In addition to the possible return to practice of Brandon Browner, Percy Harvin was back in the mix Wednesday doing some light running.
Pete Carroll once again said Harvin is day-to-day, and was cryptic when asked what procedure Harvin had done over the weekend.
“Doctor’s procedure stuff,” Carroll said. “They did some stuff to him to make sure he was relieving and kind of inflammation. He’s in good shape now. He won’t practice today, but he will run and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
> Bruce Irvin and Golden Tate will have light work days today after getting banged up Sunday.
> Carroll joked, as you can see in the video, that “it feels comfortable to go on the road again.”
> Carroll said they have asked the same of Russell Wilson since around Week 8 or 9 last season.
> Carroll gave K.J. Wright a lot of credit for how he handled Jimmy Graham in coverage Monday night.
> Carroll said the first win over the 49ers this year was a “really good birthday” and tried to downplay the possibility of clinching the division at San Francisco.
> San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh said Wilson has played “A-plus” this year.
> Harbaugh also said that Colin Kaepernick has been “outstanding” this year.
Here’s everything Carroll had to say:
(Opening…) “Coming off our long home stand, it feels comfortable to be going back on the road again, finally (joking). Big, big weekend for us against here the Saints and kicks us in to the final quarter of the season here that was really crucial about how you finish. So it couldn’t be any more fitting. We started off with a great division rival, as they are all rivals for us and we got a chance to play these guys down there in San Francisco and it’s going to be a great match up and we’re really looking forward to it. We know this is the start of this finish time that is going to spell whether we take advantage of the great start that we’ve had during this year. So we’re looking forward to that. So cranked up, ready to go and practicing indoors.
(On playing the 49ers as a championship opportunity…) “Funny you should bring that up. Yeah this is a tremendous opportunity for us and every week brings really, the kind of mentality that we’ve been practicing for championship games and here we are. So it kicks us right into the same mode that we’ve been in, which is what’s comfortable for us. We’re going to try to put together a great week and that’s starts with today and then just take it one day at a time and get ready for a great ball game. The whole purpose of talking that way is for opportunities like this. So we should be very comfortable with this.”
(On adding significance to this game that the division could be clinched in San Francisco…) “Not to me. No I don’t think so. We’re just happy to have the opportunity to play a big game again and the fact that’s in the division is pretty significant though.”
(On if he’s asked Wilson to do more this year compared to last year…) “Well we’ve asked the same amount we asked of him from about the eight-to-ninth game on. We kicked in to high gear last year at the halfway point and really we’ve been the best we’ve been because of that. So we just continued. We really didn’t add anymore. He’s able to use more of the system and he’s in more command of all of the options that he has just through experience but, we’ve unloaded on him for a long time.”
(On the challenges of quarterbacks on transitioning from playing in college to the NFL…) “Yeah the typical challenge is that which makes us think that they can’t do this; the challenges to try to convert on third down and play in the red zone, which is so hard on quarterbacks. Just typically it hasn’t phased on our guy, but that’s what’s classically been the issue. Where the field gets smaller and third down situations are critical. Guys just can’t function as well and it doesn’t seem like that’s the way anymore. I think guys have gotten through that, the upbringing of the quarterbacks have brought us to the point where we can expect guys to function at a much higher level in the past. So the stereotypes about that they can’t do it anymore is not true anymore. Too many guys have busted that. It’s not for everybody though. It’s not easy, but a select few guys have really shown us a different way now.”
(On managing playing in a stadium with a noisy crowd…) “Hopefully we manage that really well. I’m sure the stadium will be rocking down there and we play in noise on both sides of the ball here. It’s not that we’re not accustomed to it. So that part is really the biggest issue. I know that it’s going to be a great following for them, just liked they hoped, and all hope they win at home. So we got to go execute, regardless of where we’re going and we’re going to try to do the things that we need to do and play through it and hopefully it won’t even phase us.”
(On similarities between finishing the regular season last year and this year…) “Well we’re hoping so. That’s what I’m saying. I’m making a big deal about the fact that it’s the fourth quarter of the season and we want to finish right and do well with it. I think we’ve been up and down this year with our execution had not been as sharp as we’d like to be throughout and we’re hoping that this is going to be the high time for us. But since that middle point last year, we’ve been very similar. Our numbers our similar, the kind of statistics that we’re playing with have really been very similar and our performance have been similar. But still, this whole December opportunity is right at hand now and this is something that we take great pride and if we get through this successfully, then you got the next finish, which is coming up with the playoff season. So it’s a big deal for us right now. But hopefully… we don’t want to peak too early. So we’re trying to get it going right now.”
(On what he liked about K.J. Wright…) “Well like a lot of guys, you’ve heard me say this many times that he’s unique. He’s so long, his arm length so special and he ran real fast also and he was really good behind the ball. We knew he could be an outside backer just because of his makeup. So that made him have a lot of flexibility. I don’t think we realized… he surprised us really. He surprised us early on and he was so stout about the game. He just could learn quickly and handle a lot of information and utilize all of the stuff and he surprised us again with his covering ability, in this manner. He’s a very, very good cover guy and he has great instincts about it. There’s been a lot of surprises with K.J. [Wright] and he’s played great football for us and this was his best game and it gave him his best opportunity to be challenged too with the backs and the tight ends and he did a great job.”
(On what he needed to see on Ken Norton Jr’s film package when preparing a game plan to play against the Saints…) “I was challenging the fellas with all of the options that we could go to. There’s a variety of ways that you can try and match things up and the coaches really felt like we could do it with the match ups that were kind of normal for us. I said, ‘Okay, well show me.’ So they did and they were right and to give credit, we put together a great game plan and it worked out well.”
(On having confidence in Wright’s ability to defend against receivers/tight ends…) “Well he’s played a bunch of tight ends this year and he’s had a lot of opportunities to cover guys and it’s on film and you could see that he’s capable and Kam [Chancellor] also. They’ve played really good guys and they’ve done well all year long. So there wasn’t anytime where they haven’t and there was nothing to say, ‘Oh yeah if they play like this, they might not get it done.’ It was not that. There was a real consistent level of play and aggressive nature about their play that we really liked. So we mixed it in and it worked out well.”
(On what he can/ can’t draw from the last time the Seahawks played against the 49ers…) “A really good birthday. There’s a lot that’s gone on since the start of the season and they had a couple of losses there, earlier in the year, that they bounced right back and won five in a row and got back on track and really got cranked up and they’ve been playing great football since. Their style adjusted a little bit during the season and they’ve focused on some different things with what they’re doing offensively. Defensively, it’s pretty much the same. A little bit different focus offensively and it’s really enhanced their play. So they’re playing really good football right now. They’re running the ball like crazy, they play great defense, the quarterback has got all kinds of plays in him, with the confidence in his receivers right now, and it was hard for him. At times, they didn’t have their guys. So I’m sure they feel a lot better about it, they’re game plan demonstrate that. Last week was a great indication of how they could open things and really rip it. So they present a big problem for us because of the consistency in the run game and the volatility of the throwing game. So it’s going to be done.
(On Harvin’s procedure…) “It’s doctor procedure stuff. But they did some stuff tom him to make sure that he was in relief of any kind of inflammation and he’s in good shape now. So he is coming back to run today. He won’t practice today, but he will run openly, which is good and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
(On if he’s preparing Harvin the same way he prepared him during the Minnesota week…) “We’re almost there. Because of the way it works coming out of the days, he’ll run in-line stuff today and we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and that was usually a day earlier.”
(On the phase number…) “No. We’re on a whole different cycle now.”
(On dealing with his issue day-by-day…) “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know that. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, I don’t know. We just got to wait and see how it goes and again it’s going to go… the next day, after his work, to see how he is and make sure he’s strong and safe and secure and all that and we’re going to try to figure it out with him.”
(On Browner…) “He has a chance to practice today.”
(On Kaepernick’s development…) “He’s shown a tremendous range of ability. He can run it like crazy, he’s a big, strong, fast guy that can run and get out and strike you did. He’s got a big arm, they like to use it and work the down-the-field stuff and they mix their quick game in and their little control stuff too. So that gives you a variety of things that they do off of their run game, which is very similar… we’re not similar at all in the way we do things, but in the overall ‘run the football until the play passes’ are similar and he’s really good at it and when they focusing on getting the ball to Vernon [Davis], he’s averaging almost 17 yards a catch, he’s got 10 touchdowns out of his 40 something catches. That’s a big play guy and he knows how to get the ball to him and their system allows for that. So when they are mixing their throwing game with their running game, it’s a very difficult offense to deal with and that’s kind of where they’re at right now. So we got their hands full.”
(On if Wright as a middle linebacker is his best fit or does he put him there because of the defense…) “No we’re trying to use KJ [Wright] where he’s best and try to utilize his strengths and we move him around to do that. It’s not to fit our system; it’s really to utilize the strength he has. We have the flexibility that we can do that. So you see him on the edge and he’s really good and natural behind the line of scrimmage as well, which he spends a good deal of his time there. So we’re just mixing him around. There’s really nothing that you can’t do with him. He’s a good pressure guys as well.”
(On ever dealing with a player that could play all three spots at the linebacker positions…) “Back in college yeah Brian Cushing could do all of that stuff, he was one of those guys, but it’s rare that a guy has the instincts to play behind the line. That takes a long time to develop, and K.J. Wright developed that as a young kid growing up. When he came here he felt more comfortable playing inside so we had to treat it like a learning process for him as an outside backer, even though we knew it was going to work out. He was really adept and he could. It makes him a very valuable player to us.”
(On if he anticipates a resolution to Browner’s status with the NFL…) “Yes. We have no control over it, we don’t know, we don’t have any timeline, we don’t know anything. We’re just waiting to get him ready. He’s healthy enough to get back on the field some and we’ll see how it goes.”
(On if Browner will be able to play this game…) “We’ll find out practice to see how he is and we’ll see what happens. I have no information to tell you anything.”
(On what is his philosophy on getting guys to fit his scheme or fitting his scheme with the guys he gets…) “Well it depends. Sometimes we see a guy that we just like what he does so much that we want to get him, and we’ll adapt to him, and then there are other times where we see guys that we think can fit into the things that we’re doing. It just depends.”
(On an example of fitting guys into different positions…) “Yeah there are tons of examples. Seeing what Bobby Wagner can do. Bobby Wagner was a guy that was an inside backer, but he has great speed, he runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, and he could easily be an outside guy with all that. We thought when we got him we would figure it all out and wait and see because we knew he was able to be a really cool weakside linebacker too because of his speed, you kind of look for that kind of a guy, but he’s instinctively a Mike linebacker so we move him around in all of the nickel stuff so he plays a little bit of everything. He has those skills. Bruce Irvin is probably as good of an example as anyone. He’s an outside linebacker body that can rush the passer and be a Leo in our system and be a 75 percent rush guy as well. We’ve seen him cover, I’ve seen that way back when so I knew that before. So as you watch him now he’s doing all kind of things in our system. He comes off of the edge in nickel, we blitz him, and we cover with him in man to man and in zone. He’s done all of that stuff this year and because he’s a natural athlete he took to it easily and he’s worked really hard to learn his assignments and stuff. That’s another guy. Robert Turbin was a guy that we picked because we knew he was a big strong tough attack the line of scrimmage guy. We wanted a guy like that and he turned out to be a really pass protector as well, and a good catcher, more so than maybe we thought. He’s done more than we had hoped. We picked Robert to fit into that role, and then we got Bobby because we knew he had flexibility, and Bruce Irvin because he could do all kinds of things. It just depends. Obviously we’re trying to get the best guys that can help our team, but they come in different packages obviously.”
(On this being the last game at Candlestick Park for him…) “Not only growing up going to games there, baseball games first for years, but then coaching there too for a couple of years. It was really cool to be part of that growing up being born in San Francisco and all of that. It’s special. I had to ask if this was the last game that they’re playing at candlestick, and my guys told me no it’s not the last one, they have a couple more. But it’s cool to go back there; it’s been a big part of my youth.”
(On Bruce Irvin…) “He got banged and we’re going easy on him early in the week here. He’ll make it through today and we’ll see how he is tomorrow, but he’s expected to play.”
(On Michael Robinson…) “No he’s fine. We just had a chance where we had Derrick Coleman up so we could play him some.”
(On what he has seen from teams that have struggled to maintain momentum…) “I mean look there are all kinds of storylines of teams that get off to great starts and then they struggle, or then they struggle and then they get going. That happens every season for us; we have great examples this year. We’re trying not to be one of those teams. We’re trying to be a team that continues to play like you’re capable week after week after week with great focus and the discipline that it takes and consistency and all of that. There’s a lot that goes into that and we’re trying not to be one of those teams. It certainly happens and quite often it happens in the league due to injuries. As soon as the quarterback gets hurt and the backup comes in and you guys go jeez how come they’re not playing as well. a couple of weeks after the injury you forget, and all of a sudden you’re looking at the coach and all of the other issues that come up, and they don’t have the guy that they started the season with. There are all kinds of ways that these seasons turn, and fortunately we’re not part of that storyline right now.”
(On if he has had thoughts on resting Harvin until the playoffs…) “No. We’re just trying to get him right. He wants to play right now, and we want him to play as soon as he’s capable. So no.”
(On the wide receiving core…) “It’s a really cool group of guys. We’ve seen such great flexibility and playmaking out of all of them. I looked yesterday and I saw on the list that they all have 4 touchdown receptions. That’s by perfect design. They just have a variety of skills and they show up, and they’re really good competitors. They bring their skills to game day, and they have been able to come through for us. It’s been a great plus to our season with getting guys banged up and not having everybody there that guys can elevate and rise up and be big factors and contribute to the winning plays of the game, not just making it through it. We’re in good shape at the spot and Jermaine Kearse has been a big part of that. He’s had a great role in fitting in and helping us go. You think you lose Sidney Rice and you fall off, and that hasn’t been the case. Kearse just needed a chance to play, that’s what it amounted to.”
(On expecting Brandon Browner to play any time this season…) “Early on we couldn’t tell you about the injury because he had a significant groin tear, but he managed it really well, and it was in a place that we found out he could recover quickly so he’s come back much faster than we thought. We thought he would be out a solid six weeks when it happened so he’s just responded tremendously. He has a chance, he’s on the roster and he’s ready to compete for us if he can get back through practice this week, which I don’t know if he can we’ll find that out. We’ll do this just one day at a time and we’ll see if it fits. I can’t go any farther than just one day at a time because I don’t know any more than you guys know. So we’ll see what happens.”
(On any other injuries that occurred…) “Yeah there are a couple of guys. Bruce Irvin got banged in the thigh. Golden Tate won’t go much today, he got hit in the hip a little bit, but everybody should be back.”
(On Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane’s performance…) “Man I was thrilled, Max played great. He played terrific football. He did everything we asked him to do, he was on top, and in charge, and confident. He had one play, the play he knocked down in the endzone. I think if you give him another chance he’ll catch that ball, but other than that he was all over it and he tackled well. Jeremy Lane played very well in the nickel spot. For his first time really getting a lot of duty there he came through great. We’re really excited because I know they’ll be more comfortable and they’ll continue to grow with the opportunity, so we’re in good shape there.”
(On Russell Wilson still surprises him when he plays…) “I don’t know if he surprises me as much, he just kind of thrills me like yeah he did it again. Or he just came up with something else. I guess maybe that’s being surprised. I’m kind of sitting here waiting on something good to happen from him because he’s got it in him. He’s put them in enough situations where the opportunities present themselves. There’s no telling what he’s going to come up with. We certainly have grown with him. Our receivers are really tuned in and taking advantage when he moves. Our guys know how to feel him when he’s leaving the pocket in terms of protection. we’re all better at working together right now because he does a lot of stuff in practice and he’s doing things all of the time and the throws that he makes and the decisions that he shows us and stuff. I hope he has some surprises in him I guess if we look at it that way.
(On Russell Wilson having more independence to make play calls…) “You’d be surprised on how early on Russell Wilson is talking to the players and getting them to understand where he was coming from and what he was expecting. I’ll never forget the day early on when he was out there throwing with Sidney Rice and he had been here just a few days you know. They were out there playing catch and he was out there coaching him up on a couple of routes and what he was counting on, and I thought that was a very special enough indication that he feels good enough about himself to talk to a seasoned veteran. He hadn’t spent a lot of time with us at the time. He’s very confident and he knows these are the things that have to be done. He’s not going to sit back and let something that needs to be done, undone. He’ll take care of it so we watch him and listen to him and encourage him. He’s so on it that we encourage him to contribute and be part of the dial up with players.”
(On his relationship with John Schneider, which better connects the team…) “I think it’s been paramount because we both have totally different backgrounds and different generations almost. He’s much younger than I am. We just had to come together and so there was openness from the start and we set the ground rules on how we were going to do it, and so we both learned. I’ve learned all about John, and he’s had to learn about me the hard way, but we figured it out. I think we’re trying to bring out that best that we each have to offer, and I think it’s because of that mentality the attitude to be like that that we’re able to get started and start fast and get going. I’m hoping that this is a really special relationship that you recognize on how unique John and how great John is and what he does through this whole relationship.”