Jim Harbaugh Q&A


Jim Harbaugh Q&A

Head Coach Jim HarbaughPress Conference January 12, 2012San Francisco 49ersQ: Was today a Friday practice schedule for you?
Harbaugh: Yes.

Q: So, usually you have the walk-through then you go to practice, it wasnt that open window today. Did practicedid the walk-through go long, or?
Harbaugh: No, no.

Q: Thats the way you had it scheduled?
Harbaugh: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you guys wereIm surprised you guys werent out there, but you were welcome out there through the 12:25pm... Did Director of Public Relations Bob Lange try to blame me for that? Sounds like there was some...

Harbaugh: Yes? Tried to throw me under the bus on that, Bob?

Q: Did everyone practice that you expected to practice? Everyone but TE Delanie Walker?
Harbaugh: Yes, I believe so.

Q: Have you sensed any change in your teams mood this week, or has it been business-as-usual type approach?
Harbaugh: I dont know about business as usual, but its been focused. Its been loose. Both of those at the same time. Pleased with our preparation. Confident in our plan. Happy the way the players prepared.

Q: Have you done anything to keep it loose, to make sure that theyre loose going into this game?
Harbaugh: No, I think our guys do a great job of that themselves.

Q: Jim, what would you ideally like to see out of your offense on Saturday?
Harbaugh: A lot of things, a lot of things. Score more points than the Saints, number one. Execute, move the ball, not turn it over. And then quite a few other things.

Q: Jim, this team worked really hard to get home-field advantage for the playoffs. When youre taking a group, many of whom have never played in the postseason, into a playoff scenario for the first time, how important is it to have that home field where everything stays the same during the week, the preparation, theyre going to their own stadium, how important is that going to be for them?
Harbaugh: Well, I think its an advantage. They work very hard for it. They earned it. And they get the benefit of that. So, its not to say that teams dont win on the road in the playoffs, because historically they do. But, I think our team goes into this game confident and bold and with a great amount of respect for the New Orleans Saints team as well. Great amount of respect for who they are, what they do, and what theyre capable of.

Q: WR Michael Crabtree said that your advice was dont overcook it this week. Is that accurate?
Harbaugh: Yes.

Q: What does that mean?
Harbaugh: Well, the analogy would be like not to overcook it like a burnt piece of meat. That doesnt taste real good.

Q: Like preparation? Dont spend too much time thinking about it?
Harbaugh: That and just go into this thing and trust their own instincts. Trust their gut. Make it about the team. Trust the team. A guy doesnt have to do too much. Hes got to do his job and has the ability to trust his team because hes on a good team. Prepare and understand the Saints as well as possible. Focused and loose at the same time.

Q: Did you sense any more energy level from the team just from the fact that they had a week of rest?
Harbaugh: Theres been great practices. Its been a tremendous week of preparation and practice, and our guys have been high energy. And I think some of that is definitely a result of having that week off.

Q: Are you focused and loose?
Harbaugh: I am. I feel like I am. But you know what, it just never really matters that much how I am, or just a coach. Just going to be standing over there on the sideline. To me its the players. Where are they at in their preparation, their understanding of this game plan, and what their morale is, how they feel physically. If they feel good, I feel good.

Q: But dont they take cues from you? If you seem tense and uptight wouldnt they be?
Harbaugh: I kind of go off them. Like I said, I ask guys all the time, how do you feel? And they say, well how do you feel coach? And I say, well how do you feel? You feel good, I feel good. Thats kind of how I look at it. Doesnt matter how I feel, its how they feel.

Q: But how does QB Alex Smith feel? Alex is pretty clear hes not in it to out-stat Saints QB Drew Brees. Thats not the point of this. How important of a step was that do you think for any quarterback, particularly Alex? That its not you versus the other guy, its not about you putting up 300 yard games. Just win the football game.
Harbaugh: How important is that? I think thats very important. I think theres a confidence there. Theres a confidence in your own ability. Theres a confidence in your team and confidence in your preparation and your plan, and again, your teammates. That youre part of it. Youre part of it. Youre a cog. And hes a big one. The biggest one on the team because he handles the ball every single down. And its no different on our team than it is on other teams. He does the most out there. Hes got a lot on his plate and probably by the nature of the position, he touches the ball every single play. And I think that its not a feeling, its a confident feeling in your team that you dont have to do more than what the team asks you to do.

Q: It was about a year ago that you met Alex Smith for the first time I would imagine. Do you recall any of those meetings? And do you remember sitting down with him and looking for certain things in him that you wanted to see before you committed to him as your quarterback?
Harbaugh: Yes. I wanted to get to know him. I had never met him before. I was kind of just looking in through the key hole. But I guess the things I wanted to know, boil it down to one thing was did he want to start. Did he want to be in the fire, or did he want to wear the ball cap backwards and backup somewhere. And I really felt that he had the competitive drive, the wanting to prove himself, and wanting to do it here. And thats the thing that probably intrigued me the most. That character of wanting to come back and do it here in San Francisco, which is pretty rare. Probably somewhere between rare and extinct, not just for football players but for just about anybody. Most guys would say, the heck with that Ive had enough, time for a fresh start somewhere else. And I thought we could really work with that kid. To me that was special.

Q: In a year across the league where the running back, his role wasnt diminished, but it was greatly reduced because of great passing. Frank Gore was kind of rock steady for you guys. Was that an anomaly? Is that just the way Frank Gore has been for this franchise over the years and you saw that in him? That you can count on this guy to be a consistent back and help your offense move the chains?
Harbaugh: What are we talking about?

Q: You have Frank Gore in a year where the running backs were not the stars in the league. It was wide receivers and tight ends. Frank Gore has 1,200 yards and he pushed the ball for you guys this year. Is this an anomaly? Are you guys different than other teams? Or is it Frank Gore?

Harbaugh: I dont know that Im ready to agree with you that somehow the running backs are insignificant in 2011. I dont think they are. The team that passed for the most yardage, the New Orleans Saints, has a tremendous running game. Frank Gore is one of the elite backs in the National Football League. Hes had a tremendous year. Were lucky to have him. Then theres the leadership that hes provided this football team. It has been phenomenal. He has stepped up. He has been a consummate team guy the entire year. Hes been a big key to our success.

Q: The theme overcook it, did that go to your coordinators, too? Maybe dont put too much in there? Dont layer it up too much? Or was it not for them?
Harbaugh: Its pretty much for everybody.

Q: Do you think this is, youre not going to tell me, I know this
Harbaugh: Were not going to get into scheme and talk about what were doing to do or what were not going to do.

Q: Do you think there is a risk of trying to do too much in a game plan for a playoff game?
Harbaugh: I think every game is different. Every game has its own separate identity. Its own season almost. 16 game plans, 16 different games. Now this is 17. Our approach to it as a coaching staff was to try to get to know the Saints as well as we possibly could. Do the best job that we could of putting together a game plan, in all three phases, that our players would be the most successful in. I feel confident in that. Also, in the fact that our players have understood and practiced it. Combed through it. Troubleshot it pretty thoroughly. Feel confident. Feel like our players can therefore go out and just play. Not have to think as much. Theres a lot of thinking, theres no question about it, but when they know it, they practice it, then they can play and react at a fast tempo.

Q: Former Saint C Jonathan Goodwin brings some playoff experience with Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. How important is that to this team where you have so many guys who have never been in a playoff game before?
Harbaugh: I dont know. We havent really made that monumental of a deal out of it. Whos been in the playoffs, who hasnt? Is that a good thing, is that a bad thing? How much does playoff experience count? Weve got guys that had never been there, thats for sure. But, maybe thats a good thing. They havent been there. Its like kids that havent played a game in a long time. Theyre excited to do it. Like I said, I think where were at right now mindset that they can go into this game confident and bold and theyre ready to play. Theyre ready to go.

Q: What has Jonathan Goodwin brought to this team so far this season?
Harbaugh: Hes been a tremendous player. First of all, hes played 16 games for us. Hes started 16 games at, you could argue, the second most important position on the offense. Hes been a block of granite up there for us. Hes done a great job communicating calls and understanding defenses as its happening on the field and communicating that to the coaching staff on the sideline. Hes just been a rock for us.

Q: Given the emotional intensity that comes with a playoff game, have you as a coaching staff and the players emphasized whatever youve done to minimize turnovers this year? Have you emphasized that in practice?
Harbaugh: Oh yeah, always try to do that.

Q: Has it been ratcheted up at all now? Because theres so much emotion around, has that been ratcheted up at all this week? Maybe you returned to it more as you did in the beginning of the season?
Harbaugh: No, we havent overcooked that part of it. There have been no threats of bodily harm. Is that what you were asking?

Q: Has TE Delanie Walker been ruled out for this game?
Harbaugh: Dont think Delanie is going to play this game.

Q: TE Vernon Davis talked a little bit yesterday or the day before that there was a lot more to this offense for him to do as far as reading defenses and stuff. Can you maybe share whats been your view of his progression along the way and how its manifested itself? I know your red zone percentages have improved late in the year.
Harbaugh: Vernon? Vernons been tremendous. A lot of the things that dont show up on the statistic sheet, like the way he has blocked for us in all situations in the run game, and in the pass game. Hes been explosive catching the ball for us as well. Made a lot of big plays for us. Hes just an excellent football player.

Q: You had said throughout the season that the offense was going to be a progression. Was there a time that you saw a big jump in the players as a whole? When they really started getting that step ahead that you can share with us?
Harbaugh: Not one inflection point that I could refer back to. I think its been a steady pursuit of getting a mile an hour faster, a percent better, every day. I think that was the goal. Thats what actually transpired with our guys.

Q: Vernons specific quote was that, it was almost like he wanted to quit. It was too much information early on. Did you sense that from any of the offensive guys early on that they were overwhelmed by the playbook?
Harbaugh: No, I didnt. I did not visibly see that, where they hit a wall or anything. Ive seen that before in other teams, been on or coached. I didnt sense that with our guys. I think the biggest reason is that these are smart, smart guys. This group especially. Very football savvy, very book smart, football smart group. Thats been very fortunate for us to have a group like this.

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

SANTA CLARA -- In the early afternoon Monday after the 49ers’ day-after-game meetings concluded, the players were excused for the next seven days.

Coach Chip Kelly opted to give the 49ers a week break, rather than going through a couple days of practices before providing the players with a mandatory four consecutive days off during the bye week.

The 49ers on Sunday dropped to 1-6 on the season with a 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But there will be no extra practices to attempt to sharpen their performance.

“They’ve been at it since July 31st,” Kelly said. “They haven’t had more than one day off in a row. So I think at this point in time that’s what our whole MO has always been.

“They’ll meet with our strength and conditioning coaches. They have their lifting programs in terms of what they can do and what they have to do. And I think at this point in time we need to heal up. I think it’s a good break for them to do what they need to do and that’s the way I’ve always done it and our teams have been fresh coming out of the bye week.”

While the players will be off for a week, Kelly said the coaching staff will continue to work through Friday in an attempt to identify areas in which they can improve and snap out of their six-game losing streak on Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints at Levi’s Stadium.

“We’ve got a lot of self-scout that we have set aside,” Kelly said. “We’ll be in here all week kind of looking at what we’ve done in the first seven games, what have our opponents done to us in the first seven games relative to what we thought going into the game based on the break downs. Did they change?

“If they were 60-percent pressure going into our game and they were only 30-percent pressure in our game, trying to delve into how people are defending us. How are people attacking us from an offensive standpoint in terms of attacking our defense and what their tendencies were going into the game and then what actually transpired in the game. So we’ve got a lot of film work and a lot of studying to do here during this week.”

Kelly reiterated on Monday that he is not looking at leaving the 49ers after this season. He said he has not heard from any schools with coaching openings or potential openings. Kelly said he has tried to remain focused on his job through the longest losing streak he has ever experienced as a coach.

“No one’s happy, so I don’t know if the word’s anguish, but I mean obviously you try to keep it consistent in terms of your approach to everything that you do,” Kelly said. “I don’t think being consistent and being even-keeled means that it doesn’t bother you or that you’re not frustrated in terms of what’s gone on.”

Kelly said the 49ers have the talent to win games. When asked why the coaches have not been able to extract more victories, Kelly placed the blame for the team’s poor play on himself and his staff.

“That’s on us,” Kelly said. “I agree 100-percent in terms of what you’re saying. But our job is to put our players in position to make plays and we’re not doing a good enough job of that right now.”

Fans raise funds to fly anti-Baalke banner before 49ers game

Fans raise funds to fly anti-Baalke banner before 49ers game

San Francisco 49ers fans came together last season and raised money to fly an anti-Jed York banner over Levi's Stadium on three separate occasions. With the team 1-6 this year, there is a new push for a banner calling out a different member of the team’s front office. 

[REWIND: Banner flies over Levi’s calling for 49ers, York to mutually part ways]

On Monday a crowdfunding campaign was created with the goal of raising $1,076 by Oct. 28 in order to fly a banner that reads “49ers: Fire Trent Baalke” over Levi's Stadium on Nov. 6 before the team’s game against the New Orleans Saints. The fundraising goal was fulfilled in 11 hours by 58 people as it reached $1,095. 

Here's an excerpt from the GoFundMe site: 

"The 49ers are currently in the basement of the NFC with a 1-6 record. After a demoralizing week 7 loss to Tampa Bay this team is showing no signs of improving. The level of ineptitude that has been on full display every Sunday thus far can only be rectified with a total reexamination of the organizations interior." 

The campaign proceeds are promised to Aerial Services of Livermore, which charges $1,024 for two hours of airtime, according to the post, and GoFundMe.com, which takes five percent of all funds raised -- $51.20.

The three banners that flew over Levi’s last season read “Jed York And 49ers Should Mutually Part Ways," "Hold Jed Accountable," and "Jed Here's Our Banner -- Where's Yours?"