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Chip Kelly, 49ers players talk about loss to Saints

Hear from Coach Chip Kelly, QB Colin Kaepernick

49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly
Press Conference – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

Just your initial thought on the defensive problems throughout this game?
"When you're playing against a team like that and a quarterback that's that special just way too many big plays. You get them into situations where you feel comfortable - it's third-and-long and then all of a sudden [New Orleans Saints QB] Drew [Brees] just keeps hitting those back shoulder throws where our guys are there but then don't make a play on the ball. It's unfortunate when you're playing against somebody as talented as him, really, truly a Hall of Fame quarterback you've got to make plays and we didn't. The story of the game was he had too many 'ex' [explosive] plays on the defensive side of the ball and three times we had an opportunity down in the red zone and we came away with zero points. We fumbled on the one. We fumbled on the 10. Then we have a fourth-and-one that we don't convert, so against a good team like that you can't do that. Both sides of the ball contributed to it."

QB Colin Kaepernick seemed to have a little bit of an up and down day. He was inaccurate from the pocket, but did some good things as well. How do you assess how he did today?
"Probably the same way you just said, an up and down day. I thought there were some throws in the pocket that if we could've completed them then we'd have stayed on the field and kept some drives alive. But, I also thought he did some really good things, fit some balls in there. A couple of balls to [TE] Vance McDonald were big plays to us. Tried to take advantage of some of the things he did, but again I think the story for us offensively, we fumbled on the one, we fumbled on the 10, and then we didn't convert on a fourth-and-one. That's three series where we're down in the red zone and we come away with zero points when you lose the game by 19."

What do you think of RB DuJuan Harris's day?
"Same thing, I think there's some things DuJuan does really well for us, but I think right now we have an issue with our running backs holding onto the football. So, we have to do a better job of that because we're not good enough on the defensive side of the ball to turn the ball over like that."

CB JaCorey Shepherd had a nice day for you too.
"Yeah, he did. DuJuan had been back there for us, but with [RB] Carlos [Hyde] down and DuJuan getting a little bit more of the bulk of the carries on the offensive side of the ball, it was good to have a second returner step up and I thought he did a real nice job in his first action. He was really good in college, but I don't think he's returned a kick in the NFL and today was really kind of his baptism. But, what you want in a guy like that is a guy someone that's going to hit it up in there and trust the blocking scheme. Not a guy who's going to dance and I thought he was a threat back there. At least that was one positive from the special teams aspect that we can build on."

There's a play at the end of the first half, eight seconds left and the Saints had a shot at the end zone. All three of your defensive backs essentially held and tackled the Saints receivers. Is that a scenario that you guys have gone over in the past?
"We practice all sorts of scenarios at the end of the first half and the end of the game. So, we got flagged for a penalty there, which is a five-yard penalty and then they kicked a field goal. They were in field goal range."

My point is it seemed to work out. They had no chance of scoring obviously and they were forced to kick the field goal. Has that kind of crossed your mind that's what we should do in that specific scenario?
"There's a lot of things that we practice in practice that cross our minds."

With Colin's inconsistency, when he goes through his stretches where he seems to be inaccurate, is that just him losing his technique? Is it concentration? How would you assess--?
"I'd have to look at the specifics of it. But, when you get into a game like that when you're down the way that we were down, all of a sudden it turned into more throw game. So, obviously there's going to be more opportunities. I don't know how many attempts he had, but you get into that. When we get into a rhythm and we're moving the ball both run and pass, I think we're better on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously, when you're playing from behind like we were, we did have that one stretch where we went three-and-out real quick and just weren't real comfortable back there and those are things we need to continue to work on with him."

Was defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil in the coaches booth today?
"Yes, he was."

What went into that decision?
"Jimmy said he wanted to be upstairs and I said, 'Okay"

Are you going to consider making changes to your defensive staff this week?
"On who goes up stairs?"

No, to your coaching staff?
"No. No."

Have you thought of DL Arik Armstead having the shoulder surgery?
"I don't have the information in terms of what happened to him today. I know he was out and he was done. During the course of the game all they tell me is he's out and he could come back or he's out for the game. I was just told he was out for the game, so I haven't had a chance to talk to the doctors."

Was there any thought of having him take care of--?
"Again, I haven't had any conversations about anything about his injury today. I don't know what the injury was today."

Just to have it taken care of for the season, because he's been in and out.
"Again, I don't know what the injury was today, so there hasn't been any conversations about anything like that. So, I'm sorry. I'll get that information for you. Hopefully I get it for you tomorrow."

How much of the struggles on defense are Jim O'Neil's fault? Is this team getting outcoached on defense?
"No, I think it's everybody's fault on the defensive side. I think we need to do a better job of putting our players in position to make plays and that's everybody. So, that's all of us. That's me. It starts with the head coach. So, I don't blame one single person for it."

Do you plan on making any personnel changes, specifically upfront in your front seven because this defense ranks dead last against the run?
"I don't know. We've got to look at who's injured and who's available and all those other things. To say, 'Hey, we're going to make a switch now,' you've got to know who's available and take a look at where we are, but we have rotated guys. We were fortunate, we felt like, to get [DL Glenn Dorsey] Dorse back today. We have rotated guys through our defensive line. There's not a lot of options at the inside linebacker spot. We lost [LB] Ray-Ray [Armstrong] for the year. We lost [LB] NaVarro [Bowman] for the year. Aaron Lynch was unavailable today. So, a lot of the decisions that are made in terms of what personnel play on the defensive side of the ball is really what's available to us right now. And, I think everybody that dressed played, so [LB] Tank [Carradine] rotated in with [LB Ahmad Brooks] Brooksie and [LB] Eli [Harold] at outside linebacker. [LB] Mike Wilhoite was in there at inside linebacker. We rotated the D-Line, [DT] Tony Jerod-Eddie played today. [DL] Ronald Blair played today. So, I think it's not like guys aren't playing defensively for us. If you're up, you're playing. I think just with the amount of plays we're facing they are all getting opportunities out there to show us what they can do."

At 41-23, it was obviously a three-score game and you went for it on fourth down. Why didn't you opt for the field goal and make it a two scores?
"We felt like we needed a touchdown there. I didn't think a field goal against Drew and what they were doing to us defensively was going to really make a dent into anything. So, thought we had to go for it at that point in time."

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
Press Conference – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

Did you feel offensively, things got into more of rhythm than what you've had the previous two games?
"Yes. We definitely got into more of a rhythm today. We still left a lot out there, particularly in the red zone. We went down there three times, came away with zero points."

Head coach Chip Kelly has talked about how that it was so long between starts for you, that you just needed to get as many reps as possible to start seeing things a little better. Are you feeling that? Is that coming around for you?
"Yeah. I think for me, I get more and more comfortable every week. It's something that, this is my first real opportunity getting live reps. So, being a few games in now, everything's more and more clear, more and more comfortable and able to into a rhythm with this offense."

RB DuJuan Harris had a couple nice plays, the 47-yard touchdown. How do you think he played today?
"He's a great player. Like you said, had a few great plays today. He plays hard and that's ultimately what you want from players. The willingness to go out and give everything they have every play and be willing to make plays and that's what you get out of him."

You seemed to look at WR Quinton Patton a lot today. He had, I think, 106 receiving yards. Is that something that you thought might be available heading into the game were passes his way?
"I think it's something that the defense really dictated. The coverages, the play calls, all of those things go into who gets the ball and when and he did a great job when the ball did come his way of making plays."

There was a point in the third quarter where you struggled, went 0-for-7 at one point and really struggled. What was the problem there with the inconsistency?
"We just had to get back into rhythm. Everything's not going to be perfect the whole way through the game. It something that we got a little bit off track at that point. But, we got back on track, tried to get back into a flow so we could get back into the game."

How do you personally deal with the frustration that can come with a seven game losing streak? How do you balance that?
"You have to keep working and keep trying to be better every week because complaining about it, worrying about it, all of those things are going to help you correct it. And ultimately that's what we have to do is correct things offensively, defensively, special teams. As a team, we have to correct our mistakes so we can start winning football games."

Do you think this team is moving in the right direction?
"I think today was a step in the right direction. We had a lot of opportunities out there where a few different plays here and there, it's a different ballgame. Those are things that moving forward we have to correct. Those are the corrections we have to make that make a difference whether you win or lose football games."

Which of those plays, Colin, will you go home tonight thinking about the most, those plays that you're talking about?
"For me, I always look at what I could have done personally. A few passes here and there, I wish I would have had. The interception in particular, I thought I could beat the guy with the throw and saw him the whole way. Those are things that I look at, what can I correct? What can I be better at to help this team win?"

Were you guys trying to attack the right side of the field a little bit? It seemed like you had a little bit of success to that side or was that more just like the plays were dictating it?
"Yeah. Plays and coverage dictate where the ball's going on a lot of those things."

There were a lot of military members in the stadium, on the field. Did any of them approach you? Talk to you? Did you have any exchanges with them today?
"Yeah. I talked to a few of them before the game when I was leaving the field."

What was the tenor of the conversations?
"Just they appreciate what I'm doing. The few that I talked to supported it and were happy that I was doing it and thought that it was much needed."

49ers S Antoine Bethea
Postgame Quotes – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

Do you feel like this team is getting outcoached?
"No, definitely not. We have some great coaches and they put us in the right position. As players, we've got to make plays. You can't put this on the coaches, not at all."

How do you break down the 75-yard touchdown run by Saints RB Mark Ingram?
"The play was called, something happened and we weren't able to get him down. Me being a post safety, I tried my best to get him down as well. Definitely a mishap on the defense, but at the end of the day we've got to get him down."

There was that scenario at the end of the half where you guys committed three holding penalties at once. Is that by design?
"Yeah, that's by design. That's something that we work on during the week. It worked out just how we wanted it to. It's a designed play. It's a smart football play."

49ers LB Eli Harold
Postgame Quotes – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

It's the same thing week after week. Obviously it gets old, but what's the emotion with teams gauging you with the run game?
"It's real frustrating. We put such emphasis on it and we work our tails off week in and week out in practice. The game plan gets simpler and simpler, but the ball doesn't bounce our way. It's unexplainable. It sucks. You've got to swallow it and go onto the next week."

Do you feel like you're being put in a position to succeed?
"Oh yeah. We're pros, this is our job. I feel like no matter what's called, you should execute it. It all falls back to technique, reading your keys and doing all of the little things that made you successful up to this point. Like I've said since Day 1, I love [San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Jim O'Neil] J.O. I love his scheme and I still feel that way. I truly and honestly believe that it's not the scheme."

What are the breakdowns up front? People being in the wrong place at the wrong time?
"Yeah, I feel like that's the main issue. Like I said, being a tad bit too fast or a tad bit too slow. That's been our issue."

How do you correct that issue?
"Take your coaching and trust what you see. It all goes back to technique."

49ers RB DuJuan Harris
Postgame Quotes – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

How did it feel being back in the endzone again?
"It felt good. I got one in the preseason. I know that doesn't can't but to me it all counts. It felt real good, we just didn't score enough."

What was working for you in the passing game today?
"We just stuck to our fundamentals. Everyone did their job on each play and when you do that you get a big game. We have to tighten up on some things and as usual get back to the film and fix our mistakes and not shoot ourselves in the foot. It is tough to win a game against a future yellow coat in Drew Brees. We just have to fix our mistakes and stop shooting ourselves in the foot."

Do you ever feel like no matter what you do that it is just not enough, because of how potent their offense is and what they can do?
"No. We could have won that game. Anybody outside of our locker room believe we could have lost, then oh well. I don't care what people think. In this locker room we know that we could have won that game. We could have won a lot of games this season. We are just killing ourselves, that is the main thing."

Did you know that you were going to get as many touches as you got today?
"I was prepared for whatever coach called. I am a team guy. Whatever the coach calls, I am going to try to the right thing."

49ers TE Vance McDonald
Postgame Quotes – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

You guys seemed in good sync with the tight ends and with Colin Kaepernick tonight. Was there anything special happening in this game tonight that wasn't happening in previous game?
"No, I don't think so at all. I just think that we played well offensively, we were clicking. I don't think we had a punt until the third quarter, a couple of those were turnovers and then an interception but we just have to take care of the ball when we get as close to the end zone as we were tonight."

I guess that was the key, you can't turn the ball over against a team like this and that was probably the difference?
"Yes, especially with Drew Brees and their offense. That is something that we talked about all week. It's a team game and we knew that our defense was going to be going against a great offense. It is something that we can control."

On your long play, Quinton Patton made that last shield block to let you get in the end zone. A team that has given up doesn't do that. I look at that like it was a good thing that happened on that play.
"Sure, you can look at that and, like you were saying, make it stand for what it is and that is that guys are not giving up. We have a little back and forth because he did the same thing against the Carolina Panthers. He always says, 'I got your back. You will outrun everyone except for me and I will block for you.' It was good and I thought that we had a lot of energy today. It's just little things, like taking care of the ball."

Is there anything that you can put your finger on this was the best offensive output you guys had all season?
"We just executed. We just came out with a lot of energy today. We had fun. We had a great week of practice. We had a great week of preparation. We just came out flying around. It felt good. As we looked into everyone's eyes you could see that we were ready to play today."

49ers WR Quinton Patton
Postgame Quotes – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

How do you feel that this offense helps the receivers get open?
"If you are a receiver, you know how to play receiver, this is the perfect offense for you. It gives you a little bit of freedom and at the same time everything is everything."

How big are these games for you to try to prove to everybody that you are a part of the future here?
"I don't even think about the final games. I just had this game on my mind. Next week I have AZ on my mind and after that I don't know who we play. It is just game by game and whatever happens, happens."

What do you think was open for you today?
"I have to watch the film and see. I can't really tell you right now."

Is there anything that you can put your finger on this was the best offensive output you guys had all season?
"We just executed. We just came out with a lot of energy today. We had fun. We had a great week of practice. We had a great week of preparation. We just came out flying around. It felt good. As we looked into everyone's eyes you could see that we were ready to play today."

At 1-7 how do you keep bringing that energy each week?
"Next week we can only think about having that one game. That is it. We can't think about being 1-7, just win the next game. We can only play one game in a week unless we play on Thursday but we have already played that. We just have to take it one game at a time."

49ers T Joe Staley
Postgame Quotes – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints

You see some advancements with the offense, but how do you personally cope with this loss?
"It's never fun to lose. We moved the ball a bit better today, but the story is that we came away with zero points three different times like 10 yards out. There's the story right there. We were able to move the ball, but then when we got down into the red zone, which has been a strength for us, having long drives and being able to convert touchdowns out of those drives, we weren't able to convert today. That's what's frustrating."

It doesn't seem like there's enough fire after losing seven straight games. What's the sense you get from this team?
"We're frustrated. Guys are very frustrated with this losing streak. We've got to be able to turn it around and get one win. I think guys are juiced up. I think we went down early 21-3. Instead of sitting there and saying 'Oh no, here it goes again' we kind of fought back and were able to get it within a score. We had opportunities there. We knew it was going to be kind of a back and forth game, their offense being what it is, but we've got to be better with the football. The turnover differential was four. You're not going to win football games playing like that."

San Francisco 49ers RB DuJuan Harris did well running and also receiving out of the backfield. How did you see him spark this offense? What did he bring in this game?
"He's always been really good out of the backfield as far as catching the ball. He was able to pop a couple of big runs there. He was staying patient with the power game. I thought he was doing a good job in there for us. We can talk about all the positives we were able to do, but we still lost the game by multiple touchdowns. It's not something we can hang our hat on."

Would it be accurate to say there's a little bit of continuity developing on the offensive line? There have been some new faces in there with a rookie and a lot of change, but it feels like maybe there's some continuity happening there?
"I think we challenged the guys up front. We kind of challenged the young guys [49ers T] Trent [Brown] and [49ers G] Josh [Garnett] to really step up this week. We had a big test over there with 94 [Saints DE Cameron Jordan]. I think he's all around probably the best defensive end player in the NFL as far as run and pass. I think they did a pretty good job against him. He's a handful. I did not do a good job against him. I think they did a good job against him. They stepped up, they played well. I think overall we improved a little bit, but we've got to finish the drives in the red zone."

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