Coughlin: Good morning. We're excited to get started on a week of preparation for the 49ers. Jim Tomsula, the new head coach out there. The first thing I do, I look at special teams. They're very well-coached, they're a well-coached football team. They're physical, they have a lot of very good players that we know of and new players as well. There's quite a mixture there, as you well know. Carlos Hyde is a legitimate, outstanding football player as a rusher—168 yards rushing against Minnesota. They definitely want to rush the football. Kaepernick, Colin with the option game, the ability to scramble and put the ball in play down the field. With Alex Boone and Joe Staley, the left side is very secure. They have a big offensive line. As I mentioned, they want to run the football. Vernon Davis will probably play against us, he did not play against Green Bay. Outstanding receiving corps, Anquan Boldin, we all know the physical football player that he is. They have Torrey Smith to take the top off the coverage etc.… So they are a talented offensive football team, they've done a lot of good things. Really, the last two games for them, the opposition has held the ball. They've only had 50 snaps the last two games, time of possession for Arizona and Green Bay was over 36 minutes. Their defensive team, they base themselves out of the 3-4. The two outside backers, (Aaron) Lynch and (Ahmad) Brooks, are outstanding football players. I like what I see from the (Ian) Williams kid, the nose tackle. He's very quick, very evasive. And, of course, they have Navarro Bowman, who is coming back off of a year away from the game with a significant knee injury. He's the instinctive, physical, run-through, disruptive linebacker that he always has been. And then their special teams outfit, as I mentioned, a young punter-kickoff guy (Bradley Pinion) that has kicked the ball out of the end zone 85 percent of the time--the kid they drafted out from Clemson, a fifth round pick out of Clemson. Their returners, they had an outstanding preseason with any number of punt return, kickoff returners, and that's the first thing you see when you look at the tape. So the 49ers come in here at 1-3, a very good team, a team that is very physical, very scrappy and gives you a lot of formation issues from a defensive standpoint. And then lines up and gets after it.
Q: When you look at Kaepernick, I think he has like five interceptions so far. Is there a thread there?
A: I don't know exactly what it is, but he has a very strong arm. He's a very big man, a very fast man. He can throw the ball on the run or sitting in the pocket as far as he basically wants to. He's talented as a quarterback that can both run and pass. The interceptions have come, there's been some overthrown balls, things of that nature. But by in large, he's been there for five years and he's a very talented guy.
Q: I want to ask you about the MRSA situation inside the locker room. Is it a distraction? And how about the cleanup, what's taking place?
A: Well, you've got the information, I'm not going to go down through what the janitorial service has done. But they have been very active. This morning, the NFL and the Players Association wanted us to address it. We had Ronnie Barnes, we had team doctors, we had the person in charge of our facility in here to talk about the way the cleaning process is normally underway and what we have done in addition to that as well. So the players asked a couple of questions, very good questions. But we are concerned about Daniel Fells, we're very concerned about that. We still do not know the reason for the infection or where it came from. But the players, we're all obviously very supportive of Daniel. I think most of the questions got answered this morning. The guys seemed to be able to go right back to work.
Q: Is there anything different that you have to do in the way you guys go about business? Do you have to do anything different because of this?
A: I don't believe so.
Q: How is Daniel Fells doing? What is his condition?
A: Well, they're thinking Thursday he'll be able to get out. I talked to him on the phone, he sounds good on the phone. He's very disappointed obviously, but we all wish him well. He understands, as well as we do, he has a wife and family, he's got to get better, period.
Q: In light of what happened in Tampa Bay, do you take this very seriously?
A: Oh, very seriously. It's a very serious thing, has been that way in this league for quite a few years. Everyone has been very aware of it. You mentioned Tampa, that was a circumstance there. Actually Lawrence Tynes, one of our players here for previous years, got involved in. So we know how serious it is, and we are taking every precaution and doing everything we possibly can. They are very, very thorough in what they've done in terms of cleaning. The basic health priorities were gone over again this morning—washing of the hands, calling attention to any type of cut or anything, anything that looks like what they call a spider bite or anything of a boil nature. Anything where the skin is turning red, those types of things. With Daniel, it was a different story, there was no surface injury that anybody knows of. It was an acute joint problem along with a temperature.
Q: Victor Cruz said that he'd have a better idea early this week about his status. Is he out this week?
A: I wouldn't say because I haven't been told anything. He's not working today.* * Q: Bills players had some things to say about Odell Beckham and his actions in the game. What did you see? Is it something to address?
A: Odell actually came to me and talked about it. Obviously I was disappointed because I think he's beyond and above a lot of that stuff, and I think he'll put it behind him.* * Q: It's got to be a tough situation, I would think, because he's targeted so much.
A: And he's an emotional guy. Hey, let's face it, I told him, 'I want you to continue to block the way you're blocking.' He flies around out there. Even the penalty he got called for on the screen, he did an outstanding job.* * Q: And the instinct I would imagine with the extra stuff is to fight back.
A: He's very competitive, very energetic. He would have blocked the safety on the long run, the long pass and run after the catch if in fact Rashad wasn't able to avoid him. He was right there.* * Q: He came to you after the story came out?
A: This morning he came by.* * Q: Was it just a matter of getting caught up in the chippy-ness of the game?
A: You know, I'm not sure where they're trying to say this all came from. I noticed it in the melee as we moved penalty after penalty down towards our goal line. Prior to that, I didn't notice a lot.* * Q: Where's Devon Kennard with the hamstring?
A: He's out today.* * Q: How about Robert Ayers?
A: He's out today.* * Q: What do you get with Myles White?
A: A young guy who knows the system very well. Can play in the slot, play on the outside. He's been used with our first group in the last couple of weeks, we've only had four receivers that can participate. So we get a guy who is sharp, who's had a good preseason, who knows the system well, can adapt to all the positions, knows the signals when we're in the no-huddle. And I think we kind of just keep going with a multiple position guy.* * Q: Of the guys on the injury report, who is practicing?
A: Name a couple for me.* * Q: Ereck Flowers?
A: Flowers will practice, yeah. (Markus) Kuhn will practice.* * Q: Jerome Cunningham?
A: Cunningham is going to be out there for individual, then we'll see.* * Q: George Selvie? Trumaine McBride?
A: Selvie, no. McBride, no. McBride is scheduled to go tomorrow.* * Q: Jayron Hosley?
A: No.* * Q: Hosley has his second concussion now.
A: Yeah, boy, everybody felt great about it. He did, too. He didn't think he'd even be restricted today. But you've got to go through it, you've got to go through it.* * Q: What do you see from your run game this far?
A: I see at different times, outstanding, but not consistent enough.* * Q: If you have to be without Kennard, you have a lot of veterans that can piece it together.
A: That's what it will be.* * Q: Carlos Hyde obviously had a big game against Minnesota, but he's been pretty much shut down the past three weeks. Have you seen anything different?
A: No. No, I'll tell you what he is, he's a slasher, and he's an outstanding cutback runner.* * Q: Do you think your work of keeping Tyrod Taylor in the pocket will help you this week against a guy who obviously wants to leave the pocket?
A: I certainly hope so. The very first play of the Green Bay game, a tackle comes inside, the end rushes up the field and out he goes.* * Q: Do you sense a different attitude from the guys the past two weeks the way things have unfolded?
A: I sense that they are anxious to get to know this team and to start the preparation process. That's where you want them.* * Q: Is the confidence level in Dwayne Harris as your third receiver higher than maybe it was last week?
A: I think I mentioned it to you, I may not have. We talked about Rueben, we got Rueben going two weeks ago. We needed to get Harris going, Dwayne going and he did the other day.
Odell Beckham Jr**
Q: Coach Coughlin said you went into talk to him this morning. Why did you go in and what did you discuss?
A: Well I went to talk to him because I walked by his office and I saw him. I was just telling him just how much I love playing football, how much I love being here. This being my job, I want to be the best.
Q: Did the subject of what the Bills said about you come up?
Q: What are your thoughts about what they did say?
A: I hadn't read it.
Q: They called you a prima donna and a golden boy.
A: It's whatever, man. Its football, we're playing football. I'm not worried about the Bills, they're in the past, we beat them last week.
Q: Tom said the subject was your actions on the field. I guess you threw a punch at one point, the Bills say a couple of punches were thrown, how he wants you to be above all of that stuff.
A: Yeah, that's what they say. Everybody has their opinion, everybody can say what they want to say. But at the end of the day, we're out there playing football. So everything else is irrelevant. What they do to me and what I do to them is irrelevant. It's football, man, I don't know how much more to explain it besides that.
Q: But it's got to be tough, you've obviously been a target. They're clearly going after you and you want to defend yourself but you know you can't cost the team. How fine a line is that to walk?
A: It's tough. It's tough to walk the line. You know that they're out there targeting you and they're trying to do things to you, as much as somebody wants to say that they're not, they are, and that's just the case. Like I said, we're out there to play football and that's all I came here to do, to play football and do whatever this team needs.
Q: Did you feel that things maybe got a little bit chippy and out of hand at the end of the game?
A: I think it was the beginning of the game. I think it's every game, matter of a fact. It starts off like that. Whatever the case is, that's how it is.
Q: You mean regarding you, as far as targeting?
A: Just bickering back and forth between teams blah, blah, blah.
Q: How about you specifically and how they approach you?
A: You already asked me about that. You talked about how they're targeting and doing that. You just said it, so really no more to say about it than that. They're doing what they're doing and we're playing football, that's all there is to it.
Q: You've been pretty candid about your emotions in the past, you talked to us about that in the summer… just the idea of walking that line, that emotional line. Do you find yourself questioning week after week how you should let it out, keep it in?
A: I mean, not really, I just go out there and play football. It's all there is to it, we're playing football and nothing else really matters.
Q: There seems to be a lot of fashionable guys in the locker room. These book bags are getting kind of out of hand. Who do you think has a better book bag between you and Rashad?
A: I think Rashad has one of Spray Ground bags, it came out in like '06 or '05 or something like that. I don't know, is Rashad around? But I don't know, I think I have a wide variety of collection of those bags, some new, some old.
Q: Tom was saying that you have a passion and a toughness to play this game, you just want to go out and play really hard. Do you think people misconstrue that as some cockiness after the notoriety you've gotten over the catch?
A: All the time. I think it's hard for me because people who know me know I came here to play football. I love football, there's nothing more to it than that. I just love this game. I'm very confident in my ability. I know what I've been given, I know my responsibilities that I have. A lot of people take that as people have built me up to be right here and they hear so much about me that I don't know if they hear so much about other people. So now, "He's what they're talking about now, I can make my name off of him. Or I could do whatever I need to do to get in that light." Honestly, like I said, I came here to do whatever this team needs me to do. If they need me to block 70 plays a game, that's what I'm here to do. If they want to catch 60 balls a game, I'll do that as well. It doesn't really bother me either which way.
Q: Can you talk about the 49ers coming up, that's your next opponent?
A: The 49ers are a great team. I don't think you can ever sleep on any team due to record, this is the NFL. Any team can be better any given day. We know they're going to be hungry for a win, and we're going to have to play like we're hungry, because we are. Trying to get our record to 3-2 and we've got to do whatever it takes.
Q: Will you appeal the fine you got from the game?
A: Of course. Of course. Yeah, I get punched every single game or "punched" or whatever it is—I get hit in my face every single game. Like I said, it is what it is, but we're playing football and these are grown men out here. I don't think anybody should be talking about what happened after they lost the game.
Q: That's still the bottom line for you, the best revenge, winning the game?
A: We're 2-2, we beat the Buffalo Bills last week. The past is behind you, can't really change it.
Q: Does it bother you or is it laughable to you that they would call you a prima donna, a wonder boy?
A: No. Does it bother you a little bit?
Q: Does it bother you?
A: No, it doesn't bother me, I'm fine. I'm fine every single day, I sleep like a baby at night.
Q: Were you surprised the Bills were kind of walking around with a swagger a little bit?
A: You brought it to my attention, I didn't really know much about it besides now. For a Bills team who I think is one of the best defenses in the league, could be one of the best teams in the league, just to hear remarks and stuff like that, it's kind of confusing, it kind of messes with my idea of their identity. And where do they go from here? I don't know. Like I said, it's all irrelevant, it's all words, it's all in the past. There's nothing any one of us can do about it. So we move forward to San Fran.
Q: Are you getting a lot more attention this year than last year?
A: Yeah. Yeah. Definitely would have to say so. That's good for us, I love that. If I can draw two guys on one play, if I can draw seven guys on a fake reverse and we have a big play, I did my job. You know what I mean? I think there was a big play in the game, I think they called illegal man downfield or something like that. I know there's a rule that you can only have one yard to go, and we watched it on film and he is one yard away before the ball is released. Big play gets called back. Like I said, we came here to play football, you can't do much about calls or whatever any one else has to say. All you can do is what's between snap and whistle.
Q: Coach Coughlin brought up the Rashad touchdown and the idea that here you are, everyone kind of forgets you had a bit of a collision, but you were coming across the field to try and lay that block to spring him to get to the end zone.
A: Yeah, I was trying but he didn't need any of my help. I tried to get out of his way at the last minute, he just smacked him by and kept running and I didn't want to mess up the touchdown so I just had to go across and get out of the way.
Q: But from your perspective, that's something that kind of feeds into the idea of you're out there playing and doing more than just catching passes for this team.
A: Right. Anybody who watches the film, you're going to see there's no plays off really, so to say. If I have to go down and block the safety, that's my job. I'm going to go in there and try to do that. I was trying to go get a block for Rashad on that play. Rashad picked the knees up and kept running and made the guy miss. I probably should have stayed on the corner out of his way.
Q: Did you get a specific explanation of which plays that they didn't like?
A: I didn't read it, to be honest. I'm not really worried about it.
Q: Could you clarify for me why you went into to talk to Coach Coughlin and what his advice was to you?
A: Well, I didn't go upstairs to talk to Coach Coughlin.
Q: You ran into him?
A: Yeah, I ran into him. I went to go talk to Jerry Reese and just same thing I told you earlier, I'm telling him I came here to play football, I love playing football, and that's all there is to it.
Q: Did Jerry Reese have advice to you?
A: Same thing Coughlin said.
Q: Which was what?
A: Just keep doing your job, we love everything, blah, blah, blah. Same thing, you know what I mean? There's no underlying story to it.
Q: I apologize if this has been asked before, but what is your thought about the MRSA stuff that's running around?
A: It's kind of the nature of the beast with stuff in here. Everybody is sweaty, dirty, and things can get passed around through scabs and scars or whatever. Whatever it is, I don't know everything about it. A teammate of ours has it, and they just want to make sure they control the situation so it doesn't spread to other guys. I've heard about staph and MRSA, whatever it is, I've heard about it before. Hopefully it stays out of the locker room from now on.
Q: Are you guys concerned at all though?
A: They said something about Ebola a long time ago, and I try not to worry about that. There's no need to worry about it, if something is going to happen, it's going to happen. I believe in destiny and faith.
Q: Did you expect this kind of attention directed at you this year coming into this year?
A: As far as on the field? Definitely. I didn't think that anybody would do the same things that they did last year. I knew that there would be more attention drawn. Like I said, I like it, it opens other guys, it opens up other plays in our playbook. Hopefully they'll continue to keep doing it and other guys will make big plays like we keep doing.
Q: Are you confident you'll be able to control your emotions when you're baited?
A: Baited? Control your emotions? I feel like I do a pretty good job. I don't remember getting any flags last game or one for offensive holding or something. I didn't have any penalties during the game, so controlling my emotions isn't really any of my concern.
QB Eli Manning**
Q: Eli some of the names have changed from San Francisco's front seven but, from what I'm told, they hit hard, they're pretty aggressive and they get after you pretty good. Is that right?
A: Yeah, they do have some new bodies in there. Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith and Justin Smith, couple guys who are tremendous players aren't there but they still do a good job getting to the quarterback, getting pressure on the quarterback, making it tough with their scheme and linemen. So we got to make sure—we got a great game plan for them, guys know their responsibilities and we got to get out there and execute.
Q: They've been pretty susceptible to big plays down field this season. Do you think that might be something you guys can finally break out with this week?
A: Well, you know I've seen a couple of them on film just a couple great plays or scramble drills or different things. We got to look at it. If there are some opportunities to make big plays we'll make them, if not we just got to let our offense find completions, run the ball well and just play our game. If an opportunity comes up to take a shot, we'll take it.
Q: Eli have you noticed a lot more attention being paid to Odell this year as opposed to last year?
A: Maybe, not totally. I think sometimes if they're in one high safety maybe they'll work that middle safety to Odell a little bit. I think we still got some opportunities to get him the ball and if teams want to double him, other guys got to win and we have great confidence in them to do that.
Q: He obviously got under the skin of the Buffalo Bills in the fourth quarter, which worked out well for you guys, but do you have any issue with the way he sometimes reacts with the obvious targeting that goes on with him?
A: No, I think he wants to go out there and do well. He plays hard, practices hard and he wants to be great and he's emotional about it and he takes it very serious and I think that's a good way to play football.
Q: Does this MRSA issue concern you at all?
A: No, I don't think it's a concern. I think we do a pretty good job taking precaution to that and have a pep talk about washing our hands and having Purell all over the facility and try to be smart about that. I feel for Danny Fells and what he's going through. Unfortunate, but I'm not worried about being here.
Q: There was obviously an extreme example on Sunday. Did you notice him getting under the skin of defenses? Is that something he's particularly good at?
A: I haven't noticed it particularly. I think they had several personal fouls and a lot of it was because of him annoying defensive linemen and stuff. I think our offensive line being physical, playing well could frustrate guys and obviously we got under their skin a little bit and got some personal fouls in our favors. Good job by us being smart and not getting them and making sure we're not getting called for them.
Q: Did you see teams playing him more physically than they have in the past?
A: I haven't seen anything specific this year. I haven't noticed anything.
Q: Is it a different feeling preparing this week, knowing that you're 2-2, tied for first place in the division. Far cry from where you've been.
A: I think we have to prepare the same way. We have to understand that just a few weeks ago we had to grind to get out of that circumstance. I think that's the kind of way San Francisco is going to be coming in. They're fighting and they're going to grinding to get a win and we have to match that same intensity. Our preparation has to be great and we have to come out playing hard and playing determined to keep this thing going to get a win.
Q: You guys haven't had a winning record much the last couple of years, what would that mean?
A: Obviously that'd be great. That would be a big and we just have to keep it going. We got two in a row and we have to keep it going on Sunday night. Play good football, get to the fourth quarter, and then play our best football and get the win.
Q: With a lot of young guys do you have to try and reinforce that? The human nature is that you exhale a little bit, we got it figured out a little bit, just to make sure they realize, look this team doesn't care about that?
A: I think the coaches talked about it. Coach [Ben] McAdoo talked about it so we just have to go out there and our practices have to be good. We're limited on numbers a little bit so it's more a mental. We got live reps, but some mental reps also where we just have to stayed tuned in, and we can't say, "Oh we have some jog through reps we can relax". We have to stay tuned in and be sharp on everything that's going on and go out there and keep that same intensity and focus we've had these last couple weeks.
Q: Do they look like the same kind of defense? They struggled a little bit offensively but they've got some names still there.
A: They played Green Bay great this past week and their offense in Green Bay had been scoring a lot of points and been strong. They held them to a few points and even on the touchdowns there was a scramble and create, it wasn't real clean and it wasn't easy. Nothing is easy, played Minnesota tough and their offense was good. Arizona, they got down early, and then Pittsburgh hit some big plays on them, and some go routes. They had pretty good calls on, coverages on, guys just made some great individual efforts. I think their scheme is good, they got good players, and we have to be sharp.
Q: It seems like you play them a lot for a team to be in the [NFC] West and not your division? I know you played them in the playoffs obviously but you seem to play them pretty often.
A: Seems like it yeah. It seems like we play them, kind of had the same finish in the division in a lot of years. Seem to play them a bunch and played them out there and played them at home. We've had some good battles with them.
LB Devon Kennard**
Q: How concerning is the hamstring they're listing you with today?
A: It's day to day. I've probably iced it 100 times since our last game, and I'm just trying to get it right and doing whatever the trainers tell me, and hopefully I'll be back soon.
Q: Last game? So it was hurt prior to going into Buffalo?
A: No, I'm talking about after the Buffalo game.
Q: Are you hopeful for this weekend?
A: I'm hopeful just because I want to be out there with my team. I love the way that we're playing, I love what we have going on, and if there's any way possible I can play on Sunday, I will. I'm going to be listening to the trainers and seeing how it feels every day.
Q: You know a hamstring is kind of iffy, they're not going to push it.
A: We're taking it day by day and whatever the trainers tell me is best and seeing how it feels and what I can do on it.
Q: You've had hamstrings before if I'm not mistaken, have you learned how to deal with it, but do you have ways you can expedite it this time?
A: Hopefully. I did deal with one last year and so I kind of know the protocol and stuff and I'm going to be doing everything I can. Like I said, I've been icing non-stop, elevating it, and trying everything I can to help the recovery process so I can get back out there with my guys.
Q: Do you remember how long that one kept you out?
A: Three weeks, maybe, I don't remember.
Q: Do you think this is worse or better?
A: I'm not sure. It's hard to say either way but all I know is I'm going to do everything I can to get back as soon as I can.
Q: Is it tough for you as a teammate to see the stuff the Bills said about Odell [Beckham Jr.]?
A: I don't even know what they said.
Q: They said he threw a bunch of punches in the games and they called him a prima donna.
A: They said who did?
Q: Odell, they said Odell threw some punches.
A: I don't even listen or worry about any of that. It's the first of me hearing it. Odell is a teammate and a great player. It is what it is.
Q: When you look at the 49ers, what type of unique challenges, this is the second week in a row you're facing a scrambling quarterback. How is [Colin] Kaepernick different from [Tyrod] Taylor?
A: They're both good scrambling quarterbacks and Kaepernick can beat you with his legs. He's very athletic and can do a lot of different things and they have a really good running back. Carlos Hyde is a really good back and he really knows how to cut, get vertical, and has great vision. We have our hands full.