How did you guys come out of that game yesterday from a health standpoint?
“The guys who won’t be available for next week, [WR Aaron] Burbridge, [WR Dante] Pettis and [DB] Jimmie Ward, they all should be good for Week 1, but definitely aren’t going to have them this week.”
What are Burbridge and Pettis’ injuries?
“Burbridge was his hamstring. Pettis bruised his knee. Pettis, we’re going to take care of, maybe he could go. Burbridge, definitely not. But Pettis, just the wear and tear with it being four days away, we won’t have him do anything until next week. And then, Jimmie Ward was a quad strain. So, he’s a little bit more in Burbridge’s boat.”
The clear question after that is do you anticipate those three guys being on your regular season roster then?
“I don’t know. We’ll see how these next four days go, see how the final 53 folds out. We’ve still got four more days to decide this, and a lot is going to have to go into this, so we’re not there yet with the final 53.”
Whatever became of WR Marquise Goodwin and that hand injury? Was that anything serious in the end?
“No. He ended up checking out alright. I don’t know the exact word for it, some type of contusion. But, nothing was broken and everything, so should be good to go. He should be able to practice the next time we do.”
LB Malcolm Smith only got in I think 10 snaps. Was that a precaution because of his hamstring or did you just want to see other guys? What was that play?
“A little of both. We wanted him to start the game out because we expect him to be out there Week 1. But, he was also coming his first week back after a hamstring. We didn’t want to put him out there too much. We wanted [LB] Fred [Warner] to play a little bit longer with the ones and we wanted to get [LB] Reuben [Foster] in there since his days are numbered until he’s gone for his suspension.”
You didn’t mention Reuben. Can we assume that he won’t play on Thursday either?
“Reuben is in the protocol, so you never know how that stuff goes. So, he definitely has a chance. But, he’s day-to-day with that stuff and we’ll see how the protocol goes.”
OL Garry Gilliam is still in that, too?
“Yeah. Gilliam is in the same one.”
Is that a little bit more concerning since he’s been out for so many weeks now? Is it serious? I guess they’re all serious, but is this one more concerning long-term?
“The longer it goes, definitely. You never know with that stuff. You’ve got to go day-to-day and you’ve got to talk to the guys. You go through all their symptoms and everything. I know the league follows a protocol. Everyone follows the same one. Always, when dealing with head injuries, that’s just something you’ve got to be very patient with. You wait until they aren’t in the protocol and then you go.”
Can you take us through WR Pierre Garçon’s interception of QB Jimmy Garoppolo? He said perhaps he wasn’t the intended target there.
“No, he wasn’t. We went to Pierre number one, and the Tampa 2 MIKE took him away. Then, Jimmy made a good read and went to go to Quise on the back side and just waited a hair second before he through it. But, Pierre never stopped running. He ran right through the ball and it was a great interception he made. I think everyone was fine with it probably except Marquise.”
Early in training camp, people were noticing that Pierre wasn’t doing a whole heck of a lot. You never seemed terribly concerned. Has he progressed through the summer kind of like you expected?
“Yeah. Pierre, since he’s been here, this year he looks like the exact same guy as he was last year. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Pierre. Pierre is a guy who you always know he is going to show up on Sunday. The physicality he plays with, very rarely drops the ball. He’s one of the toughest football players I’ve been around. You can really feel his value on game days the most. No, we’ve got more options this year. A lot of guys had to play last year after Pierre got hurt. Earlier in the year, when P was here, we really counted on him. I want to say he had I think like 500 yards in those first seven games. So, he was a huge, huge part of what we did. Once he got hurt, it put a lot of pressure on the other guys. I’m looking forward to this year. Hopefully, we don’t have to put all that pressure on Pierre like we did early last year. But, I know when we do need Pierre, he’s always ready to go.”
Since before you even came to the team, Jimmie Ward’s had injury issues that have kept him out for significant periods of time. Last year of course it was a broken forearm and now, offseason, there’s some ankle, hamstring and now quad injuries. Is this a source of frustration for you? Is there anything that Jimmie hasn’t been doing to get himself in the proper shape to go out and play football?
“No, that’s why I wouldn’t say it’s frustration because then that would be a negative toward Jimmie. It’s just unfortunate. Jimmie looks really hard and I love Jimmie as a player. He’s very tough and he has gotten hurt a lot, but I don’t question any of those. Jimmie throws his body around, he works very hard and he’s just been very unfortunate. I feel for him because I know he’s as frustrated with it as anyone. Hopefully this quad thing won’t be too long because if it’s not, we expect him to help us out a lot this year just like he did last year when he was heathy and just like he did before we got here when he was healthy. But, he’s had a tough run of luck here and hopefully that’ll start to get better for him.”
Last week you said that G Josh Garnett, that the goal for him was to get those snaps under his belt and kind of implied that this week you’d want to see a little more on film. Were you happy with his performance and his execution?
“I definitely was. I thought Josh played really well. I think he’s moving better, just getting more comfortable for obvious reasons. He’s been out there getting a lot more reps. I think his assignments and everything were much better and I was really pleased with how he played in the game.”
Now that you’ve had a chance to take a look at the film, can you talk a little bit about what you saw from RB Alfred Morris? I know he seemed a little bit gassed in Houston, but he clearly got his legs back underneath him this week.
“Yeah, I was really pleased with how Alf ran the ball. We could start seeing it during the week in practice. He was running the ball good in practice and our line was blocking well in practice and I was very excited how it carried over into the game. We went in having an idea that I would have been surprised if we didn’t run the ball well and I was really happy with that group as a whole. It was nice to give Alf some lanes. Those are the ones that he looks the best to everyone else on, but I was most impressed with some of the short-yardage runs where I felt like we had an unblocked guy on a couple of those third and ones, we got him in the backfield and he was still able to get a yard for us and keep us out there so we could continue trying to score.”
Is that what you guys see him more as, more of a short-yardage guy or do you see him being able to do all of it for you?
“No, Alf can do all of it. His skillset is that Alf always gets a little bit more than you block him for. I like that in all of our runners, but I do think he brings a little bit different dimensions to it with his size, his weight, he can carry people a little bit farther when they are unblocked and he gets a lot of explosive runs. He doesn’t always score the touchdown or get the long one, but he’s a very efficient runner and I think that’s why he’s had a lot of success in this league.”
Alfred talked last night about how he’s become more patient in those short yardage situations that he before felt kind of almost panicked trying to get to the line of scrimmage or get the yard and that he’s learned patience as his career has gone on. I don’t know how well you remember his first couple of years in those situations, but if so, is that something you could speak to?
“Alf, everyone learns with experience and does better and Alf is probably the most humble human being I’ve been around in my life. But, he was pretty damn good his rookie year right away at that stuff and his second year and those are the two years I was with him. So, if he’s gotten better in those areas, then that’s a good thing for us.”