When you evaluated the film from the Carolina game, what stood out to you in terms of what you could have done better and what worked?
"I think just the biggest thing is we had too many unforced errors. We put ourselves in a lot of tough third downs there, and when you're third-eight, nine, 10, 11-plus, your percentage of converting goes down drastically. In the Rams game the week before it was the exact opposite story. We were in third-and-manageable. We were executing well on first and second down, so when you're in third-two, three, four, five, we were 50-percent on third down. But, it was a different story this week."
Blaine Gabbert Ready for Road Trip to Seattle
Head coach Chip Kelly said that, he deflected a lot of the criticism off of you just saying how some of the receivers may not be on the same page and protection may break down at times. When you analyze your own game, are you seeing why you may overthrow guys or things like that?
"Well, there's a lot of factors that go into when a ball is completed or when it's incompleted. It's not a single guy. It's not the quarterback. It's not the receiver. It's not the O-Line. It's a group effort. Just like anything on offense, when you're running the football and throwing the football, there's 11 guys that have got to be on the exact same page for any play to execute at a high level. On incompletions in the game, there was a multitude of factors on why a specific ball wasn't completed. Sometimes it was the throw and that goes on me. That's just something that we're working to correct right now and as we go along in the season we're working hard in practice throughout the week to eliminate that on game day."
How much of inability to run against Carolina kind of influenced what you guys were able to do on offense as well?
"Run the football?"
"We were in third-and-10 on third down. We were, like I said, in third-and-long situations and that's a great defense you're going up against. They were in the Super Bowl last year. They were the NFC champs, so when you put yourselves in those negative situations you're not going to execute at a high level on third down."
How do you establish that run against a Seattle defensive front when they have some very talented defensive ends? Where does that process start against Seattle?
"I think just focusing, getting back to the fundamentals, getting back to the basics. The O-Line working together, me making the right reads in the zone game, [RB] Carlos [Hyde], [RB] Shaun [Draughn] and our running backs. Just getting back to the core fundamentals of this offense and when you do that you start focusing on all the little details and intricacies of the run game and that's when you start to get it back."
What makes that front four, I guess their defensive line, so unique?
"In Seattle? They are talented. They've been playing together for a long time. They're a veteran defensive front, a veteran front seven, a veteran secondary and they know what their coaches want them to do. They know how to play and they play hard and execute their scheme at a high level."
That scheme, they've been running forever it seems like. Are they still running mostly cover-three, cover-one robber-type stuff?
"Yeah that's their scheme. That's the defense that Seattle is known for and those guys have been in that system for so long it's become second nature to them and it's just up to the offense to execute and take what they are giving us."
What's the preparation like for a team that you know what you're going to get and they obviously just have really good players? Are you constantly trying to kind of crack the code? How does that work?
"It really just boils down; football is a simple game, it's just executing the play that's called. Take what the defense is giving you and see where they're zone dropping to, see where they are manning up on a certain side and just execute the play that Chip calls."
Are there footwork things you're working on in practice or are you happy with how you've been throwing the football? Are there things maybe mechanically you're trying to correct?
"Footwork is footwork. Your footwork changes on every pass play and run play. One time you're going to catch, set, and throw. The other time you're going to take a three-step drop, you're going to take a five-step drop, you're going to have a play-action pass drop. We work our fundamentals and footwork everyday in practice just so we're honed up and keeping our feet underneath ourselves."
Is there a drop you're more comfortable with in this offense?
"No. Football is football. One, three, five, seven-step play-action drops. Those are just something that we've done numerous times in our career and especially this offseason throughout training camp, so we're all comfortable doing those drops."
Do you need to keep the ball more for the zone read running game to be successful or do you feel you've taken what the defense has given you so far?
"Yeah, I think we've been pretty spot on making the right reads in the run game. Whatever the defense does that's our read. So, I can't tell you on a certain specific play what's going to happen because we're playing off of say the defensive end or a linebacker or a defensive lineman. It changes on each specific play call and we've just got to make the right read."
Are you pleased with how you're reading that through these two games?
"Yeah. There were a lot of keep reads there in the Rams game and then not as many in Carolina. We had one in the redzone for a touchdown and I think that was it for the most part. Their defensive ends did a pretty good job of staying high and playing my up-field shoulder."
When you guys vary your pace, is that something that is a part of the game plan or something that you adjust on the fly?
"Well, just being an up-tempo based offense you can go in and out of tempo. There's a lot of teams in the NFL that have that ability and we're one of them. But, we practice in a tempo-based format for the majority of the time. So, being able to change that is just an asset that we have kind of in our toolbox."
What goes into the decision to change tempos?
"Just change it up. Whenever coach Kelly feels the need to do that he's going to do that and that just keeps the defense on their toes and doesn't give them the same static look every time you're on the ball."
You shared some memories about Carolina last week. What kind of pops to your mind when you think about Seattle and the noise there?
"It's a fun place to play. It's a hostile environment. Playing on the road's always fun in the NFL just because there are so many factors that are going against your football team and I love playing on the road. Seattle's no different. It's a great place to play. Their fans are really enthusiastic and it's just fun to go up there and play in that stadium."
Once you got up there and experienced it for the first time last November, were you able to kind of settle in and not be as intimidated as you thought you might be?
"Yeah, every stadium's loud. Seattle just happens to be maybe a little louder than some. But, when you're on the road, there's going to be specific situations in the red zone, key third downs like I talked about last week that the fans are going to be into it. But, that just means from an offensive standpoint we have to be on our game. We've got to be focused on the snap count, focused on all our non-verbal communication and just execute at a higher level."
What does resiliency mean to you in your career becoming a starting quarterback as well as from game-to-game and even sometimes play-to-play?
"Well, the best thing about the NFL is you've got a game the next week and it gets on you so fast. We played Monday night then we were here Sunday then we've got another game in Seattle this Sunday. So, you don't have time to dwell on what happened in the previous week. You have to get back into the film room, get back into your routine and just keep preparing like you know how because you still have an opponent this week, it just happens to be on the road in Seattle. Resiliency I think is something that every athlete in the NFL has. There's going to be ups and downs in anyone's career, anyone's season, any specific game, any specific series. So, to be able to just kind of diagnose what happened, learn from your mistakes and just move on and just process that and just keep getting better, that's the biggest thing."
Do you feel like you've mastered this offence or there's still maybe a couple games to go?
"I wouldn't say anybody's mastered really any offense. It's always evolving especially in the season. We're game planning so much. There's always something new to learn. There's always a different defensive technique that you're trying to kind of get a grasp of. So, master is kind of a big word for that, but as we build throughout this season and kind of get the more reps in practice and the games, it's getting to that level, yeah."
How did Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman cover WR Torrey Smith last year from what you recall?
"Richard's a good corner and he plays that scheme well and they ask him to do a lot of things. Play high cover-three, play the high shoulder press and man and he's talented guy and you've got to be aware of where he's at on the football field."
What's the challenge in, taking you back to that defensive line, when you do the zone-read and then their defensive ends already having six sacks between three of them, what kind of challenge does that put on you as a quarterback? Are they quicker that you have to make that decision quicker than you would--?
"Yeah, you've just got to trust your read. See the technique that they're playing, see where they're going. It sounds so simple, but if he takes the running back, I pull the ball. If he takes me, give it. They're really talented at defending that because they see it so much in practice with [Seattle Seahawks QB] Russell [Wilson]. So, we just really have to, like I said previously, get back to the fundamentals, get back to the basics of our run game and just trust those and trust our instincts and go play ball."
Do you think they can do that and get to the quarterback?
"Like I said, they're a talented front seven. The front seven that we've faced the previous two weeks are good front sevens. There's not many bad front sevens in the NFL and it's a challenge week in and week out to block those guys and scheme them up in the run game, but our offensive line does a tremendous job working their tails off in the film room and at practice to prepare themselves for it."
Do you always have the choice whether to handoff or keep it or are there some calls where it comes in and they say, 'Hey, just hand it off on this play?'
"Yeah, it just depends on the play call, and whatever the specific play is called, that's my rule."
* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers