On LB Mychal Kendricks: "He's moving a little bit better. We'll see how he is, but he hasn't gotten to a point where we are putting him back in drills yet"
On Kendricks' improvement: "Yeah, he's shown improvement. He's moving, he's running a little bit more. He was running on the treadmills in the weight room and he's now out on the field doing some things."
On whether he would play a player if they didn't practice most of the week: "Depends on who that guy is. How sharp are they, how much do they pick up the game plan, how much they have played, how much experience they have. Obviously you treat someone like a Mychal different than you treat a rookie, just because he's been around."
On LB Emmanuel Acho and LB Casey Matthews: "They have done a good job. I think probably [in] both games they have been split right down the middle, kind of one or two snaps off. They are giving you what they have got and they are both very intelligent football players [who] can key and diagnose very well. They are obviously a lot better in the run game and we have gotten into some more nickel and dime sets in passing situations to get them off the field, but both of those guys have really contributed."
On whether the upcoming bye week factors into playing players or not: "I'm on a one week -- we are getting ready to play the Rams, so I haven't thought anything about where they are. And again, I don't -- I don't make the medical decisions. They need to be cleared by our medical doctors before they can even see the field. So until they get cleared, I don't factor into any decision. They give me the thumbs up or thumbs down. I'm not the one saying, 'Well, I think it looks good, so let's play them.' They have to be cleared by our medical staff before they can get on the field."
On using S Malcolm Jenkins in the slot and S Earl Wolff at safety when CB Brandon Boykin was down: "Because Malcolm is our second nickel. That's who practices there."
On teams throwing at CB Bradley Fletcher: "I think Fletch has done a good job. Obviously they are distributing the ball to both sides. A lot of the time, the ball -- the big thing we are trying to do is keep the ball in front of us. If they do throw if front of you, you have to rally up and make a tackle. But I think Fletch has done a good job."
On Rams RB Zac Stacy being similar to 49ers RB Frank Gore: "Yeah, I know Zac Stacy. I think they are a different type back, but we liked Zac coming out of Vanderbilt. I think he's a very productive, tough, hard nosed, physical runner. [It's] kind of a different scheme that they are running him in, than [the one] in San Francisco. That's how they used him. But I think he's a tough, physical back and they are going to run the football. That's something that [offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer does and really truly believes in. You're going to get some tight ends, fullbacks, a lot of motions out of shifts and things like that. So he's certainly going to have the focus of our attention in the run game."
On Rams QB Austin Davis: "A really quick release, completing a high percentage of passes -- I think he's in the 72 percent range. It seems like he's got a real good knowledge of what they are doing. The thing that impresses you on tape [is that] he doesn't force the ball. A lot of times he's checking it down to the back, but he really quickly gets through his progressions. It's one, two, down to the back -- trying to get the drive extended from that standpoint. For a guy that's a younger player in this league, he seems like he's got a really good grasp of what they are trying to get accomplished. Short, compact motion, athletic, can pull it down and run if he has to. You know, was a four year starter in college and was a real good player coming out of college. So I think he's really adapted well to what they are doing there."
On T Lane Johnson, conditioning-wise: "He's probably not up to speed with everybody here just because he was out for four weeks, but he's not far off. I just think it's probably just getting acclimated. Probably a little bit more sore after practice than our guys because we are doing a different type of running. I don't think you can go anywhere and train for what football is like because you have to actually do it. You can run around and go away to train and things like that but that's not exactly what we are doing. His conditioning level is good. It's just a matter of some of the residual soreness that comes after a practice but he seems like he's handling it halfway decent."
On whether he had an 'Aha moment' last season where the running game got back on track: "I don't think there's 'Aha moments.' We didn't change what we did offensively and say, 'Hey, let's run this scheme.' We contributed. But I think both games go hand in hand. When you're throwing the ball better, you're running the ball better because people can't gang up on one aspect or another. That's why I say all the time it all goes hand in hand. You can't be one way or another. You can't just throw the ball every down and you can't just run the ball every down because I think everybody in the stadium knows what's going to happen. I think you need to be balanced. Over the course of the season last year we ended up being a really balanced team and we were really close on rushing attempts and passing attempts, and I think that's part of being a really good offensive football team is that you can be balanced in terms of what you're doing. There wasn't an 'Aha moment' when we went to go play. Nick came back healthy, that was number one. We had our quarterback back, so we plugged him back into the lineup and everybody was getting open and everybody was -- the ball was being delivered on time. We were catching footballs and so it kind of all went hand in hand."
On the 49ers saying they knew plays that were coming, and whether he feels that is somethinig that needs to be corrected: "No, I think any time you self scout yourself in terms of what you're doing from a formation standpoint but there's also times I think you're a little bit more limited in your game plan just because of who you have available to run what you want to run. To say, 'Hey, it would be great to run this because they won't think it's coming.' Well, if your guy doesn't think it's coming either, it's going to be real difficult for you. You have to know what you have in the lineup, and obviously you had some younger guys that were playing. So we were not as probably wide open and expansive as we could [be] if we had guys that had been out there with a little more experience."
On what separated Malcolm Jenkins from the rest of the free agent safeties this past offseason: "Malcolm's ability to play down in the box. Malcolm's ability to play in the middle of the field. Malcolm's ability to play man coverage. Those are the things. We wanted someone that could do everything and we felt he was the most versatile in that class. From day one, that was our number one target because he could do it all. He could play man coverage. He got drafted as a corner in this league, and if you watched him in these three games, just as you've seen him, all of his plays have come from different spots. He was playing man coverage when he had his interception against San Francisco. He was playing high in the middle of the field when he had his interception against the Colts. He can force the run and he can do it all. We are looking for someone that has all the tools you're looking for, not someone that's just a knockout, going to make a highlight tape, de cleat you type of guy. But when you get into man situations, well who do we put him on because he may be a little bit of a liability; or someone that just is a great, let's-play in the middle of the field and has great range and all that. But there's times when, again, when people are scouting you, that guy is always going to be deep. You always know who the free safety is. So we like to play right safety, left safety, so we are not a strong safety, free safety team. So his versatility was the thing we were really looking for.
On whether Jenkins was clearly above [Denver S] T.J. Ward, [Saints S] Jairus Byrd, [49ers S] Antoine Bethea: "He was the guy we wanted and that we targeted and that fit for our system. Those other guys are really good players. I coached Jairus and T.J. in college and they are outstanding football players, both Pro Bowl players. We felt for what we needed at this time that Malcolm was the best fit for us. Is that the best fit for another team? No. But that's the best fit for us and I know we're all happy we got him."
On whether he would call plays on game day that they had not practiced the week prior: "No. Very rarely. You've got a set of plays that you've worked on and practiced all week long. Unless something drastically happens that, 'Hey, they are doing his. We could run something that we haven't run this week in practice, but that we have run a lot.' But we are not drawing plays up. I'm not taking the white board out between the time out and drawing plays on a piece of paper. We're practicing and what we train to do during the week and through our situations, we are pretty systematic in it that this is how we are going to execute and this is what we are going to do."
On how much of his playbook he practices the week before a game: "44.6 percent. I don't know, I've never really thought of it that way. We just -- it's a sarcastic answer because I never thought of it that way, like how much of our playbook overall generally. It's just, what are we doing to prepare for them? You don't have an opportunity to -- I mean, how many third-down calls can you get, how many third-down reps can you get in practice? So you can't have 47 third-down calls. You're not going to get 47 third-down reps in practice and obviously you're not going to get a chance to practice it."
On giving up big plays, and whether there's a common thread in giving those up: "No, I mean two of them I think we missed the coverage, I can think of specifically off the top of my head without looking at all nine but I know two of them -- one of them bit an out and out move, and bit the out and then they turned the ball up. Another we were supposed to have a post safety and didn't get it. There's not -- I don't think there's a common thread that it's all happening from one specific reason. You always want to eliminate X plays and that's one of the goals each week from a defensive standpoint in terms of what we are trying to get accomplished. But you're always trying to negate them, and if you're going to give something up, you're going to give it up in front of you and you are going to rally and make them earn what they are getting. But when you get an X play or you get a big chunk play, that's a huge, huge deal both ways. And that's why we are always looking to get chunk plays on the offensive side of the ball. I think it's important for you to continue to move the ball down the field, if you can get it in bigger chunks, it's tough to continue to just get two and three and four yards and then just keep lumping together drives. At some point in there, there's going to be a stop in there."
On whether the team ran the ball well enough to get RB Chris Polk involved: "It's a combination, he first came back, he was out, injured and the last two weeks we have not run the ball very well. It's not like our running backs retired because they carried the ball too much, especially in the last game. That wasn't a situation where we were saying, 'Hey, let's see if we can get Chris in there.'"
On whether versatility is something the team looks for in all free agents: "No, I think it's all just specific by the position in terms of what you're looking for and in our safety position, what we looked for is specifically that. You know, if there's other things when you're looking at a corner or there's other things when you're looking at a nose guard, I don't think when you're looking at a nose, your key concern is position versatility. It's all by the individual position but there are certain positions that we have where that's a huge plus for us because I think how we are set up so it depends on really who you are looking at and each individual position, there's not just a general overall, at all positions, it has to be this.