Podcast: 49ers Franchise QB Drought →
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Curtis Modkins talks quarterbacks, offensive line, more

Aug 9, 2016 at 1:23 PM--

Opening comments:

"It's been a good week so far. The guys are really working hard. I get a chance, one of the good things is I get a chance to kind of walk around individuals and watch each group and I can't be more impressed with what our assistants are doing. Our guys are working hard, but our assistants are really taking the time and investing in fundamentals. Our O-Line coaches, [assistant offensive line coach Eric Wolford] coach Wolford and [offensive line coach Pat Flaherty] coach Flats are doing a phenomenal job and then I go over and watch the quarterbacks and the things that [quarterback coach Ryan Day] coach Day is doing with those guys is really impressive. All our assistant coaches, [wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell] coach Bicknell, [tight ends coach Jeff Nixon] coach Nix, they all are doing a heck-of-a job and [running backs coach Tom Rathman] coach Rathman has really fine-tuned those guys. So, we've got some young guys, but I think they are getting better and I think that's the reason why. So, I'm looking forward to seeing how they translate over. We've got Houston in a couple days, coming in in a few days. That's going to be a good opportunity to kind of see what we've been working on, see how it's working. But, we're all excited. So, I'll leave it up to you, any questions, shoot from there. Anybody got anything?"

Curtis Modkins Gives Updates on Offense 

After seeing him now for a little bit more than a week, how has T Anthony Davis fit back in and does he know his assignments, how is he physically, what's your evaluation?

"He looks good. I mean, he's obviously, like they all do, this is what training camp is for, they all are kind of getting back into it. But, I've been very impressed where Anthony is at. He's making a real effort to really understand and he's putting extra time in. So, I don't think any of us could be more impressed with Anthony, what he's doing right now."

He's working next to G Joshua Garnett, two guys with maybe more power blocking backgrounds than what they're doing now, how are they transitioning into more of the zone blocking types of schemes that you guys are doing?

"Well, I think that's, in some ways, that's a little bit of a misnomer. I think there's all sort of blocking schemes in the offense, so you don't want somebody who can just block one type of scheme. But, as far as them working together, I wouldn't read a whole lot into it. We'll be mixing and matching things, but they have worked together some and they work good together. But, that won't be the only combination, so we'll proceed as we go with that, but don't read too much into that."

Where is OL Trent Brown at as far as what you saw from him?

"Trent is doing a good job. Trent's doing a good job. Trent's a very talented player and he's doing a good job so far of being consistent everyday coming out and being consistent with his technique and the fundamentals and his effort, so we're excited about what Trent's doing and we look forward to seeing how that progresses. Seeing how it progresses Friday, seeing how it goes in the preseason game, but we've been pleased with him also."

Given the nature of training camp and obviously there's no tackling, contact might be less physical. What are you looking for when you look at running plays in particular? What do you to glean from that?

"In this league, it's true that there is not tackling, but you can tell an awful lot offensively. Our steps, our fits on blocks, our tracks, how much movement we're getting, our pad level, blockers and runners, everybody in the right position, so there's a lot to be gained from it. These guys are really good athletes and they are professionals, so the fact that you can't tackle shouldn't be a detriment to the running game. You can still tell and you can still do what you've got to do without tackling. Our guys do a good job, we ask them to stay on their feet and you should be able to do that and be good at the running game and do that without tackling offensively."

In that context, how's RB Carlos Hyde been in this first week?

"Good. Carlos is doing a good job. I think every runner there's always plays that you look back, 'Man, I wish I could have done this or done that.' Every runner has those, but the guy has done a really good job and we're excited about where we're headed with him."

He talks about being familiar with an offense like this with the blocking schemes and with the tempo after his work at Ohio State. Do you see that transition being pretty smooth for him?

"Yeah, I think Carlos, his exposure to something similar, helps anybody and I think has helped him. I think he's an all-around player and he's been exposed to different schemes, so he's done a good job with what we've asked him to do."

Philosophically, how much game planning do you do for just the first preseason game?

"Not a lot. We just kind of do what we do and go from there."

Do you keep it pretty simple in terms of what you will do in the game?

"Yeah, we're not looking to out-scheme Houston by any means. We're looking to see who can block and who can be in the right places and who steps the right way, whose fundamentals are the right way and whose pad levels are down, can we throw and catch simple routes. There's not any game planning going on for the first game."

You're now here in your second week. Where are the quarterbacks and where do you want to see them and are they progressing as we get into preseason games?

"I'll tell you what, both guys are doing a good job. They are both competing their tails off. In the classroom, on the field, they are both doing a good job. I wouldn't say any one is ahead of the other right now. I think as we get into the preseason and we get to playing live games, those things will start happening, but right now I wouldn't say anyone is ahead of anybody. I just think they are both progressing like we want them to and both have been really good."

If it is a dead heat at the end of the preseason, how much say will you have in who is the starter Week 1?

"Well, I think our whole staff, I think [head coach Chip Kelly] Chip allows everybody to have some input and he'll make the ultimate call on who that is, but Chip's always had all of us involved in it. We'll discuss not only that position, but all the positions. Obviously, that's the one everybody talks about, but there'll be discussions on all the positions and he'll make the ultimate call."

When this week do you think you guys will have that meeting to determine who will start on Sunday?

"I'm not sure yet. We've got, what, five days before we play? So, we haven't got that far yet, but towards the end of it I'm sure we'll figure out how we're going to do that."

When you talk about the classroom aspect, how do you evaluate their interaction in the classroom? Do you get in to see who understands the scheme better? Who talks up? Who can describe what you want to do better?

"No, it's not necessarily who talks up. The interaction that we have with our players in the meetings is, questions are encouraged. Good questions, the right type of questions. Putting something on the board, being able to translate it from the classroom to the field is an example on whether they're getting it in the classroom if they can come out on the field and translate it. So, there's all sorts of measures. But, I would say that both guys are doing a really good job in the classroom. They're prepared. When they come in the following day, they're prepared. They know what's going in. They're already ahead. So, all that stuff is important and they both are doing good."

QB Jeff Driskel's coming in, obviously, in the NFL. Do they help teach him some stuff along the way?

"I think that's probably, I wouldn't know that for sure, you'd have to ask them, but I do think they're willing help the young guys."

Does it make the decision tougher because of the vanilla play calling in the preseason?

"Does it make the decision--."

For the quarterbacks tougher, just because--?

"No, I don't think so. I wouldn't say that. I think as we get along, as we get to the third preseason game, it might be a little bit more game planning than what normally is. I think there's fundamentals. There's, am I going to the right places? All those things, it doesn't matter whether it's an exotic game plan or not. That doesn't matter, right? It's football and you're evaluating how they play football. Whether they move the team, am I going to the right places? All those sort of things. So, no. I don't think that matters."

If there was one thing that you value at the quarterback position, what would that be? Is it poise in the pocket? Is it pocket presence? Is it leadership? What's that one thing if you were to say this guy has it under my offense?

"Well, I don't know if you can go one, but I think accuracy is very important. I think decision making is very important. I think the ability to lead the team and move the team is important. I don't know if you can separate one from the other because I think they're all important in this league."

How do you evaluate being able to lead a team?

"Whether you score or not. Who leads the team down the field? Who's gaining first downs? Who's leading us to touchdowns? That's a really good indicator."

In this, without huddles, does leadership maybe not mean as much as it would when guys are coming back to the huddle and convening before every play?

"No. I don't think so. We may huddle every now and then. No, I don't think that has anything to do with leadership, whether they have the ability to talk to guys in the huddle because when you're in the huddle, there's not a whole lot of, you don't sit in there and you don't correct or give guys all sorts of advice in the huddle any way. It's in and out. There are plenty of opportunities to lead."

With you guys splitting reps evenly between the ones and the twos with those guys, would you expect them to each get one start in the first two preseason games?

"We haven't really talked about it yet. We haven't decided yet on how we're going to do it. We'll figure that out as we get closer to the first game. Right now, we're in training camp mode. We're in instillation mode. We're in teaching the offense mode. We'll kind of figure out the game plan as far as reps and all that in a few days."

When Chip was first hired and he was assembling a staff, he said that he was looking for different viewpoints with the people that he hired. So, he hired you and the conjecture was, this guy's bringing in more of a power blocking background. Is that accurate in your assessment?

"Someone mentioned that to me before. I'm not quite sure where that came from. As far as the power blocking, there are power blocking schemes in what I've been exposed to before and there's power blocking schemes in what Chip has done before. So, that particular deal is we both have been kind of exposed to that. I've done that before. I just think the guys on our staff have come from different places and there are different viewpoints and it's really good in my opinion. I think Chip's put a wonderful staff together."

What do you think your contribution has been to his offense this year?

"Well, my history offensively has been kind of with spread out teams, been able to run the ball effectively. The quick passing game. All those sorts of things I've been exposed to before. I think myself along with the other coaches, we've all kind of brought different identities from different places and kind of molded them together."

What kind of camp has TE Garrett Celek had so far and how does he maybe fit into what you are looking for at that position?

"Garrett's done good. He's a smart player. He's done the things we've asked him to do. So, he has some versatility. You can move him around a little bit. But, Garrett, [TE] Vance [McDonald], [TE] Je'Ron [Hamm], [TE] Blake [Bell], [TE] Busta [Anderson], all those guys are competing and they're doing a good job. I wouldn't say anyone's above anybody right now, but I think Garrett's done a good job along with the other guys."

WR Quinton Patton's looking like he's having a consistent start to camp. What have you seen from him so far?

"Yeah, Quinton's done a good job. He's been good. He's done a good job. He's leading. He's catching the ball. He's in the right places. So, Q's done a really good job. We're excited."

* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers


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