Postgame Q&A -- Jim Harbaugh

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Postgame Q&A -- Jim Harbaugh

SAN FRANCISCO -- After the celebration on the field for the NFC Championship, Justin Tuck walked down the tunnel to the locker rooms. As he passed me he was singing "Tony Montana", the signature song of the 49ers special teams.

Two fumbles on the 49ers special teams unit gave the Giants 10 points and the conference title. The sound coming out of the 49ers players was much different.

"I'm speechless," rookie running back Kendall Hunter told me in a post game interview. His head coach, Jim Harbaugh, offered up a few more words, but like Hunter, and the rest of the team, couldn't find the answers to what went wrong Sunday night. Here are Harbaugh's comments moments after the game:

Q: What do you tell WR Kyle Williams at a moment like that? Do you console him, what do you say to him?
HARBAUGH: Keep your chin up. We all have things that we wish could have been different and we could have done better. Congratulations to the Giants. Thought they played a heck of a ball game and found a way to win. Tip of the cap to them.

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Q: When you put him back there, what were your instructions, at least for the last punt? Did you want him to be that aggressive with the ball?
HARBAUGH: Yeah. Play football.

Q: You guys really struggled on third downs. What do you attribute that mainly to?
HARBAUGH: Yes we did. Probably a couple of things. Their coverage, their rush. Certainly you look at our execution, probably the calls at the certain times. All those things would contribute to it.

Q: You didnt throw a lot in the first half. Was it because of the conditions or why?
HARBAUGH: What do you define as a lot? Whats a lot to you?

Q: What was it, seven or eight times? Seems like not a lot, seven.
HARBAUGH: It seemed like it went pretty fast in the first half. I dont have an answer for you there. That was not part of the game plan. We were playing football.

Q: Did the conditions influence how you called this game? How you approached it?
HARBAUGH: No, it didnt. We felt like we could operate in it.

Q: Do you feel like you did?
HARBAUGH: Felt like we could.

Q: But did you feel like the weather did impact you guys at all?
HARBAUGH: It was the same both ways.

Q: What did the Giants do to take away your wide receivers in this game?
HARBAUGH: Like I just said a couple minutes ago, a combination of those four things probably.

Q: Even though you didnt reach the Super Bowl, you reached the NFC-Championship in your first year. How do you feel about that, even though you didnt get all the way?
HARBAUGH: Im proud of the way our players played. Im proud of the way they prepared, they worked. They competed. Wasnt there for us today. In a lot of ways, we played well enough to win. We dont come away with it. Itll be a tough one. Itll probably take awhile to get over. But well get over it. This teams not defeated by any stretch of the imagination. A man can be destroyed, but he cant be defeated as long as this team knows that theres hope.

Q: You had the great run by RB Kendall Hunter, remember the 18-yarder and you got into field goal range. It seemed like after that there was a lot of passing, not the last drive of regulation, but you really started to throw it and less conventional runs. What was your thinking in that?
HARBAUGH: I really dont resonate with the question. Theres a lot there. What are you asking? Why didnt we throw it more? Why didnt we throw it less?

Q: It seemed like you had some good things going in the run game, but late in the game there were a couple shot gun handoff type things but it wasnt just the typical line up and run the ball. Was there a reason for that?
HARBAUGH: Late in the game in regulation? In the two-minute drills?

Q: No, before that. The two times before that and then in OT.
HARBAUGH: Im sure its something well consider and look at. One thing doesnt work, you wish you would have done the other. Its one of the probably four or five of the things that you look at when you dont pull the game out. What could you have done differently? Yeah, something didnt work, you probably would have rather done the other. Doing our best to try to move the ball.

Q: In the fourth quarter there, you want to throw the flag for a replay. They never explained to the crowd. You couldnt throw it because the whistle had blown before the ball came out? Was that it?
HARBAUGH: They said that they had blown it dead.

Q: Did you have a chance to talk to Kyle after the game?
HARBAUGH: Yes.

Q: He seemed pretty obviously upset about what happened. What did you say to him?
HARBAUGH: Dont feel the need to share that here.

Q: What did you say to the defense that was on the field a lot, really did a pretty good job of trying to hold this team down? What do you say about their effort and their performance tonight?
HARBAUGH: Great job. I say that to a lot of our players, all of our players. I said that to them after the game. Did a great job competing. They laid it out there. They played their hearts out. Disappointed that you dont come away with the satisfaction of the win.

Q: On the would-be fumble down in your end. What did you see from where you were? You were pretty close to it.
HARBAUGH: It looked like a fumble. Every play that happened in the game except that one was played out to the conclusion of the play.

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

SANTA CLARA – Safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold, who joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem last season, will not continue the protest this season.

Reid said Wednesday they achieved their goal of bringing attention to racial inequality in the United States.

“When we started doing that, our goal was to open up the floor to conversation. I believe we’ve achieved that goal,” Reid said. “So now we just want to move forward and just partner with people that’s trying to make a change.

“We accomplished that goal. People talked about it. I think we raised a lot of awareness about issues in this country. And now it’s time to move on to just affecting change.”

Reid and Harold are back with the 49ers, while Kaepernick remains a free agent. The 49ers have expressed no interest in retaining Kaepernick after opting to sign free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, instead.

“I stay in touch with him,” Reid said of Kaepernick. “I’m rooting for him. Obviously, he isn’t on a team, yet, but I’m rooting for him but hopefully he gets that call after the draft.

“It’s surprising. You see some of the other quarterbacks that have been signed around the league and why he hasn’t been, it’s just unfortunate.”

When asked if thought Kaepernick was paying the price for his protest, Reid answered, “I think so. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad. People want to shy away from him because of media, PR reasons.

“You’re doing something to better the world. I mean, the guy got a plane sent to Somalia to help with the famine there. He’s been doing things that if it were anybody else in a different situation without the anthem (protest), they’d be praising him and giving him awards for it.”

 

Coming off Achilles injury, Bowman returns to 49ers practice at full speed

Coming off Achilles injury, Bowman returns to 49ers practice at full speed

SANTA CLARA – NaVorro Bowman, who sustained a season-ending torn Achilles in Week 4 of the 2016 season, has been a full participant as the 49ers return to the practice field this week.

Bowman worked with the first team at middle linebacker Wednesday and appeared to move at top speed as the 49ers went through the second day of on-field workouts at a voluntary minicamp.

The 49ers, under new coach Kyle Shanahan, are allowed an extra voluntary minicamp as part of their offseason program. Bowman's return to the practice field was the highlight as the 49ers enter their third-week of the offseason program.

In other notes:

--The 49ers had tryouts with three unsigned veteran players: cornerback Steve Williams, and offensive linemen Tim Barnes and Kitt O’Brien.

--Wide receiver DeAndre Carter made the best catch of the day on a deep throw from quarterback Matt Barkley. Carter beat Williams on the reception.

--Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who is a candidate to play the “Leo” position, was held out of competitive drills as he continues to recovery from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

--Ronald Blair lined up at the “Leo” position with the first-team defense and beat No. 2 right tackle Garry Gilliam for a sack in the “non-contract” drills. Aaron Lynch was at the “Leo” position with the second team.

--Tank Carradine lined up at the 5-technique, which is a position where the 49ers could target Stanford’s Solomon Thomas with the No. 2 overall pick.

--Kyle Juszczyk showed the versatility that prompted the 49ers to make him the highest-paid fullback in the league with several pass receptions during the 90-minute practice.

--Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson lined up at the cornerbacks with the first-team defense. Robinson made a leaping interception of a Brian Hoyer deep sideline pass against Rashad Ross during 7-on-7 drills.

--Hoyer and receiver Pierre Garçon teamed up for a 20-yard completion on the opening play of the 11-on-11 period.

--Wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who spent all of last season on injured reserve, did not practice due to a soft-tissue injury not related to his hamstring injury of a year ago.

--Offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah (soft tissue), tight end Je’Ron Hamm (leg), running back Raheem Mostert (soft tissue), linebacker Eli Harold (toe) and tight end Blake Bell (cut forehead) did not practice.