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

Lynch: There's interest in 49ers' No. 2 pick, 'it's coveted'

Lynch: There's interest in 49ers' No. 2 pick, 'it's coveted'

The 49ers have narrowed their list of potential draft picks for the No. 2 overall selection on Thursday evening but they are also keeping alive the possibility of a trade.

“I can tell you with the No. 2 (pick), there have been calls. There’s been interest, but, I think, nothing specific,” 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters Monday at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“It’s coveted. When you have a pick that high, I think that’s natural.”

Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, running back Leonard Fournette and several options at defensive back are among the options most often linked to the 49ers at the No. 2 overall pick.

“We’re going to listen right up until draft day,” Lynch said. “But otherwise we’re going to pick a player at two that we feel is a cornerstone for this franchise for years to come and we’ll be very passionate about that pick and what that player can do for us moving forward.”

The 49ers have two veteran quarterbacks – Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley – currently under contract. Lynch said the 49ers have not ruled out the possibility of selecting a quarterback with the team’s top pick.

“I think we’ve stated from the beginning that a franchise quarterback is something we believe is essential to winning in this league,” Lynch said. “We hope that Hoyer and Barkley come in, and they were both brought in for a reason, but we feel like we’ll continue, always continue, to try to improve ourselves at that position.”

The coaching staff will get its first opportunity to evaluate the current roster, beginning Tuesday. With new coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are allowed to conduct a voluntary three-day minicamp before the draft.

“We have a good understanding of where we are and what we’re looking for,” Lynch said. “In terms of just getting a look real quick, and whether that will change our mind on anything, but you would hate not to give guys an opportunity to go show what they are doing before you went out and did that.

“We’ll use it for what it’s worth. I don’t know how much value. I think more than anything our coaches are just really excited to get guys out on the field, so we’ll use it as such. We’ve got a couple players in here on a tryout basis and so we’re happy for that, to see if we can add some things. We’ll evaluate but continue to work on the draft process as well.”

Lynch said the 49ers have implemented changes to the team’s grading process for the draft, drawing on a model the New England Patriots set up. Vice president of player personnel Adam Peters worked in the Patriots’ scouting department before advancing to director of college scouting with the Denver Broncos. Shanahan is also familiar with the grading system from his time with the Atlanta Falcons under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, formerly a Patriots personnel executive.

“I think we tried to create an environment that’s collaborative, where people can be confident in sharing their opinions, and we had strong opinions,” Lynch said. “They didn’t always agree, but we’ve gotten to a point where there’s consensus. Ultimately, it will be Kyle and I together making those decisions and that’s kind of where we are this week.”

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

CLEVELAND -- Finding Bigfoot has been more productive than the Cleveland Browns' search for a franchise quarterback.

This flawed football quest drags on.

For nearly two decades, the Browns, once a standard of NFL excellence and now a league punching bag, have been running in circles as they try to find a quarterback to lead them from the darkness to relevance and respectability. Since the franchise's inglorious expansion return in 1999, they've started 26 quarterbacks, a roll call of names that haunt even the most loyal Cleveland fans holding out hope the team will one day get it right.

From Tim Couch to Trent Dilfer, from Derek Anderson to Cody Kessler, and let's not forget that year of fun with Johnny Manziel, QBs have cycled through Cleveland like tourists, with none sticking around for long.

It's been a running joke.

And until the Browns find that long-term answer at quarterback, they'll continue to be looked at as a laughingstock.

They'll have another chance to perhaps end this long pursuit in this week's NFL draft. With the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks, and four more selections in the first three rounds, the Browns are positioned to finally fix the most important position on the field.

This could be the year Cleveland fans have longed for, the one when the Browns find their Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger. But as fate would have it, this year's QB class isn't highly regarded. Many draft experts feel there isn't a quarterback worth a first-round selection and that Cleveland should wait until 2018.

That's just so Browns, whose experiment with Robert Griffin III backfired last season, resulting in the latest QB confusion.

"We're going to keep searching," coach Hue Jackson said recently. "I think we all understand, no one's really claimed this position yet on our football team so we need to do everything we can to continue to add a player that we feel, as an organization, really good about, that can lead our football team and we'll continue to chase that."

The chase continues Thursday when the Browns try to find that elusive, essential piece. Or fumble again.

Here are some quarterback tidbits to chew on when the Browns go on the clock:

UP TOP: Cleveland seems locked in ON Texas A&M defensive stud Myles Garrett at No. 1, and while he's proficient at sacks, there are no three- or seven-step drops in his future. The Browns are impressed with North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, a former Ohio Mr. Football, despite his inexperience (only 13 college starts), but probably not enough to take him first. Landing Garrett and Trubisky would be a dream scenario, but Cleveland may have to trade up as the rebuilding Jets have sent out vibes they prefer Trubisky.

WHY NOT WATSON? Clemson's Deshaun Watson would seem to fit Jackson's profile of the ideal QB: mobile, dynamic, successful. The Browns, though, don't seem enthralled with Watson - not in the first round anyway - unless their silence is a smoke screen. There are other good options like Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, Texas A&M's Patrick Mahomes or California's Davis Webb, who may all be available after Round 1.

DRAFT DEBACLES: The Browns' track record drafting QBs - or any position - is abysmal over the past decade, which is why many Cleveland fans fear the team will mess up again. Since 2007, only OT Joe Thomas and CB Joe Haden have proven to be good choices. Eight other first-round picks are no longer on the roster.

Along with Couch, the No. 1 choice in '99, the Browns have used first-round picks on Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Manziel, who was Johnny Goofball in an orange helmet. Those mistakes shouldn't deter the Browns from selecting a QB early, but they are grim reminders that there are no givens.

WAITING GAME: Would waiting one more year be so bad? Draft experts point to the 2018 QB class, led by UCLA's Josh Rosen and USC's Sam Darnold, as being more talented than the 2017 group. That wouldn't preclude the Browns from taking a quarterback later in this draft, just not in the first round.

HOMETOWN HEROES: Trubisky is the latest in a long line of Ohio-born QBs tabbed as the Browns' next savior. Quinn, Charlie Frye and Brian Hoyer all grew up as Browns fans, but none was able to lead the turnaround. If Trubisky is picked, the pressure on him to be the team's leader and face of the franchise will be immense.

BYE-BYE BROCK?: The Browns made a shocking move in free agency, acquiring QB Brock Osweiler, his $16 million guaranteed contract and a 2018 second-round pick from Houston. Cleveland made it clear Osweiler was not part of the future, but he's still on the roster and could be part of a fall-back plan if the Browns don't get their desired quarterback.