your attention when you turn the film on, 94 jumps off the tape. You've got to be very aware of where he is and where he's lined up because they can cause a lot of disruptions. I think [New Orleans Saints DT] Nick Fairley has been a real good addition for them inside. So, they can generate some rush with their four down guys that allow them to play coverage. They'll blitz you, but they're not an all-out, every down blitz you team. They do have a good package. I think [New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator] Dennis [Allen] obviously has got a really good reputation in this league and is a really good defensive coordinator. So, I think he varies what he does. They've got two really good safeties in [New Orleans Saints S Kenny] Vaccaro and [New Orleans Saints S] Jairus Byrd that kind of run the back end for them. So, those are the guys that are really the focal point of that defense."
What's your gauge on the mood in the locker room just being 1-6, now coming off the Bye Week?
"I think, you know they had a break and they came back. I thought yesterday they had a really good mindset in terms of getting back out on the field. I think it's kind of the first day of school again after having a vacation over the winter time and now they're back going to work. The next couple days will be really important for us. But, I think yesterday they were really good."
* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers