You have a few new targets to play with. I have to imagine that’s kind of fun?
“Yeah, very excited about the new targets. [WR] Stevie’s [Johnson] been looking good. [WR] Brandon’s [Lloyd] been looking good. [WR Bruce] Ellington’s been looking good. A lot of weapons on this field now.”
When you come out and you’re working with them for the first time as well as the rookies, is it just kind of doing your thing and letting them adjust to you and then you kind of find that chemistry? Or do you kind of look to see what they sort of do well out there also?
“Well, I think it’s a different situation with Stevie and Brandon. They both had a lot of success in the league. So, that’s something that I want to work with them with, what they’re doing. And, that’s something our team wants to do as well. Whereas, Ellington you have to get more adapted to the system and really get him on the same page as us and let him do his thing once he gets comfortable.”
Neither Stevie nor Brandon are really known as speed burners. How importance is this time of year just to understand body language and gain that chemistry on the field?
“I think that’s something with both of them it’s been a pretty easy learning curve for me to read their body language, because they’re someone like [WR] Anquan [Boldin], like [WR Michael Crabtree] Crab that have very easy body language to read. When they’re going to come out of their breaks. And, they do things so smoothly that it makes it a lot easier on the quarterback.”
We noticed you were really communicating a lot with Brandon in the red zone. What’s that line of communication like between you two?
“Well, I think that’s something that we know we’ve struggled with here, the red zone. And, that’s something we’re constantly trying to improve. He’s had success down there. So, if there’s something we can pick up from him, how he runs routes, how he sets things up, that’s something we want to take and try to make it ours.”
What’s the toughest part of operating in the red zone?
“Just the confinement of space. If you’re playing from your own 30, you have 70 yards of field to play with. If you get inside the 10, you have 20 yards. So, space is the biggest thing down there.”
You’re looking very vocal out there Colin, and maybe you’ve been vocal other times, but it was noticeable today. Do you just feel more comfortable saying things and kind of making people hear what you have to say?
“Well, I think this is the time of year where you can be vocal and you can work on things a lot more because you don’t have to play Sunday. So, if you want to experiment with things, if you want to try things out, now is the time that we want to do that and see if we can get something new that’s going to work for our offense.”
Do guys want to hear what you have to say?
“It’s not necessarily always me trying to give advice or necessarily command things. It’s a lot of times just a conversation as far as what are you seeing, how would you run this route? Especially with someone like Brandon and Stevie.”
How much of just kind of a revitalization is this for you? At the end of the year everybody’s kind of worn down and then you get a chance to come out here again. Do you kind of feel a kick in your step when you’re back out on the football field?
“Yeah, it’s always great to get back on the field, be around your teammates. You spend two, three months not around them and to get back on the field and start playing football again is always great.”
You kind of eluded to this a couple of questions ago, the struggles in the red zone. Why do you think there have been struggles in the red zone?
“I think we just haven’t made plays. I think we’ve had opportunities. I think a lot of times it’s just a miscue here, a miscue there. I think if we clean those things up we’ll be a lot more efficient this year.”
Obviously he’s on the other side of the ball, but what have you noticed about SS Antoine Bethea as far as the leadership he can bring to this team?
“He has a very similar demeanor to [former 49ers S] Donte [Whitner] as far as he’s pretty quiet, pretty reserved. But, when he steps on the field he’s about business. I think that’s something that our defense kind of has about them. They really don’t talk too much until you step on the field and then you know they’re there.”
Going back to the red zone stuff, how much do the way the last two seasons have ended, how much has that weighed on you during this work where you want to get better at that?
“I think that’s something that I constantly think about. Not just the red zone, but my play in general. How can I improve? How can I be better throughout the game? Whether it’s taking the check down, whether it’s making a big throw at the end of the Championship Game. What can I do different to make sure I’m making those plays?”
Super Bowl week you mentioned it’s important to be fair with your contract extension. Where are you right now with that? The 49ers have been very clear that they want to give you one and they hope to give you one before training camp. Do you expect to get one and the fairness, what does that mean?
“I’m letting my agents handle all of that and I’m worried about being out here trying to get better with my teammates and get ready for the season.”
Would it clear your mind to have it done before camp though?
“Once again, I’m just letting my agents handle that. I’m playing football regardless.”
You mentioned that all of the receivers, obviously at this time last year was different when Crabtree wasn’t going to be available. Can you see that now being a strength in the offense being tweaked a little to be able to play to that strength as far as those receivers you have?
“Well, that’ll be something that the coaches will have to decide. But, I think it’s something, a position we’re definitely stronger at this year. And, I think we have a lot of weapons at that position that we can use in a lot of different situations.”
You also have a big stable of running backs. Just the variety of running backs back there. What are your impressions of some of the new players? Having RB Marcus Lattimore back, I know he’s worked his way back from a hamstring as well.
“Yeah. He’s someone that I think everyone’s been pretty impressed with from the time he’s stepped out here as well as [RB] Carlos [Hyde]. They both have come out, they’ve been true professionals when they step on the field. They know what they’re doing and they’re doing everything they can to try and get on the field.”
You said with the whole Miami incident that one thing you’ve learned is just the way some people can spread rumors and run with different tales. Can you explain to us what actually happened out there and just kind of clear up some information about it?
“Well, the District Attorney has the information today. At this point, I’m going to let them handle their business. I did nothing wrong in that incident. So, I want to do everything I can to let the DA close this matter.”
Are you eager to have that resolved? I mean, is it difficult to kind of operate knowing that that’s still almost two months being investigated?
“I’m very eager to have the matter closed. But, once again, just going to let the DA handle their business and wait for their decision.”
Not specific to your case, but what do you think about perceptions of the team, perceptions of the players? Is it important? Do you worry about the way people think about this team and the players on it?
“I think everyone in this building knows the character of the players that we have here. And, everyone that’s here is here to play football and here to try to help us win a Super Bowl. That’s all that everyone here is worried about.”
What can you do to improve your individual play in the red zone?
“Just clean up little things. Whether it’s footwork, whether it’s making quicker decisions, those are the type of things that I want to improve on to try and make this offense more efficient.”
How were you throwing it today do you think?
“Today was a so-so day. I thought I could have made a couple of better decisions. But, stay true, so we’re going to keep getting better.”
Head coach Jim Harbaugh said that yesterday was a good day. Was that one of the better days do you think?
“Yeah. Yesterday was a really good day. We’re going to keep working though and hopefully keep getting better.”
During that time when you couldn’t work with the coaching staff, did you work with a throwing guru or a mechanics guru at all on the quarterback position?
“No. Just kept working on the stuff that we do. I mean, it’s something that coach has mentioned to me that you need to be able to do what we do within our system. And, as long as my footwork is good and I’m delivering the ball quickly and precisely, he’s happy with what I’m doing.”
And you knew exactly what you had to work on and cleanup in the offseason?
What’s it been like having Crabtree out here? Obviously, you didn’t have him out here last offseason with his injury. So, is it just kind of picking up where you guys left off at the end of last season?
“Yeah, I think it’s picking up where we left off. I think also at this point he’s healthier than where he was. He’s had more time to rehab, more time to be running and spend time getting in shape and working on routes and different things like that. So, it’s always exciting to have 15 on the field.”
You did some work with Anquan in Florida? Is that correct, this offseason?
“Yes. Did some work with Anquan and [WR] Quinton [Patton]. So, both of them came out, they threw with me a couple of times a week and we got a lot of good work in down there.”
Did you know that Brandon Lloyd, obviously he hadn’t played football for a year, did you know what to expect and has he surprised you with his level of play after a year off?
“I somewhat knew what to expect. I had seen plays he had made. But, I hadn’t seen him on a consistent basis. Coming off of a year off from football, he’s been amazing out here. Very smooth, very disciplined with his routes and an easy target to throw to.”