Harbaugh Q&A -- locked, loaded for Detroit


Harbaugh Q&A -- locked, loaded for Detroit

SANTA CLARA -- Here's a transcript of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's meeting with the press before the team left Friday afternoon for Detroit (courtesy of the 49ers' public-relations department):How would you gauge the pulse of the team a couple days before this game?
Harbaugh: "Good week of practice. Locked, loaded, ready to leave fully loaded for Detroit."A lot of people are calling this NFL's game of the week. Does that alter your approach at all since there's no reason to hold anything back?
Harbaugh: "We do that every week. Every single week, we go into these games with one intent and that's to do everything we can to prepare ourselves to win and go out and execute and win the football game. That's all that's ever on our mind."

Does the team take on a different mindset, do you try to foster a different mindset when you guys go on the road with the hostile environment and the odds against you?
Harbaugh: "I wouldn't say that's a big percentage of what we do. We go on the road, you deserve to win, if you've prepared yourself to win, then you put yourself in a better position to win. You win on the road because you deserve to."A lot of guys spoke last week of practices leading up to the Buccaneers game, good practices led to a good game. Similar practices this week?
Harbaugh: "I'd characterize them as very good, especially Wednesday. I thought we had our best Wednesday practice of the season. Guys are focused; they understand what's at stake."When you say a team has a good practice, what is it about that practice that makes it good?
Harbaugh: "Especially on Wednesday, you can hear it. When the pads are on, you can hear a good practice. Guys are fronting it up, they're banging, they're where they're supposed to be, they're fitting it correctly, bringing energy, and they have focus, a purpose. The execution is at a high level because Wednesday, that's the first day, sometimes there can be a learning curve of the week's assignments and alignments, plays, etcetera. I thought all those things were really good for us, that's what made Wednesday a really good practice."After the first game you talked about coming home and watching and there weren't any 49ers highlights. Is there any difference of instilling in the team that everyone's going to be paying attention to this game?
Harbaugh: "We want to play in big games. This is an opportunity, no question about it. The better you play, the more opportunities you have like this. It's where we want to be."If you had the choice of making it one-dimensional, would you have it be a running team with Jahvid Best or would you try to figure you're going to stop Best and take your chances with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson?
Harbaugh: "That's not something that you could just sit up here and play the what if,' hypothetical game. You have to go out and take something away if you can. They're solid in both, good in both, so therefore we have to defend the run, we have to defend the pass. We're going to have to play at our best."On challenging Calvin Johnson when the ball's in the air.
Harbaugh: "I think you're darn sure going to do that at every position. A lot of units are going to be the challenge player in this game. We know our secondary will be challenged on a significant number of downs, and Calvin Johnson will be doing the challenging and we've got to respond and be up for the challenge."How did CB Shawntae Spencer look this week in practice?
Harbaugh: "Good."Will he be up and available for you on Sunday?
Harbaugh: "Yeah just like last week."But was he available last week?
Harbaugh: "Yes."He could have played?
Harbaugh: "He could have."So how do youhas CB Chris Culliver won that job then?
Harbaugh: "Tune in on Sunday and find out."Jim, is this game a gauge of where you guys really stand among the better teams in the league?
Harbaugh: "I don't have any real thought on that. Haven't seen every elite team in the league. Haven't studied every team in the league. This is game six for us. We know we're playing against a very good football team. And what's important now is the Detroit Lions. And I feel like our team is up of the challenge, ready to go, and we'll go there with a mindset and attempt only one thing. So, can't comment on where that stacks us up with the rest of the league, and I don't know how relevant that is on game six."Have you liked what you've seen from Michael Crabtree downfield blocking, and the things he does in that area?
Harbaugh: "All you have to do is watch Michael and he was outstanding in the ballgame last week in terms of blocking. Very pleased with the way he's blocking downfield."Is that something you saw from him last year was when you looked at the tape or was that something that he's embraced more this year with your philosophy.
Harbaugh: "I think all our receivers have embraced it more, and are doing it. And doing it better this year."With Joshua Morgan out and the trade deadline coming up at the end of this month, how interested would this team be in adding a starter-quality wide receiver?
Harbaugh: "Again, not speculating on potential guys that are out there. We're always looking and assessing the perils and merits of anything that can help our football team. So, everything always with one purpose, and that's to help make us a better football team. Not going to speculate on anything."

Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved


Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ passing game has ranked 29th or lower in each of the past four seasons.

If two practices against last year’s No. 1-ranked pass defense are any indication, the 49ers could be vastly improved under coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer.

“I think our guys were expecting to do good,” Shanahan said on Thursday after a second joint practice against the Denver Broncos in two days. “There’s a lot of stuff we can clean up. A lot of stuff we can do better. But I think our guys were happy with how they competed and, hopefully, that can continue to carry over.”

Hoyer hit more higher-percentage passes on Thursday. He teamed up with rookie Victor Bolden on his deepest completion -- down the left sideline against first-team All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris. After completing better than 80 percent of his passes against the Broncos a day earlier, Hoyer was 12 of 19 passing on Thursday.

Pierre Garçon, who figures to be Hoyer’s top target, was not as active during Thursday’s practice. But he did find himself in the middle of the action with a tussle against Harris.

Hoyer’s red-zone pass intended for slot receiver Jeremy Kerley was tipped and intercepted by safety Justin Simmons. Away from the action, Aqib Talib blocked Garçon, who retaliated by tossing him to the ground.

“That’s part of the game,” Garçon said. ‘You always expect one scuffle in joint practices. But it ended and you move on. It was nothing personal at all.”

Hoyer was especially sharp during the practices to strengthen his grasp on the team’s staring job. Meanwhile, rookie C.J. Beathard had a solid showing on Thursday. He will enter Saturday’s game after Hoyer and could play through the rest of the first half and open the third quarter.

The 49ers exited the field after their two most-significant practices feeling optimistic about where things stand.

“We did good the first day,” Garçon said. “We could’ve done better the second day. But we’re still learning each other and getting better. We still have a lot to do to get ready for the regular season, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

--Linebacker Reuben Foster wore shoulder pads and took part in all but the contact drills due to what the team described as a “mild AC joint sprain” of his right shoulder. That did not prevent Foster from getting into the middle of a skirmish that appeared to involve Broncos tackle Menelik Watson and 49ers linebacker Eli Harold.

The 49ers expect Foster to play Saturday night, Shanahan said.

--Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was pulled from practice on Thursday after experiencing soreness in his shoulder. Shanahan said Bowman's shoulder soreness is similar to what Foster experienced.

--The Broncos’ offense, which struggled to complete passes on Wednesday, made a lot more plays down the field on Thursday with Paxton Lynch at quarterback.

--Tight end Vance McDonald made an outstanding catch of a Hoyer pass at the sideline against tight coverage from safety Will Parks.

--The 49ers’ practice Thursday brought an official end to the team’s training camp. They will transition to a regular-season type of schedule next week leading up to the team’s third exhibition game, which is scheduled for Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings.

“Training camp is over, and what that means is we’re not all staying in dorms together and we’re not having night walk-throughs,” Shanahan said.

49ers making a quarterback change for preseason game vs Broncos


49ers making a quarterback change for preseason game vs Broncos

C.J. Beathard will be the No. 2 quarterback against the Broncos on Saturday night, Kyle Shanahan announced on Thursday.

In the team's first exhibition game in Kansas City, Matt Barkley was the No. 2 QB behind Brian Hoyer.

Barkley completed 10 of 17 passes for 168 yards against the Chiefs.

Beathard went 7 for 11 with 101 yards and two touchdowns.

The 49ers traded up in the 2017 draft and selected Beathard in the third round (104th overall).