San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim HarbaughConference Call With New Orleans MediaWednesday, November 21, 2012
I know you aren't going to disclose which quarterback will play and maybe you don't know yet, but what do you like about each of them?
"In both guys we have quarterbacks that we're confident in, believe in, have won for us, Alex (Smith) over a long period of 25 games and Colin (Kaepernick) playing winning football the last two times he's been out on the field. Plus the situation is that he's (Kaepernick) has gotten to play this year. Both of them have displayed that they are guys that we believe in, are confident in and can win for us."
Vernon Davis obviously played very well in the NFC Divisional Playoff last year and is coming off a big game. What do you like about him?
"A lot of things. He has been a tremendous team player, blocker, pass-catcher and just all of the things that encompass a football player: strong, fast, smart, good guy in the locker room, all those things and adjectives you use with a football player."
Are there subtle things in the game that he's gotten better or more consistent at since the Saints faced him last?
"Yes. He was playing at a very high level at that time. He's already a really good route runner and blocker. He's already strong and fast. There are subtle changes and improvements. As you can imagine, he was already pretty darn good too, but he's getting better at everything."
As a former quarterback is your defense pretty scary to you?
"Scary? Scary is the New Orleans team and the way they're playing. That's scary right now, watching how they're operating offensively, defensively, (and on) special teams. They're playing real good football. That's a big concern and we have a lot of respect for them as a football team having competed against them and watching a lot of their success on tape, the fundamentals, technique, coaching, fine play and the talent that they have. I have a lot of respect for the ballclub."
As a former quarterback is the performance of your defense sort of daunting when you look at it?
"Our own team? I think it's asking questions of can we come up with a great plan this week for the Saints? (Can we) have the type of preparation we need, get ourselves motivated in this big, big game on a short week, travel well? Those are more questions that we have to concern ourselves and focus on that, those questions and making sure we get it done."
Is the quarterback decision an easy one in terms of that you are confident in both guys? Since you know both can play, is it a matter of picking one or is it more complicated than that?
"I think you said it pretty well. It's a confident thing because we have confidence in our guys. It's great for us that we're in that position."
Do you feel that some players in your locker room have animosity towards the Saints because of Gregg Williams' speech before the NFC Divisional Playoff?
"I don't know anything about that."
You don't know anything about the Gregg Williams pregame speech?
"You asked me if our players have any animosity towards Gregg Williams or the pregame speech last year and that's what I answered. I don't know anything about that."
What was your take on his speech? Was it words or was it going past the line?
"I have a take on it, but I don't think anybody needs another person to jump on the bandwagon with an opinion who doesn't have all the facts. I'll just take myself out of discussion. (We) don't need one more person hopping on the bandwagon of opinion."
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon DavisConference Call With New Orleans MediaWednesday, November 21, 2012
I know quarterback will be a big topic with you guys. Both guys have played well. Give us your thoughts on the situation with Alex Smith hurt and maybe having to juggle two guys?
"Both have different skill sets. They're both winners and they both bring different things to the team. There's no controversy. We believe in both guys and that's what we're going to do moving forward."
Is it just a matter of getting the best player on the field at any position?
"Right. That's what we wants to do. He wants to get the best players on the field at every position. That's his philosophy. So that's what we go with."
A lot of people in New Orleans will remember you for the plays you had in the NFC Divisional Playoff. Can you go back and rehash your performance in that game and how well you were able to play that day for your team?
"I just came out and took care of my assignments, did my job. I was in a zone during the time. I never played in that atmosphere before, so I just let it all out to take advantage of my opportunities."
How does it feel as a compliment to be viewed by some Saints fans as enemy number one?
"I don't look at it like that. I look at it like it's the next game on the schedule and (that) we can't take these guys lightly. We have to play them like we play any other team. (There's) no animosity between the two of us. It's a game and we're playing it like that. It's just a game."
I meant it from the fans perspective in that you broke a lot of their hearts last year with those big plays in that game?
"I have to do my job. Like I said, I just play ball. I'm out to help my team win. I play for the San Francisco 49ers. Whatever we're up against, I'm going to try my best to do what I can to put us in a good situation."
What do you like about both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick?
"Alex is crafty. He's smart; he's been in the game for a while now. He knows how to win games and that's what I appreciate about him. Kaepernick is just a true playmaker. He can run, he can throw, he can do it all. That's how they both fit in. They're both talented and bring two different things to the game."
You brought up the topic of animosity earlier and going back to the speech before the playoff game last year. In going back and rehashing Gregg Williams' speech, do you guys have any added fuel with that considering the harsh words that were said in that speech before that game?
"That has nothing to do with us. We're not worried about that, because every game, everybody's out to get you. He was probably just getting them pumped up with things like that. That's what every team does. You never know. I'm sure there's a lot of teams saying differing things about different guys, depending on who the team is. That's just the nature of football. It's not a big deal. We don't worry about it."
It didn't take you aback the first time you heard it?
"I wasn't surprised. I wasn't shocked. It's just the nature of the game and that's what you have to expect. Coaches have to get their guys ready and that's what they were doing. They were getting their guys ready. We don't feel anything in our hearts against them for saying anything out of context or out of character. That's just how they motivate their guys. We respect that."
What's allowed you guys to be so successful on offense this season?
"We're making plays. The players we got on this team that are making it go. We just have a lot of guys that want to win games around here. That's what it takes. You need to have guys on your squad that want to win games and that's what we have here. We feel that here within the 49ers, that's what we're rolling with."
As a member of that offense, what do you want out of a starting quarterback?
"Just a guy that has the will to win attitude. Someone who brings winning to the team. That's basically it. That's all you can ask for pretty much."