Q&A with Randy Moss

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Q&A with Randy Moss

SANTA CLARA -- Veteran wide receiver Randy Moss came off the 49ers' practice field Wednesday and agreed to an interview with a group of reporters.He said he didn't want to answer any questions about Lambeau Field, but then later in the interview, he mentioned the Green Bay home field without being asked.The whole process of preparing for a game. Is it like riding a bike for you?
Moss: "No, not at all. You have to prepare yourself because if you're not prepared, how are you going to have success? So I prepare myself every day from minicamp, training camp to today's the first day of Week 1. I feel pretty good and I'm excited. It feels good to be back in the league. And it feels good that I made the team. So I'm very excited. I look forward to a good game on Sunday."With the film study, do you pick that right up after sitting out a year?
Moss: "Oh, yeah, as far as the knowledge I have for the game, it hasn't really changed. I think now that I'm back in the game, it makes me a little more eager to get in there and study and really know what I see. I think I've been around the game long enough to know what type of coverages I see and what type of coverages are going to be thrown my way, so I just try to study hard and make sure I'm on top of my game when called."How did you feel in those preseason games?
Moss: "It kind of felt weird. It felt weird because I was trying to get to know these guys and they were trying to get to know me and how I played the game and things like that. And I've never tried to be an individual, but at the same time, I was new to the organization and, as I said, I just wanted to make this team. And I wanted them to be able to count on me whenever called and that's what I'm going to continue to do for the whole season."
What impresses you most about this team?
Moss: "I just think being young and full of energy. I think I've said time and time again, I love being around this group. These guys are so young and so energetic. They love to have fun. When you boil it all down, we're nothing but big kids. And we have fun in the locker room. We're serious on the field, but we love to have fun, also. It just feels good to be back in the game and I just want to do whatever I can to contribute to this team. So I look for positive things from me. I don't know how good and how bad. I just say, 'Look for positive things from me throughout the season.'"What are you expecting to see from Charles Woodson on Sunday?
Moss: "Well, I know Charles is playing safety and then he's the nickel back on their three-wides, four-wides package. But, you know, I've always followed Charles Woodson's career. We came in together. We were at the Heisman together. We were on Parade first-team high school All-American together. I've followed Charles throughout his career, his collegiate career and I'm very happy to see Charles doing what he's doing and still doing it at a high level. As far as our film study, Charles is still out there making plays like any other man in this league. We're not singling him out, but at the same time, you got to know where Charles Woodson is at all times."There's so much rotating of receivers in and out, not only in preseason but in practices, do you feel like you've gotten a good chemistry going with Alex Smith at this point?
Moss: "Well, I don't think any receiver really feels like they're where they want to be going into the season. The only thing I can really hang my hat on is we put enough work in to go into Week 1. That's all I can really say. I look forward to going out here Sunday in a historical field such as Lambeau and all the history that they have, and like I said, I'm ready for the challenge."You mentioned Lambeau. You asked us not to ask questions about Lambeau. Why did you say, 'Don't ask any Lambeau questions'?
Moss: "Well, because I think I played at Lambeau maybe 14, 15 times (Editor's note: Moss has played eight games at Lambeau). I've played there a lot of times. It's in the teens -- double digits. I've had success on that field. Won and lost. And I just don't like people bring up the old stuff. I tried to have fun with the fans -- tried to have fun. But at the same time, I want to go out here and compete. I think it's a good thing that my comeback -- or whatever you want to consider it -- I look forward . . . Lambeau's a nice place to start it."

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected defensive linemen with their top picks in the final two drafts under general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers fired Baalke at the conclusion of the team’s 2-14 season, and new general manager John Lynch stepped into a tear-down project.

That complete rebuild began Thursday evening with Lynch’s selection of another defensive lineman. The 49ers traded back one spot and selected Solomon Thomas of Stanford with the No. 3 overall pick.

“We see a special football player, disruptive football player, who has tremendous versatility,” Lynch said. “I think he fits in with the current group that we have because he’s a little different than the guys we have. And when I think of Solomon, I think of speed and quickness and disruption.”

The 49ers expect to play more of an aggressive, attacking style of defense under first-year coordinator Robert Saleh. Perhaps, the team’s biggest need is at the “Leo” position, the weak side end that is considered more of a pass-rusher.

Thomas appears better-suited at the other end or at a defensive tackle position, but the 49ers are keeping an open mind about using him at nearly every spot along the defensive line in the team’s new 4-3 scheme.

“There are four defensive linemen and what’s intriguing about Solomon is he has the ability to play all four of them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s what makes him so unique. That’s why I think John says he’s a little bit different than some of the guys we have, because you can move him around. He has the quickness and speed to play on the outside. He has enough sides to play on the inside, so you don’t want to put him in one spot.

“We don’t think he has to be one specific role. Obviously, he is a defensive lineman, but there’s four spots he can play at and I think that’s going to depend on down and distance, whether we’re expecting run, whether we’re expecting pass and the type of personnel we’re going against.”

49ers 'ecstatic' with first-day haul in the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers 'ecstatic' with first-day haul in the 2017 NFL Draft

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers began Thursday with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

When his first day as 49ers general manager reached its conclusion, John Lynch had selected two of the three top players on his draft board and picked up additional third-round picks for this year and next year.

After Myles Garrett, the 49ers’ top-rated prospect, was the Cleveland Browns’ selection at No. 1 overall, the 49ers traded back one spot with the Chicago Bears. The 49ers still got their No. 2-rated prospect, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

The 49ers started making calls to teams with selections in the teens, according to coach Kyle Shanahan, to inquire about trading up for Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. The 49ers finally worked out a deal with the Seattle Seahawks to move up three spots to No. 31.

The 49ers selected Foster one spot ahead of the New Orleans Saints, who were apparently ready to select Foster with the No. 32 pick.

Said Lynch, "Reuben thought that because we were at 34, we made a trade at the end with Seattle and when I was talking to him, he said, ‘Coach, New Orleans is taking me.' And I said, ‘No, we’re taking you.’ It was hard because it happened late in the process and so, he was really excited when he found out that we had pulled off that trade and we were certainly very excited.”

And all the 49ers gave up to make the necessary move was a fourth-round pick acquired from the Bears earlier in the day.

The 49ers got everything the could have ever wanted from Day 1 of the draft.

“In terms of how we rated them, we got two of our top three players,” Lynch said. “We’re thrilled. We’re ecstatic. I think these guys have traits that encompass what we want to be about as a football organization.”

Lynch said he began speaking with Bears general manager Ryan Pace more than a week ago. Because the 49ers had picks scheduled next to the Bears in every round, Pace suggested to Lynch that the two teams should be willing to work with each other throughout the draft.

The 49ers had other offers for the No. 2 pick, Lynch said. A source told NBC Sports Bay Area just prior to the start of the draft that the 49ers had fielded three solid offers.

The team’s chief strategy officer Paraag Marathe worked out the details to finalize the trade with the Bears.

The 49ers did not know which player the Bears were targeting at No. 2, but Shanahan voiced his opinion while the trade was going down.

“This guy is a pretty bright,” Lynch said of Shanahan. “He said, ‘That’s not for a defensive lineman. That’s for a quarterback.’ And he was right.”

The Bears made the trade to select North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. In order for the Bears to trade up one spot, they delivered the 49ers a third-round pick (No. 67), a fourth-round pick (No. 111) and a third-round pick next year.

Jacksonville executive Tom Coughlin, whose team held the No. 4 pick, watched and admired the 49ers' move from afar. 

"To get what you had in mind right off the bat and pick up those extra picks? Pretty nice deal," Coughlin told Jacksonville reporters. "I’ve never seen one of those. . . Oh, my gosh. Nothing like that has ever come my way.”

When asked if the 49ers would have selected Foster if the Bears selected Thomas, Lynch said, “Perhaps. It was very likely.”

Instead, the 49ers waited and waited and waited before finding a trade partner in an unlikely place. The 49ers made a deal with Seattle, giving up the 111th pick obtained from Chicago, to select Foster before the Saints had a chance.

“He’s my kind of player,” Lynch said of Foster. “He plays sideline to sideline, and he’ll hit anything that moves. I think that’s contagious for teammates.”

Foster is recovering from shoulder surgery and his stock was negatively affected by character concerns. He was sent home from the NFL scouting combine after an argument with a hospital worker during his medical check. He also had a positive drug test due to a diluted urine sample.

Lynch spent a lot of time with Foster during his visit to Santa Clara, as well as a meeting him at the combine. Both Lynch and Shanahan spoke regularly with Foster on the phone and on FaceTime in the past few weeks.

The 49ers also dispatched vice president of football affairs Keena Turner and team chaplain Earl Smith to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to meet with Foster for two days. The team will have a plan in place to help guide Foster as he transitions to professional football, Lynch said.

“I would tell you that his character is what drew us to him,” Lynch said. “When you start talking football with this young man, he lights up a room. He’s a good kid. I believe in the kid. I think he’ll be a great player for this organization for a long time.”