Q&A with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh

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Q&A with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh

INDIANAPOLIS -- Coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. Here's the transcript of the Q&A:On sitting on the Indiana basketball bench on Wednesday:
Harbaugh: It was great. Great experience. Never sat on the bench with a basketball team. And it was a great honor to be there and to be in the locker room before and after the game and support the Indiana Hoosiers, who are near and dear to our hearts as a family. Our brother, Tom (Crean), who's married to my sister, is the head coach at IU. It's great...
...Got the extra special benefit of sitting next to my nephew, Riley Crean. So that was great. Twelve-year-old Riley Crean is also a good quarterback. But I was amazed at how much he had to explain to me about the game of basketball. I felt like I knew a lot about basketball. Well-documented outstanding high school player. But the schematics of the game Riley was teaching me. It was great to be a part of it.On taking over a storied franchiseprogram, similarities with Crean:
Harbaugh: Talked with Tom about team and both of our respective games ever since I met Tom because he's just a star when it comes to coaching. Ever since he and Joanie first met and started dating, and especially when I made the transition from playing to coaching, Tom was a great resource for me.On Andrew Luck's abilities:
Harbaugh: You ever played spades? Trump games? He's holding a lot of aces in a lot of suits.On Luck's specific abilities:
Harbaugh: He's got all the qualities, really, mentally, physically. He's as prepared as anybody that you're going to find. He's really good. How about that one? He's got a lot of talent.On the pressure Luck faces being compared to Manning, Elway, etc:
Harbaugh: Well, fair or unfair, it's the nature of the business. But he's very equipped to deal with it. He's very mature.What stood out about Luck, his growth, etc?
Harbaugh: Many things.Specifically?
Harbaugh: I know you're looking for bullet points but a lot of things. What specifically? All great. Like I said, he's one of the finest football players I've ever been around. Is that good enough? And an even better person. One of the top 5 guys I've been around. So he's just a joy to coach. Not going to like playing against him. Not looking forward to that.On Robert Griffin:
Harbaugh: Yeah, I know a lot about Robert because we recruited Robert out of high school. Robert was a 4.0 student, great parents, comes from a great home. He has had great success at Baylor. You know, past performance usually indicates future success, and he's had nothing but a history of success. So you would predict great achievements in the future.On Alex Smith's future with the team:
Harbaugh: Yeah, Alex is our guy. That's well-documented. He had a tremendous season. Definitely as a coach, you worry about a lot of things. And when the quarterback's not signed and is a free agent, that leads to some lost sleep. But I'm excited to be back at work, very excited to be here and see what kind of improvement we can make from year 1 to year 2, and I hope all our guys feel the exact same way.On Colin Kaepernick's and Scott Tolzien's progression as rookies:
Harbaugh: Very well, very well. Both of those youngsters did as good a job or better than I've ever seen young quarterbacks approach the game. Both of them just sponges in terms of picking up as much as they possibly can. That first of all was the most impressive thing. I also liked the way they competed in practice, before practice, after practice. And the way they physically played. They belong, and I think an offseason is going to benefit both of those youngsters very much.On going into his second combine:
Harbaugh: I'm very much on edge. I've always felt like the most improvement you can make is from year 1 to year 2, much like a college freshman. The most improvement he can make in an entire one year of college football is going from year 1 freshman year to his sophomore year. Like a pro football player going from his rookie season to his second season. There's a window there that will never come again that you have a chance to making your biggest strides. Like going from game 1 of a season to game 2 and that week is the opportunity to make the most improvement you can in one weeks span over the course of a season. I'll be on edge about going through this combine a second time and evaluating for the draft and as it relates to free agency, as it relates to our young quarterback, as it relates to all the football playerson our team and on our team as a whole. And we'll chase it. Just like the NASCAR boys, we'll chase getting a mile an hour faster, chase getting .01 percent better any way that we can.On being the guy Peyton Manning replaced in Indy:
Harbaugh: If you're gonna be replaced by someone, that's a pretty good one to be replaced by, isn't it? I kind of take some pride in that.How remarkable is his career?
Harbaugh: I think that is the exact right word remarkable. That your career would be something that people talk about and remark about. And in the history of the game, you're talking about a quarterback whose career will be talked about for 50, 100 years to come. He's been that kind of player in the National Football League. Very remarkable. Good word.On going deeper into the Year 1 to Year 2 improvement:
Harbaugh: Because everything you're doing, you're doing it for the second time. You're doing it again. You've already experienced it one time. You've experienced the speed of the game, the potholes, the things that can come up. You're doing it again. You've got some muscle memory there. And it only is if you take advantage of it, if you attack it. That's been my experience. I have no empirical data to share with you at this time.That's my personal experience.On being familiar with guys coming out of college:
Harbaugh: That is true. That's the first thing I do when I look at the list is go through each one and I know that guy; we played against him. I remember (Florida State offensive tackle) Zebrie Sanders when we recruited him or RG III, etc. So I go through that list and that's the first thing I do look at. I can't wait to find these guys and find out why they didn't come to Stanford. Confront em!Will we see more of Kendall Hunter?
Harbaugh: You saw a lot of Kendall Hunter last year. Don't think there would be any reason not to. He did a fabulous job for us in two phases offensively and in the area of special teams. And he just works so darn hard at it. And he likes football so much and he's willing to spendextra classroom time. Kendall's a guy who's in at 7:30 in the morning and meets extra with Tom Rathman as some of the other runningbacks Frank Gore does it as well and so does AD (Anthony Dixon). But he's got that passion for it. So, all arrows, all indicators would be yes for that question.How has (Ted Ginn?) evolved?
Harbaugh: Evolved? I mean he's like any football player, you want him to evolve. You want him to continue to do that. And Ted was outstanding for us this past offseason. So you look for ways to do that?Recall the last conversation with Griffin?
Harbaugh: To say he's going to Houston and then to Baylor? Yes, I do. I was really fond of Robert through the recruiting process,and he made that decision. I think you've all had a chance to get to know Robert so far and understand him a bit. He makes good decisions. He makes cool decisions. He's very conscientious in everything that he does, and I respected his decision and wished him well.Memories on Indianapolis?
Harbaugh: Some of the best memories of my life. I love the Midwest, I loved playing here in Indianapolis. There's that memory. There's the memory of, we were pretty close to playing here a couple of weeks ago. So mostly good, though. Almost the signature years of my life when I think back atthose four years here in Indianapolis. The people above everything. Working with you, working with my teammates and coaches. There was a great feeling with the community and it was all so positive as I reflect back on it.On similarities in lost championship games:
Harbaugh: Both tough. The same feeling. There's mixed emotion there. On one hand, your team gave it everything they had in both cases, when played with the Colts and also this year our team with the 49ers. I mean, talking about them they played their hearts out. They gave it everything they had. They gave it their best. Technically you can say, OK, it wasn't good enough because you didn't win that game against the Giants andyou didn't go on to being in the Super Bowl. We would have loved to have been in that football fight. But also the team was you just feel so proud that you're part of a team that did play their hearts out and did give it their best and played extremely well in the championship game.That game could have gone our way. And then the other emotion of just being excited to get back to work. Just being here and understanding that you've got to get better because you draft lower, you play a division-winning schedule. And all of the other teams are competing their tails off the same way we are. So that brings a lot of energy, brings a lot of juice to getting back to work. And I know all our coaches feel the exact same way. That emotion being here and being excited to get going.On watching film of the Giants game:
Harbaugh: Yes, watched the game. It was two great teams. There's technical reasons for watching it, understanding the game and where you can find what you did well and what you can improve on. And also I enjoy watching our guys play. I really get a kick out of that. That really fires me up, watching our guys compete.

Report: Former 49ers cornerback will sign with Seahawks again

Report: Former 49ers cornerback will sign with Seahawks again

Perrish Cox is reportedly heading back to the Pacific Northwest.

The former 49ers cornerback will sign with Seattle, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

He appeared in 16 games for the 49ers in 2012 and nine games the next season before being released in November 2013.

Cox signed with the Seahawks a couple of weeks later, was released after appearing in two games, and then re-signed with the 49ers right before the playoffs began.

In 2014 with San Francisco, he started 14 games and recorded five interceptions.

He appeared in 24 games (22 starts) over the last two seasons with Tennessee.

The Titans released him in late November.

Dolphins HC Gase sheds light on 2015 interview process with 49ers

Dolphins HC Gase sheds light on 2015 interview process with 49ers

Two years ago, it appeared as if Adam Gase would be hired to replace Jim Harbaugh as 49ers head coach.

But on a day in which Gase was hopeful of receiving good news, he heard from then-general manager Trent Baalke that Jim Tomsula had gotten the job.

Gase, who recently completed his first season as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, spoke candidly Wednesday on CSNBayArea.com’s “49ers Insider Podcast” to set the record straight on what occurred in mid-January 2015.

At the beginning of Gase's first interview with Baalke, 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe, and co-chair John York, it was made clear to him that Baalke was responsible for the decision.

“I knew that Trent was the final decision-maker in San Francisco heading into the interview process,” Gase said. “When we first met, when it was all four in there, that was explained to me from the get-go, that Trent ran the organization, as far as who’s getting hired for the head-coaching job. I knew that going in.”

Gase went through a second marathon interview with only Baalke, the day before the decision was made, he recalled.

“I felt like I was in good position heading into that next day,” Gase said. “I did know it was down to two of us. . . It was down to Jim and myself. I felt like going into that morning, I had a good shot. I felt like my interview went really well. But until you get that call from the GM, nothing’s ever 100 percent.

“So heading into that morning, I felt good about it. But never got that final word. The last call I got was they hired Jim. I really felt we had a great meeting and felt that I was in a good position. It went the other way.”

Next season, the 49ers will have their fourth head coach in four years. Tomsula was fired at the end of a 5-11 season. The 49ers fired Baalke and coach Chip Kelly after the club’s 2-14 season. The club is now expected to announce Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as head coach after the Falcons’ season has concluded. 

Things have worked out well for Gase, who spent one season as Chicago’s offensive coordinator before earning the Miami job. The Dolphins went 10-6 in Gase’s first season and advanced to the playoffs for just the second time in the past 15 seasons.

Gase said he was never offered the 49ers job two years ago. And when asked if he was told he had to promote Tomsula as defensive coordinator, Gase answered, “I don’t remember that being a conversation. We spit-balled a lot of different scenarios of how we were going about putting a staff together.”

Gase said he would have been inclined to retain a number of 49ers assistant coaches from Jim Harbaugh’s final staff because he already knew some of those individuals.

“It’s not as easy to get coaches as you think, because guys get locked into contracts," Gase said. "I was always told when I went into these interviews, ‘Don’t promise something you can’t come through with.’ Because you can’t control some of these things. You kind of have to have an idea of who’s available to get out of their contract or who’s up on their contracts.

“It looked like there were going to be some holdovers based on the relationships I had with a lot of those guys. It was really just trying to figure out what was the best fit for the entire group at that time.”

In a conference call with Bay Area reporters prior to the Dolphins’ November game against the 49ers, Gase confirmed Tomsula offered him the position of offensive coordinator with the 49ers. Gase turned it down to work with his previous head coach, John Fox, with the Bears.

Gase said one of the elements of working for the 49ers that attracted him to the job was the opportunity to reconnect with Jed York and Marathe, whom he got to know during his season as an assistant coach in 2008.

“I wanted to find a way to be a part of what they had really got going on there,” Gase said. “The main reason was because of Jed. I wanted to do whatever I could to help him. And felt like he knew I’d be invested in that organization because between Jed and Paraag, my relationship with them was really good with them when I was there previously. That’s why I was heavily interested in getting that job because I wanted to do something to help those guys. With them there, that was very positive for me.”