Q&A with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh

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Q&A with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Monday afternoon during a teleconference call with reporters as the coach prepares for his team's Week 8 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. The audiovideo accompaniment above begins at question number 12 below.
How did you spend your days off?
Mainly with my kids, I did a lot with them. Me and my daughter, Addie, went to a movie in the city. Went and saw Puss in Boots. Yesterday, we went to the Disney on Ice. Lot of family time.Did you see DT Isaac Sopoaga at Disney on Ice?
No, he went a different day. I think he was there Friday or Saturday, I was there Sunday. We were both fired up about it. We were both into it. That was good watching.Are all of the coaches back now? Are you guys starting on Cleveland right now on Monday?Yes, all the coaches are in and were all in yesterday, too except for a little break to go to Disney on Ice.Im sure youve had a lot of time over the last week to reflect on your fine start here this season. In specific terms, what are the biggest reasons that you guys are 5-1 right now, to your fine start?
The players. Those guys are fueling the start. A lot of people have asked what bullet points and things like that, but we dont have any to give them.Did you get a chance to see WR Braylon Edwards running last week and how does he look now?
Good. Had a chance to watch him work out last week, and anticipate seeing him out there tomorrow in practice. Hoping for good things.
Youre somewhat unusual in the NFL to have practice squad players coming on the road trips. Can you just talk about the thinking behind that and will that continue through the rest of the season?
Yes, that will continue. The thinking behind it is pretty simple. Those guys are working extremely hard and in a lot of cases, the hardest working guys during the week. Its very hard to have a full speed, full tempo practice without those guys. The look teams, the scout team, they really dictate that; how hard they go, how hard they make the starters go. Weve had numerous guys that have just been outstanding for us. CB Cory Nelms will play corner, hell play receiver, multiple positions. LB Monte Simmons plays outside backer for us, he plays fullback. At times T Derek Hall plays guard, he plays nose tackle. LB Blake Costanzo will play linebacker and fullback. Those guys are going were asking them to go hard, go game-like tempo in an entire practice. They really do dictate it. The other thing is, we want them ready. We want to get those guys developed and ready to play on Sunday. It helps to have them go to the game and feel that experience.What did you watch Braylon do and what makes you feel good about where hes at right now moving in to this week?
Watched him run and run routes. Like I said, hopeful that hell come back tomorrow and good things will happen.Obviously you cant make it mandatory for any of your players to be there last week but did you take notice of any guys who were there working on their own?
Oh yeah, I took notice. I really just left the guys alone, didnt bug them or pester them. I trust them.Did you do anything beyond preparing for Cleveland, like looking forward to a very difficult schedule in November? Anything to prep ahead of next week?
Yes, we did.Can you elaborate a little more on how much time you spent on that and what in particular or is that scheming?
No, not to elaborate. Just some, a little. No elaboration.How much self scouting did you guys do?
We did. We did that as coaches, we did that also with our players in individual meetings last week.AUDIOVIDEO BEGINS HERE:
Obviously there are many reasons your defense has played well to this point, but I was hoping you could offer an example or two of something Vic Fangio does or has done as Defensive Coordinator thats helped this defense play the way it has.
A lot of things. Lot of little things, and again from a schematic point of view, I know you guys are always looking for the bullet points and the examples, but its been good. Good teaching, good learning, playing together. Thats probably the biggest thing is just how well our defense plays together and unselfishly. There are so many examples. DT Ray McDonald on the nickel situations, going in and playing over the center where he absorbs most of the blocks to free OLB Aldon Smith. Grabbing a back to keep him off of LB Patrick Willis or LB NaVorro Bowman. Isaac Sopoagas done a tremendous job with that, so has DT Justin Smith. Then it works hand in hand. The next play, here comes Justin free because theyre working together and Patrick and NaVorro reading off of the nose tackle and the ends. All I can explain it is, theyre playing very well together and very unselfishly, very team oriented as a group.How much of that traces to Vic do you think?
To Vic, to all of our coaches on the defensive side of the ball. I think my feelings about Vic are very well documented. I think hes one of the all-time best defensive coordinators in the history of the league. I think thats who he is; I think thats what his legacy will be some day.Did a few of your coaches make it up to Stanford on Saturday?
Yeah, I know quite a few did. Special Teams Coordinator Brad Seely, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, Offensive line coach Tim Drevno, Quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst, myself, there might have been a few others.What did they report back, anything?
Well, we all saw the same thing. Stanford is really good, theyre just that much better than everybody that theyre playing. Proud of those guys, theyre doing a great job. Theyre making it look easy.You mentioned Braylon Edwards possibly coming back this week, what is the overall health of your team? Will you get other guys back; are you happy with where you are health-wise?
Our wounds have almost healed. Well know better on Tuesday when we get out there on the field and practice.
Do you have a sort of a philosophy on injuries? Some coaches decide that a player is a starter and he gets injured, he doesnt lose his starting job because of injury, whats your stance on that?
No, I dont have that policy.When do you expect FB Moran Norris back?
There you go. Just ask the question laughs. Were going to hope for tomorrow. Well hope that he can come out there tomorrow, and participate.Well Im going to go ahead and ask the question, has FB Bruce Miller done enough to hold onto his starting, or his top fullback job?
Hes done a great job. Were really pleased with what Bruce has done. And that hes improved every week too, which is really good. As far as when Moran is back and healthy, and theyre both in there competing at the same time, well see whos playing better, whos practicing better, who gives us the better opportunity will dictate who will start.Is that the same with your number three cornerback position with CB Chris Culliver, CB Tramaine Brock possibly coming back in coming weeks?
Yeah I think thats general rule. Thats the way we always do it. Theres no games, its just whos practicing, playing better.Do you know if LB Parys Haralson will be available to practice tomorrow? Is his leg okay?
Hopeful. Hopeful that hes healed up too. Hes doing a great job. I think hes playing his best football on first and second down. And somebody that were really hopeful is back in the lineup.Tomorrow Terrell Owens is scheduled to have a workout in L.A., will the 49ers be represented?
I dont know that. Dont know anything about that.Are you expecting CG Adam Snyder back in practice on Tuesday?
Hopeful.Jim, is tomorrow a bonus practice day? Do you get one more practice to face the round that you ordinarily wouldnt for an upcoming opponent?
Yes. Yes.Any emphasis in particular for that bonus practice?
Yeah, were just going to start installing the game plan. So, the emphasis will be on the Browns.What do you see out of them?
Play extremely well on defense, thats what Ive watched the most of. Very disciplined. Theyre very creative in their schemes. And they play very wellvery clean in their assignments, and in their technique. Very aggressive on the backend, just a lot of good, aggressive movement with the corners. Theyll take chances. Theyll break on the ball. Theyll press you. They play very well on the backend. Very athletic at the linebackers, 51 and 52 in particular. The rookies playing very well at the defensive tackle position. 71 is extremely good, and theyre good on the edges. Personnel is talented, and theyre very, very well-coached. And they have a great understanding of what theyre doing. Its a salty, salty defense.Did Alexs fundamentals or footwork, did it start to wane a little bit in that Detroit game?
Hello? Something beeped there.Do you want me to repeat the question?
No, you asked if his fundamentals waned. No.He was on point with all that footwork?
Wasnt perfect, but wouldnt say that his fundamentals waned, no.Was that something that he was able to work on during his days off just refining that and getting it?
Yes, Alex participated in our opportunity practice last Tuesday. Threw again, on Thursday. Dont know if he threw yesterday, and I believe hes going to throw some balls around today. But, yeah we definitely worked at it. Hes working at it. Keep staying sharp. I didnt think he wanted to go any longer than two, three days without throwing the ball. Thats what he told me.Thanks to San Francisco 49ers media services for providing this transcript

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.”