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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Vance McDonald on 95.7 The Game: Team has gotten closer during 1-10 season

Dec 1, 2016 at 7:52 PM


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San Francisco 49ers TE Vance McDonald joined the Damon Bruce Show on 95.7 The Game today. Below is a transcript of what he talked about with the questions paraphrased.

You are having a career year here in your fourth year in the NFL. What has been working for you?

VM: "I really, to me, just all came down to having an opportunity. I just go back to whenever we had the trade with Washington and Vernon [Davis] went and I just took over the first job and I've just kind of been rolling ever since."

You've produced the team's longest touchdown catch – a 75-yard one against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. Have you challenged Torrey Smith to a race yet?

"I'll tell you what, I haven't ran that fast in a long time."

You had a pretty good chemistry with Blaine Gabbert and now an even better one with Colin Kaepernick. Have you sensed a difference between the two?

"To me, it's just a quarterback's a quarterback. I know they definitely have different strengths. Colin, definitely these past three weeks, has come along and someone asked me even earlier this week, you kind of start seeing strides of him in his 2013 form. We haven't had the results winning and losing as we want in terms of that category, but just on offense, we've put up some great numbers. And just to see Colin, he's definitely got a lot of confidence in the pocket. Especially these last three weeks and he's making some great plays for us. But yeah, we've just got to come out with a win. It would change everything around."

There are no moral victories, but you guys fought hard against Miami. Are you happy that your teammate still has that fight?

"Absolutely. You can't ask for anything more. To answer this question too, it all starts with our head coach and Chip [Kelly] does an unbelievable job and it cycles down to his staff. we all talk about no blame complain and we stick together and this locker room has been unbelievable despite the record – 1-10 – it's just been a great year in the locker room. We come out every single week and we've had two really close games, especially these past two Sundays. They're fun. They're fun games to play in and at the same time, you just want to come out on the other side once because we are just working so hard. We're definitely deserving."

What's Chip Kelly like in practice? What's relatable about him?

"I don't know if you can pin coach Kelly to a just even a 30-second description. His program, just in general overall, is definitely player engaged. He always wants the best for us in terms of the recovery. I think we have an outstanding schedule just to be able to get our bodies back for game day. I think, this year of all of the years that i have been in the league, we are the most well game planned and prepared going in on Sunday. That's just a testament to him and how hard he works and how well he gets along with his staff. Anyway, we definitely feel prepared with him. He's very engaging."

With Kaepernick involved in a season-long protest, has it been difficult or easy to be his teammate?

"We talked about this when it all started. It just got us talking as a locker room just about our own personal engagements. It's not really a reality to just come into the facility and talk football all day long without getting to know the person next to you. To me, it builds team report. It builds chemistry. And when it all happened, you definitely respect his perspective and his point of view and his interests. But really, it just got guys opening up and talking on a more personal and honest level and it really has brought the locker room closer together."

Do you know your teammates better this year than in years past?

"I definitely do and even more so, that's what being 1-10 will help you do. It will open you up and really get you -- because everyone's striving. Again, we're at the highest level and I really think that the lack of success that we've had, it really gets you to open up and communicate a lot better because you really are striving so hard just to get a win."

This is all a business, but when is the last time that you had a lot of fun on a day of football?

"Just even just the high moments that I still kind of go back to is when we scores two weeks ago at home and there are all 11 of us all around and I had Danny Kilgore playing air guitar and Quinton Patton kind of doing the same thing -- motion I was doing -- to spike the ball when I caught a touchdown. I like to relive that moment. It was a lot of fun."

Will you be putting the band back together in Chicago this weekend in the end zone?

"I'm definitely hoping so. Looking forward to it for sure because we've got our old defensive coordinator coming back and we're really familiar with him so we'll see if we can make it happen."

Can a team that has lost 10 in a row overlook an opponent?

"No. I don't think so. Again, that's just the environment that Chip preaches. Every single week for us is the Super Bowl and we approach it as such."

How important is it for you to find some success in these final five weeks? Do you believe it will carry over from one year to the next?

"No. I would definitely agree with that. I can even just look just back at all seasons past. Even the success we had in 2013, even still, you're looking at the last game and we lose the NFC Championship, it just carries over. It's the one thing that's the topic. It's what's talked about in the offseason and it's kind of what drives you. I think definitely ending the season on a strong note, trying to get as many wins as we can in these last five games if not try to go undefeated and 5-0 would be -- you would go into the offseason and that's all we would talk about."

I know you had a newborn over the summer. How is fatherhood treating you?

"You know what? It definitely brought my wife and I closer together. I'll say that upfront. It just definitely did. But it's been amazing. It's really just changed my perspective on so many things. It re-motivates you. It revamps you completely and it brings everything into a lot more focus. Just to be able to come home and look forward to seeing him every single day. He's four-and-a-half months old. We've got a long way to go but it definitely has been an exciting/interesting season for us. We're still new parents so we're still getting used to it, but it's been great."

What's your son's name?

"My son's name is Conan. He's named after my great great great grandfather on my dad's side. It's my middle name."

In four months, has he shown any athletic tendencies?

"Well, the good thing is that I think he's going to walk before he crawls so he'll get a head start on that and build his leg muscles. He was definitely grabbing at things a lot earlier than the average kid so that's a good thing. And he's been like the 80th percentile in all the categories so definitely something to write home about."

You can listen to the audio from the interview on 95.7 The Game.
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