Harbaugh: Crabtree 'chomping at the bit'

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Harbaugh: Crabtree 'chomping at the bit'

After another padded practice for the 49ers, head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Friday to discuss the team's progress. Harbaugh also addressed the Michael Crabtree's absence from training camp.

Jim Harbaugh: Hello. G Mike Iupati was excused from practice today, expecting their first child, his wife Ashley and Mike Iupati. Should come sometime today. Real excited about that. Our teams about to get stronger. Wish Mike and Ashley the best and our prayers are with them.

Q: In Iupatis place was G Leonard Davis, getting a little bit of action on both sides? What have you seen from him in his time with the team?

Its been good. Its all been positive. (Davis is) working extremely hard to get up to speed. He is right on track and done that. I think thats a product of being a veteran, being somebody who has been in systems and knows the game. Hes a physical presence. Probably the largest man Ive ever stood toe-to-toe and knee-to-knee with in my entire life is Leonard Davis.

Q: Youre getting a slimmed down version of Leonard Davis, arent you?

Yes we are. Yes we are. Thats what I hear. He looks great.

Q: Was this G Joe Looneys first time with team drills?

It was. He got action in there at guard, and some good. Its good to have him back on the field, good to have him back started. I think well have a lot to work with there.

Q: To the untrained eye, it looked like the defense was really on their game out there and dominated the offense. To the trained eye, did it look that way throughout?

It did. It certainly did, about every which way it could be dominated. It was an outstanding day for our defense. Turnovers, pass rush, communication was great. The way theyre playing together is at a very high level, both units, and the young guys as well, doing a fabulous job.

Q: Is that to be expected this time in training camp? Is it normal for the other training camps youve seen or is the defense even a little better than maybe some of the other defenses that youve seen at this point at training camp?

Id say its a function of today. I wouldnt call it a function of training camp. Its been very competitive out here. Its gone up, down. Theres been days where its been sideways. Its been good, gotten a lot of competitive reps, a lot of situations. Theres no doubt the defense got the best of it today.

Q: It looked like there was a lot more switching, not just Davis for Iupati, but a lot more switching on the offensive line. Was T Alex Boone working through something? Why was he not taking part in as many reps and also C Jonathan Goodwin, it appeared he sat out a lot at practice as well?

Boone got hit in the privates. Hes going to be fine.

Q: And Goodwin?

No, Goodwin worked for a good amount of time and then backed off some of his reps. That was a function of taking the edge off of him toward the latter half of practice.

Q: Randy Moss has been in every practice. It seems every cornerbacks had a different chance to go against him. Do you sense that those cornerbacks have embraced a new challenge in guarding him?

Yeah, like I said, its been very competitive, especially in that area. But, it hasnt been self-centered. Thats what Ive been most pleased about. Its been just good work, sharpening, straightening, using it to get better. I think thats a great asset for our team to have that on both sides of the ball.

Q: What do you mean by self-centered? That youre glad that the cornerbacks arent self-centered about guarding him or about covering him?

The way they work together. The way they work together. Its an angle of approach. Its an attitude to make our football team better. Its competitive but you dont see the chippiness, the grabbing jerseys and the cheap kind of shots. Thats been a real positive for us.

Q: Along those lines, with the replacement officials here, do you have any sense about, or thoughts on, starting the exhibition season and playing a few games with replacement officials and what have you seen from them on the practice field?

They went back to back, two good practices. (I) havent seen the film from todays practice, but sense after yesterdays practice it was very good. They saw everything I was able to see and more. Then today they were right on it. So, I think they had another good day today. But, its very beneficial for us to have the officials out here.

Q: Certainly another large human being who has slimmed down a little is RB Brandon Jacobs. Can you tell any difference? He said hes lost about 15 points since the spring. Can you tell any difference in his body and the way hes moving?

15 from the offseason? No, I havent noticed that in the way hes played. Hes been good since he got here, and very light on his feet for a big man. Since the pads have come on hes even more of a presence out there because hes got great size and instincts and the ability to run the ball between the tackles.

Q: Did you guys use the new helmet communication system today?
Yes."

Q: How did that go over?

There were no glitches.

Q: What was a typical glitch or a problem you might have had last year or in previous seasons with the analog system that you guys used?

We never got the answer, but we had problems in a couple particular road games where it would shut off right in the middle of a play call. (It) happened multiple times in one particular game. I couldnt tell you what the problem was because I was never given a response to the question.

Q: Today can you tell that its just been a better system? A crisper system, just from the practice field while practicing?

No, I couldnt say that I could say one way or the other on that.

Q: When those plays were getting interrupted, how did they carry out?
We had to switch over to a hand signal system.

Q: WR Michael Crabtree hasnt played in an exhibition game since hes been with the 49ers. Hes missed a week of camp. How much does missing that week set him back?

The thing I feel for Michael, I know hes feeling too, is that he came in in such great shape. (He) looked fantastic and we feel like well get him back soon and we can pick right up. I dont think this is going to be a major bump in the road. I think its going to be a minor one. Hes chomping at the bit to get back out there, and I anticipate that happening soon.

Q: Do you think just because he and QB Alex Smith have had such a body of work during the off-season program that thatll be easier to pick up? That the one week isnt detrimental?

Both of them had fantastic off-seasons. Michael was lean, in shape, tip-top shape, moving extremely well. I dont anticipate any issues when he gets back.

Q: Based on what youve seen in the last couple of days, is there one area in particular youd like to see the offense step it up in?

Well talk about that with the offense. Theyll hear it from me. They dont need to read about it right now. Thats coming off a day where we took a step back. Every day has really been getting better and better and better and better from the beginning of camp. So to look at this practice as a whole, would be a mistake of training camp. Its been outstanding. Another thing weve got to do is handle it, move forward, learn from it, and I think we will. Thats the way this offensive unit has been since we got together. So (I) anticipate that we can handle it and make a positive out of it. And there were some positives. Not to say that there werent any. Theres another old adage, That its never as good as you think it was. Its never as bad as you think it was. I know there will be things that when we turn on the tape well be very pleased with. Well look at it, well address it and well move forward.

Q: Yesterday you talked to the team after practice and kept the twos out there. Was that a schedule thing that you planned to do that?

Yes.

Q: DT Justin Smith, how great of a test does he present the offense, because it seems like today hes in mid-season form?

Hes a great player. Theres no question about it. Every team in the league would love to have Justin Smith on their team. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio made the comment that this is a great player. This is a strong man who plays with incredible leverage. But he plays like a guy thats fighting to make the roster. Thats a special combination, a rare combination. A great football player. Glad we have him on our team because I know theres 31 other teams that would love to have him.

Q: When you were playing, was the nickel, cornerback role as specialized as it seems to becoming today? It seems like its a real, almost a 12th position now.

It is. I forgot a lot of things from that long ago, but I dont remember it being like the position it is now. Its really, in a lot of ways, a starting position when teams are playing that nickel defense, 40, 50, 60 percent, sometimes even 70 percent of their snaps.

Q: Vic Fangio described it as sort of a quasi-linebacker. It could honestly almost be a linebacker playing it. Is that what you see as well, that theres got to be a lot of linebacker-like abilities from that player?

Yeah, you must be able to tackle because youre playing so close to the line of scrimmage. Hes got to be able to cover in tight spaces, and got to be able to cover slot receivers who are usually really quick, fast and can get open in a tight area of space themselves. Its a unique position and weve got guys that we feel good about playing it and it gives us options.

Q: Do you have a status report on TE Nate Byham?

No, not a status report. Hes got something that hes working through."

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.”