49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh recently met with the media and discussed various issues surrounding the team. Here are some of the highlights:
Q: With guys like WR Michael Crabtree and CB Shawntae Spencer who you haven't coached, you haven't seen in the offseason, you haven't seen on the practice field, how do you work what you're going to do with them, how do you do that with these guys?
A: "Well, you go off of previous tape, both of those players have played in the league and played a high level. You can go off of that. The other thing you go off of is what they're absorbing, what they're retaining out on the field and in meetings. There's a level that you can evaluate there. Poor, medium, outstanding, so that you can predict how they will fit in once they're healthy.
Assuming those players are healthy for the start of the season, all eyes will be on the coaching staff and how their philosophies will differ from previous staffs.
Q: How interchangeable are your receiver slots? Can you move WR Braylon Edwards to either side or do you like a guy to be a set X, a set Y, whatever?
A: "Well, Y is the tight end position. But you'd like to have as much versatility as possible in terms of a guy being able to play X or Z and the slot."
Q: Speaking of the Y position, what's TE Vernon Davis shown you in these two games as well as through training camp?
A: "I'm really pleased with Vernon. I like watching Vernon practice. I like watching him play. He's tremendously explosive. He's a blue collar guy when it comes to work on the practice field, in the weight room, in the meetings. He's a pro, a true pro all the way."
This sounds like the Vernon Davis that 49ers fans have been blown away by (when healthy, of course) the past few seasons. His strong play will be crucial to the offense's success.
Q: Is Alex Smith starting on Saturday?
A: "He is."
Q: And play like half, maybe start another series in the second half, that type of thing?
A: "No, I don't think that's the way it's going to go. I think [QB] Colin [Kaepernick] will get in fairly early, and I'd like to see Colin play with some of the ones after two series. We'll see how it goes. Sometimes you have to see how long was the first series, how long was the second series? But fairly early into the game.
Definitely something to keep an eye on this weekend. With no starter officially announced for the regular season, a big game from either quarterback could change this dramatically.
Q: Will Alex return to the game after he exits?
A: "That's possible, that's possible. Like I said earlier in the week, you really want to get your starters in as many situational type of situations in the game as possible, and he may return for two minute drill or another series, you know, could be. Just got to see how it plays out and make a battlefield decision out there, but I'd like to get some backed up. I'd like to get some two minute with Alex."
Also something to keep an eye on.
Q: When are you going to announce cuts, after this week, after next week?
A: "Next Tuesday and next Saturday."
The season is almost here, folks. Just a few weeks away.
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