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Curtis Modkins talks Kaepernick, receivers, Bruce Miller, and more

Aug 4, 2016 at 1:06 PM--


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Opening comments:

"It's been exciting. It's been a great couple days of camps. I think this is my ninth year and this is probably the most fun I've ever had. Just the energy and the vibe, the guys are working their tails off. They are very receptive to what we are doing. I think we are all learning a lot, learning a lot about them, they're learning a lot about us and I can't wait to just keep getting this thing going, continuing it, see what we look like when we get playing against somebody else. But, it's been very exciting so far. If anybody has any questions, shoot."

Curtis Modkins: 'It's Been a Great Couple of Days' 

As you evaluate the quarterback situation, not having seen QB Colin Kaepernick through the entire offseason doing team work, what have you seen from him out here these first three days?

"Well, Kap has done a good job. He was very visible. He was around here this spring. He did all he could do. He's done a good job with what we've asked him to do so far. The competition's kind of really just getting started. I've seen Kap from afar for a long time. He's a good player and I think he's right on track. I think both those guys are really competing. They're both doing a good job, so we'll just kind of see how it goes and we'll probably know more once the live bullets start going in preseason."

Can you distinguish between the two at this point? Does one guy have a set of skills and the other a different one? Is that evident from what you see in practice?

"I think naturally that every quarterback's skillsets are a little bit different. I think what's great is I think both of their skillsets are very good for our offense. And we'll get a chance to see more of their skillsets once we get further into this camp. Once we get into preseason games I think things will show more, but what's great is I think both of their skillsets is good for what we want to do."

During practice on Tuesday, it seemed like Kap was pulling the ball a lot more in the read-option than QB Blaine Gabbert was. Is there a reason for that?

"No, our offense kind of takes what the defense gives us. It just so happened that he had a couple of those, but no, there's no reason for it."

You've got a very young group of wide receivers. At what point in your experience do you start to see a young guy, somebody who doesn't have a lot of experience in the NFL, everything start to click for him and start to distinguish himself in these practices?

"Well, first of all, young is not necessarily bad. Young is good, and I think each individual is different, but I think in general, around years two-three you just start to see things happen for a wide receiver group in particular. But, I'm excited about the youth in the group and I think all those guys are competing and are doing a good job. It's just like any other position, once the preseason games start and we get in some live competition, we'll know more. But, I think they are progressing right along the rate we need them to right now."

You didn't get to see a lot of WR DeAndre Smelter in the spring because of his hamstring injury. What are you seeing from him now and what makes him standout from that group?

"Well, he's a big kid and he looks like he's healthy now. So, DeAndre is doing a good job. It's early. He's working his tail off. We moved him around a little bit in the spring. You could tell he was a little bit nicked up. I'm just excited to see him. You can see him run, he's strong, he can get on guys. DeAndre's done a good job and hopefully we can keep him going in that direction. I'm confident that he will."

With LB NaVorro Bowman signing his extension, obviously you prepared to go against him last year. What is it like preparing for him and does he look different to you, if you've gotten a chance to get a close look at him this summer? Does he look much different for you given the knee injury?

"He's always looked like a good player to me. I've studied him from afar playing against him and I've never noticed anything but a really good football player."

But, what's it like to prepare for him from the other sideline?

"Well, I think any veteran, any smart linebacker that's a good player like he is, they see things and you have to change things up. But, right now we're just kind of going through our offense and teaching it. We're really not scheming each other up or anything like that. So, you notice good players and he's definitely one that you notice."

There's been a lot made of FB Bruce Miller adapting to this scheme, changing positions from fullback to tight end. He is one of the best fullbacks in the league. Are there ways in which you and head coach Chip Kelly are adapting to his skillset and maybe featuring his prowess as a lead blocker?

"Yeah. I think any offense, any good offense, defense, you adapt to the skillset of your players. The good thing about Bruce is he has a very versatile skillset. So, a lot of the things that you do with a traditional fullback, move him around, we do the same thing in our offense. It may not be leading on the Mike every single snap of the game, but having a player that can move around and block people and catch balls, he's done a good job this camp of catching balls. All those things are pluses and we'll do a good job of moving guys around, not just Bruce but all our guys."

What are your first impressions of T Anthony Davis?

"Good. Good. Anthony's come in and he's had his head down and he's worked. So, any of them that do that, normally I have a favorable impression of them."

There's a lesser quarterback competition. What are your impressions of QB Thad Lewis and QB Jeff Driskel so far?

"Good. I've had Thad before. I had Thad in Buffalo. I think Thad's a professional. Thad does a good job. He has an understanding of this offense. He's been accurate with the football. I'm very pleased with where Thad is at. Jeff's a young guy. He's learning. Jeff has a really unique skillset, a really good skillset and we just look forward to him continuing to develop. But, I think both guys are doing a good job."

With an off day yesterday, do you anticipate guys working with different groups, up the depth chart after reevaluating yesterday?

"Yeah. You know, the depth chart's not really a big deal in my mind. I think our coaches roll our players regardless of what the depth chart says. I know our wide receivers, it really doesn't matter who's in, those guys roll. Our line will continue to roll. We're just in the evaluation stage. We're getting to know them and really the depth chart doesn't mean a whole lot."

What's the most enticing element of RB Carlos Hyde's game?

"The most enticing element, well, he's a big guy that can run. He has really good lateral agility. I'm excited about what Carlos will do in this offense. I think he's got a chance to be really special. I think a lot of Carlos."

You talked about rolling the line. At what point do you want to get these guys playing together and build continuity?

"There is a point to that, but we're not there yet and I think that point will present itself to us. We're evaluating and that's just not for the line, though. Guys are rolling at every position. So, when we get to that point, when things become clearer, you know, we'll get there, but right now we're not in a hurry to do that. We've got some time."

Is there anything that you've learned just from being with Chip Kelly, just about football? Other things, X's and O's stuff or--?

"You mean this morning?"

No, just since you've been hired, your time here.

"Yeah, I learn something every day. Yeah, I've learned something from Chip every day. This has been fantastic for me, professionally. Just the ability to think out of the box and ask questions maybe that you haven't asked before. That's kind of my nature anyway. But, being around Chip who allows that type of freedom and allows that type of thought and forward thinking, I'm learning something every day and it's been absolutely great for me."

Without giving away state secrets, is there anything that you've come up with or he's thrown out there that would be considered out of the box? Anything that's been pretty cool?

"Yeah, there's all sorts of thing, but [former Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice was here earlier in the week and she told me that I need to make sure I keep those things close to the vest. That's a matter of 49ers security. So, we're going to keep those things close."

* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers



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