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.

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

The 49ers have graduated back to the phase of the offseason when offense-vs.-defense drills are allowed.

Because of the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers were allowed an additional “voluntary” minicamp before the NFL draft. That meant the 49ers were permitted to skip from the two-week conditioning phase of the offseason straight to what is allowed under Phase III.

But after the three-day minicamp in late-April, the 49ers were forced to retreat back to Phase II, when on-field drills but could not include offense vs. defense.

Beginning Monday – and over the next three weeks -- the 49ers can get back to conducting the standard one-on-one, 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 "non-contact" drills. The 49ers have the maximum number of 10 organized team activities scheduled. The official offseason program concludes with a mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 13-15.

The real competition does not begin until the pads go on during training camp. but here’s a look at the team’s most notable offseason competitions (one position you will not find is quarterback, where the depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard appears clearly set):

Running back: Carlos Hyde, entering the final year of his original four-year contract, has a lot of competition to hold onto his role as the featured back. He is coming off his most-productive season, finishing just 12 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark when he sustained a knee injury with one game remaining. Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner lobbied for Utah running back Joe Williams in the draft. They clearly see a fit for him within the system.

Pass-rush end: The 49ers’ pass rush was among the worst in the NFL the past two seasons. Arik Armstead will be given an opportunity to see if he can adapt to the “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch must earn the confidence of the coaching staff and front office. The 49ers added explosive, 243-pound pass Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round.

Tight end: The 49ers confirmed Vance McDonald was available for a trade during the draft. After finding no takers, the 49ers brought back McDonald and he rejoins the competition among rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson is the obvious choice to start on one side. And assuming Jimmie Ward remains at free safety, the 49ers have no other player on the roster who has started a significant number of games at cornerback. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, will have a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job, as long as he displays a willingness to stick his nose into the action and play with the requisite level of physicality. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Will Redmond should also be in the mix to replace Tramaine Brock, who was released shortly after his arrest after an alleged domestic incident last month.

Center: Jeremy Zuttah, a Pro Bowl performer, was added in the offseason via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Daniel Kilgore has been the 49ers’ center the past three seasons but injuries have limited him to just 23 starts over that period of time. Zuttah has position flexibility. The 49ers could determine the best thing for the offensive line is to move Zuttah to one of the guard positions – to challenge Zane Beadles or Joshua Garnett -- if he is not clearly better than Kilgore.

Weakside linebacker: The 49ers signed veteran Malcolm Smith on the first day of free agency, providing him with $11.5 million of fully guaranteed money. The 49ers ranked Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. They traded up to select him at No. 31 overall. Assuming Foster is ready to compete at the beginning of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, it appears likely he would line up in that position and compete with Smith. The 49ers’ medical staff does not believe Foster will require any additional surgery, and Foster said he expects to be cleared for the opening of camp.

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”