Smith: 'Kicking myself' over third-quarter interceptions


Smith: 'Kicking myself' over third-quarter interceptions

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith met the media on Monday to talk about the 49ers' 26-3 loss to the New York Giants. The 49ers have a quick turnaround with a game Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park.Coach was talking about how different people rebound off of a loss. What about you?
"Definitely not right away, that's not me, no. Waking up, thinking about it, replaying it even today a little bit. Consciously, obviously putting this one away quick with the quick turnaround Thursday. Normally it's a little longer, but this week, putting this one aside. Big division game."Do you like having a short turnaround after a loss, just come right back out?
"After a loss like that, yeah, in some ways it's nice because you can't dwell on it. Even as a team, you've just got to move on."What do the Giants do that's so vexing for you guys in their coverage?
"Yesterday, I thought we started well. We couldn't end anything, didn't finish anything well. It seems like every time we got some momentum going we couldn't really capitalize on it. Then you get down a couple scores and you got one dimensional. I really feel like we gave our defense a short field. For me, the two interceptions late (in third quarter) were the ones I thought about the most. It's third down you're trying to make a play, but you're just making matters worse. You really got to see the bigger picture there, make good decisions on both those cases. That's what I was really kicking myself for."Is it difficult, they can get away with just rushing four guys?
"That's the thing. They're so good when they get a lead like that, they don't have to bring pressure to get home. They've got a bunch of D-linemen that can all get after the pass. So, it's tough. They're tough when they get a lead like that."Looking back at those first two drives, what was the cause of frustration? Where did it end up and why did it go dry right at the end, those first two drives?
"The first two? I thought we had good balance. We were moving it and mixing it up, just didn't capitalize down there. Got in some third-down situations where we couldn't connect. Had the one tipped ball. Forget what the second one was, but moved it, changed field position, get down there to kick a field goal and to only come away with three points, that's tough."You started the game with more passing than usual, a lot of shotgun formations. What was it about the Giants defense that made you guys think that was an effective way to attack them?
"Different reasons. One, we're very conscious, they're a good D-line. I think they knock down more passes than any D-line in the NFL. They're all tall. They're all long. They all get their hands up. So a little bit get back there and get away from it a little bit. One, I think we had good balance out of that formation. The week before we had been running it well, even out of the shotgun. So, wanted to continue that and had good balance early. Like I said, just got away from it, got down multiple scores and got one dimensional and then started forcing things and then it really got bad."In your wins, you guys have looked pretty awesome. In your losses, there's been some wild fluctuations. Can you point to a reason for that inconsistency?
"A lot of reasons. There's not one, for sure. You turn on the film and offensively, it's easy to look at yesterday's film and ask questions about pretty much everything because none of it looked good. And it wasn't good enough. A lot of times that is the case with a loss. A lot of times you don't have a loss and you look back and, 'Hey, this was all great.' It was some things you've got to get better at and need to do that. I don't think there's any one thing, I guess. A lot of things playing into it. And then turnovers are just like the nail in the coffin. You're not going to overcome those, especially once you're down. In some ways it is nice to have a short week. We've got to just move a long from this one and get ready for a big division game."Transcript courtesy of the 49ers public relations department.

Jim Harbaugh: I deserve a medal for lasting so long under 49ers ownership

Jim Harbaugh: I deserve a medal for lasting so long under 49ers ownership

In Kyle Shanahan’s first breath after being introduced as 49ers head coach on Feb. 9, he mentioned Jim Harbaugh, along with Bill Walsh, George Seifert and Steve Mariucci.

The head coach of Michigan was listening, and he appreciated the gesture.

“It was very flattering that he said nice things about us at his news conference, and I appreciated that,” Harbaugh said on "The TK Show," a podcast from Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group.

“Now, I don’t think I was there long enough to be compared with Bill Walsh or Coach Seifert, etc. But I think did – and correct me if I’m wrong – I think we did set a record for coaching there the longest under the present ownership, if I’m not wrong.”

That is correct.

Since John and Denise York took over control of the 49ers in 2000 from Denise’s brother, Eddie DeBartolo, the 49ers have employed eight head coaches. Mike Nolan was fired after seven games of his fourth season. The two coaches who followed Harbaugh -- Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly -- were fired after 5-11 and 2-14 seasons, respectively.

Harbaugh’s teams advanced to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance. He and the 49ers “mutually parted ways,” the club announced, immediately after the team finished with an 8-8 record in 2014.

“I take pride in that,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe there should be an endurance medal, a courage medal, for that.”

Shanahan mentioned Harbaugh during his opening remarks at the introductory press conference earlier this month:

“I’ve got to start out thanking Jed and the whole York family. Giving me this opportunity is, it’s a dream come true and it’s not just an opportunity to be a head coach, but to be a head coach at a place like this where you talk about Bill Walsh, you talk about George Seifert, Steve Mariucci, Jim Harbaugh and you can go down the line with the coaches.”

Said Harbaugh, “Just appreciated it. Appreciated it, and not just for me personally, but appreciated that for all the wonderful players we had and the wonderful coaches and the effort that was put in. People poured their hearts and souls into those years. It’s just appreciated that Kyle would make that comment.”

Harbaugh said he has deep respect for Shanahan and new 49ers general manager John Lynch, whom Harbaugh asked to speak to his Stanford teams during his four-year tenure as head coach.

“Yeah, I would’ve loved to have worked for John Lynch,” Harbaugh said. “He reminds me a lot of the athletic director we have here Warde Manuel, who’s also a former player and a teammate of mine. Common sense guys who are team guys, just the way they go about their business always speaks volumes.

“I thought John took note when they were going through the process. e didn’t want his name mentioned and I think that’s . . . I don’t know if a lot of people noticed that, but I think that’s a profound thing. I think that speaks volumes for who he is as a person. He wants to do a good job and it’s for the right reasons. He’s a competitor at the highest level, so I have great respect for that.”

Kawakami also asked Harbaugh about whether he believes quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still capable of being an NFL starter.

“There’s no doubt he can be an NFL starting quarterback,” Harbaugh said.

“I’m sure Kyle, the coaching staff there and John will meet on it, they’ll think about it, they’ll watch, much like we did when we got in there in 2011. And they’ll make the best decision they can for the team and the organization and it’ll play out the way it’s going to play out.”

Lynch's hirings of Peters, Mayhew left no room for Gamble

Lynch's hirings of Peters, Mayhew left no room for Gamble

During the month the 49ers had no general manager or head coach, Tom Gamble was the next-highest-ranking football official and was charge of the personnel department on an interim basis.

But CEO Jed York made it clear from the beginning Gamble, whom Trent Baalke promoted to assistant general manager just prior to the start of training camp last summer, would not be considered for a promotion to general manager.

John Lynch, with no front-office experience, was hired over Arizona’s Terry McDonough and Minnesota’s George Paton. Before Lynch’s introductory press conference, he hired two top lieutenants in the personnel department to usurp Gamble on the organization's power structure.

On Wednesday, the 49ers announced what had become inevitable: Gamble was leaving the organization.

“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” Gamble said in a statement. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Lynch’s first move as general manager was to hire Adam Peters away from the Denver Broncos to serve as 49ers vice president of player personnel.

Lynch worked alongside Peters when Lynch took part in Broncos meetings and prospect evaluations, which included a trip to the NFL scouting combine, prior to the 2013 draft.

“That month, month-and-a-half, I actually sat next to Adam every day,” Lynch told “Those are long meetings. I’d listen to him and we’d talk in between about players. I just saw way back then, he’s a guy who’s highly respected in the league. I firmly believe in two, three years, he would’ve been a GM. He was on that track, at least.”

During Lynch’s introductory press conference a week later, he announced the hiring of Martin Mayhew as senior personnel executive. Lynch and Mayhew were teammates in the secondary for Lynch’s first four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mayhew spent seven seasons as Detroit Lions general manager. Mayhew should be able to provide Lynch with valuable counsel as learns on the job after spending the past eight seasons as a TV analyst on FOX.

“Martin has sat in the seat as a general manager and his experience will play an integral role in helping us locate the type of football player we want representing this organization both on the field and in the community,” Lynch said.

Gamble recently completed his 29th NFL season and his 10th with the 49ers in two stints. After he was fired as Philadelphia Eagles vice president of personnel late in the 2014 season, and came back to the 49ers in the 2015 offseason.

While with the Eagles, Gamble was one of the few individuals in the front office who worked well with Chip Kelly. Gamble played an important role in speaking up for Kelly and bringing him to the 49ers last offseason.

Kelly and Baalke were fired after the 49ers' 2-14 season, and the 49ers promoted the ability to create a fresh start when a new coach and general manager. While the 49ers were expecting Gamble to remain with the organization through the draft, his spot with the organization was going to be tenuous with a new regime.

“He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him,” Lynch said in a statement. “After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities.”