Tomsula and Kaepernick talk Giants, offense, more

Oct 7, 2015 at 3:24 PM

Opening comments:

"Good morning. The injury report here, [WR] Quinton Patton is going through the concussion protocol. Really good news yesterday. He looked great yesterday and everybody felt good in the training room. [LB NaVorro] Bowman will get the Wednesday off today. [TE] Vernon [Davis] will be out there and going through that extended stretch that we do and try to get him into the team, get him warmed up and lathered up and try to get him into the periods. [G/T Alex] Boone and [T Joe] Staley, we're going to give both those guys, we're going to shut them down today so that we can have them back tomorrow for the padded practice. Both them, they are fine. We just need to make sure, Boone got that ankle rolled up and Joe got rolled up on the leg. So, just going to give it that extra day here today. They're going to do all the walk-thrus and everything and then they'll be out there tomorrow. And [LB] Ahmad Brooks will not be here today for family reasons and we'll keep him in our prayers, his family. So, that's where we're at in the injury report. Questions?"

You said Boone was ankle? He'd been listed as shoulder.

"Yeah, the shoulder is, he got a little roll on the ankle, there's no swelling or anything to it. I just want to make sure we're good there."

Staley is also an ankle or leg?

"It was his leg. Neither one of those do we have any, we could have had them out there in a limited way today and taken care of them, but I wanted to make sure we were ready to go with the shoulder pads tomorrow."

Do you anticipate Ahmad being back this week? Do you know his status?

"Yeah, I'm not going to, he needs to attend with his family right now. I'm not even, I'll be honest, I'm not asking questions at this point."

Do you know with Staley and Boone getting the day off, do you know who stands to benefit in terms of first team reps?

"Yeah, well we'll work all those guys. We will, we're going to work our guys there. Obviously, [OL] Trenton [Brown] will get some work at the tackle and the guys will go in. [OL Ian] Silberman will get some of it. All of our guys will get to work in there."

You talked about going through the evaluation process on Monday. Are there any changes that we can expect to see with that starting unit on the offensive line for Sunday's game?

"No, and I wouldn't address that now anyway to be quite honest with you."

But, you said no?

"Today, no. I mean, obviously, Boone and Staley are down, so there'll be a lot of guys getting a lot of work today."

You made a trade yesterday to acquire LB Gerald Hodges. What does he bring to the table for you guys?

"Well, Gerald is a guy, obviously, we knew about him coming out of college and thought a lot of him from a personnel stand point. And then, obviously prepared for them the first game and saw him again and that became available in a trade and went in that direction. Happy to have him. I mean, he's a big, physical linebacker."

Can you say that the Minnesota Vikings reach out to the 49ers or vice versa?

"I won't get into all that and I don't know particularly who calls who first or anything like that. No, ma'am."

Is he somebody competing to start right away? Where do you see him in that?

"Again, I haven't met him yet. He's still going through the processing. They've got to get the physical, they have to do all that kind of stuff, so he's doing all that. I'm hoping to get with him at lunch and we will see."

Do you see that as a need though at that position?

"No, I mean, a need for depth, yeah. He's a good football player."

How difficult is the transition for him coming from a 4-3 to learning your guys' 3-4?

"I mean, there's a transition in anything in the way people are running, the way they are playing what they are playing. Whether it's their zones or where their vision is and those kind of things. So, there's always a transition, 4-3, 3-4, I mean they play an under-defense, we play an under-defense. Personally, I've never thought those are, the odd look is a different look, yes. But, we just have to see how that, some guys are real fast at it and other guys aren't. So, we feel like, I don't think it's enormous."

Did you talk to NaVorro before making the deal to get his impressions?

"No, we knew. No, we didn't."

Do you see him more in NaVorro's position or in LB Michael Wilhoite's position? Either the Mike or the Will?

"Right now he's just a linebacker. I mean, again, we would like to get, we will get looking at him and get him in practice and moving around here a little bit and see."

The T.V. cameras on Sunday caught you laying into Wilhoite pretty good on the sideline, does that--?

"That's nothing, no. Laying into him or were we talking pretty intensely?"

It looked like you were doing most of the talking.

"OK, was it a fit off the, I know there were a couple times there that we were working through some fits on where the tackles played and where the linebackers were playing off and I got involved in a couple of those conversations there in those runs."

But nothing--?

"No, absolutely not."

After the game, explaining some of his errant passes, QB Colin Kaepernick talked about them being protective passes, I believe, meaning that he was making sure to avoid interception, I assume. Was that a coaching theme? As far as you know, was that something emphasized to him after the Arizona game?

"No. We emphasized ball security to our offense as we do. But, no, that wasn't something. I don't believe you can play to the way you're saying. Throw the ball. Again, just as we're going through it this week, that's what we're attacking head on. Obviously, there's no secrets to where the problems are. In our passing game, the timing of our passing game and where we're going. So, that is the issue that has been the predominant issue that we've been talking through and sitting down. I said this the other day, there was extra time spent this week than you would normally do. Going back through that and just taking a look at the timing aspects of it and where we're at. How we're aligning, splits, spacing, all those kinds of things to get things corrected that way."

When you hear your quarterback say that, do you worry that he's second guessing every throw?

"Well, I directly, that was something we hit head on. Look, if you are, are you? No, if you are, stop. Can't have it. Can't play that way. And to me, again, it goes to the weight of the world on your shoulders. That happened a couple of times on those fits on defense. Somebody trying to go do something a little different. I got you, you want to make a play. And I got you that you want to do good. Do well in the way and don't play not to make a mistake. Just play. Play to make the play. So, making sure that's something that we've hit, again, head on to make sure that we don't have anybody on this team in that situation."

It seems with your passing game there are very few plays where Kaepernick gets the ball out quickly either designed or hot. Is that what you're talking about with the timing? And why not use more hot to get the ball out against blitzes?

"Yeah, there's some hot. There is. I'm not going to get into the schematic of things, but there's, from schematic standpoint to players standpoint to all of those things, that's what we're attacking to fix."

Back to the trade, it invites speculation. It seems like Hodges could really compete for a starting spot, obviously, LB Michael Wilhoite's starting spot.

"No. Obviously is a terrible word to use right there. There is absolutely, I have zero, this became available and we picked up a guy that we think's a good football player. That is nuts and bolts exactly what that is. The other comment that I was referring to there, just to clear the air here, that was normal game day for me. I think you've seen me coaching enough. We were, maybe I looked intense, I don't know, but we were talking about getting that where we need it to be. Where the front was, I know I had some intense conversations with the front too in terms of how you play that block and then where that linebacker has to be. Those are conversations that happened. That was that. And that was getting through there, playing the way we played that, and everybody knows how we played that, but the way we played that and making sure that we had people in areas on the field against that guy. So, that was schematic. Now, that was one thing. The deal with Hodges is a completely different set. That has nothing, I see where that's going. There's nothing there. It's a good football player that we were put in a position that we could bring on to the team."

I was leading to, I guess the question is, how in your assessment has Wilhoite played this season?

"Michael's done fine. I mean, we're 1-3. I have a hard time standing here and telling you anybody has played great or coached great or anything. 1-3 is 1-3. We have to, the guy right here has got to do a better job. He's got to stay on top of it, got to stay the course. We've got to keep attacking it, walking into rooms, being honest within the rooms. And the person speaking needs to be honest and the person receiving needs to be honest and everybody needs to be honest. We need to look at it and we need to have a man's conversation and we all need to collectively get better."

Regarding, not to major on this, I want to be accurate. It seemed like you and Wilhoite had that conversation after Wilhoite and DT Tank Carradine were late coming off the field and you had to call timeout because the Packers--?

"Oh, OK. No, no, no. OK, see, how you're clarifying. I did get hot right there. [Green Bay Packers QB] Aaron Rodgers was looking at us and I don't know if you've all watched him, but you all know what he does. He watches the sidelines and if they're in their no-huddle deal, he watches the sidelines to see if somebody's subbing. And boom, you know, the old [Denver Broncos QB] Peyton Manning. Peyton used to do it forever. He goes up and he gets you for the penalty. At that time right there, the guy was looking at us. I was down the sideline and I saw him looking at us and I saw that happen and I went flying to, "No, no, no, no, no." OK, and then we had to call timeout. We we're getting ready to get nailed. So, yeah, I had a discussion there. We can't do that. That was definitely a discussion there. Tank and me and coaches and everybody."

Going back to Colin, you mentioned how much you appreciate how hard he works and he's said the best thing for him to do is to come back in and work. Have you had a conversation with him where maybe he might need to take just a day off, just a mental health day, something to clear his head, get away from all that work and maybe help him relax a little bit?

"We've had a lot of conversations, I won't go into them, obviously, I'm not going to do any of that in the media. But, I'm a firm believer that the sword's always sharp on both sides. That would mean your biggest strength can sometimes hurt you. So, we've talked about that. Not that that is the problem. But, just looking at everything. And not just with him. With everybody going through it. And we all know this. You get into these things here, alright, we've got three games here we haven't won. Now, where does that, these are the times you've got to keep things on air. You've got to look at, you've got to think your way through. That's why I just keep trying to stress that. We have to think our way through these things. Let's not be emotional and feel better for 20 minutes. Let's think our way through these things. So, that is the approach that I am taking and that is the approach that I am pushing through the team."

You've been very clear that you're in charge of the team on the field and you make the decisions. And I don't want to get into the theoretical with the quarterback, but is this your decision whether or not to keep Colin as the starting quarterback?

"Yes. 100-percent."

You would not have to clear that with general manager Trent Baalke?

"I will not. I do not have to clear that with anyone. It is 100-percent my decision."

Why not say there is a competition? Why not say, everybody, this position, there's a competition for it?

"Because I think that starts a whole lot of things that I just don't believe. I think that runs wild. There's not a competition. Guys are playing. When guys are playing, again [San Jose Mercury News columnist] Tim [Kawakami], I understand that position's different. It's the most important position in all of sports. I got it. But, also with me and the philosophy of coaching, when guys come in, when I send guys on the field at other positions that I've coached, as a starter you have to go in, you go in and you play. Now, other positions sub through more than that position, but I want a confident man, just full bore ahead at that position. I believe it's critical. And I believe in the quarterback. I believe in him. I believe in Colin Kaepernick."

Is his confident, obviously, it looks pretty well shaken these last couple of weeks. What do you do as a coach to try to--?

"Well, I don't see it shooken. He and I and the coaches and players, we're not seeing that."

In light of what happened in Monday night's game between the Lions and the Seahawks, do you think coaches should be allowed to challenge any play, that there should be no such thing as an unchallengeable play in the NFL?

"I haven't had enough time to digest that. Obviously, I'm aware of it. Obviously, that came up in the clips I need to see every week and I saw it. But, I don't, I'm not going to make a comment on that because I haven't thought that through."

What were the first things that you wanted to do after this game to kind of evaluate where you are and where this offense is?

"Just watch film. See what I need to improve on. Where I need to fix things and what I can do to help this team get better."

What did you think when you were watching that film? Did you wince through it or did you look at it just to kind of see where you can improve?

"You have to look at with an open mind, as far as you can't be emotional about the plays. It's something that, what can I do better on this play? Whether it's a good play or a bad play. Is there something I could've done better? Is there something I can fix? I there something I can help our team do that puts us in a better situation?"

You had mentioned after the game that some of those were protective throws. After watching it, do you still feel that way? That what you did were the proper throws?

"No. I think there were throws I could've made to help us make plays. In the heat of the battle it's always different than when you go back and look at it on film. It's a lot easier when there's no pass rush. You have full-field view when you're watching the film. Eye in the sky. It's a lot easier to look at that way than back behind center."

When you're watching that film and you see the way some of the receivers were reacting afterward. Do you sit down this week and talk with them to try to regain their trust?

"It's something, we constantly talk. We're trying to figure out timing out. How we want to run routes. Get on the same page with some of those things because there were times that we're not on the same page. And those are things that we're working to fix."

Head coach Jim Tomsula said he talked to you about the protective, maybe, idea and asked, 'Were you?' And to don't do that, to play free. What was that conversation like and do you think that you're past that? That you are playing free?

"Yeah. It was a conversation we had and said, 'Hey, just play to win. If something happens, it happens. But, we have to go out and make sure we're making plays.'"

Ball security after the Arizona game was something that you worked on going into last game. Maybe was there too much emphasis on that? You don't want to go back and forth here obviously, but was that stressed to you, ball security, ball security, going into the Green Bay game?

"It was something we stress every week. It's not a week-to-week thing. You have to take care of the ball to win football games. At the same time, we have to be able to take our shots when they're there."

You said after the game the best way to move on is just to keep working. Have you ever gotten to the point where maybe taking a step away, maybe not working, taking off a day off or a mental health day, something like that, would be advantageous for you?

"Well, mental health for me is doing everything I can to help this team win. Sitting around, not doing anything isn't something I've been to big on since I was young."

Sometimes, in baseball maybe, pitchers or batters go back to a previous time when they felt really good. When their swing was good or their throwing mechanics were good. Do you go back to 2012 or 2013 at all and look at tape of things like that?

"At times, yeah. But ultimately, it's a different team than it was then. So, it's more getting comfortable with everything that's going on right now and making sure we're fixing the problems that we have right now."

I think a lot of the questions are just getting at, you were coming off a four interception game against the Cardinals. Was that, kind of, in that back of your mind? Let's not have another one of those against the Packers because it did look like you weren't playing as free. You looked like, at time, you were playing tentative.

"Yeah. It's something that, you're going to have that in the back of your mind. You're going to make sure that you protect the football. I put our team in a bad situation in the Arizona game. I wasn't going to allow that to happen again. It did cost us, yes. But that's something I correct moving forward."

How do you do that? Because obviously there's a happy medium there. You don't want to be careless but you also don't want to be tentative. Is there a solution to finding that happy medium?

"Yeah, working."

How would you describe your relationship with coach Tomsula? Has this adversity brought you two together? And also, what kind of advice has he given you outside of X's and O's?

"He's been a great coach to me since I've been here. From the time I got here, he's always been great to me. Treated me with respect. We've always had a good relationship and that continues to this day."

I know you've said you can't be emotional about this and you had to just keep working and kind of have tunnel vision. How do you keep from worrying about the future job security when all this noise is going on outside? How do you stay focused on that?

"I don't play for job security. Whether football's here or not, I will be fine. I go out, I play to win. I'm not worried about job security when I step in this building."

When you say working, what do you mean? Is it film work? Is it sitting down with WR Torrey Smith and WR Anquan Boldin? What is work to you to work your way out of this situation?

"It's a combination of everything. Whether it's film. Whether it's talking to the receivers. Whether it's talking to our running backs. Whether it's making sure mentally I'm going through the plays. It all has to be a contribution to getting out of this."

When you say it's a different team than 2012, obviously, a different team, different years. But, it is different personality you're talking about, different scheme or just everything at that point?

"Yeah. It's everything. Every team has a different personality each year. So, you can't go back and necessarily compare that because it's not the same team. It's not the same players. It's not the same scheme. So, you have to look at, what's the situation right now and how do we fix this current situation."

How does the New York Giants defense compare to the ones you've faced in the past?

"The Giants defense in the past?"

How does this one compare?

"It's hard to say, looking back at last year. But, they're a very physical defense. They come down hill. Have a great run defense. We have to be able to make plays both in the run game and pass game."

You guys acquired a linebacker yesterday. Looking back at Week 1, what did you see on film from LB Gerald Hodges and what can he bring to this defense?

"Physicality. He's very physical, very aggressive, good player. I think he'll help our defense."

When things aren't working, people say, 'Well, you're not doing that so why don't you do that.' So, on the sideline, you're obviously huddled with quarterbacks coach Steve Logan a fair amount. The receivers are off doing their thing. Would it be advantageous or worthwhile to be talking with them during the game, you think?

"Yeah. We do talk during the game. We're going over the plays with coach Logan to see what looks we have and go talk to the receivers from there about what we see and what we can get to."

Tomsula said how important it is for the quarterback position, all positions, to be confident. He wants you going full bore. Are you 100 percent confident right now? Can you say that?

"Yeah, I can."

About yourself? About the team? About everything?

"Most definitely."

What's it going to mean to have TE Vernon Davis back?

"He's a huge asset to us. He brings another dimension to our offense. He's a talent that, really, you can't replace in this league. There's not another person like Vernon Davis. So, getting him back would be big for this offense, big for this team."

* Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers
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