Good morning. We look forward to beginning our preparation for the San Francisco 49ers, a very good football team, a physical football team that runs the football. They are 10th in the league in rushing. They are second on defense, which they have been an outstanding defensive team for quite a number of years. They are coming off an overtime win, as you well know, a hard-earned win in the dome stadium in New Orleans. As I say, good football team and we are anxious to get back to work.
Q: [The 49ers] are a team that likes to turn people over… Do you really have to pay attention to the details as far as holding on to the football?
A: Absolutely. They are plus-six, so they have done a good job of that. That kind of goes along with the style they play. They are very aggressive defensively. They have good personnel. They are very multiple in their scheme. Once it gets to third down, they do a great job of rushing the passer. Physical outfit, for sure, but yes, ball security is very, very important.
Q: How much do you expect to see of Rashad Jennings on the field today and how much of a lift do you think he can give you?
A: He will give our team an outstanding lift. He will practice – the term is going to be limited, but we had him in that capacity a week ago. We selectively worked him. We thought he did well under those circumstances a week ago, and I think we will progress throughout the course of this week and hopefully, without a setback, now he will be ready to go.
Q: How is Peyton [Hillis?]
A: Not good. He and Jacquian [Williams] are both still under doctor supervision. They were sent home today.
Q: What are your thoughts on Jason Pierre-Paul overall this season? Has it been what you wanted and do you want to see more out of him? **
A: Obviously you always want to see more, but he has played hard. He has given good effort. He hasn't got the numbers in terms of getting the quarterback sacks, but he has been very aggressive and, as I said, he has played hard and made things happen. I think the problem, in all likelihood, is the ball has gone the other way quite a bit, even in the run game this year. We would like everybody, the coaches, the players, everybody, to, of course, do a better job to get ourselves out of this hole. His effort has been good.
Q: You guys rank 32nd against the run… How do you improve it?
A: Play better. Play better. It is the number one goal defensively every week. It is the same thing. Stop the run. Obviously we haven't done a very good job of that, but hopefully we will put a good plan together and the players will do a good job with it and, perhaps, we can do a better job. [The 49ers] are going to run. That is their deal. They are going to set things up with the run. You have to be very, very good and very, very strong. We need turnovers. We need field position. We need all the things we always talk about.
Q: Where do you turn with Jacquian Williams out, and do you expect to make major defensive changes?
A: The rotations will remain basically the same. You are in a position week in and week out where you have to deal with the injuries and who can go and who can't go. We will do the same thing this week. This is our team. Guys have to step up. We spent an awful lot of time talking this morning about standing tall and the attitude not being affected by the outside, but rather the feeling of oneness on the inside and the fact that we have a lot of games to go and the fact that we need to play four solid quarters and we need to overcome some things that all of sudden have been a difficulty for us as if the bottom was going to fall out because one bad thing happened. We talked a lot about that today and hopefully the players are going to deal with that in the right way.
Q: When you are more than halfway through the season and the defense is 32nd against the run and 32nd overall… Is there anything at this point that you can do? Can you change up your scheme or is it too late to do anything other than hope people play better?
A: No, you can always adjust what you do. You begin camp with a lot of versatility and flexibility with the idea that you can tap into certain things throughout the course of the way, so I don't see that as an issue. The idea of playing what you play better, what your home base is and how you do it, there are some teams that don't change a thing. [They] line up the same way every week and do a very good job of it. There are subtle changes, some of which you may not see or recognize, but there are subtle changes based on the opponent.
Q: I know that you don't like to use it as an excuse, but is there any doubt, from looking at the film, that missing Jon Beason and the hits you've taken in the secondary have contributed to…?
A: Well, everyone goes through the same thing. Like you say, that's no excuse. Unfortunately, these things happen in the game. I feel badly for the guys that have been hurt and gone out, whether it be Prince [Amukamara] or Beason, whoever. But still, all teams experience things like this.
Q: What's most troubling to you about the defense's performance? Obviously... run or pass and there have been some major breakdowns downfield; you've let up a lot of 20-plus yard plays. What's the one thing…?
A: Well, I don't know if there's any one thing. You've just named a bunch of things. All those things put together are the concern. Hopefully that will improve.
Q: Does it help at all facing the read option in back-to-back weeks?
A: It definitely does. It gives you a chance to tweak, if you will, the way that you went into one game. In terms of knowing the opponent, knows or sees what you've done the week previous, but yeah, I would say yes.
Q: What's the key to not letting the quarterback run around the edge?
A: You have to be in a position to contain that. If you watch, he kept the ball in a truly, solo naked bootleg with no receivers, no anything last week and they did a decent job with that. I think he got a first down but it wasn't a big chunk of yardage. He has the ability. He's very good on his feet. The big play of the (San Francisco-New Orleans) game, (Kaepernick's) outside of the defense and throws the transcontinental back across the field on fourth and 10, they make a play and kick a field goal, put it in overtime and win the game. There's no doubt. You have to be disciplined, you have to recognize, you have to stay at home, you have to… it's all plotted out who has dive, who has quarterback, who has pitch. That stuff is all plotted out and you have to be able to stick with it. You've got to recognize it first and foremost.
Q: You have the two defensive ends, Kiwanuka and Damontré Moore, on the injury report. Are they in danger of missing a lot of practice time?
A: What we've ended up with, Kiwanuka works one of the two days at this point of the season, and I expect that Damontré will work tomorrow.
Q: In your mind, the read option, does Kaepernick run it in similar fashion to Russell Wilson?
A: It's a little bit different in terms of how they go about it but the similarities are there. He's very good at it.
Q: When your defense is struggling the way it is, do you personally put more time toward the defense this week? Do you personally spend more time trying to fix that?
A: Well, I've spent time with the defensive staff, as I always do. Not on a full-time basis, I don't sit in there with them while they're grinding away but I was at the meeting the other day and I'll certainly spend a lot of time on the tape.
Q: Do you change any of the structure there in terms of play-calling?
Q: With Geoff Schwartz, do you expect to activate him this week?
A: He's going to get a lot of work this week. We have until next Monday to make that call. His activity has increased and we'll do the same thing this week.
Q: Do you have any idea which side he's going to get a lot of work at?
A: He can play them all. It's the idea of put him out there, put him in position, give him lots of work and see how he responds.