COUGHLIN: We look forward to a great challenge this week, playing the San Francisco 49ers. They’re a very good football team, ranked in many, many categories throughout the league on offense and defense and special teams. They have a quarterback whose rating is 108, they use (Colin) Kaepernick as an option quarterback, wildcat quarterback, however you want to look at it. They are the number one team in the league in rushing, with 195 yards per game, they’re scoring at 28.9 per game, and 13.6 per game giving up. So, they do have a big margin of victory. Of course, that’s been enhanced by the last two weeks, in terms of their play. They have exceptional return men, they have a veteran punter and kicker, and so, they’re a very good team, they’re 4-1, and deservedly so.
Q: Have they used Mario Manningham in a similar way that you guys used him? Or is it something a little bit different?
A: He’s catching the ball, and running down the field. That’s how he’s being used. He’s got two reverses for a 28-yard average.
Q: You had to study them twice, obviously, last year. As you look at the 49ers now, are they a better team than they were?
A: They’re a very good team. They were a very good team last year.
Q: One of their players said they feel like you guys ‘took something from them.’ When you play a team that you faced in an NFC Championship Game that they lost, how do you factor in the motivation they might have when you guys see them?
A: It’s a new year. It’s a new time. Two new teams. We earned everything we got last year.
Q: How are (Martellus) Bennett and (Hakeem) Nicks doing today?
A: They’re doing better. They’re not going to practice today, but they’re doing better.
Q: The Niners put up 600 yards of offense. Are they more of a balanced or more of a passing team this year?
A: Not statistically. Not according to the numbers of runs vs, the number of passes. The only time they threw more than they ran was the Minnesota game that they lost.
Q: Did you have hope that
A: Yes. Hopefully. We’ll see. It’s like every other week. Hopefully, he’ll get a practice in.
Q: How about
A: He’s supposed to work, today. Limited.
Q: Knowing how well the 49ers have played, what kind of challenge is this or measuring stick at this point in the season for your team?
A: Well, they’re a good football team. They have played extremely well. They’ve got a lot of numbers. They’re going to test you in a lot of categories, they want to run it. If you’re going to play football with them, you’re going to have to stop the run and run the ball. They are very good in their offensive and defensive lines.
Q: It seemed like in the game last year Eli took a high amount of hits. What do you have to do?Did they do anything that you didn’t expect?
A: No. They have a powerful rush unit. They got to the quarterback many more times than you’d like.
A: He’ll practice.
Q: What about
A: They want to do some things with him. I don’t know whether he’ll actually be included in individuals, or whether he’ll be on the side. He’s going to start doing some things with the trainers on the field.
A: He’ll be out there, just as he was last week, as we continue to find out exactly where he is.
Q: Is Phillips progressing?
A: We’ll see. I can’t tell you something I don’t know.
Q: With the lack of pressure from the defensive line, do you think some guys are being asked to do things they are no longer capable of doing?
A: No, I wouldn’t say that. I think our best football is in front of us and I think these guys, for one reason or another, haven’t gotten on track yet. We haven’t been able to accomplish what we actually build our team around. Going forward, I expect that we will improve and that we’ll start making some progress along the lines you’re talking about.
Q: The Niners don’t have a lot of sacks, but you know from experience they can pressure the quarterback. What have you seen from the 49ers’ defensive line?
A: Powerful, fast. Both outside backers have the majority of their sacks, the sacks that they do have.
Q: If the offense is going to adjust to your pass rush, do you have to tweak the defense to get it going again?
A: We have to do some things, sure.
Q: Any insight on that?
A: You’ll have to see.
Q: Have your three defensive ends been put in the best position to make plays this season?
A: I think they’ve been put in very good positions. Positions they’re familiar with. There’s nothing really new or different (about how) they’ve been used. Everyone is taking a sample of what occurred early in the year in terms of how to play us, and done pretty well with it. The thing that has to happen is you have to work your way through those types of things.
Q: Is this the kind of game you look forward to? You don’t have to worry about motivating your players?
A: You have to motivate every week. You have to inspire every week. This is an opponent, an outstanding football team, a conference game, a team that we played twice last year, very, very good team, but very close games, both times if you remember. We’re excited about playing the 49ers and I expect it to be a really good week.
Q: With half of your linebackers on the injury list, what’s the status on Boley, Rivers and Blackburn?
A: Boley is going to practice. Rivers is going to practice. Blackburn is not (practicing) today but scheduled to go tomorrow.
Q: What about
A: Until he passes, I guess that means…that’s the signal. You can say all you want, but what we’ve experienced now, and I’m not trying to be tongue in cheek here, “Oh he looks good today, he’s bright, he’s ready…” You have to pass the test. No matter what they look like, feel like, how they respond to you; they have to follow the protocol and pass the baseline test.
Q: How much of the motivational tools you used this week will be about the idea that while you’re the defending World Champion and obviously won the NFC last year, people seem to regard the 49ers as the best team in the conference this year.
A: You just wrapped it up in one. Nobody gives us a chance to win. We’ll see.
Q: Did you know that
A: I did, not long before this time, but I did know it was coming.
Q: Any chance you’ll elaborate on the motivation?
A: No. Other than the jumping jacks, no.
Q: Why do you think nobody gives your team a chance to win?
A: I just sense it.
Q: Sense it?
A: I’m hoping that way.
Q: What kind of challenge is it for some of the younger guys that have stepped in,
A: Well, they’ll have to figure it out real quick because when you look at this team on tape, there isn’t any question about what has to be done and the level at which you have to play, compete, the physical aspect of the game, the intensity level of the game, the speed of the game. All those things have to be at the top of each individual’s game as we go forward here and I think that will be well pointed out.
Q: If you sense that nobody is giving you a chance, why do you think they feel that way?
A: I’m not going there, I’m sorry. I don’t have an answer for that. Why do I think they feel that way? Probably because they think the other team is playing very well.
Q: Do you even need to go there with your players because it’s a theme they’ve been harping on since the first day of training camp? Do you have to remind them that everybody seems to be against them?
A: I may take an occasion to remind them.
A: The same thing we utilized him with early on. Speed, coverage ability and special teams play.
Q: Is there a trick to trying to contain Vernon Davis?
A: There’s no trick. You’ve got to be able to run with him. He beat us on a big play last year, as you know, and he’s done that on tape this year. You know what you’re getting. You can’t underestimate the speed. You can’t do that.
Q: Your coverage teams seemed to be really playing well early on and you spoke about some of the lapses you saw against Cleveland. How do you go about shoring that up in what you’re trying to do? Is it more film work?
A: It’s the entire process. Pointing out the errors, pointing out the issues that are involved, whether it’s angles, whether it’s getting caught, whether it’s being double-teamed, whether it’s not being in the right position originally. We use some terms that did not happen when it’s individual matchups, so you’ve got to back to square one with it.
Q: What is it that you do to make this team so prepared on the road?
A: We just work very hard at it and we challenge our team and we also utilize the idea that when you’re on the road, you have to be together as one because there’s nobody else there that has any interest in you.
A: Yes, he’s going to practice.
Q: Do you have to manage him because of his hip?
A: He says he feels great.