Harbaugh: Giants are a cruel team

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Harbaugh: Giants are a cruel team

SANTA CLARA -- Here's the transcript from Jim Harbaugh's sessions with the local and national media on Wednesday (courtesy of the 49ers public relations department):Last week you said you didn't want to overcook it. Is that the same message this week?
Harbaugh: "Yes, I mean we prefer not to overcook it. Burnt meat, stale bread doesn't taste real good. Like to get it just right. Not undercooked, not overcooked."How much have you looked at the weather reports for this weekend?
Harbaugh: "Been looking at it. Chance of rain."Does that change anything or does that make any extra points of emphasis for you this week in practice?
Harbaugh: "Yeah, it's worth following and looking at. There's a possibility of rain tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Wouldn't mind getting some work in those kind of conditions if it does play out that way."

You said a couple weeks ago that this is Greg Roman's offense. How do you guys work together and does he suggest the plays? You were at Stanford together, I just wondered how it works?
Harbaugh: "We all work together. Pretty much suffice it to say, Greg's calling the plays and coordinating the offense."Do you think there's any correlation at all, there's been so much made of QB Alex Smith and the improvements he's made this year. I'm just curious as to your experience having been a professional quarterback. There aren't a ton of coaches that have had that experience. Do you feel like that has helped him at all or have you been able to work with him at all personally?
Harbaugh: "Yes, been able to work with him. Hopefully given some sound advice. (I am) not a quarterback anymore, just a coach. Your question doesn't resonate with me any further than that."I guess when you first came in, I'm sure there are people that were wondering if he would be your preference as a quarterback coming up, what did you see or were there things that you thought that you saw in him that you thought going forward would work as opposed to some of the naysayers?
Harbaugh: "Well, we've plowed this ground pretty thoroughly and it's pretty well documented. Watched the tape on Alex and felt like this could be a fresh start for him. Loved the toughness, loved the intelligence and the leadership ability."Are you still the voice that he hears in his helmet?
Harbaugh: "Yes."So you had mentioned Monday about Quarterbacks Coach Geep Chryst calling the two-minute drill plays. Why is that how you use that for the two-minute?
Harbaugh: "We're all connected through headphones. Press box, field, me, Geep, Wide Receivers Coach Johnnie Morton. Everybody on the offense is connected. Everybody on the defense is connected."So in that situation, Geep relays it to you and then you relay it to Alex?
Harbaugh: "Correct."TE Delanie Walker told us he expects to play. Any update there? He announced it, sort of, that he hopes to put the pads on Sunday.
Harbaugh: "Yeah, that would be our hope, too. We'll have to wait and see. Today will be the first practice. You see how he responds to today's work, today's treatment. We'll know more tomorrow, more the next day. Ultimately, it will be in the doctor's hands."What does your offense lose when Delanie is not out there?
Harbaugh: "We would much prefer to have Delanie out there. He is a great football player, first and foremost. Smart, physical, intelligent, play-making ability. That's not to say that the next guy that steps up doesn't have some of those same qualities. Certainly TE Justin Peelle has filled that role very well."Just to be clear, you do expect Delanie to practice today?
Harbaugh: "Just to be clear, I said I didn't know. We'll see. We'll see. Today is his first day of practice. I thought I was very clear about that. We'll see how he responds to today's treatment. We'll see how he comes back tomorrow after running around out there. Then the doctors will make that decision. That's about as clear as I could possibly be about that."With the six comebacks you guys have had this year, and you said you had given Alex some advice from your quarterback days, what kind of stuff did you give him at the beginning of the season on how to handle those situations in the fourth quarter when you guys are down?
Harbaugh: "There's a lot of situations that you go through. Not going to specifically talk about that one. What did we say to him at the beginning of the season about how to handle fourth quarter comebacks? Him knowing the situation, that's key. The understanding that he can't take a sack, we can't have a penalty as a unit, and you can't have a turnover. Those three things will absolutely bring down the percentages of executing a two-minute drive and winning the football game. Understanding what the defense is trying to do in those situations. Executing the offense, playing focused and loose at the same time. Alex does a tremendous job of doing that. Then you let the chips fall where they may. You either will or you won't. I think he's got that kind of mentality as well. There's times that no-conscience throws have to be made. He's done a spectacular job with that all season long. I don't know how many comebacks we're up to now, fix or six. Is it six? That's a lot for any team, for any quarterback. Speaks volumes about how he's understanding those situations."You may not be into the labeling of 1 receiver, 2 receiver, but is WR Michael Crabtree in your mind of that level, a 1 type receiver? What kind of year do you think he's had?
Harbaugh: "Michael's had a 14-3 year as a receiver. All of our receivers have had that kind of a year, in terms of executing their job. I would say that about our offense, about our defense, about our special teams. I'd say the same thing about the New York Giants receivers. They've had a Super Bowl contender year. Everybody's good at this point. Both teams are good." He hasn't had that many big yardage plays, though. Do you need to see more of that from him at some point or is that just the way the offense has gone this year?
Harbaugh: "We'd love to see a big game from Michael in this game, like he's given us in many of the games this year. Hope he has a big game for himself. I know he's going to prepare to do that this week and that will be his mindset."It seems like a lot of teams best layed plans get derailed with an injury, like Jay Cutler with the Bears. What is your plan B if Alex got hurt?
Harbaugh: "Colin Kaepernick would be the quarterback."How involved have you been with Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio, I know you talk about all of the communication you have on the offensive side of the ball, but will you look at the defensive game plan for the Giants, how involved are you with Vic in that?
Harbaugh: "Very little. Vic runs the defense along with other coaches on our staff. I have complete confidence in Vic Fangio. I've always had great respect for him before I had a chance to work with him. I think he's one of the best defensive coordinators in the history of the NFL. That's what I want his legacy to be. He's doing a great job."Justin Smith had that play where he drove Bushrod back into QB Drew Brees. I'm wondering, it was such a dominant play, can that set a tone for a defense or have any sort of residual effect beyond that?
Harbaugh: "Yes."How does it do that? What message can that send, a play that's so dominant like that?
Harbaugh: "It's wicked fight. It's just that. Other people see it and feed off that and want to rise to that level. Whenever you have a leader like Justin Smith, one of your best players, your hardest worker, your fiercest competitor, that bodes really well for your football team. So whether it's a play like you mentionedm or the five days that Justin will get a workout this week. Everybody sees it. Their antennas are up and they watch the way he practices. They watch the way he prepares for games. They watch the way he plays through some nagging hurts. It sets a tremendous tone. A tremendous example for our football team."Arizona and Dallas are really the only two teams with comeback wins against you. Did you guys learn anything from the Dallas game?
Harbaugh: "From the Dallas game?. I don't know what we learned from that game to be honest with you. A lot of things we knew going into it. Anybody on our schedule has and had the capability of beating us. We have the capability of beating anybody on our schedule. You prepare the best you can, you strive to get better and you go out and give it everything you have and then you see if that's good enough."Have you heard from some of the former 49er greats this week?
Harbaugh: "Yes, I did get a phone message from Ronnie Lott. I saw Steve Young, too, at school."Any message from them that you're willing to share?
Harbaugh: "Very positive, very positive. Good luck. They loved the way the team's playing. There was some advice, too. Very positive, very excited for the fellas. Genuinely want to see us succeed."TE Vernon Davis clearly wears his emotions on his sleeve. He gave the team a speech during halftime last Saturday. How has his leadership role evolved with this team?
Harbaugh: "There are some situations where he does wear his emotions on his sleeve and lets those out, like all the ball players do. It's a game that's played and coached by emotional people. He's not like that all the time. His leadership has been through actions. It's been through support of other teammates. It's been through his willingness to contribute to the football team in ways that don't show up on the stats sheet. All those things are noticed by everybody. Everybody's antenna perceives that Vernon is a guy that's about us and not about himself."When you look at the game tape from when you played the Giants earlier this season, what is that that you see in that Giants team, how they were playing then and how they are playing now?
Harbaugh: "How they were playing then and how they are playing now, they were playing really good at that time and they're playing really good now. I think they're a healthier team than when we played them. This is a Super Bowl contending team. That's who they are, offensively, defensively, special teams. Class, class team that also is a cruel team. They don't give you things. They don't let you have what you want. They don't make mistakes and turn the ball over to you. They're the opposite of that. They're an opportunistic football team, they're a hard-working football team, really at every position group. They are where they are because of all those things."

49ers 'ecstatic' with first-day haul in the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers 'ecstatic' with first-day haul in the 2017 NFL Draft

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers began Thursday with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

When his first day as 49ers general manager reached its conclusion, John Lynch had selected two of the three top players on his draft board and picked up additional third-round picks for this year and next year.

After Myles Garrett, the 49ers’ top-rated prospect, was the Cleveland Browns’ selection at No. 1 overall, the 49ers traded back one spot with the Chicago Bears. The 49ers still got their No. 2-rated prospect, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

The 49ers started making calls to teams with selections in the teens, according to coach Kyle Shanahan, to inquire about trading up for Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. The 49ers finally worked a deal with the Seattle Seahawks to move up three spots to No. 31.

All they gave up was a fourth-round pick acquired from the Bears earlier in the day.

“In terms of how we rated them, we got two of our top three players,” Lynch said. “We’re thrilled. We’re ecstatic. I think these guys have traits that encompass what we want to be about as a football organization.”

Lynch said he began speaking with Bears general manager Ryan Pace more than a week ago. Because the 49ers had picks scheduled next to the Bears in every round, Pace suggested to Lynch that the two teams should be willing to work with each other throughout the draft.

The 49ers had other offers for the No. 2 pick, Lynch said. A source told NBC Sports Bay Area just prior to the start of the draft that the 49ers had fielded three solid offers.

The team’s chief strategy officer Paraag Marathe worked out the details to finalize the trade with the Bears.

The 49ers did not know which player the Bears were targeting at No. 2, but Shanahan voiced his opinion while the trade was going down.

“This guy is a pretty bright,” Lynch said of Shanahan. “He said, ‘That’s not for a defensive lineman. That’s for a quarterback.’ And he was right.”

The Bears made the trade to select North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. In order for the Bears to trade up one spot, they delivered the 49ers a third-round pick (No. 67), a fourth-round pick (No. 111) and a third-round pick next year.

Jacksonville executive Tom Coughlin, whose team held the No. 4 pick, watched and admired the 49ers' move from afar. 

"To get what you had in mind right off the bat and pick up those extra picks? Pretty nice deal," Coughlin told Jacksonville reporters. "I’ve never seen one of those. . . Oh, my gosh. Nothing like that has ever come my way.”

When asked if the 49ers would have selected Foster if the Bears selected Thomas, Lynch said, “Perhaps. It was very likely.”

Instead, the 49ers waited and waited and waited before finding a trade partner in an unlikely place. The 49ers made a deal with Seattle, giving up the 111th pick obtained from Chicago, to select Foster. The Saints had already told Foster he would be the pick one spot later.

“He’s my kind of player,” Lynch said of Foster. “He plays sideline to sideline, and he’ll hit anything that moves. I think that’s contagious for teammates.”

Foster is recovering from shoulder surgery and his stock was negatively affected by character concerns. He was sent home from the NFL scouting combine after an argument with a hospital worker during his medical check. He also had a positive drug test due to a diluted urine sample.

Lynch spent a lot of time with Foster during his visit to Santa Clara, as well as a meeting him at the combine. Both Lynch and Shanahan spoke regularly with Foster on the phone and on FaceTime in the past few weeks.

The 49ers also dispatched vice president of football affairs Keena Turner and team chaplain Earl Smith to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to meet with Foster for two days. The team will have a plan in place to help guide Foster as he transitions to professional football, Lynch said.

“I would tell you that his character is what drew us to him,” Lynch said. “When you start talking football with this young man, he lights up a room. He’s a good kid. I believe in the kid. I think he’ll be a great player for this organization for a long time.”

What we really learned from day one of the 2017 NFL Draft

What we really learned from day one of the 2017 NFL Draft

So after one day of the NFL Draft, we know the following:
 
1.        Roger Goodell could be booed on the surface of the sun, and if you don’t think so, let’s all agree to give that thesis a try.
 
2.        The Oakland Raiders have invested a lot in Gareon Conley’s word.
 
3.        John Lynch is either a swindler, or he was presented with a deal that only an idiot could refuse.
 
Let’s do Goodell first. He was booed lustily and often by the huge Philadelphia crowd, and though he would be booed anywhere (and he half-heartedly asked for more with a smile that looked more like a dog sticking his head out of a speeding car window), Philadelphia booing causes osteoporosis.
 
Next, we go to the Raiders, who used the 24th pick in the draft to take Conley, the secondary man from Ohio State who is being investigated for rape. Conley has maintained his innocence, putting out a statement denying all the accusations, and TMZ claims to have a video that calls into question the woman’s story. In other words, nobody can be sure of anything quite yet.
 
Except the Raiders seemed sure enough to take him, and general manager Reggie McKenzie said the team investigated him and the incident thoroughly. In short, given Mark Davis’ stated opposition to employing players involved in violence against women, McKenzie better be right, and close enough to right to assuage any misgivings Davis or the customer base might have.
 
As far as Conley the player, check back with us in at least two years.
 
Finally, there is Lynch, who squeezed (or was amazingly offered) three picks from Chicago Bears’ general manager Ryan Pace in exchange for one place in the draft. Pace, who was immediately described by Wikipedia as “the soon-to-be former general manager,” took North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, whom the 49ers had little interest in.
 
In other words, Lynch either pulled a fast one, or had a fast one handed to him. Either way, the 49ers got Solomon Thomas, the defensive lineman from Stanford they had long coveted, plus a third-round pick tomorrow, one next year and one in the fourth round that they helped spin into Reuben Foster, the Alabama linebacker who fell from much loftier draft positions apparently because of shoulder concerns.
 
In short, McKenzie got a much-needed secondary man who might end up being more trouble legally than he is worth athletically (though the level of doubt here is sufficient to jump to no conclusions quite yet), and Lynch won a reputation as the young Billy The Kid, smiling precociously while he robs you at gunpoint.
 
Time will tell whether he also gets to be called a great talent evaluator, but for the moment, don’t ask him to hold your wallet. That, kids, is the highest compliment a general manager can receive on the first night of his first NFL Draft.