— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) May 17, 2016
What is the status of QB Colin Kaepernick? Is he medically cleared to get out on the field?
“No, he’s not. He’s still in the middle of rehab. Obviously he had a shoulder and a thumb and a knee in the offseason, so working extremely hard at the rehab aspect of things and that’s where he is right now.”
Do you expect him to be fully cleared at some point in OTAs or probably just once training camp begins?
“I don’t have that answer for you. I know he’s working really hard at rehab and when they tell me we can start putting him into drills, we will.”
What kind of throwing can he do at this point?
“I think he’s just done it with the trainers. He’s not involved in practice itself.”
— NFL (@NFL) May 15, 2016
Were you surprised by former 49ers RB Jarryd Hayne’s retirement and is that something he had expressed to you?
“Yeah, I was surprised, but I understood it. It was a chance to compete in the Olympics and not many people have the ability to actually participate in the Olympics. So, it’s a pretty cool thing for him to be a part of. But, yeah I was surprised. I had no idea that he was thinking about that.”
How did you guys leave it? Is the door still open if he wants to come back later?
“We didn’t even talk about that. He just came in and met with [49ers general manager] Trent [Baalke] first then came down and explained what he wanted to do and that he was going to play for Fiji in the rugby sevens and thanked us for everything and that was kind of it.”
From what you saw of him over the last month, where did he fit in your ideas for this coming season?
“I don’t have any idea about anybody. We haven’t, no one’s put a pad on. I haven’t seen guys in pads. When you’re out there, especially in phase two, which we are just coming off of, we’re going against barrels. We were really good against the barrels too. We did a good job against them. There’s no rankings of the depth chart or whatever. I was really impressed with how much he picked up and this is his second system. He’s only been in the league for two years and had never played football before. So, you kind of think about that going, really kind of like going to a foreign country and trying to learn. And, he’s a really sharp learner, so we were excited. He’s a big body, he’s got a skill set, but we didn’t have any depth charts or anything set where, ‘Hey, this guy is here, here and here.’ Or, ‘He’s got to beat this guy out.’ We were not that far along.”
Did you guys do any punt return practice over the last few weeks where you could see that?
“Yeah, catching the balls on air. I mean, if you can’t catch a ball on air you probably don’t belong in the league. So, there’s a difference between catching the ball on air and people running down and trying to take your head off. That’s a little bit different and that’s what kind of separates them. But, he did a nice job with that, but everybody does a nice job in catching the ball on air.”
Obviously this is voluntary, but anybody not here for these three days?
“No, everybody is here except for [NT] Ian Williams, who is rehabbing and [G] Josh Garnett, who is in school.”
Because of where you guys are in OTAs and Kap being injured, has he fallen behind in any way?
Just in terms of learning the new system–?
“No, he’s great in the classroom and has a great grasp of what we are doing. I was really impressed with both him and [QB] Blaine [Gabbert] in their intelligence and being able to pick up what we are trying to do. There is no fall behind, because there is no behind. There’s not a race. The first day we actually get to go against the defense is today. We’re not naming the starting lineup for the Rams game today.”
So you don’t think this injury will have any impact on his ability to potentially win the starting job in training camp?
“No, I don’t.”
I ask this realizing it’s only the middle of May, but based on your past experience, what sort of timetable would you like this quarterback thing to have?
“I don’t have a timetable. You can’t put a timetable on it. It has to express itself and let it happen organically. That’s the only way it can happen. And I’ve been involved at every level in quarterback battles, just like there’s battles for every other position. But, it’s going to be won on the field. It’s not going to be won because we have a timetable of it has to be set by May 17th or May 18th.”
Are you excited to get out with the team for the first time and what are your expectations?
“Well, we’ve been with the team since April 4th. So, this is just another day for us. There are no expectations. We’ve already had a minicamp. We’ve already done 11-on-11. We’ve been through this process already as a group. Everybody has been here, except when we added the rookies, but they came in last week and got acclimated into what we are doing. We had a rookie minicamp with them. So, for us this is kind of the middle of what we are doing. This isn’t the first day.”
But you just said, if I heard you correctly, this is the first time the offense will be going against the defense?
“No, we had minicamp, we could do that. This is now phase three, which is kind of going back to what minicamp was for the voluntary minicamp. A lot of things, terminologies and phase ones, phase twos, phase threes, minicamps, but it’s really just another day for us.”
At receiver you have a lot of numbers at the position, but not a ton of experience. What do you like about that group of what you’ve seen so far?
“I like their energy. I think there’s a group that brings a lot of juice every single day we are out there. There’s a lot of athleticism out there and will continue to gain experience as we get moving forward with them. They’ve been great so far.”
Do you like your group to have complementing skillsets, some guys with size–?
“I just like them all to be good.”
Those are the parameters?
“Those are the parameters. We like them to be good. All of them. Not one and this guy complements him because this guy catches with his right hand, that kid catches with his left hand. We want them all to be good.”
You understand the line of thinking, right?
“I do, but again you can’t force it. So, it is what it is. You can say, ‘I wish and hope for this and I want this guy to do this and this guy to.’ There’s ideals, but then you take what you have and what’s available to you and then you go work with it. Our jobs as coaches is to figure out how to maximize their strengths and put them in positions to make plays.”
Speaking of receivers, you have two really big bodies, kind of intriguing guys in WR Eric Rogers and WR DeAndre Smelter. I assumed they are catching the ball against air pretty well?
“They’ve been really good.”
Outstanding. They seem intriguing, but can you add any more to that, like will they be able to play big or do you have to wait until training camp?
“I think you have to wait until training camp. There’s a difference for everybody when you put the pads on. It’s a real teaching, learning aspect, technique aspect of what goes on here in the offseason program. There’s not contact at all, so it’s just seeing skillsets, technique, the finer points of the game. But, it becomes a different game when you get to training camp and the pads come on and then you get to the preseason games and you really get to make an evaluation of what guys are like in contact.”
Switching gears slightly, I hear you’re becoming quite the Golden State Warriors fan?
“I think everybody is a Warriors fan if you just watch the way they play. I think it’s an exciting brand of basketball. [Golden State Warriors head coach] Steve [Kerr] has done an unbelievable job with that team. It’s a pretty cool time to be a sports fan in the Bay Area right now with the [San Jose] Sharks and the Warriors.”
There were reports that Philadelphia was shopping Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles around. What can you say about that?
“I’ve had nobody call me from Philadelphia since December, so I don’t have any answers on that.”
What do you see in him as an asset as a player?
“I can’t speculate on any other player on any other team. I’m only going to concentrate on the 49ers.”
How are you different the second time around as a head coach?
“How am I different?”
How are you different here than you were–?
“The ocean is on the other side, so if I was facing north in Philly, the ocean is on the right. Now the ocean is on the left. I don’t feel like I’m different. I think that’s a question to ask the coaches who have been around me before and been with me now to see if there’s any change.”
What has CB Will Redmond been able to do in these sessions?
“He’s still probably, I would say, he’s limited is the best way to say it. There’s certain individual drills he’ll do. He won’t participate in any 7-on-7s or 11-on-11s, but he can do some limited work with the DBs right now, but progressing real nice.”
One more question about Jarryd Hayne and punt returns. Obviously you’ve got WR Bruce Ellington who did that some last year and WR DeAndrew White. Anyone else being kind of worked into that mix?
“Yeah, we have DeAndre Smelter, DeAndrew White, [RB] DuJuan Harris and we will look at [WR] Bryce Treggs out of the rookie class. So, there’s five of them back there.”
You mentioned in your opening press conference that the Niners were already doing a lot of the sports science techniques that you had used in Philadelphia. Are there things that you brought here that are new to the Niners?
“No. One of the things that’s unique is [49ers vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg, who runs the athletic training and [49ers director of human performance Mark Uyeyama] Uye, our strength coach, they’re cutting-edge guys that have been on top of everything. So there wasn’t anything I brought here that they weren’t already doing or had already tried and moved on to other things. Those guys are pretty good.”
The sleep monitoring, that type of stuff is happening here as well?
“We didn’t sleep monitor in Philly. We just talked to our guys about getting sleep, but we didn’t monitor them. That’s actually illegal in the CBA.”
Have you had much interaction with free agent WR Anquan Boldin and does the door remain open for him?
“I haven’t. I attended the [Walter Payton] Man of the Year luncheon at the Super Bowl and talked to Anquan at that and obviously just about what he did and the impact that he’s had in the community, which was just kind of an eye-opening experience when you look at the impact that he’s had. But, I haven’t had any conversations with him since then.”
Is that a reflection on just what you feel about this wide receiver group that’s out here already?
“No, that’s a front office question. That’s not a ‘me’ question.”