Podcast: 49ers/Eagles NFC Championship Preview →

Tomsula talks defense; Kaepernick talks mechanics, more

Oct 14, 2015 at 1:43 PM--

Jim Tomsula

Opening comments:

"Good morning. Injury report; [LB NaVorro] Bowman will be off today. That's just what we've been doing. [RB Reggie] Bush is still working on a calf and he'll be out there on the side field. [G/T Alex] Boone and [T] Joe [Staley], we're going to limit them today. I don't even know if, right now they've got them limited. I don't know if I even want them taking reps. We'll do the walk-thrus and do all that stuff, but I want to make sure we're, we came out of that game real good with those two. But, I want to make sure we treat that right. And then, [LB] Ahmad [Brooks], he's not back yet. They were having services here, so we'll update you as that goes. And then, the two guys that we added to the practice squad, [C Brian] Folkerts is the offensive center, the offensive lineman who was down in Carolina. And then, [WR Andrew] Turzilli is the wide receiver that was up in Tennessee out of Rutgers. So, those guys were practice squad additions yesterday."

You didn't mention TE Vernon Davis and I know he went through limited work last week and kind of unique situation. I've never seen a guy go through limited work and then be ruled out on a Friday. Did he experience a setback? What's his situation?

"No, it just wasn't there, when he went to explode with the running. [Vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Fergy was doing the testing and it didn't, it just wasn't, and I said, 'Look, we don't need it lingering.' Now, yesterday's walk-thru he looked good. Again, he wasn't hitting top speed, but he was prancing around. You know how he's got that bounce in his step and I felt really good about that. He had two good days of rehab. We were able to keep him back here. That was the whole decision on that, because then Friday he got work, Saturday he got work, Sunday he got work. So, we were able to get three good days of treatment and working out there. And, he did do some exploding on Sunday. Not full tilt, but felt good there. He's in to practice today. We're going to keep an eye on it, just to make sure. But, I think, we're well ahead of that one, so feeling good there."

The right guard situation, why were you rotating those guys?

"Again, we covered that last week, or the other day. Just talking about [G Andrew] Tiller is a guy that I've been watching for a while and just watching him go about his business. And, we had a couple of things that we needed him to work on and he had been doing that. Saw the improvement and was able to get him up and get him some reps on the field. So, he did a good a job. He did. And, [OL Jordan] Devey is getting better every week. He continues to get better. So, we're feeling good with those two guys."

Is that a situation where you would continue to rotate those guys in games or at some point do you want to say you're the guy?

"I don't really want to comment on it. They are both guys that can play."

How come WR Bruce Ellington didn't see any more snaps after that first series?

"Well, again coming off the other injury the last time and then getting him into practice we had a couple of select reps for him and some things there. But, then as the game plan went on we just kept moving forward. And, the other guys, just quite simply, practiced those things more and that was just how it went."

NaVorro Bowman, would he benefit from a rotation at inside linebacker? He's seemed to look a step slow in pass coverage, especially covering running backs.

"And again, we had other issues. And I know Bo is a guy that we all, his name leaves our lips all the time just because he's just a terrific football player. But, no, we talked about it last week, two weeks ago and just in terms of the reps. You know I had seen that in the first couple of games. I think we talked about it in here. Those rep counts were getting a little high. So, that is something we've been taking a look at. But, Bo by no means was the reason for all of our, I mean, I don't want that going there. We've got to get better, all of us. And we've got to get better in our coverage and we've got to do those things."

I'm just asking, do you think he would benefit from a little more of a rotation, so his knee--?

"Yeah, well in the passing downs and things like that, but we don't want him off the field. But, yeah we're looking at those things. We're looking at monitoring reps."

You guys didn't have any sacks on New York Giants QB Eli Manning.

"No. He was doing a nice job of getting that ball out on time."

It seemed like LB Aaron Lynch was supplying some heat. The other guys, not so much. You guys have worked out free agent LB Parys Haralson. Where is that? Is there still any interest in bringing a pass rusher on board here?

"Yeah, I mean, first of all with Lynch, we had Lynch, you saw what we were doing with Lynch game plan wise. And then you saw with the two times we didn't do it correctly, in terms of getting the, Eli scooted out of that pocket there. He's not known to run all over the place, but he did make two throws when he was able to step up and slide to the side. And he's such a good timing passer. So, that was, a lot of that stuff there we were trying to press those insides. But, [LB] Eli Harold, I like him, a young guy. And [LB] Corey Lemonier's got a lot of talent. We've just got to keep growing, keep growing."

How would, your new linebacker LB Gerald Hodges, how was his week of practice last week?

"Thought it was good. Thought it was good. Bright guy. He's got some energy to him. Again, we've known each other for a week. But, all those, all signs last week, I mean, you like the way a guy handles himself when he comes in and moving around and doing those things. I like the way he was into the linebacker coaches and the defensive stuff. He was into the special teams. And really his first impression here with us was a really good one."

Could he be active on Sunday?

"Yeah. I don't want to say that now. We've got to go through that through the week."

What did you like most about what QB Colin Kaepernick did last week? Is there one area or areas in which he made a noticeable improvement in your mind?

"I just liked the way he played. I don't think anybody saw anything new out of him there. But, just like the way he played. Go get it, man. It's good. That's all I'd have to say on that."

After the game, some guys seemed to be optimistic that there were positive signs coming out of the game. Is that still lingering a few days later or is it now people are realizing, well, we're still on a four-game losing streak?

"No. I mean, again, the record's the record. We play this game to win. Are there positives? Yeah. There's positives in every game that you lose and there's negatives in every game that you win. And to me, it's always to address it the way it needs to be addressed. And, you know I want to hurry up and get to addressing negatives after a win. Spend more time there."

Regarding Bowman and potentially monitoring his reps more. I guess an obvious question, but does Hodges potentially make you guys feel more comfortable about being able to monitor his reps?

"Yeah. Hodges was a guy that was, I went through that. I mean, he was a guy that we identified coming out of the draft. That guy's been on our board since the draft. We're happy we got him. We got a football player. We went and got a good football player. So, that's where that was. In terms of Bowman, I'm a Bo fan. I'm a Bo guy. Bo plays a lot of good football and you know, I'm excited about Bo."

Is there anything that you can kind of put your finger on? Last year statistically your defense, top handful in the league. Through five games, bottom handful in the league. Obviously, a lot of change, new coordinator, new personnel. But, is there something that you can really put your finger on why this has occurred so rapidly?

"No. We've just got to play better. We've just got to do a better job in all areas. Starting with me. I mean, I'm the guy that, there's nothing happening out there that doesn't, I keep telling you, that doesn't go across my desk. So, I've got to get that better."

Colin Kaepernick's college coach, Chris Ault, says that Kaepernick at times has been dropping his elbow when he throws since about the end of last season. Is that something your coaching staff has spotted and is that something you are working to correct or is it not an issue?

"I won't get into anything that the coaches are coaching up and things like that. And I really, with all due respect to coach Ault, I don't know him but we're not really paying attention to other people's evaluations. We're watching our film and we're evaluating and we're correcting and working on things that we feel like we need to work on."

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Colin Kaepernick

Do you see any kind of different mindset this week after the three previous games, playing as well as you guys did offensively, coming into this week?

"I think there's more chemistry between us now. We saw some things that we can build off of and use moving forward. As far as a team, we're trying to prepare to win. Everything thing we're doing is to make sure we're prepared for Sunday."

Do you have a little bit more spring in your step? Do you feel good about how that game ended for the offense Sunday night?

"It ended in a loss for us. That's the bottom line. We play to win. So, moving forward, we have to do more on offense to score more points to make sure we finish those games with wins."

The defense in these past few games has had a lot of snaps, a high rep count. But, the offense has been able to have sustained drives, you know, so it's not like a time of possession thing. What does the offense need to do against the Ravens to take some of that pressure off the defense? What does the offense need to establish early?

"We need to score touchdowns. That's the bottom line in football. The team who scores more points wins. It's not a difficult thing. So, for us, we have to finish in the end zone."

When you look at the Ravens on tape, they've obviously lost a lot of different players, just as you guys have, over the years. What do you see from them? Any similarities in what you were scouting back in the Super Bowl days or is it completely different?

"Yeah. There's a lot of different personnel on that side of the ball from three years ago. So, that's not something we really look at too much other than the schemes are similar. They do a lot of different things to try to put their players in advantageous positions. So, that's something we have to be aware of."

How about last year? Being able to practice against them a couple times. Are you able to draw more parallels with that experience?

"Yeah. That's something we can use more than the Super Bowl game."

Do you see the same defense from what you practiced against to now?

"Yeah. It's the same foundation of a defense."

How much last week was a character check for you to have to dig down and, you know, if you were every going to be lacking in confidence, it was going to be because of what happened the last three weeks, to dig down and do what you guys did on Sunday night?

"Well, I'm not going to lack in confidence. I have confidence in what I'm able to do on this field and what I can do to help this team win. For me, it was an opportunity to really show leadership and try to lead this team and make sure everyone has the right mindset. As this week is another opportunity to make sure everyone's focused on the right things."

In what are did you make your biggest improvement last week and what was the reason for it?

"I would say the biggest improvement was just chemistry. Being able to let balls go and trust our receivers, and our receivers made big plays. It was a confidence-building thing for both sides, for the receivers, for us, for the offensive line. It was something that we can build on moving forward and improve on."

You said chemistry a couple of times. You've been playing with WR Anquan Boldin for a while. Is it chemistry of terms of getting to know a guy in a new scheme? Is that part of it, all that working together?

"Yeah. There's a lot of different things that play parts in what you're trying to do offensively and when you run plays over and over, you get more comfortable with them. So, some of that was different plays. Some of it was just different positions that we put people in."

We talked to Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco this morning and asked him about his chemistry with WR Torrey Smith and he said, initially, the deep ball came quickly with him and Smith but that the underneath stuff did take some time. Are you having a similar pattern with Torrey Smith?

"I think it depends on the route. There's some routes that are natural for him to run and they naturally fit my eye. Other routes, we have to work a little bit harder on."

Your college coach, former Nevada head coach Chris Ault recently said in a radio interview that you've been dropping your elbow when you throw since late last season. Is that something you are aware of when you watch yourself play? Is that something that you work on?

"It is something that I constantly work on, my mechanics, fundamentals, to make sure I'm out there throwing the ball the best way I can. Ultimately, whether the receiver catches the ball and the ball's in the right position is the only thing that matters."

Were there things last week, during the week of preparation that you did with your pass catchers to help improve that chemistry that you continue to reference?

"Yeah. We had more meeting time together. We went in detail over things to make sure everybody was on the same page, what we were looking to get out of each play and what we were trying to take advantage of."

Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst said last week there were changes made. Could you divulge what those changes were and is that you think what he was talking about?

"Yeah. That's exactly what he was talking about."

At the beginning of the season, there was such an emphasis on the tempo, quick tempo. We saw that in the Minnesota game but just falling behind it, it would seem that that was affected. Do you feel that tempo coming back with just kind of the steps the offense took against the Giants?

"I think we've always had good tempo in and out of the huddle. That's something we want to continue."

Just getting back to a mechanics question, when you're in a pocket that's constantly changing shape and you're avoiding guys, can you have a uniform throwing motion or do you have to sometimes drop your elbow and throw side arm and things like that to adapt?

"Once again, mechanics are, I'm not huge on them. You can look at [San Diego Chargers QB] Philip Rivers throw, you can look at [New England Patriots QB] Tom Brady throw. Looks completely different, they're both great quarterbacks."

But do you change it up just depending on what you have to do on a given play?

"Yeah. You have to be able to change arm angles, especially on underneath throws to throw around linemen, to throw into windows."

Is Chris Ault correct in his assessment?


Your mechanics. That you're dropping your elbow when you throw.

"I don't look at film that closely about my mechanics of where's my elbow at."

You saw you're not big on mechanics. In your view, is it just getting the ball there, wherever it has to be, no matter how you get it there?

"Yeah. That's the job of the quarterback. Throw it to the receiver so he can catch it. It's that simple."

How conscious are you of the right guard situation when you're in the game? Does it impact on your mind while you're playing the game, while guys are rotating?

"No. We have confidence in all of our linemen, their ability to play."

What was, obviously, G Andrew Tiller, I think he had played one snap before Sunday. When he first entered the huddle, I mean, did guys say anything like, 'Hey, you've got this." Was there a recognition that OK, here's a new guy playing right guard?

"No. Once again, we have confidence in all of our linemen. He came in, he played great."

When you look at RB Carlos Hyde, you see it in the game and then you see it on film. What jumps out at you? Does it look like he runs as hard on film as when you're out there on the field with him?

"Yes. He runs aggressive. He runs physical and that's an aspect that we love having in this offense."

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* Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers


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