*Transcriptions from Thursday's practice *
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
Opening Statement: Good football day for everybody to get a chance to get outside there. We got a little bit of work done and with that I'll open it up.
Q: 51 points.
A: There's a pit right here. It's called an embarrassing pit. We feel terrible about that and looking to get it corrected.
Q: What was the major issue on Sunday?
A: Sometimes, when it rains, it pours and starts snowballing. We were trying to patch some things together because of the injuries and what not, but that's no excuse. I mean, we just need to play faster. I think the guys will tell you that. Make some tackles.
Q: Is there enough effort?
A: I thought so. I thought so. You can pick out a play here and there and we track loafs all the time and we have never gone through a game and not had a couple. We do have some guys out there with some injuries and at times, I think they're trying to save themselves. I don't think that's the right thing to do, but that might have happened a couple times.
Q: Ben McAdoo was saying how important it was to look at the film. What was the mood like and what was the atmosphere like when you guys did that?
A: Yeah. We do it on Tuesday. We don't do it on Monday. I said this to the guys the other day – so, the coaches get a chance to look at it on Monday, get a chance to digest it. It's 48 hours or 36 hours before we watch it with them, so by then, I'm a little bit more relaxed, you know, have accepted and kind of moved on. They're still at the point where they want to watch a little bit, which is a good thing. This was a harder, this was a tougher film session than most mainly because of the result and the way we all felt. But, we grinded through. We watched about what I thought were the 15 key plays together. I made my comments and my issues. The players – I had them do theirs and then I wanted the assistants to detail their position with their particular players, which they did. Then we usually come back on that day – Tuesday – and then kind of sum it all up and move onto the next game, which we did. We moved on to San Francisco.
Q: Ben McAdoo said he told the coaches to simplify things.
A: We're always, I mean, we're always doing that. Look it, hings don't go good. We can find all kinds of excuses. We're always doing that. We'll continue to do it. We're just going to try and find the things that work for us, knowing that we have different people in there. Last year was a – we all know how blessed we were last year, to stay as healthy as we were because you can start adding pieces, you know. This year is a little bit different. So, we'll go forward accordingly.
Q: You said you count loafs?
A: Have always done that. Forever.
Q: Did you notice last year that there were loafs?
A: Well, they're in every game. Now when I say 'loaf', we're hard on the guys. You know what I mean? So, when it's not full speed, we call them a loaf. That doesn't mean a guy is walking. We need guys bursting to the ball. We need guys bursting to the ball.
Q: A player was quoted anonymously saying that he feels you are panicking in games and he's blaming your calls for some of the things happening on defense.
A: I don't know anonymous. I don't know. I don't know.
Q: Does that trouble you that a player would day that?
A: No. Look it, no. No. We just got to move on. I can't even worry about that. It's anonymous, right? Was that true? Was it anonymous?
A: So, we don't know. We don't know – anonymous – we don't know if it was made up. We don't know if it was actually said. Would that be true? So, I'm not going to comment on it. Move on. Any football questions?
Q: You've played a lot of teams this year where the quarterback has gotten you guys on your heels. You're going against a rookie this week in C.J. Beathard.
A: Yeah. I'll tell you, he's a pretty good little player. Kyle (Shanahan) does some really good things with him and then we got the other thing we got to think about is if it's a different quarterback. So, we got a couple things going on.
Q: Does it allow you to do some different things when you're going against this rookie quarterback?
A: Yeah. I don't know. I'm trying to interpret the 'on your heels' thing. I don't know.
Q: Well, you faced a lot of quarterbacks that have attacked you down the field. The 49ers only have six touchdowns even though they have the most pass attempts in the league.
A: Right. We go in every game thinking a team can attack downfield. I mean, because they're pros, too, right? So, we're not going to go in there thinking that they can't do that and we've gone against Kyle Shanahan's offense before and that's kind of one of their staple things. You know, block it up, protect him, throw it downfield. They had a couple that they just missed. So, we're not going to treat it any differently. We'll attack them the same way.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
Q: What did you see out of WR Sterling Shepard in his first game back?
A: You know, Sterling looked sharp. He did some things, particularly from the inside, the slot position, that we've relied upon in the past. Was really important for us. Had a couple big third down catches for us and continues to improve and get back to the type of player that was so important to us last year.
Q: What have these past few weeks been like for QB Davis Webb with all the speculation?
A: Davis continues to work very hard. He's a sponge. He soaks up everything and he's a part of that quarterback room along with Geno (Smith) and Eli (Manning) and doing all the things necessary to get that position ready to play. So, he's doing a great job.
Q: When you take away the turnovers, did you see more that you left out on the field than normal because it seems like there were big plays to be made that you missed?
A: Well, you hit the nail on the head. The turnovers were really the story of the game, in my opinion. I mean, we had three big turnovers that put our defense in a bind and anytime we're turning the football over, that means that we're not having opportunities to continue to move the ball ourselves. We can't continue to establish a run game. We can't have some of the play action passes and then as you mentioned, having some opportunities for some plays down the field and so, hard to look past those three in all honestly because they were so frustrating for all of us. But, certainly, there's opportunities that are there and whether it's breaking a long run or completing on some of the long passes, those are things that we're going to have to make sure we take advantage of.
Q: It seems like the running game has taken off a bit. Do you feel like you're hitting a stride with that?
A: We feel good about where the run game has been and where it's headed. When we took a look at the most recent games in terms of the normal down-and-distance runs, we have been efficient. It's a credit to those guys up front. Credit to the tight ends. The backs are hitting it hard and guys on the perimeter are taking a lot of pride helping to try to spring some of those longer runs. So, it's a mentality. It's a commitment. It's something that the guys have bought into and I think we continually emphasize that not all of them are going to pretty. Not all of them are going to break through there and into the secondary. There's going to be some two-yard, three-yard runs that are ugly and gritty, but that's who we are. That's who we need to be.
Q: When you start the way you did the other day before all the bad stuff started to happen, what did you think about the rhythm?
A: Well, anytime we're able to run the football, I mean, that's an advantage for us. It would be for anybody, for that matter. I mean, that enables us to wear that defense down a little bit. They might not have as much starch, if you will, in terms of third down and that pass rush and it can set up some of the play action passes and I think there's, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, from a mentality standpoint. Just kind of having guys feel that they're imposing their will to an extent. So, that is a good feeling and when we can stick with it and we try to stick with it. In fact, I can't remember what the exact series was, but right when the rain started to come down. We would run, run, run. It was going good and we were going to keep running until they stopped it, but unfortunately, we had the fumble and, of course, that, as you mentioned, changes everything.
Q: What is it about QB Eli Manning that he does to keep himself healthy?
A: Well, he's a true pro in terms of taking care of his body. I don't imagine him doing anything other than, when he gets home, spending quality time with his wife and kids. He's not out running the streets, obviously, but you know, he does – you look at what he's eating. It's hard to find him putting anything but nutritious things in his body and you guys have all documented the whole how he goes through his routine as far as stretching his arms, you know, stretching his shoulders and so forth. His commitment is full time. It's not just what he does in the film room and preparing himself. It's not just what he does on the practice field. But, I think in all phases of his life he has a great balance and a perspective and certainly has served him well through this long streak.
Q: Are there technical things QB Eli Manning could do to eliminate the fumbles?
A: Well, no question, anytime anyone has turned the ball over, it's bad for us and he's aware of that. I think that we always try to emphasize that when something breaks down, when you're in the grasp, you know, the competitive nature sometimes comes into play where guys want to try to maybe fight through that and try to complete the football or try to escape from the pressure, but then, as they always say. The old cliché – it's true. It's the guy you don't see that can knock the ball out and often times with just having one hand on the football, that makes it a little bit easier. There's times, you take any quarterback, you know, they can have two hands. They can have a vice grip, but if they get hit hard enough, that ball comes out. But, certainly when they're in those situations where he can keep two hands on the ball or basically it's a play that's broken down, you might have to take the sack. A punt is not a bad thing. We just got to keep grinding away.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
Q: On the block, was it just a good rush or what?
A: It was a good rush, but it was a protection breakdown. Center and fullback got to be able to handle that.
Q: K Aldrick Rosas missed another field goal. What's his confidence right now?
A: It's good. Practice – he's doing well. He hit a 50-yarder right before that, so he should have had confidence going in. He kicked a good ball at the 50 and the next one was just wide right. So, just got to make his alignments right and just stays true to his form, trusts himself and just let it go.
Q: What do you see when you watch San Francisco's returner?
A: He's good. I mean, the undrafted (Victor) Bolden, you know, he made the team – special teams – out of training camp. Preseason – kickoff return for a touchdown, punt return for a touchdown. So, he's just waiting for his opportunity now with the injuries, so he's getting his opportunity. So, he's tough. He hits it hard. Gets vertical quickly.
Q: How does Robbie Gould look?
A: Robbie looks the same. He's been consistent. He's really done a nice job for them. You know, he had one blocked, one missed, but he's really done a solid job. They've got a punter that kicks off that's really got a big leg. So, he doesn't have to do that job, but he's been very consistent.
Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard
Q: Talk about learning the plays.
A: Not much. It's more recall than actual learning the actual plays. It's more just recalling everything I already knew from last year.
Q: How did this come about?
A: They literally called me, what was it, Monday? And, they asked my agent if I would be willing to come up for a workout and I was like, 'Yep,' and came up, worked out and they signed me after the workout.
Q: If you have to wear the coach to player receiver, are you ready to make those calls?
A: Oh yeah. I'm fine with that. The transition has been great. It's a great group of guys. Mostly a lot of guys I was already in there with. They've been helping me out, so I'm definitely fine with that.
Q: How much did they change?
A: Not much. It's pretty much the same scheme.
Q: Are you surprised that when you left this team it was a playoff team and now it's a 1-7 team?
A: That's the thing about the NFL, it's year-to-year you can't try to say just because something happened last year it's going to transition into the next year. The NFL – you take it year-by-year, week-by-week.
Q: Do you believe that you guys are capable of making a run in the second half?
A: Yeah. To be honest, I think we're going to win every game. That's just my mentality.
Q: What was it like this offseason? Had you guys talked?
A: Yeah. I was busy. I took a few visits. I went a couple places and was down back in Miami working out, taking visits. I'd go to another team, come back, go to another team, come back. So, it was a little busy, but not what I ultimately wanted. But, I'm back where I wanted to be from the get-go.
Q: I mean did you guys talk about you coming back here in the offseason?
A: I'm not sure if I can disclose all that, but just I'm here now and I'm excited to be back.
Q: Did you think you would be back?
A: Yeah. I talked to the guys every week. Although I wasn't here, I was in communication with pretty much the whole defense every week.
Q: Do you expect to be active Sunday?
A: Yeah. Yeah. I'm not here to watch, I don't think.
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Q: How do you respond to anonymous player comments that you lost the team, players have given up and the team is going too hard on Saturday practices?
A: First things first, I have an open door policy. So, any player that has anything to say is welcome to come in the front door and talk. I had a couple conversations over the last couple of weeks and I welcome those conversations and the next thing is pretty simple. It's hard to help a player when they don't put their name on a quote. So, if they need some help, come see me. I'm the guy that can help them. The first day of training camp we get together and I talk about the difference between b—ing and complaining. And there's a difference to me. Nobody wants to be around a constant complainer. That doesn't help the team, that doesn't help the chemistry, that doesn't help anything get any better. But, each player, maybe you have a b—. And if you've got a b—, I can understand that because if you don't, I'm not doing it right.
Q: Personally, is it an affront to you at all when you see comments like that and somebody doesn't put their name to it?
A: No, I don't take things personal in this business. Everything I'm focused on is trying to put these guys in a position to be successful and put them in a position to win a game this week.
Q: Were the complaints in the anonymous comments ones that were brought to your attention in past conversations with players?
A: No, they were separate conversations.
Q: So, nothing that was in the anonymous quotes was addressed to you in the past?
Q: Did you address the report with the players today?
A: What report? Anonymous quotes? No. I don't know who to address it with. There's no name on the quotes, so to me there's nothing to address. Get some names on the quotes and I'll find out who I need to help and then I'll help them.
Q: Do anonymous quotes make you doubt that you have 'talented men of integrity' in the locker room?
A: Anonymous quotes can come from a lot of different places, it may not come from the 53[-man roster].
Q: So, you doubt that one of your players actually made the anonymous comments?
A: I'm not doubting it, I'm just saying I don't know who it's coming from. If I know who it's coming from, I can address it.
Q: Is it true that you fine players more frequently than you did last year?
A: I don't fine players, players fine themselves. We have rules in place, the standards aren't going to change, we're going to hold guys accountable. I don't find fine players, they fine themselves.
Q: So, your discipline rules are the same as they were last season?
A: They are, yes.
Q: Is going 80 percent on Saturday practices the same that you did last year?
A: Same for three years. We're on the field, usually, 48-53 minutes. Forty-eight to 53 minutes on Saturday, I believe.
Q: Have you heard anything about the Saturday practices from anyone over the last three years?
A: Yeah, some guys like it, some guys don't. There's a philosophy to it. I believe in it. I think building guys up on Wednesday and Thursday and touching a high load on Thursday is important. Bringing them back down on Friday, recovering them and touching a little bit of speed the day before the game will get you ready to ignite and get the energy and the speed going on Sundays.
Q: So, Saturdays are not a walk through, but maybe three-quarters speed?
A: It's 80 percent, it's launch day is what we call it. We talk about it when we get together right before the season starts and the philosophy of why we do it.
Q: Is the accusation that if someone is breaking a rule, you would not tell them to their face and fine the player inaccurate?
A: Again, I'm not sure what they're referring to. I don't have anything to add to that, other than I have an open door policy. If there's anything that needs to be discussed, we can discuss it.
Q: It seems like the anonymous quotes were primarily from a defensive players). Are you concerned about the defense and will this impact the locker room?
A: I'm not concerned about it. I believe we have talented men of integrity in the locker room. I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, I have confidence in the locker room, I believe in those guys. If a player needs help, my door's open.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins
*Q: What happened that resulted in your suspension? *
A: I just didn't show up. Me and coach talked about it and we're moving forward.
Q: Why weren't you able to make it?
A: It was something that me and coach already talked about. We talked about it already. That's behind me. I'm here today. I'm not worrying about what's gone on in previous days. I'm just here to work.
Q: So he knew that you weren't going to come back?
A: I didn't say that. I just said that me and coach talked about it. That's over, that's previous days. I'm on to football.
Q: Was there a reason why you didn't call to let him know you weren't coming?
A: Me and coach discussed that in the room already. A mutual talk, an agreement and we're moving forward.
*Q: Did you agree with his decision to suspend you? *
A: I mean whatever he gave me, he gave me. I took it and accepted it and I'm back at work and I'm happy to be here.
*Q: Did you address the team at all? *
A: I mean, those guys know how I feel about football, about being around them. So once I got back, I felt welcome and I'm just happy to be here.
Q: Did you watch the game?
A: Yeah, I watched the game.
Q: How was that experience?
A: It was hard, but I wasn't out there, so nothing I can do.
*Q: Do you have any regrets? *
A: Hey man, it happened already. Moving forward from that. I ain't going to say I got regrets, I ain't going to say I don't have regrets. Whatever, we talked about it and discussed, that is over. It happened. We got it out of the way. New week.
Q: Do you feel like you let your teammates down?
A: It's a new week. Can't go back to last week. Whatever happened, it happened. Like I said, I'm just here to play football.
Q: What did you think watching that game?
A: I mean, it was tough watching it, but things happen.
Q: What were your thoughts about the anonymous comments made about coach (Ben) McAdoo losing the locker room?
A: I'm not on social media like that as far as Twitter and all of that. Just be on Instagram. I don't know what happened. I can't say. I'm just here to play football.
*Q: Do you think he's lost the clubhouse? *
A: I mean, I don't think so. But at the end of the day, I don't know what's going on so I'm just going to stick to my guns and do what I got to do and just continue to play hard for coach McAdoo.
*Q: What do you think of the statement where he said players get fined, but he doesn't actually fine them. *
A: Everybody gets fined. All around the league, so you can't just put it on the New York Giants. Everybody gets fined. He's just doing what he's got to do.
Q: Has it happened more this year than in the past?
A: To me, it hasn't, but other people might see it that way. But once again, he's doing his job. If you look around the league, every team fines players for everything. The small things, the big things. Whatever it may be, they get fined, so he's just doing his job.
Q: Do you think the criticism of coach McAdoo is fair?
A: No, it's not fair. He understands and we understand as a team that that comes along with playing NFL football when people don't know what's going on inside the locker room. They have expectations and people that are assuming a lot of things
*Q: Why do you think it's not fair that he gets criticized? *
A: You got to look at it, man. It's hard to win in this league. It ain't like he's not coaching. He's coaching to the best of his ability. We are playing to the best of our ability. If you look at the teams we beat last year, they are just beating us this year. We just got to keep moving forward and pushing man and keep fighting.
Defensive Tackle Damon Harrison
Q: When you hear people criticizing your coach, why do you think that's happening?
A: No idea, sir.
Q: When you watch the film, do you think guys gave full effort on Sunday?
A: Yes. Were there mistakes made? Yeah, there were a lot of mistakes made, but the effort was there. Could some guys have done something differently on the play? Yeah. But to sit down there and to say that guys weren't playing hard or gave up, that's false. Completely false.
Q: Do you think the criticism that Ben McAdoo is getting…
A: I have nothing to do with that.
Q: Ben McAdoo is under fire…
A: I have nothing – no comment on that, sir.
Q: You don't feel the need to support him?
A: Anybody else?
Q: What's the mindset of the team going to San Francisco?
A: We're going out there to win. We expect to win just as we do every game. We can feel how we want to feel during the week, but we just got to go out there and execute the game plan. There's just been a lot of mistakes made, which are all correctable. We just got to go out there and put what we put on the practice field on the game field.
Q: What's the state of the locker room?
A: I mean, I don't understand why anybody would think that – to address your point why Coach McAdoo has lost the locker room – that's false. To answer your question that you're so adamant about getting a response from me on. Whoever was anonymous, whoever said it is a coward. Flat out. I mean, if you're not man enough to put your name behind something that you feel because that hasn't been echoed to anybody in this locker room. I mean, we could have talked it out if you feel that way. It could have went differently, but point blank, whoever said that is a coward.
Q: How disappointing is it to see someone from your team do that?
A: That's about all I got to say on that.
Q: Will you talk to the team about it?
A: No, sir.
Q: Why not?
A: There's no need to make a big deal out of it.
Q: You don't think it could spread.
A: No, sir. Only the media thinks that. Locker rooms don't work that way.
Q: How do they work when something like that happens?
A: You've been around a while?
A: Have you seen a lot?
Q: I'm not a player.
A: Have you seen a lot? Could you feel the temperature of the locker rooms you've been in where you've seen that?
Q: I guess.
A: The way that you all see leaders. I hear a lot of people speaking up on it. Everybody doesn't lead that way. Don't need a rah-rah guy and a vocal leader. We got a lot of great guys in the locker room who are self-motivated. Things just aren't going our way right now, so it's easy to criticize or even formulate an opinion when you're not in this locker room. You don't know the men in this locker room and I challenge anybody who says otherwise.
Q: Ben McAdoo said he has an open door policy. How much do you use it and how much had you seen other guys use it?
A: That's not usually something that's talked about. I'm not going to just sit down and tell anybody I went upstairs and talked to coach McAdoo today. He said that from day one, from the very first day I've been here and it's still the same now. If you got a problem, go talk to coach McAdoo. It's just – it's cowardly for you to go sit there and tell a reporter who's only doing her job something that has to deal with the guys in this locker room.
Q: Do you think he has become an easy target because of the record?
A: Who are you talking about?
Q: Coach Ben McAdoo.
Q: Have you been in a situation where you felt that you had to get a message out through the media in terms of saying what you feel about a coach?
A: No. No. I mean, that's going to be addressed internally. I would hope whoever told you what they told you don't tell you the outcome of what's going to said, whether it's by a coach or by a player. I have no idea. But, it's going to be addressed.