BB: OK, just grinding through it here. Hopefully, we can string a few good days together. That's what we need to do.
Q: What does Brandin Cooks do well as a receiver?
BB: He can get open, and catch and run after the catch.
Q: There was a drill yesterday where he was able to plant his foot quickly and break open to the outside. What do you see from that aspect of his game in his footwork and agility getting in and out of routes?
BB: I think he's a good athlete. He runs well, he's got good quickness. We'll see.
Q: How has he immersed himself into the program in the time that you've had him?
BB: Great. Yeah, he's worked really hard. Yeah, he works hard, pays attention to all of the little details, tries to get things exactly the way we're coaching them, the way we want to do them. It's very good.
Q: Did you have much background on him coming out of college from Oregon State? Was there a pre-draft meeting with him at all?
BB: We spent some time with him, yeah. Really about the same – smart player, good. He's got his skills. We've seen those in this league.
Q: How much experimentation do you do with your players at this time of year to find out what they can and can't do, and at what point do you stop that and just go with what you have?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. I mean we can't have a backup at every position. We don't have enough guys, so somebody has to do multiple things, somehow. We ask guys to do them; some more than others. It depends on what their situation and position is and so forth. Yeah, I don't know.
Q: Is there any update on Rob Ninkovich's absence? I believe he was missing due to personal reasons?
BB: Yeah, Rob and Joe Cardona both.
Q: They were absent for personal reasons?
Q: In your time coaching, what in your view makes a quarterback a good backup at the position, keeping in mind that he is always just one play away from being thrown into the game?
BB: Right. Well, that could be true of a lot of positions. Guys that don't play in the kicking game, like offensive lineman as an example, same kind of thing. It's like being a relief pitcher in baseball. You go to the stadium, you don't know if you're going to be pitching or not. It depends how it goes. That's part of the job. Each position, each player, each situation has its own challenges. If a player is in that situation then those are the challenges to him.
Q: What have you seen from Jimmy Garoppolo in that aspect as a backup who needs to be ready to step in at a moment's notice?
BB: Yeah, I think Jimmy is consistent day-to-day with his preparation, practice, training habits and so forth. You know what you're going to get out of him pretty much every day that he walks into the building until he leaves.
Q: Does Eric Rowe have any experience playing cornerback in the slot or could you envision him ever lining up there?
BB: Well, he played safety in college, so that's one position inside from corner, so there is certainly some relevance to that. Yeah, he's played some inside.
Q: What have you seen from Kenny Moore from the spring practices until now?
BB: He had a good spring. Kenny was a good, solid player in college. We'll see how it goes. He may have some versatility to play inside and outside. I don't know, we'll see.
Q: We saw some good catches yesterday from both receivers and defensive backs. When you see a guy making plays during camp how much stock do you put into that versus what you see from his technique and fundamentals? How do you balance that?
BB: Well, it would depend on the play. Sometimes those plays are maybe a result of, just in that particular example, I'm not saying any particular play, just in general, sometimes a good play defensively is a result of not a good play offensively or vice versa. A good play offensively wouldn't really be good if it was better defended. I think you have to take those kinds of things into consideration. Like yesterday, we had a couple of plays out there that were just a great throw, great catch, good coverage. So even though the ball is caught, the defender was in very good position and the offense made a great execution. Then there were other plays where maybe the defense wasn't in that good of position and ended up making the play. It might not have been good enough if the play had been better executed on offense, but on that particular play it wasn't. It looked like it was a defensive play but the next time I don't know if it would've been. I think you have to look at those. Production is important, obviously, but sometimes it's circumstantial, good or bad, so we just try to look at each situation carefully and try to figure that out.
Q: How do you help a guy along like Cyrus Jones who has had some issues in the return game?
BB: We work with all the players on all of the things that we think that they need to improve on. They work on those. Everybody has things they can improve on out there, every single player, a lot of things and coaches for that matter. We're all working on them – everything that we all need to improve on. Hopefully, we'll be better tomorrow than we were today, better on Saturday than we were on Friday and so forth. Just keep moving ahead. Look, everybody has things they need to work on. In some cases it's a lengthy list, starting with me.
Q: Would you say there are more running backs in this group who are comfortable as receivers than perhaps in other years?
BB: We'll see. I don't know.
Q: Do you know when Joe Cardona and Rob Ninkovich will return to the team from their absences?
BB: Well, when they are I'll be sure to notify you.
Q: Those two players handle the long snapping duties. I noticed you did not go through kicking drills with a long snapper yesterday in their absence.
BB: Right. Well, we plan our practices to get the most out of each practice and we'll continue to do that regardless of what players are available in different positons and so forth. That's not an uncommon thing that we take into consideration.
Q: Are you aware of when they will show up here?
BB: I said I'll let you know. I'm aware of a lot of things, but I'll let you know when it's appropriate. Thank you.
Q: What have you seen from Devin Lucien and his development over the past year?
BB: Devin's another guy that has worked hard and I think has made a lot of improvement in the year, like all of them have really. It'd be hard to not say that about every second year player on our roster. He knows the offense better, knows the techniques better, has trained, is in good shape, is stronger, faster, quicker, more explosive. He's definitely headed in the right direction.
Q: Austin Carr had a nice grab yesterday in the corner of the end zone. What have you seen from him from the spring until now?
BB: Right. You know, you guys are asking a lot of questions about what have we seen from 'this' guy, what are we seeing from 'that' guy. We've yet to put on pads, alright? I understand that this is a pretty talented group of evaluators in this room, but in all honesty our evaluations come more in training camp when we actually practice and we can fully execute the techniques and the plays that we're trying to do. So the main thing we try to get done in the spring and the main thing we're trying to get done in these two days is to teach the players what to do to give them the most fundamental instruction that we can, given the restraints that we have on practice. Then when padded practices and, I would say real training camp starts tomorrow, we'll continue for quite a while after that, including the preseason games, is when the real evaluations start. So I know everybody's all excited when a guy catches a pass, but when the defense doesn't jam him or their not allowed to really, because we don't want heavy contact out there, aren't competing for contact at the end of the play then it's not quite the same as when all of that's going on. I'm not taking anything away from the receivers. I'm not taking anything away from anybody. I'm just saying it is what it is. The competitive level out there is not what it's going to be starting tomorrow, so to evaluate players competitively when they're not on a competitive level, I have a hard time with. But I know a lot of the people are real good at that and they can make a lot more out of it than I can, but due to my personal limitations and my personal inability to make those evaluations, I don't make them. We can keep asking about how everybody does on 'this' and how everybody does on 'that'. The main thing for me is to see if they're doing the right thing, doing it properly, how we can correct that, and then there will be a point in time where everybody will be able to go out and do it to the best of their ability against very competitive players on the other side of the ball and we'll see what happens. That's when the evaluations really start, other than if a person can't take the instruction and do what you're asking them to do or can't do it properly, you can evaluate that. But in some cases it's hard to evaluate how they're doing competitively against somebody else when it's really not a competitive situation.
Q: Is it even harder to evaluate the guys that play in the trenches then given how physical those positions need to be?
BB: Again, Ben [Volin], I think you can evaluate what you're teaching them to do. Do they understand the plays? Do they understand their assignments? Are they using the proper technique in their assignment? Can you evaluate whether a guy can power rush, or whether you can stop a power rush, or whether you can stop the physical play or block physical players in there? No, and we don't want to evaluate that. That's not what this is for. So yeah, I mean in terms of evaluation it's definitely limited. What we do want is so that the players understand their assignments, their techniques, adjustments that they're going to have to make so when we can evaluate it, they already know what to do and there's not a lot of 'Do I do this? Do I do that' hesitation, which then nobody looks good doing that, and it's hard to evaluate a player when he's not confident or sure of what he's doing. If he knows what to do and he's sure how to do it and he goes out there and does it the best that he can and the guy on the other side of the ball does the same thing, then you can see what you have. But we're not really at that stage yet. We just aren't. We're doing what we can do, which is productive. We're making progress and soon we'll be able to get into a different type of evaluation practice.
Q: Does putting the pads on change the tenor of practice to maximize those competitive situations?
BB: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that's what those are for. But there is a lead-up process to get to those and I'd say we're in an accelerated process, but that's what it is. We're not in pads. We're not tackling guys. We're not jamming the receivers. We're not blocking each other in the running game, or very infrequently. We're not defeating run blocks. We're not doing any of those things, so we don't evaluate them.
Q: You've said Rob Ninkovich and Joe Cardona are missing due to personal reasons? Kony Ealy wasn't spotted yesterday either. What category does he fall into?
BB: He's not in that category. He's here.