49ers Q&A: Interim head coach Jim Tomsula

49ers Q&A: Interim head coach Jim Tomsula

December 29, 2010

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Interim Head Coach Jim Tomsula
Press Conference Dec. 29, 2010

On the injury report:
LB Patrick Willis will be out with a hand, LB Takeo Spikes is playing, LB Keaton Kristick is out, youve got G David Baas, hes day-to-day, ribs looking good. CB Phillip Adams is out. T Joe Staley is out, TE Nate Byham is day-to-day. On whether Willis is out for practice or the game:
Willis is out for the game. Yeah, hes out.On why Willis will not play:
His hand. He had to have that hand was fixed again.On when Willis hand was fixed:
Yesterday. Was it yesterday? Im not sure the day. The other day. Im not sure of the day. Im sorry, I dont know. He had that I dont think it was major, I just think they had to go in and I dont want to go in, I dont know details.On whether it is fair to say that Willis had a second surgical procedure:
Yeah, I think thats fair. I dont know, I think its fair.On whether Willis would play if they had won Sunday and were playing for a playoff spot:
No, that was irrelevant. I was told that was irrelevant. That had nothing to do with it. No matter what anything is, thats the way that was. This whole the whole injury update sheet is that way. On who will be the starting quarterback:
Alex Smiths the starting quarterback.On what contributed to that decision:
Experience.On whether he thought about starting QB David Carr in order to evaluate his potential:
No, it didnt come up.On whether he thinks of this game as a way to determine who will be brought back for the next season and whether he has talked to the players about that:
Well in that kind of a thought process, thats every week in the National Football League. And again, in that area, and that thought process, there really isnt one here with these guys. They play, theyre going out, preparing and playing. You know, I dont even think that anything goes into that.On whether he had talked to QB Alex Smith and how it went:
Yeah, actually, I sat down with him yesterday. Terrific.On his thoughts on Smith:
Ill tell you, with Alex, in my dealings with Alex Smith, is Alex Smiths the kind of guy youd want your daughter to marry. Ive got two daughters. Hes a nice guy.On whether he has evaluated Smiths level of confidence after being benched last week and whether that will effect him for the coming game:
Oh, no, no. And again, up until Monday, the only evaluation I have is on defensive lineman, front seven, defensive play, OK? And Im a guy that through the course of my coaching career, Ive held different positions, and I keep my spoon in my soup. I dont taste your soup. I go in and do my job, and do what Im asked to do, and I try to do it to the best of my abilities.On whether he gave the starting quarterback decision to offensive coordinator Mike Johnson:
Oh yeah, well I mean we obviously talked about it, I led the conversation in the area that I wanted it to go.On whether he plans to stick with Smith throughout the game:
Yeah. Obviously, everybody here look, theres 53 guys on the field, 53 guys and then the practice squad guys, but out of those 53 guys, theres still always at the end of the week, with special teams, and some of the things that we need there, there will be guys evaluated all through the week, to see whos on that 45. But out of those 53 guys, youve got 53 guys that have to prepare like theyre going to start and theyre going to play. So everybody does it. Now things happen during the course of a game, and decisions have to be made, and thats when those decisions happen. But everybody prepares like theyre going to start, like theyre a starter, like theyre going to play. And if theyre not doing that, theyre probably not in the NFL long. On whether LB NaVorro Bowman will start:
Yeah, NaVorro will start.On whether he intends to do more evaluation on young guys like S Taylor Mays:
No, I mean, again, the one thing I want to make clear, our preparations are to win. Were preparing to win a game. The evaluation process is ongoing, always. Yeah, I understand all of the other things with where were at, our record, all of those kind of things. What were preparing were preparing for a game to go in and compete to win.On his reaction to DT Justin Smiths Pro Bowl selection:
Right on. I get to work with that guy, and theres a lot of guys here that in my opinion, when you take everything into account, the way they work at it, the way they maximize their talents, the mental work, the physical work, all those kind of things, the kind of people they are, that are Pro Bowl guys to me. Obviously theres voting, and thats always the nice thing, whenever you vote for anything, right? We can always have the other side of it, thats why we keep the college bowl system going too, right? So youre never favorites, and talk about whos this, whos that. Weve got good conversation.On the decision on who stays on the 49ers coaching staff being in the hands of a new general manager or head coach and how he envisions the transition after this weeks game:
When I say a one-week calendar, I mean, thats not something new for me. My whole life is a one-week calendar, OK? Theres prior planning in the off-season, we get our ducks in a row, get lined up, but I can speak for me. When Sunday nights over, I go in and thats why I watch film on Sunday night, to close out the week, and Im on to the next. And that next day, Im working on day-to-day, climbing that ladder to get to game day. Game day is on the top of that ladder. So all the preparations are going into that day. Im very singular in my focus in that way. Im a football coach. Im Jim Nobody from Nowhere, Ive coached in different places. I dont run form that. My family is not going to starve, and if my wife has stayed with me for the last 19 years, shes not going anywhere, so Im good.On what he sees himself doing next week and if that includes helping with a transition:
Honestly, I have not spent a second thinking about that.On whether he has slept since Monday and what the last couple of days have been like:
Well I mean, when youre into coaching, and were talking about me, theres a whole coaching staff up there. Nobody is getting a whole lot of sleep during the season. I mean, you just dont. Youve got a window thats a small window every week, and youve got a certain amount of work to do. And when things come up that are out of the norm, you have to deal with those, but you still have the same amount of work to do. So thats the way you go with it. So, what do you look for? Theres coaches in this building that dont sleep on Sunday nights and that do those things. Thats the nature of our business. I think thats why when you get on an airplane and you take a look at where the coaches are, most of the time I think everybody is sleeping as soon as their backsides hit the seats.On looking refreshed today:
I had a shower (laughing). 49ers director of public relations Bob Lange told me to shave.On whether he has addressed the fact that some players will not be back after this game:
Yeah. Okay, in that, yeah. What weve tried to do right here, and again, its with anything, the players come in on Wednesday for game plans need to be set and things need to be done early in the week to move forward. So its always, my focus is, anything out of the norm, whether its this particular situation or whatever, anything, you want to handle it fast. You want to handle it on Monday, you want to get it done, and you want to attack it. You dont want to let it drag. You attack it, you hit it head on, and you speak honestly about it, you deal with the facts, and you put it in its place. Now, I can put it in its place and move forward.On whether he has thought about filling the open roster spot with an inside linebacker:
We have - Alex Joseph is here.On whether Joseph is a linebacker:
Yes sir.On whether Joseph will play Sunday:
Oh yeah, hes up. Yeah. I mean obviously were going to go through some evaluations right here, but the thought process is for him to be in here and he was meeting with the coaches last night. Great guy.On whether Joseph would be a backup for the inside linebacker position:
Yeah, hell be a backup there. And again, youve seen us. The way were built, weve got guys that can multi-task. So you always have a plan, no matter what goes on, you always have a plan for any kind of situations that may happen. So, the guys are trained in that way.On whether he will look to give game time to guys who havent played this season like T Alex Boone or LB Thaddeus Gibson:
Yeah, well, yeah, I mean were looking to win a game, were looking to prepare to compete to win. But yeah, yeah. Were looking but I mean, Im always- I can speak as a d-line coach. DT Ricky Jean-Francois is my young guy. Im always looking for opportunities to get Ricky on the field. Thats my thought process, I want to get him on the field, I want to get him playing reps. And if you do it here on the practice field, you earn the right for playing downs on the practice field. And then from there, we get into the game. Yeah, I mean, you like to get guys in the game. I mean, you want to stay fresh, thats my thought process. Thats where I fight with Justin Smith all the time. That guy doesnt want to come out. That guy wants to play, he doesnt care. And you know, all those guys have that, so sometimes youve got to protect them from themselves. You know, and so yeah.On whether he intends to start young guys in the last game just to get them playing time since they are not playing for a play-off run:
No, absolutely not. Thats why I tried to at the beginning of the week, its crystal clear where our approach is here. And quite frankly, I mean, with where were at right now, we wouldnt want to go that way. I mean I think you all can see the logic in that. Thats not smart in my opinion. So Im really happy with the way everybody is heading and everybody is going in the same direction.

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

SANTA CLARA – Despite recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons and being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Eric Reid said he believes he is now in a role that best fits his skillset.

Whereas in the past, the 49ers’ safety positions were considered interchangeable, there is a clear delineation this season under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“Even dating back to college, this is the first time there’s a distinct strong (safety) and a distinct free (safety),” Reid said. “I’ve been used to the interchangeability type of role.

“(In) some situations, certain calls where there’s a motion, we might flip. There are a couple situations where I might be in the post in the free-safety role, but it’s not nearly as much as it has been in the past.”

Reid, who is listed at 6 foot 1, 213 pounds, said he is excited to be stationed closer to the line of scrimmage for run support while free safety Jimmie Ward patrols the deep middle of the field.

The 49ers offseason program concluded Wednesday, and Reid found himself in the middle of the action with an interception on a short Brian Hoyer pass over the middle. While he will still be counted upon for coverage, his biggest impact could come to assist a run defense that last season ranked among the worst in NFL history.

“I love it, being around the ball more,” Reid said. “I anticipate making more tackles, hopefully making more plays. I feel like I was made for this position with my body type, being a bigger safety. I’m excited about this year.

“I feel like I’m using what God has blessed me with, more, which is my size and being in the box in the run game. In the past, I felt like I could do more. And being in the post, I can’t use my size as much when it comes to the run game.”

After producing seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid recorded just one interception in 26 games over the past two seasons.

As a first-round pick in 2013, the 49ers picked up the fifth-year option this season for $5.676 million. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the season. Reid said the 49ers have not spoken to his representation about a long-term extension. That will come, he believes, if he lives up to his end of the bargain in his new, streamlined role.

“I look at it from a business standpoint,” Reid said. “I majored in business. They have me under contract. They don’t have any reason to talk to right now. I imagine if I play well in the first half of the season, they’ll reach out to me. Maybe they’ll reach out to me before training camp, I don’t know. It’s whatever route they decide to take. It’s a business. I’ll treat it as a business. I have a job to do, so I’ll do it.”

 

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan always wanted to coach football with his father. But, first, he knew he had to prove himself without any boost from his well-known dad.

Once the son established himself as one of the NFL’s respected offensive minds, the Shanahans teamed up for four up-but-mostly-down seasons with Washington.

Mike, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, hired his son to serve as his top offensive assistant in 2010.

“I thought we saw football similar, but we quickly realized after a few weeks that we saw it differently,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “We grew together. He gave me a lot of leeway while I was there. It was fun to try a bunch of different things, having to even incorporate the zone read when we got Robert (Griffin).

“We did our deal in Washington, and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it.”

Kyle Shanahan broke into the coaching ranks under Karl Dorrell at UCLA. He moved onto the NFL to work with Jon Gruden on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. But nothing prepared him for the scrutiny he would face as offensive coordinator under his father.

Kyle Shanahan adjusted the Washington offense to take advantage of Griffin’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback as a rookie 2012. The club qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But things blew up the following season as the Mike Shanahan-Griffin relationship soured. Shanahan and eight assistant coaches, including Kyle, were fired the morning after Washington’s 3-13 season concluded.

Mike Shanahan has remained out of coaching, though he was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching job after the 2015 season. The 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

Kyle Shanahan rebuilt his career with one season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and two successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons to enable him to become CEO Jed York’s choice to replace Kelly.

There is no official role for Mike Shanahan, 64, on his son’s staff with the 49ers. But the father has attended several of the team’s practices this offseason, including both days of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp this week. Mike has been issued his own iPad that gives him access to the 49ers playbook and coach's film. He will likely visit for an extended stay during training camp. But Kyle said he believes his dad will mostly remain home -- only a phone call away -- during the regular season.

“He’s enjoying life right now,” said Kyle, 37. “He’s got a pretty good deal in Denver, where he lives. He can help me out in other ways anyways without having to be here every day.”

Mike Shanahan does not need to be in the building every day to counsel and have influence on his son as he tries to navigate his first season as the head coach while also maintaining the responsibilities of running the team’s offense.

“You’re going 1,000 miles an hour,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Sometimes to see everything you’ve got to really slow things down and take your time to look at stuff and you don’t always have that time as a head coach.

“It’s nice when someone you know who thinks similar to you has a similar background and he just sits in a room all day and watches stuff. He doesn’t have any other responsibilities. He can see some things that I’m not always seeing and just to bring things to light that maybe I missed or other people have missed.”

Mike Shanahan was a successful NFL offensive coordinator for seven seasons. He won a Super Bowl on George Seifert’s staff with the 49ers in January 1995. His dad believes his time around the 49ers has a lasting impact.

“When I was with San Francisco, Kyle was at the 49ers training camps in Rocklin,” Mike Shanahan told Fangirl Sports Network. “He stayed with me at camp and we talked about football every night.

“He had the opportunity to experience an organization that had won four Super Bowls in nine years. He also had the opportunity to be around some great people and leaders. He still tells stories and talks about people like Steve Young, Joe Montana, Harris Barton, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Deion Sanders, and many others. What a great experience to see how these men handled themselves on and off the field.”

The Denver Broncos hired him to become head coach shortly after the 49ers’ 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan went on to win two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the Broncos.

Kyle Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke before finishing college at Texas, where he caught 14 passes for 127 yards in two seasons. He figured he would have a career in football and it would not be as a player.

“I’ve wanted to coach my whole life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “This is all I’ve known, just growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too. Since I was little, it’s distracted me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient, it’ll play out for us in the long run.’ Fortunately, it did.

“Once I realized my genes were a little bit better as a coach than as a player, I pretty much locked into that – and that was about halfway through college. I haven’t looked back.”

During his short time with the 49ers, players on both sides of the ball have expressed amazement at how knowledgeable Kyle Shanahan is about the game of football. His dad told Fangirl Sports Network to succeed as a head coach he must always be dedicated to stuyding, learning and teaching the sport.

“He loves the game and knows it inside and out,” Mike Shanahan said. “My advice to him is to never lose the drive to study the game as he’s done over the last 13 years. To stay in the NFL as a head coach and have success for any length of time, you must never lose your drive to teach and stay abreast of what the top teams are doing every year: offense, defense, special teams. You must be able to coach all positions to really understand the whole game.”

Former 49ers president Carmen Policy said he remembers young Kyle serving as a ball boy during 49ers training camp in the early 1990s. Policy, who remains close to Mike Shanahan, has followed Kyle’s rise in the coaching ranks while playfully questioning the sanity of the family business.

Said Policy: “I used to tease Mike, ‘What kind of father are you to let your kid go into coaching?’ I said, ‘You should be charged with dereliction of parental duty.’ And he’d laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I tried talking to him and then my wife tried talking to him, but that’s his passion, and that’s what he wants to do, so I’m not going to dissuade him from it.’

“And, then, look at what happened. Here he is. He’s the head coach of the 49ers, and that’s just incredible.”