Cameron Wake – November 25, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 25, 2016

Defensive End Cameron Wake

(You were always very selfless in being a team guy when you were coming off the bench earlier this year. But has starting again – obviously during the whole duration of the winning streak, it’s been five games it’s not new – is it fun for you, is it rewarding, is it fulfilling to be a starter after starting the year on the bench?) – “No.”

(It genuinely makes no difference to you whatsoever?) – “No. Winning is the only thing that matters. Never has being a starter… It makes no difference. Contributing to the game makes a difference. Winning the game is what makes a difference. Starting is kind of silly to me. Starting the first play of the game, what significance is that to the outcome?”

(Snap counts have been a discussion this year with you. Is there a certain level that you feel like energy begins to decline? If you get to 45, 40.) – “I don’t know the number, but I’m sure there’s a number there. That’s no different for any other football player on the planet. That’s just the nature of football. What that number is, I don’t know but I enjoy playing.”

(Have you felt the energy depleted at all at any point, late in the game?) – “Yes, for sure. My rookie year, I felt depleted – last year, this year, this game. I don’t know any player who plays with the same level of energy on the first play and the 85th play. I’m not different than any other football player.”

(With a guy like 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and the kind of athleticism he brings to the game, how much is edge setting and containment a priority?) – “It’s always going to be a priority. We’ve played some mobile quarterbacks over the season. Making sure we contain them is always going to be a high priority, but to change our focus, or to change what we do, that’s not going to happen either. We’re still going to attack, we’re still going to go after it, and you’ve got four, or five, or six guys at the point of attack. The goal is to get him on the ground. We’ve done our job in the past and I wouldn’t expect that to change this week.”

(When they have a designed run for the quarterback, how much of a challenge is that?) – “I would enjoy getting after him, and getting a chance to hit the quarterback. He’s running, it’s no different than any other guy who gets out of the pocket. Their veil that they have in there is now no longer in place. I think a lot of guys are looking forward to that. Whoever has the ball – running back, quarterback, wide receiver – on this defense, we’re going to attack.”

(Is it actually easier to stop a quarterback on designed runs as it is when a quarterback is not really … when it’s not scripted?) – “I don’t know if it’s any easier or harder. To be honest, he’s a good athlete. An athlete with the ball, whether it’s planned or not, their job is to try to get yards and make you miss and it is difficult football. That’s what it is, you’re playing against the best in the world, and he’s one of them. We’re also the best in the world. It’s just one of those situations where we’ve just got to do our job better than they do.”

(What would you say to DE Dion Jordan who returned to practice this week and looks like may have an opportunity in front of him still?) – “I’m a guy who is a large advocate of grasping the opportunities that you have. Obviously my story has been spoken about many times; but you have a chance, whatever it may be, you have to have a laser focus on taking that bull by the horns – whether it’s off the field, studying in the classroom – when that opportunity does present itself, you are going to have to be as ready as possible. I’ve spoken to him many times and I think he knows that. I wouldn’t expect anything but for him to be ready when that chance comes.”

(Do you see the same athlete in past years that you saw in DE Dion Jordan’s [first week of practice]?) – “We haven’t seen much, obviously, aside from a couple drills in practice. He knows the situation. Getting the opportunity to get out there I think is great for everybody – him and us as a team, as a defense, a d-line. Knowing him and knowing what he can do and what he can bring, he’s a tremendous asset. Again, I hope that he gets all the details worked out, whether it’s rehab – again, I don’t know all the stuff – but whatever he has to do to get back on the field, I think he’ll be able to help us.”

(Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph has talked a lot about talking to the defense about speaking truth to power and holding everyone accountable. Do you feel like that message of truth on every given play when you reevaluate things has helped this defense become what it is now?) – “Definitely. This is not a place for sugarcoating and feelings and emotions. It’s the reality. If you’re good enough on the play, you’re good enough. If you’re not, you’re not. You should want to hear that as a man and as a professional. When you do good, you should want to know about it. When you don’t do so good, they should be able to tell you. I think that from the coaches – and from other players as well – has been something that has gone on for weeks and weeks now. You have to be man enough to hear the truth and correct the mistakes you’ve made and move forward. I think that’s something, again – you said that coach has talked about it – but that’s the only way to be, and that’s the only way to be successful.”

(The 49ers coach Chip Kelly, he has this vast interest in nutrition, health and sleep and all those sorts of things. Coach Gase actually mentioned that he visited with him, talked about some of that stuff. Is there something that the Gase administration has brought in that you think is different or new or helpful in terms of helping the players have maximum peak effort?) – “We have a whole sports science department. Those guys are not really football gurus, but their whole job is to maximize your output on Sunday, whether it’s nutrition – we have nutritionists – sleep – we have guys come and talk about that – and even a guy who talks about max-load, and we wear a monitor. We have a lot of stuff going on, but at the end of the day, you’re a professional. You have to know what’s best for you on Sunday. Nobody can tell you more than you can tell yourself. Obviously, you guys know me, I’m a big advocate of all those things. I think those are untapped resources as a whole. We all go and lift the heaviest weight we can, and we run on Sundays, but are you going to bed on time so your body can recover? Are you putting the right things in your body? This is your vessel, so (it is about) making sure you put the right fuel (in) and don’t poison your body. Those (are) things that maybe guys don’t take advantage of, and we’re trying to make sure that we do that so we can gain those advantages on Sunday.”

(The whole thing about – it’s a bit of a cliché – but creating a winning culture. Do you look at that as a cliché or do you feel that that has happened here?) – “It’s to be seen. We got a lot of football left to play. I think, obviously, we have made steps in the right direction, obviously, with the way things have been going the last few weeks. I think guys will continue to get the confidence and notice that, ‘Listen, when I do X, this is what happens,’ or ‘This is what creates a win,’ or ‘This is what helps me feel better on Sunday, so that in the fourth quarter, I can go out and close out games.’ I think with that knowledge, hopefully the snowball gets going, and that’s where you get those things. But that’s probably a question you can ask me maybe at the end of the season. I look forward to this week, playing and putting another win in the column for the good guys.”

Jarvis Landry – November 25, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 25, 2016

Wide Receiver Jarvis Landry

(We know that red jersey wasn’t your decision this week, right?) – “No, definitely not.”

(How are you feeling?) – “I’m good. (I am) taking it day by day, taking all the necessary things that I need to do to make sure that I’m as close to 100 percent (as possible) for Sunday.”

(Did you fight them on the decision to put the red jersey on?) – “No, I wanted to. I wanted to, but obviously, (we) just want to make everybody aware. Obviously, for me, when I get out there, my competitiveness takes over, and it would be silly to hurt it or whatever again.”

(Did you have to stop yourself at some point this week and remember that you’re wearing that jersey?) – “No. The coaches did a good job of reiterating that to the guys who were guarding me and who I potentially run past or something like that. They did a good job.”

(Was this the first time in your career [you’ve worn a red jersey]?)- “Yes.”

(Going back to LSU?) – “Yes, first time ever.”

(How much do your teammates give you crap about it?) – “They give me a little bit. But for the most part, they didn’t mind it.”

(QB Ryan Tannehill said that you used the word “fun” this week to talk about Head Coach Adam Gase’s offense. What do you think about Coach Gase’s offense that makes things fun?) – “The way that we attack teams, the way that we try to scheme on teams, and it allows every guy to be in a different spot. You can never really pinpoint … I can speak for myself particularly (not) being the slot (receiver) always. There are plays where I’m the outside receiver or the third guy inside. It gives you that free range to be put wherever, and it allows you to run a lot of different routes. That’s the best part about it.”

(When you line up across different parts of the formation like that, what kind trouble does that cause for a defense when they have to find you and have to locate where you are first and foremost?) – “It can be a problem. It can be a problem if they prepare for me to be the number two, and I end up being the number three. But obviously, those teams find ways to make solutions and adjustments. And that comes when other guys like DeVante (Parker), Kenny (Stills) – the way Jay (Ajayi) has been running the ball – those guys start making plays, and it allows them not to be able to do that anymore and then come back and start get it going again.”

(Would you call it a difficult offense to learn?) – “It is difficult, but we have great teachers. (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase is a great teacher. (Assistant Wide Receivers Coach) Ben Johnson and my position coach (Wide Receivers Coach) Shawn Jefferson – those guys are great teachers. This whole staff, they do a great job of making sure that everything is set and ready to go – every detail – when we get in here on Monday and Wednesday.”

(Is it terminology that makes it tough or a lot of details?) – “Things are constantly evolving. We don’t really do much that translates to the next game. We have a different game plan every game.”

(When we saw you on Sunday, you were having trouble walking because of the cramps. How was that flight home?) – “It was good. (I) got a couple IVs in me before we left, and they made sure they filled me up with water and Gatorade and stuff like that. The training staff, they took care of me.”

(How long did for that to subside? When did you start to feel better?) – “About to the plane. Probably when we got off the bus to get on the plane is probably the time I started walking straight.”

(Has cramping been an issue before?) – “No, not really. Not really.”

(And it wasn’t even that hot on Sunday.) – “No. I think it was the grass from the rain, and I was drinking less, because it wasn’t as hot and still running the same. So obviously, things happened there.”

(Obviously, you’ve been around for a while. What can you put that is the difference with this team as opposed to other Dolphins teams?) – “The mindset. (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase came in, and he’s trying to establish a culture here, a winning culture. When you go into games not hoping to win, but expecting to win, it breeds another type of confidence through the guys that take the field. We’re definitely extremely confident and motivated right now.”

(At what point was the first point you saw that difference?) – “The difference probably came after the Titans game. I think we got the bye (week) to self-reflect and look at what we have done. Being in a tough spot – obviously, a spot we put ourselves in – and looking back over it, we knew we had to try to take a different step. We started taking the right steps, and it has been working lately.”

(You mentioned that you had great teachers as far as teaching the offense and things of that nature. The guy is not here all the time, but Chris Chambers, what has he brought to the table whenever he’s out here with you guys?) – “He came in training camp and through OTAs, and he helped out a lot. He helped out a lot just with releases, technique catches – little things that made him special. My thing with him, he was a fun-loving guy, and he continued to push us. He took time out of his day to come and make sure that we were straight, and that says a lot about him.”

(When you talk about technique catches, what exactly?) – “Over-the-shoulder catches. A lot of the times, you look at receivers (and) they always leave the ball inside. That’s when DBs have the opportunity to make plays. So, technique catches, protecting that throw and catching over your outside shoulder. A lot of people don’t work on it.”

Adam Gase – November 25, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, November 25, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(We noticed G/T Laremy Tunsil practiced again today. How has his week gone and how likely do you think he’ll be able to play tackle?) – “It’s going to be a game-time decision. We’re going to have to wait until Sunday and then we’re going to have to work him out and just see how he feels. At this point it’s more, like I said yesterday, it’s a mobility issue. It’s going to be a pain tolerance issue. We just got to keep going with the trainers and the doctors, everybody just checking their box and he’s got to feel good about it.”

(If G/T Laremy Tunsil were to play, would it be at the tackle position?) – “Yes. I mean it looks like it, unless all of sudden ‘B.A.’ (Branden Albert) feels good enough to where he can go. It’s just like one of those things. He hasn’t even been out there yet. It’s hard for me to say, ‘Yes, all of a sudden we’ll have a miraculous recovery.’”

(Is T Branden Albert one of those players where – you put C Mike Pouncey in that category – where you wouldn’t need to see him in practice to play him?) – “Absolutely. When you have a guy that’s a veteran player and he’s been through this quite a bit, he’s able to take the knowledge in the classroom and just go out and apply it to game day.”

(QB Ryan Tannehill said the other day that your offense is really fun to play in. I’m wondering what you think of the attributes of a quarterback-friendly offense?) – “I think because that’s the guy that really has to steer the ship. Not all of the time where he’s the main focus as far as have to make every play and do everything within the game. Obviously, when you get the run game going and you can get the ball in the receiver’s hands quickly, those guys really take over the game and you don’t have to do as much. A lot of people say game-manage type things. But when you have the ability to be flexible within the week, maybe from week-to-week, depending who you play, and the focus does start becoming on the passing game and controlling the line of scrimmage. Maybe it’s a no-huddle, whatever it is, 2-minute operation. That’s when that guy really has to step up and make plays and when a guy feels comfortable in that – in the system that you’re running and the scheme you have up for that week – it makes my job easier. Obviously if they enjoy playing in it, it makes life a little easier because guys are always looking, ‘Alright Wednesday, what do you got for us this week?’ And then they feel like they’re a part of it, which our guys are very … They’ve gotten to the point where they’re not afraid to make suggestions. They’re not afraid to say, ‘Can I run it like this?’ The more we can get that going, the better chance we have to improve.”

(What’s one thing about QB Ryan Tannehill this year that surprised you and would surprise us?) – “I don’t know if it would surprise you guys. I think his toughness, his ability to stand in there. It’s almost like a no-fear attitude where he knows he’s going to get hit and just, he’ll stand back there and make the throw. I think that has been a very impressive trait. I know it cannot be easy by any means to just know you’re going to get whacked pretty good and you still have to make an accurate throw. Really, at the end of the day, nobody cares when you do get hit. They just expect you to make the throw. That’s a quality that you’ve got to have something internally to be able to do that.”

(That’s something that doesn’t obviously show up when you look at his numbers in the paper. Can you see just how much better he makes this team by having that inate quality?) – “I think there’s been some – whether it be a touchdown pass or a third-down conversion that kept us going or kept us score points – that if he doesn’t do some of those things where he stands in there and takes a shot, we don’t get those plays. I think guys respect the fact that he’s sacrificing for them – a little bit of his body – to make those throws.”

(Do you not cringe at times?) – “There have been a couple that were pretty … Any time anybody gets around his legs, that’s a little … You just never know what’s going on there because if you bend a certain way … We’ve seen it in the past, right? You’ve seen quarterbacks not be able to get up from some of those. Any time you see a defender go at somebody’s head, especially with the quarterback – you’re defenseless – that can be a little scary there.”

(You’re going to say I’m jinxing you but the fact he has never been concussed is something that’s astounding to us because of the hits he’s taken. You would think at some point he would get a concussion.) – “Yes. It’s just one of those … You just never know in this game. Sometimes guys have a long streak of nothing ever happens to them and then I’ve seen guys that once it happens … We’ve seen that once it happens once, if you don’t take the proper time to recover and go through the proper protocol steps, that’s why they’ve changed the rules. That’s why the rules are what they are now, to make sure that there’s not multiple (concussions). That’s why we go through all the tests and we take the precautions we do to make sure if something does happen to a guy, we can get him back at the right time; but that it doesn’t occur again. I think that’s a good thing for our players to just know we’re trying to put their safety first and then worry about the football second.”

(Where does this team’s chemistry compare with other teams that you’ve been on and how do you read that year to year when rosters change in and out?) — “It’s hard to say we’re all the way there because I think every day’s a learning experience for a lot of our guys. This is our first time we’ve gone this route together – all of us coaches, players, front office, staff members. It’s hard to compare to anywhere else that I’ve been, because like in Denver, we were together for a while and we got some things going. We had some changes in personnel and that kind of changed some things as far as the dynamics of the team chemistry. It’s always hard to compare because it is, it’s such a year-to-year deal in the NFL. That’s what makes this league as interesting as it is and that’s why so many people love it is the fact that once you start the new season, last year is wiped away. No one cares. No one cares that you won a Super Bowl last year because the next year you’re expected to do it again and you have to develop the same chemistry. So you have to start over almost. Are there some familiar faces? Absolutely, but it’s still new guys coming in. You’ve got to bring those guys along. You’ve got to find a new bond with that group.”

(In your opinion as a coach, how much does good chemistry, bad chemistry have to do with winning and losing?) – “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that when guys love playing for each other, that gives you that little bit of an edge in a good way. When things aren’t quite right, that’s when you see things get torn apart. That’s why I love where we’re at. We’ve gone through a lot of struggles early in the year and some of it was that we played some good teams; some of it was we didn’t perform the way we needed to. Just to see our development throughout the year and watch guys try to fight for each other and do everything they can to give ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter to win, it’s been great to see guys who really embrace our process.”

(Do you think those struggles are what molded you as a team?) – “I think at the end of the day we’ve still got six games left, but I think it did. It did help us get to where we’re at least at right now. We went through a lot of adversity. I think last week was a great example of what we did earlier in the season and built through those beginning games was able to help us go through this last game where the defense was doing a good job of just holding those guys as much as they could and the encouragement we saw from our defense to the offensive players and special teams, they constantly (said), ‘Hey, keep this drive going. Get a first down. Let’s get this thing rolling.’ I think that helped because when we did get in a situation with 6 minutes left, there wasn’t frustration on the defense’s part. They had confidence that the offense was going to score, we were going to stop and get the ball back and we were going to give ourselves a chance.”

(A question on CB Xavien Howard. How did he look in his first week of practice in about six weeks and how encouraged are you that at some point this season maybe he’ll be able to help out?) – “To start, I can’t predict when or if he’s coming back some part of this season. Obviously, we’d all love for that to happen; but we’re going to really lean on our medical people and him to let us know when the right timing is. As far as how he looked, I thought it was about right for what he has had to do the last few weeks. You get out there, you start doing some different things movement wise and anytime that you start getting around other players and you’re going against a guy, it’s just a different feel for him. I know he’s one of those guys that he’s always going to work as hard as he can to try to get himself back. He’s trying to get that feel back and we’ll just see how it goes here in the next few weeks.”

(WR Jarvis Landry wore that red jersey all week. Is there a concern?) – “We were just trying to be cautious as far as guys not – him and Spencer (Paysinger) we did the same thing for. We didn’t want any unnecessary contact. Obviously the way Jarvis – you know how he plays – he gets enough contact during a game. We’re just trying to be smart. It just seems like the way he practices and the way our scout team defense practices, which is very … They try to make our guys feel like it’s a game. It’s very competitive, which is what we want, and we were just trying to make sure that we didn’t have a setback there during practice and not have him available for the game.”

(So you’re not overly concerned for Sunday?) – “No, it was more of cautionary thing for us.”

(What has enabled S Bacarri Rambo to come in and contribute the way that he has and know so early on?) – “I think experience and the fact that he’s a very smart player. I think there was a hunger there. We’ve talked about it. The great thing that he has brought was he hadn’t played and just when he came in there and just the way that he talks to the other guys on the team about, ‘Hey, I promise you. You don’t want to be on the other end of this thing. You don’t want to be on the street. You don’t want to be a free agent looking for work. You want to be on a team.’ I think he’s done a great job as far as not being shy about expressing the fact that he’s happy to be here. He’s happy that he gets an opportunity to compete and I think he’s made the most of every opportunity that we’ve afforded to him. We gave him a shot to get in there and show what he could do and he took advantage of that.”

(What’s intriguing about 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly? Going back to Oregon, and I’m sure you looked at a lot of different concepts and some folks have tried to use some parts of it throughout the NFL, but what do you think when you look at what he has done?) – “He has always been a guy that I’ve looked at and admired from afar. I spent some time up in Oregon after he left and came to the NFL. (Former Oregon Offensive Coordinator) Scott Frost is a good friend of mine, so I spent some time with him going up there and talking through a lot of the things that they were doing up there and an idea-exchange thing we put together between me and him. I always liked, not just what Chip did as far as a schematic deal, but how their whole operation was as far as the sports science thing. I was starting to get interested in that. So, we tried to take a few ideas in that aspect of, ‘How do you take care of players? How do you get guys fresh enough for the game, but still practice hard?’ and things like that. Even some of the teaching methods that they have and how they go about keeping guys engaged. That’s the hardest thing in this league now is we do have a lot of young guys. The game has changed over time, and there’s a little bit of … It’s a different style with the iPads and phones and all these things. The way guys go about their business nowadays, it’s completely different than at least what I remember when I first got in the league. So, you have to find different ways to teach guys. I thought they did a good job up there as far as finding those ways and getting their guys going through, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s the phone,’ (and) doing things as far as their body goes (and asking), ‘Are you hydrated?’ things like that, ‘Did you sleep well?’ I thought all that stuff was very interesting to me.”

(San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly was in Oregon and you were where?) – “I was in Denver, but he had just gone to Philly. So, that was a little bit of an in there to go up there and talk to those guys (at Oregon after Kelly left).”

Adam Gase – November 24, 2016 Download PDF version

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(We saw G/T Laremy Tunsil out there again today…) – “I won’t know … It’s going to be to the wire.”

(You got through well yesterday, though [with G/T Laremy Tunsil]?) – “We did what we could with him. We’ve got time. We’ll see what happens. We’ve got to see how he feels.”

(Can you give us a more specific idea of what was actually wrong with him? Is it like a strain?) – “I don’t know the exact details. I just know it’s painful for him right now as far as whether it be contact or movement. That’s why we’re a little questionable in that area.”

(When it comes to closing out games, do you think that this team knows how to do that? Or are you still in the learning process?) – “I think the last four or five weeks, somebody has done something to help finish it off, whether it be the offense putting another touchdown up on the board or special teams coming through with a kick return or (the) defense coming up with a turnover. Somebody has stepped up (and) made a play. At the end of the day, in this league in the fourth quarter, that’s usually what it comes down to is somebody making a special play at the end of the game, because everything gets real aggressive, and it really comes down to one-on-one matchups.”

(What was your expectation of S Isa Abdul-Quddus when you signed him, and what has he given you this season?) – “I think that we felt like we had a reliable guy both in the passing game and in the run game. We felt like he was a really outstanding tackler. We thought him and Reshad (Jones) would be a good marriage back there as far as both guys could be in the middle and both guys could be down in the box. I think he has done an extraordinary job as far as us losing Reshad and him stepping in and being a little bit of a leader back there – being vocal. The last few games he has been outstanding as far as making sure he has been really sound in his fits in the run game. He has been very physical as a tackler. He had some really nice hits last game. When he is back there, he understands – as far as in the middle of the field – he understands the angles and what to do. When somebody breaks free, he’s a really reliable tackler.”

(Staying on the secondary, there has been a lot of different faces out there – no S Reshad Jones, no CB Xavien Howard, CB Bené Benwikere, CB Chris Culliver, CB Chimdi Checkwa. Why is it still working so successfully?) – “I think between (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph), (Defensive Backs Coach) Lou (Anarumo) and Daronte (Jones), they do a great job of keeping their guys prepared. I think our guys that had been backups or new (to the team) have done a great job as far as understanding the why of what we’re doing on defense and playing to their strengths, and at the same time, doing their job down-in and down-out. When you have guys that are engaged like that and understand what’s going on with the full defense, that’s really the critical part, because when you have guys back there that aren’t really sure what other people are doing, that’s when you can get in trouble. Those guys really understand what the whole defense is doing, not just their job.”

(One more question on G/T Laremy Tunsil. Is it a matter of pain management or is there a question whether he can do something worse to it?) – “It’s more of how much movement does he have. That’s the hardest thing. When you play that … If he has to play left tackle, he has to be able to get his hands on guys. You’re getting hit every play. It’s a little bit of everything. It’s movement; it’s mobility. You’re going to have to really play through some uncomfortable circumstances.”

(CB Byron Maxwell has said that traveling with wide receivers across the field has really helped him. Are you viewing it the same way? Do you feel like that’s something that has kind of helped him kind of improve his play?) – “Yes. Sometimes when you stay on one side, you have a specific view of how you see things. With our guys kind of moving around with certain wide receivers in certain games, I think it is helpful. It opens up their skill set. It opens up how they see things as the full defense. He’s done a good job. That whole group has done a good job as far as when we do matchups of getting lined up quick, finding their guy (and) understanding what the call is. It’s not really as easy as you think sometimes because now all of a sudden the calls start switching, you have some kind of motion or shift, now assignments change, coverages change because the way defenses are played nowadays, there’s double, triple calls coming in, in certain personnel (groups) and there’s a lot of little tiny details that you have to be on. When you’re on one side and you expect certain types of calls, it’s a little easier than when you’re traveling all over the place and all of a sudden it can get a little much as far as volume goes.”

(You guys are being outscored by a pretty significant margin in the first quarter. You’ve been very good in the fourth but struggling in the first. What’s going on there as far as…) – “I think every game is different. I mean a lot of times you see that we’re deferring, so the other team has the ball first. We’ve had some games where we’ve started out okay on offense and then there have been some games where we’ve just been absolutely inept. When you start as poorly as we did on offense in the beginning of the season, it piles up. Then we’ve had a couple games here and there where we haven’t started off real well. That’s why it’s a four-quarter game, though, and that’s why you can never panic early in the game. Sometimes that first half, it doesn’t look as smooth as you want it to, but you make your adjustments at halftime, then you come out in the third and fourth quarters and those are the most important ones.”

(Yesterday was kind of a lighter practice. And today were you guys back to normal?) – “Yes. Back to normal today.”

(We saw CB Xavien Howard out there yesterday, which again, as you were saying, wouldn’t require too much of him. But then he was also out there again today. Has there been some development on him?)– “I think this is kind of where we’re at right now with his rehab, where he can practice. He was doing individual. I know when he feels comfortable, we’ll get him out there as far as really competing in practice and going against the wide outs. I know next week, when we’re able to do one-on-ones and things like that, I’m sure he’ll start jumping in on things like that. We’re just going to keep progressing along and, like I said before, we’re not in this rush phase of, ‘Hey, let’s hurry up and get him back.’ We’ve had two injuries here in a short period of time so we just want to make sure that when we get him back, we get him back as close to 100 percent as possible.”

(And then DE Dion Jordan also practiced again today?) – “Yes, he did. He did individual today. It’s a little bit of … when you haven’t done anything in a long time and all of a sudden you get thrown in there and you have ‘T’ (Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams) and (Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim) Washburn down there doing their drills, it gets pretty intense pretty fast. We just have to take it day-by-day right now and see how he feels. Obviously tomorrow, that’s really the first time he’s actually had to do this type of work so we’ll obviously evaluate tonight and tomorrow, and just see how he feels and see where we’re at in that process.”

(I was wondering how you evaluate him because I know you have a standard but you know that he’s been out for two years so what’s your criteria for a successful practice for him?) – “A lot of it is communication with him, just how he feels. It’s really the next day that you want to figure out where he’s at. So we just keep collecting that information and with the amount of time that we have, we can kind of each day track where he’s at. That’s why it’s nice to have the amount of people we have that track all of those little details with the GPS and how it is he feels, his workload for that day and how it looks like he’s moving the next day. We just constantly keep track of these things and then we have a good idea if we’re trending upward, if we’ve kind of plateaued or we’re inconsistent. We really do have a good amount of information as we get through, and the days pile up. We’ll see. It’s going to take time, obviously.”

Ryan Tannehill – November 23, 2016 (Conference Call) Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

QB Ryan Tannehill Conference Call with San Francisco Media

(You’ve talked about changing the culture, what’s changed?) – “A lot of things have changed. I think the biggest thing is the trust and belief in each other that we’re going to play for each other and go out and find a way to win football games.”

(Your head coach has over the years, gotten a lot of credit for working with a lot of different types of quarterbacks, having success with them. What has been the biggest thing that he’s brought to you to help you improve your game?) – “He’s brought a lot to me, I think his offense is really fun to play in. He does a lot of things to help the quarterback. Just his knowledge of playing quarterback, being around all the quarterbacks he’s had. He’s learned so much and can help you in so many ways. He’s helped me in so many ways. Whether it’s drills, or footwork, whether it’s eyes in a certain place, what you’re looking at, there are all sorts of things that go into playing this position, and he’s got a solid knowledge base on doing that.”

(Head Coach Adam Gase talked a little bit earlier that, when it gets late in games, he wants the offense to have the attitude of going to win games and not having the defense even to be on the field. Obviously that’s something that has translated for you guys as recently as last week. How has, for lack of a better word, swagger … How has that rubbed off on you and your ability to help finish games out?) – “Yes, it’s definitely confidence. I think that confidence has built throughout the week, and just seeing how I prepare, and how the guys around me prepare, how we practice, and get ready to play the game. You put in the work during the week, and then you can go into the game having that belief in each other knowing that we’ve put in the work and can find a way to win.”

(How do you explain from your vantage-point what you’ve seen from RB Jay Ajayi and his recent rising in recent weeks?) – “Jay’s done a great job. I think since the day he’s got here, he’s ran the ball extremely hard. He’s been a physical, tough runner. But over the course of the last two months, I think we’ve seen him grow in our zone-blocking scheme, just being able to have a little patience, see the creases, put his foot in the ground (and) get vertical. Once he gets into the second level, he’s a big, strong guy and he’s tough to bring down. You get him consistently in the second level and it’s going to cause problems for defenses.”

(Are you noticing defenses react more to him in these last couple of games? And has that opened up play-action for you a little bit more?) – “Yes, I mean they have to, honestly, because he’s had so much success and gained so many yards on the ground. If they don’t react, he’s going to be gaining even more on the ground. It has opened up a little play-action for us and that’s all a good thing.”

(You talked about how Head Coach Adam Gase has helped you with mechanics and stuff like that. But he also stuck by you early in the season after kind of a rocky start. Basically, ‘You’re my quarterback for the long term.’ What did that mean to you and how do you think that affected the team, just the fact that there seems to be some stability there?) – “It’s huge. It gives me confidence (and) it gives our team confidence knowing that there’s no instability knowing who the quarterback’s going to be – his belief in me, my belief in myself and my teammates. It starts from the top. If he believes in me and if he believes in the guys around me, then we believe in each other and play for each other even to more extent.”

(You guys spent some time the whole last week out here in California. The Niners are about to do the same in Florida. What are some benefits there for a team that you can take away from maybe getting that time away?) – “It’s a challenge, definitely. Just being away from your home facility, your home, your family, your own bed – all of those things are tough. But, there are some benefits, just being able to spend time with your teammates. There’s a little less of a distraction or pull from family being in town or whatever it may be, just because you’re away and the only people that are there are your teammates. There’s definitely a benefit to spending that extra time with your teammates.”

Adam Gase – November 23, 2016 (Conference Call) Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase Conference Call

(What did you guys get out of, other than the two victories, what did you guys get out of your stay in California?) – “I think it was good for us to kind of get away, especially at this point in the season. We had four home games in a row. It was kind of a different scenery; it changes things up a little bit for us spending 11 days out there. It was a little bit of a training camp feel. It was nice to see a lot of our guys hanging out. We saw a lot of guys spending time with each other that normally you don’t see. After our first game, seeing guys on Monday and Tuesday, we had a lot of guys hanging around the main office we had there watching film and spending time together doing football things and building that team camaraderie.”

(This late in the season, there’s still benefits to be had by getting away like that?) – “I think so. It’s just … any time that you can change it up. I know people hate to hear how monotonous it can be in the NFL, but when you do the same thing every day for as long as we have to do it throughout the season, any time you can change things up and it’s a different feel for the week, it’s a good thing because the guys are engaged. It’s a different feel for them and I think it was beneficial for our guys.”

(We remember you from 2008 working under Mike Martz here and I know that you worked under Mike for a while. I was just wondering, what kind of imprint Mike Martz had in what you guys do in Miami now?) – “It’s still a lot of the way that I was brought up under him. I think I use a lot of the tools that he showed me as far as how to teach players, as far as our meetings go, our installs are done exactly the way that I learned under him. A lot of the way that we practice as an offense is done exactly the way I learned under him. Schematically, there are still a few things that are there that I learned working under him but, we’re not as much what he did schematically just because it changed a lot when I was in Denver, when I started there – just because we had a different style of quarterback. We were running a different style of offense at the time. That was really what I ended up doing was what we did in Denver kind of carried to Chicago and has developed here.”

(How are you guys preparing your defense for the tempo of Chip Kelly’s offense?) – “Well, we have ways that we deal with that. The good thing is our defense … We were a no-huddle offense all through spring and training camp so our guys are kind of used to a similar tempo to what they run. We always would practice faster than really what we ended up doing in games. So our defense was kind of used to the way that we ended up practicing all throughout the year. Obviously, the last five weeks we’ve kind of changed the way we’ve done things. So they’re used to that style of defense. They had to implement their fast-paced defense early on in the process. It was a good thing for our defense that we were like that to start the year out because they’re used to that.”

(Back to Mike Martz real quick, he’s known for having a lot of confidence and daring, does any of his attitude rub off on you a bit?) – “Absolutely. I wouldn’t use the word daring. I would just say aggressive. Mike was … what I learned from him right from the get go was being an attacking offense, dictating the pace of game, dictating kind of how you are going to play as far as going to win or lose the game. Mike always talked about it. It was the offense’s job to go win the game and not to prevent from losing it. So when we get in situations when we have opportunities to go win the game, I have a lot of confidence in our players. We’ve done a few things. At the end of the Buffalo game, we had third-and-6 with 2:14 left and we’re throwing go routes. I have a lot of confidence that our guys are going to go make plays and we did and we scored a 66-yard touchdown. That’s kind of how we play. That’s our attitude. We know when we get into 4-minute situations, our job is to go win the game. Our job is to make sure the defense never touches the field again. I think I learned that from an early age with him. It’s obviously in my DNA because that was the way I was raised by him.”

(From your one year in San Francisco in 2008, you had three guys who you were on that staff with on your staff now. Obviously, there are a lot of new faces here at the 49ers. But do you have any relationships with people inside the building still?) – “Obviously, (San Francisco 49ers Director of Human Performance) Mark Uyeyama is a close friend of mine. It feels like we were both … I was an offensive assistant, he was (former 49ers Strength and Conditioning Coach Duane) Carlisle’s assistant at the time. I think we lived like four doors down from each other in our apartment complex. We’ve always kind of kept in touch.  We’ve always been close friends. There are a lot of good people in that building. Obviously, (San Francisco 49ers Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations) Praraag Marathe has always been a good friend of mine. I have a ton of respect for (San Francisco 49ers CEO) Jed York. I’ve always enjoyed seeing him, especially now I’m able to see those guys at owners meetings and at any function. It’s great to see those guys because that was … For me to leave Detroit and go to San Francisco and being involved in that organization was a great experience for me because of the history there. It was really exciting to do something different that I had never done before – moving to the West Coast and the history of that organization and trying to help those guys to right the ship at the time. We didn’t get it done but it was really something that was a very prideful thing because knowing that history and the fan base there and how badly those people wanted a winner.”

(It seemed like for a few hours at least in January of 2015 that you were poised to become the 49ers next head coach. Did you feel like it was imminent? Did you feel like that was in the offing for you?) – “It just seems like a long time ago. It’s hard for me to even really look back on any of that. I know it was a great experience for me as far as going through that process and getting to spend the time with all those guys. It was a really beneficial learning experience for me as far as going through not just the initial interview but that follow-up interview and spending all that time with (San Francisco 49ers General Manager) Trent (Baalke) was a really, really valuable experience for me and extremely helpful for me when I went through that next round of interviews, just kind of the do’s and don’ts of what to do and the expectations. I owe those guys a lot just for the fact that they did give me that second interview and I was able to spend the amount of time I spent with Trent. It was very valuable for me because nobody else gave me that second interview that interviewed me the first time. It made it so much easier for myself when I went through that next round the year afterwards to know what to expect and to understand the process of that second interview.”

(From all you’ve studied up on the 49ers back then and to where they are now, what do you see that’s gone wrong with that franchise from afar?) – “This is what makes the NFL interesting is when you watch the film, I see a defense that … it doesn’t really correlate to me and that’s why as coaches you don’t really focus on rankings and things like that and record, because every week is such a new week and everybody goes into the week and you’re trying to win that one game. So whatever your record is, it’s really irrelevant. In pro football, guys refocus fast and every guy does want to feel that winning feeling. So I know those guys are going to come in, they’re going to be prepared. They’re going to have a great scheme. They have a very good coaching staff. Players are playing extremely hard. You see it on tape. Their scheme is very tough to go against. Obviously, this is … between offense, defense and special teams, we haven’t seen an up-tempo offense like this except in practice. We haven’t seen some of the looks that we’ve seen from this defense as far as what they do as far as the variety and the looks and the exotic pressures. There’s some tough, tough looks that you have to go against. And the way that this defense is playing as far as how physical they are and how fast … They gave New England everything they had and Tom (Brady) obviously made some very, very good plays in that game to help those guys win that game. This is a very different challenge for us because these are some things that we haven’t seen. It’s an unfamiliar opponent for our guys being from the NFC West. Even though I was able to play against these guys and do have some familiarity with some of these players, the schemes are different so it’s almost like a full reboot for myself and (Defensive Coordinator) Vance Joseph the same thing, to where we have to make sure that we do every little thing right for us because when we hit Sunday, the records and rankings, all of that stuff is irrelevant because it’s all about trying to figure out how to win one game.”

(A month ago, I was reading you’re the youngest NFL head coach and maybe you’re a little in over your head. And now obviously, you’re a rising star who knows everything. Is it interesting to you how quickly perceptions can change?) – “This is my 15th year in the NFL. I’ve seen ups and downs. I’ve been involved in multiple organization. I was in Detroit five years, I was in San Francisco for a year. I was in Denver for six years. I went from where we were almost making the playoffs in Denver then the next year we get fired and go 4-12 and it’s the end of the world. The next year, (John) Fox comes in, (Tim) Tebow ends up taking us to the playoffs. Then we get Peyton Manning and we signed Peyton Manning and everyone’s talking about how it’s the biggest mistake he made because we had no talent on our team. We had no receivers. Then we end up having three guys that go to the Pro Bowl at receiver. Demaryius Thomas is one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL now.  Eric Decker goes to the Jets and he’s a really good player. Julius Thomas was one of the most dominant tight ends. So everybody looks at things on a weekly basis to where sometimes in the NFL, as coaches and players, we kind of can see the whole thing to where sometimes the outside perception isn’t really what reality is.”

(So what is the difference between the slow start and what happened during the five-game winning streak?) – “Well sometimes it takes a minute to kind of get your whole group together as far as health-wise, scheme-wise, everybody kind of getting fit in and figuring each other out. It’s not as easy to put things together nowadays because of the limited practice time (and) the way that you’ve got to go through training camp. You’re trying to get things done in the preseason but at the same time, you’re trying to get to the regular season. We started out at Seattle, at New England and at Cincinnati in the first four games. So, for a group that’s getting together for the first time, we couldn’t have loved it any more than how it started as far as we had some big-time challenges in front of us. Things didn’t go exactly as planned; but it was a great learning experience for us because it really showed us who is really the kind of guys that we want here? Who are the guys that are tough enough to go through the fact that we had a 1-4 start? Are we going to stick together or are we going to fall apart? It was a great example of there’s a little more character in this building, in this organization, than what people gave credit for. Our guys really did a great job as far as sticking to what the plan was as far as what we talked about in training camp and when we started the season. They stuck with what we were saying. They kept working. They kept practicing hard. Things eventually turned around for us because we stuck with our process. We kept going back to…”

(How much has it been for you kind of a feeling out process of how to best use QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Jay Ajayi to kind of feed off each other and make that offense whole?) – “Well, that’s what every year is. Every year you have a different team. You never go into the season and say, ‘Hey, this is exactly what we’re going to be.’ You have an idea. You have an outline, but it’s firmly etched in pencil. You’re getting ready to make changes as the season goes on. When you have injuries, you have guys moving in and out of the building, you have to make changes. Jay started playing well in that Tennessee game and busted out in the Pittsburgh game, so we started leaning on him. Ryan does a lot of really good things early in the game, in some of those games that nobody really realizes. And then, we’ve had to have a couple games where he’s really had to step up and kind of carry us. He’s done a great job these last two games, especially when things weren’t quite going exactly as planned, he stepped up and made some plays. DeVante Parker has finally gotten healthy. He’s been a big reason for kind of some of our turnaround. The healthier we can get, the longer we go, the better chance we can have as far as each week trying to line up and have a chance in the fourth quarter.”

(One more 2015 question. After the 49ers decided on Jim Tomsula as their head coach, did he approach you, talk to you about being their offensive coordinator that season?) – “Possibly.” (laughter)

(Did it possibly happen at the Denver airport?) – “Maybe. (laughter) Possibly that happened. (laughter) For me, it was … I’ll say this, I have a lot of respect for Jim. He always treated me so great. When I was an offensive assistant, he went out of his way to always approach me. We had a great relationship. That was very tough for me as far as deciding to go to Chicago because I thought that was the best move for me at the time. I have a lot of friends in that building and I have a lot of people that I respect. Obviously, my respect for the York family is very, very high. I want the best for those guys all the time. So that was a tough decision for me because anytime that I can do anything to help Jed York win games, that’s why that was a very hard decision as far as even not getting the head coaching job, just saying I think I’m going to do something else as far as a coordinator job. That was a tougher decision than what probably most people realize because of the respect factor I have for the people I have in that organization.”

Ndamukong Suh – November 23, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh

(You guys have faced several scrambling quarterbacks this year with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor, Titans QB Marcus Mariota. What are the challenges of QB Colin Kaepernick who – as Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph said – is particularly dangerous when he scrambles on pass plays and breaks out.) – “Any quarterback that has the ability to move outside the pocket and make plays with his feet athletically is always going to be a challenge for the defensive line. At the end of the day, we have to understand what our task is at hand. It’s obviously containing him and keeping him inside the pocket and obviously get after him in passing downs.”

(Is this the most fun you’ve had since you have been here as far as this team being on a roll, starting to win games in a row and really putting yourselves in contention to do something once the regular season is over?) – “Winning is always fun. At the end of the day, that’s our job – to go out there and find way to win football games and go from there.”

(What challenges have you seen besides QB Colin Kaepernick watching their offense?) – “The got some definitely big-time running backs running downhill. (They) like to get downhill in their screen game, as well. I think at the end of the day, we’re going to have an overall challenge. As we approach each and every single game, we have to stop the run and obviously get after the passer and make them a one-dimensional team.”

(The defense played so well last week holding them in check and the offense finally had a couple of touchdowns. Talk about the versatility of this team in terms of fourth quarter comebacks. A couple weeks ago, it was a kickoff and then four interceptions by the defense, then two touchdowns by the offense. It seems all three units have participated at one time or another in a fourth-quarter comeback.) – “I think this is one of the ultimate team games. No matter where we’re going to get the spark from – whether it’s from the defense, offense, special teams – we’re going to take it and run with it. At the end of the day (our goal), as a defensive guy and on the defensive side of the ball, is to go out there and get the ball back to our offense or to our special teams as many times as we can to allow them to get points on the board.”

(How has Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn’s presence helped this year?) – “I enjoy Jim. I’ve been around him for … This is my third, fourth year now with him. He’s a very in-tune guy, very high on technique. It’s key, especially late in the season. This time of year, people want to get away from it and just look at scheme, but technique is really what helps you get through these tough times, through injuries and all these different pieces that you have. At the end of the day, I’ve always enjoyed being coached by him – and somewhat indirectly coached by him – at all levels of my career.”

(There are several ways this year in terms of how Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph and Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams and Senior Defensive Assistant/Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn have used you that you’ve liked, things that average fans might not notice about technique or the way you’re used that have helped, that you’ve been pleased with.) – “I think there are a lot of different ways that they’ve been able to put me in positions to make plays. But at the end of the day, I’m not going to give you and tell you what those are. At the end of the day, I enjoy this defense. I enjoy the way Vance coaches it and same with Jim Washburn and Terrell.”

(What do you enjoy the most about the way Head Coach Adam Gase runs things?)  – “I think overall he understands the players’ needs. He’s adjustable, adaptable to different situations. I think at the end of the day, he’s a young coach and he’s been around the game a long (time), seen a lot of great players and trying to get us in position to prepare for Sundays.”

(What did you think of having DE Dion Jordan out there today with you guys?)– “Enjoyable, but we’ll see.”

(Did DE Dion Jordan look athletic?) – “It’s not my job to make that opinion. He’s a talent, I’ll just say that.”

Ryan Tannehill – November 23, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill

(Thankful of the turnaround and you guys are in contention. I know you guys don’t want to use the ‘p’ word for playoffs but you guys are in a position to create some opportunities.) – “Yes. We have a lot of opportunities out in front of us. We just have to take it one game at a time and start with the big one this week.”

(If you’re ever faced with – you’ve had several fourth quarter comebacks, the team has – faced with late and down, can you draw on this last week and say, ‘Alright, we’ve been there. We know what that’s like. We’ve read this book before.’) – “Yes, we’ve had a lot of games and opportunities this year where we’ve been able to come from behind in the fourth quarter late in games – some double digit leads we’ve been able to overcome in the fourth quarter. I think this team has confidence no matter what happens, as long as there’s time on the clock, we’re going to find a way to win.”

(Where is this sense of calm coming from for you guys?) – “I think it all comes with preparation – in how you prepare, how you get yourself both mentally and physically ready to play. If you put that time in throughout the week, you know what to do, then you can call upon it in those critical situations.”

(You’ve been around here a little while now. Usually, the games don’t go the way they have been in the end. What’s been the biggest difference for you guys?) – “Just sticking together (and) playing for each other no matter what’s going on. In a lot of situations, one side or the other could get frustrated with the other side of the ball. Say like, last game. The defense could’ve gotten frustrated with the offense not scoring points. But they just kept doing their job. They kept going out there, coming up with big stops and giving us more opportunities. In the end, they kept us in the game and gave us the opportunity at the end of the game to go get the win.”

(How big was TE Dion Sims’ ability to go one-on-one with defensive ends, leaving him by himself to kind of block things up at times?) – “Yes. Dion is huge for us. Both in the run and pass game, he does a lot of things for us – blocking defensive ends, combo-ing with the tackles – so he has been a big factor for us this entire season.”

(To speak to the versatility of the team when the offense came back this time, the defense had four interceptions against San Diego, a kickoff return a week before. All three aspects of the team have been critical in the fourth quarter comebacks.) – “Yes. I think we’re leaning on each other right now. There’s a belief within the team and confidence within the team that we’re going to find a way. It’s not always going to be the same guy or the same group but as a team, we’re going to find a way, and that’s what you want.”

(Do you think the offense is better equipped now to handle playing with some of the backup offensive linemen than it was at the beginning of the season?) – “It’s always tough when you lose your starters. Obviously, you want to have your best five out there, but we’ve done it before. We learned through that situation. We had some guys step up last week. They played big in their opportunity. I think once they settled in – once Sam (Young) got settled in, and ‘Urby’ (Kraig Urbik) and Anthony Steen – they really did a good job. On that last drive, I didn’t really have hardly any pressure and we were able to march the ball down the field. So, I think they can build on that going into this week.”

(Are you and C Anthony Steen on the same page as far as identifying the Mike linebacker, the Mike point and all those things…) – “Yes. It’s a growing process. We played a little bit together earlier in the year, so it’s not like (these are) his first snaps getting game snaps. As a combo, we’re growing together and getting better each and every day.”

(You talked a few weeks ago about scratching the surface with WR DeVante Parker and what he can do. Can you update us on where you are with that?)  – “Yes, DeVante is still growing. I think we’ve seen kind of what he can be and can become. He’s growing and that’s what we want to see, just constant progress. Whether it’s DeVante or me or the o-line, whatever it is. We want to see guys progress and getting better throughout the season. As we get into this last stretch, this fourth quarter of football, we should be playing our best football. So, just keep going in that direction and we’ll be in a good spot.”

(Does a team that’s won five in a row have to guard against complacency going against a team that’s lost nine in a row?) – “No. I think this team is hungry and the record can fool you on these guys. I have a lot of respect for (the 49ers) and the way they play. Obviously, their record is what it is. But, at least the defensive side of the ball, they play hard. They play physical. They’re not just showing up and folding the tent. They’re coming to play and we’re going to have to take care of our business.”

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