October 11 – Postgame Press Conference 49ers Game

Sunday, October 11, 2020 
Postgame – San Francisco 

S Bobby McCain 

(Next week you are going to play the Jets. I wanted to ask you guys before the game. What was the reaction like for you guys when you hear all the stuff about the schedule changes and how you guys kind of didn’t let that distract you today?) – “We knew we had a big game coming up. We knew this game – we traveled on the road for five hours. We had a huge game just to get back under it, to get back on our feet and get a W; so we weren’t too distractions and the games going on, the games changing, the dates and who we are playing. We were just worried about the 49ers.” 

(You guys have played so well in two of these games and they produced victories. How do you get this consistent level of play, performance out of this team, that play complementary football?) – “It starts in practice. Each and every week at practice just making sure we’re on the details, making sure we have the right game plan ready to go, and understanding that playing complimentary football wins you football games in this league. Going out there getting stops defensively, scoring points offensively, and the kicking game playing well as well. When all three phases are clicking you can’t be stopped.” 

(I wanted to ask you about having CB Byron Jones back and the effect he had on the defense?) – “It was big. He’s a really good football player, a smart player. He understands the defense well. Having him back out there was big for us and we’re happy to have him back.” 

(You had a really good open-field tackle early in the game where you kind of celebrated afterwards. I just wanted to ask you, it seemed like there was a lot opportunities where you guys had some space because of what the defensive line was able to do. Can you talk about what those guys did up front to make plays for you guys in the back end?)  – “They played well up front today. They played like dogs, keeping the linemen off the backers. They had one big run in there in the first quarter, and (Raheem) Mostert is a good player. They had a good game plan on that play, but all day the d-line was eating and just tearing it up up there. That’s what we need out of them week in and week out.” 

(You guys had three or four turnovers, five sacks. It seemed like it all came together in the front and the back end. When did it feel like this would be that type of game where you guys can be dominant on both sides of the front?) – “On the first drive – the first drive going three-and-out; that’s a big deal for a defense because we haven’t started fast as a defense really in any game except for maybe one so that Jacksonville game. So just starting fast, and getting out to a fast start and getting a three-and-out and coming back out there and getting another stop; that was big for us.” 

Sunday, October 11, 2020 
Postgame – San Francisco 

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (transcribed by San Francisco 49ers) 

(It seems like every time we try to write you off you come back and stick it to us, you lit them up today. What was the difference this week versus last and how are you feeling? How high is your confidence right now?) – “I thought obviously we got off to a great start with the deep one to [Miami Dolphins WR] Preston [Williams]. I think just evaluating the few games before that, we haven’t taken enough shots down the field and given our guys chances. We’ve got some pretty big targets out there and guys that can really run, so that was a big part of today’s game plan. Those guys made some good plays and then just the vibe throughout practice, even though we’ve lost a few, there’s been a lot of confidence and guys have been working. This is a team that’s very resilient. I think we showed that today coming out to the West coast and playing like we did, but it didn’t surprise us at all. I think this is what was expected for us and I’m happy with the we played on both sides of the ball.” 

(What can you say about the early starts and getting off to a fast start, how important is that for you guys just to play with the cushion? It seems like it permeated through both sides of the football.) – “I think with how young we are as well, I think it’s a nice confidence boost. We’ll get back and watch the film, but [Miami Dolphins G/T] Rob Hunt getting in there and getting some action for the first time, obviously [Miami Dolphins G] Solomon [Kindley] has stepped up. We’ve got a lot of young guys on both sides of the ball so having that feeling of confidence early and knowing that we’re going to play well, I think that really helps out, especially with some of the youth and inexperience that we have on the team. I think that’s really important for us maybe more so than in past years around past teams. I think that momentum helped us today.” 

(You mentioned the quick start, scoring six of seven. What does that say about your rookie players and…) – “You kind of cut out, but you asked about scoring six of seven early. Last week we scored on a lot of our drives as well, we just kicked a lot of field goals. In the Jacksonville game it was different because we scored touchdowns and today was kind of that way too in the beginning. It was about me just giving guys opportunities and them coming down with the ball and making plays. They did a great job today, Preston, [Miami Dolphins WR] DeVante [Parker], and [Miami Dolphins TE] Mike [Gesicki].” 

(A week ago at this time you were talking about how you just felt terrible about what had happened and then today you had a near perfect game, statistically. Do you ever wonder how this happens for you and at what point in today’s game did you know that you were just on?) – “Playing quarterback in this league is hard and I still, after 16 years, can’t figure it out. In regards to what I said last week with all the questions coming our way about just putting all my focus in preparing for this game, getting my guys prepared and getting them ready to go, that’s the winning formula. That’s the way do it in this league and that’s how you overcome poor performances. I couldn’t wait to get back out there on the field and the fact that [Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores] Flo has as much confidence as he does in me, that goes a long way for me.” 

(Kind of a big picture question if I could, can you talk about what a win like this, on the road against the team that was in the Super Bowl last year, says about the state and direction of the program?) – “This is every single week. Last week the sky was falling and we’re one and three. This week we beat San Francisco on the road, but we’re still two and three. There’s a long way to go and we’ve got to start stringing some wins together. I definitely think this helps in terms of team morale and confidence, but we’ve got to use this momentum, carry it over, have some good practices and continue to go out there and play well.” 

(Is there anything you want to add about the complimentary football and when the defense is doing their job, how it makes your job easier and the way this team pieced together a complete game today.) – “I thought it was great to get a few turnovers there. Every time you see the other quarterback getting sacked and getting hit, getting off the field on third down or fourth down, that stuff is a huge boost for us on offense. I do think we played really well off of each other today and that’s something that Flo always talks about. This was a great team win in terms of being able to do some good stuff on both sides of the ball. Then the fourth down in the second half and calling the fake punt, I thought that might’ve been the call of the game and really just allowed us to maintain the momentum and add to our lead.” 

(It’s not always easy to play with a big lead when there’s a lot of time left, what was your reaction to the fake punt call and the result?) – “I loved it. I thought it was really aggressive and that aggressiveness that was shown there by Flo and by [special teams coordinator] Danny [Crossman] with the call fed us as an offense and let us know that we couldn’t just go out there and waste that, what we just converted. We knew we had to get down there and get a score, but I thought that was a huge call and it was good for us to capitalize.” 

(I know there was a lot of noise this past week, whether it’s Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa or whether it’s your play or the team’s play. Did you use any of that as fuel going into this week and let it affect your play at all?) – “I really don’t. I’ve been called every name in the book. People hate me, people love me depending on the week, but again just trying to stay steady and knowing that all that outside noise isn’t the thing that’s important. The thing that was important was practicing and getting everybody ready and that’s the formula we’ll just continue to stick to. Now the other end of it, everybody’s going to be patting us on the back, so ignoring that and making sure that we’re still preparing the same way and go out there and beat whoever we’re playing next week with the schedule.” 

Sunday, October 11, 2020 
Postgame – San Francisco 

Head Coach Brian Flores (transcribed by San Francisco 49ers) 

(What are your thoughts on how the offense performed, particularly in the first half, but throughout the game?) – “We moved the ball well and made a lot of big plays. I thought the O-Line performed well. I thought we ran the ball well. We were late in the game to close it out. I thought [49ers head coach Kyle] Shanahan called a really good game. Our offensive coaching staff put together a very good plan and the players went out there and executed it. Credit goes to the players, our offensive coaching staff. I thought it was a good team victory.” 

(Is this what the defense is capable of doing? Two interceptions, five sacks. How can you get this performance each week?) – “I thought [defensive coordinator] Josh [Boyer] had a good plan. Our defensive coaching staff did a really nice job this week getting these guys prepared against a good offense. They’ve got a lot of good skill players from [49ers TE George] Kittle to [49ers WR] Deebo [Samuel] to [49ers WR Brandon] Aiyuk. They’ve got good back backs and they made some plays, but we put our guys in good positions to keep them contained. We had some stops on third downs, we turned them over two times, maybe three times. The guys really played well throughout the game. One thing we’ll try to get coached up better is there were too many penalties, especially in the second half. I think we’ve got a lot of guys, who we have faith in that can go out there and make plays. They showed up today. If we continue to prepare the way we prepared and we at least put ourselves in position to play well.” 

(What do you think a game like this can do for WR Preston Williams? It felt like he really got it going today in terms of his production and on that long ball there?) – “He played well, he went up and made some big catches and he started the game with the catch down the sideline, the big touchdown in the second half and then created some penalties that put us in good field position. That’s what he’s capable of. We’ve seen the athleticism and the talent and he’s working. He’s a hardworking kid, it’s important to him. I’m happy to see him have good game like he did today, but it wasn’t just Preston, there’s 11 guys on the field and our offensive line blocked it up. They gave [QB Ryan Fitzpatrick] Fitz good protection, Fitz made some good throws and Preston came down with a handful of them. We had a lot of guys show up and give us some production today.” 

(What does a game and performance like this mean to you guys after the five field goals on those red zone trips last weekend and being close with those close losses in the first couple of weeks of the season? What does a win like this do for you guys moving forward?) – “I think the way these guys prepared, the way we practiced, how important all this is to them, I think it’s just a byproduct of all those things. The way they practice, the way they prepare, it’s not easy to win in this league and it wasn’t easy today. That’s a good football team. A lot of credit to them and Kyle, [49ers general manager] John Lynch and [49ers CEO] Jed York, they’ve done a good job at building a really strong football team. Our guys showed up and brought a lot of energy here today. That’s the type of preparation that we need in order to have success in this league. I think they’re learning that. Hopefully we’ll learn that and they’ll understand that’s what it takes, that’s the type of preparation you need. We’ve got do it every week. This week’s great, we’ll enjoy it, but, we’ve got to string something together.” 

(Earlier today, we all learned that the team will not be traveling to Denver next week or for the next six weeks after having a schedule change. What was your reaction when you found that out?) – “I just wanted our guys to be focused on the game today. We don’t normally meet in the morning of game day. We normally just hop on the bus, but I called a meeting and to talk to them about the schedule changes so there was some clarity for them on what was going on over the next few weeks. We talked about it. I told them what the schedule would be and that’s that. I answered all their questions and then told them to focus on the 49ers. I think they did a really good job of that. Again, our coaching staff put together a good plan, offensively, defensively, the kicking game and the guys executed. It’s a different year and everyone’s got to adjust and be flexible. We’ve been talking about that all year and we’re going to have to do that. We’ve got coaches breaking down film of the Jets this morning and I’m sure they’re doing the same thing, but we’ve just got to adapt and that’s what we’ll do.” 

(You talk a lot about team and team performances, where does this performance rank, since you’ve been here, as far as most complete team performance?) – “It’s right at the top. I think offensively, defensively and the kicking game. We started fast, brought great energy, made plays in all three phases. The fake punt by [special teams coordinator] Danny [Crossman] was a great call and a great execution on the part of our players. I think it might be right at the top and I think if we just continue to practice and prepare the way we’ve been doing been, hopefully we’ll string some of these together. It’s hard to win in this league, but we got up on them pretty good. It’s not often that you win by that type of score. We’ve still got to be ready for those close games, those tight games, where we’ve got to make critical plays in critical situations.” 

(With your emphasis on special teams, how much do you appreciate having a guy like K Jason Sanders on this roster who has just been so perfect?) – “He’s been great the entire year and he’s taking real ownership of his craft. Every kick is important to him, whether it’s kickoff or if it’s a field goal. This guy is diligent about his craft as anyone I’ve been around. I’m really happy for him and the success he’s had individually, but it’s really helped us as a team. I think all our specialists are playing pretty well and contributing on the kicking game as well as offense and defense. You need as many contributions as you can get in this league.” 

(With Fitzpatrick, how do you as a coach and a coaching staff get this kind of consistency from him? We’ve seen it against Jacksonville and again today with the 49ers. How do you get him to play this disciplined of a game?) – “I think he’s played well most of the year. He’s had some bad moments, but I think we’ve all had some bad moments. I think every player in our locker room has had some rough moments, but I think he’s been pretty consistent really the whole way through. We said earlier in the week, we feel like it gives us the best chance to win and I thought he played well today. The guys rallied around him and his energy, he’s got great leadership. Again, if he plays the way he played today it really kind of permeates throughout the team. So how do we get them to play more disciplined? We just continue to prepare, continue to practice, continue to harp on him to make decisions, but we also got to let him play and take a shot down the field. Look it’s a game of inches and he made a lot of good throws today. We’re happy about that and overall he played well today.” 

Sunday, October 11, 2020 
Postgame – San Francisco 

WR Preston Williams 

(I just wanted to ask about the difference in your game when QB Ryan Fitzpatrick brought it up – you guys are aggressive when it comes to throwing the ball downfield?)– “It starts at practice really. In practice we took a lot of shots. We were just preaching that we were going to do that. You don’t know who the shot might go to, it might go to DeVante (Parker). It might go to Jakeem (Grant). It might go to anybody. And if your number is called you just try to make the play. The approach doesn’t really change. Whatever we practice during the week we just try to execute it.” 

(A career high for you in receiving yards. Is it fair to say you’re feeling pretty good physically from where you were earlier in the year?) – “Yeah, definitely. I’m getting closer to that year mark with my knee. I’m starting to get more comfortable out there. It’s been almost probably like a couple  years since I actually ran a route the first game of the season. Just getting my football feet back under me.” 

(You talk about that year mark. I know you don’t like to make excuses. But, does this feel like something that can push you closer to where you want to be given the first month probably didn’t go as well as you wanted it to go.) – “Like I said, just trying to get back into that football shape and get my feet back under me. That’s just most of the thing. I know a lot earlier in the year I was falling off some routes. Now I’m starting to feel better every week.” 

(How early in the game could you tell that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was on today?) – “Pregame. (laughter) He was piped up really. The whole day – flight, really even. ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) is always ready. He comes ready to play every week. I know ‘Fitz’ is going to come ready to play. Like I said he’s always that energy out there on the offense, so we feed off that.” 

(I was going to ask you about QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last week he left feeling pretty down about his performance. What did you see from him today? What did your quarterback show you today? – “We just executed better this game than we did last game. Turning those field goals into touchdowns; that was probably the most big thing. We were getting down there. We were scoring points. We just weren’t getting seven. This week we preached that we needed to finish those drives and get seven points.” 

(At 2-3 now you guys certainly have your whole season ahead of you. Your point differential has much improved. Do you feel how much better this team is this than you guys were this time last year and how it’s trending the right way?) – “No. I feel like we’ve always had the talent and the players. We just had to execute. That’s all it was. We just weren’t executing last year or this year. Now we’re just trying to figure it out.” 

Sunday, October 11, 2020 
Postgame – San Francisco 

G/T Robert Hunt 

(I just want to ask you how you’re feeling after making that NFL [starting] debut and just really did you feel any pressure lining up those first few drives and the result of scoring specifically those first two drives; what did it do for your confidence level?) – “No, I didn’t really feel any pressure honestly. I thought that I’ve been preparing and we all have been preparing. I think I was ready for the opportunity and I think I was just pretty much excited and I had fun.” 

(I’m wondering when did you find out you were starting.) – “Pretty much like – not too long ago – like yesterday pretty much, but we’ve been preparing all week so just doing rotations and stuff like that. So (it was a) last-minute type of deal.” 

(Can you kind of describe to me what it’s like in the huddle when QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is on and the offense is flowing? What’s the vibe like?) – “It’s fun. What I got to experience today was great – everybody having a good time. We’re working, but we’re still competing at the same time. Me and ‘Big Sol’ which you call him the ‘Big Fish’ (Solomon Kindley); I think that we had fun today and everybody was – the morale was up. We were winning. Everything was going well, so it was a good huddle today.” 

(Describe for me your emotions before the game as you were ready to make your first NFL start.) – “There were a lot of emotions. I thank God for this opportunity. I’m extremely blessed and I talk to Him all day, every day. When I found out yesterday pretty much – I’ve been talking to Him and I think I played well. So that’s pretty much it. (laughter)” 

Sunday, October 11, 2020 
Postgame – San Francisco 

LB Jerome Baker 

(How much fun is it when the defense is getting after the quarterback that way?) – “It is definitely fun. It’s fun when everybody is a part of it. The d-Line was eating. The linebackers got in on it. It definitely helped the secondary. We just had fun today and the outcome was what it was.” 

(What was working so well with the blitzing? It seemed like you had the 49ers offensive line all confused by who was coming and who wasn’t.) – “Just different looks. That’s really all it was, just different looks. Guys lining up in different spots. We just do a great job of understanding the defense so we can put different guys in different spots. Sometimes the coaches don’t even tell us; we just do it. We’re definitely coming together as a defense.” 

(Every team thinks they are better than what their record was, but you guys were in three really close games against three really good teams. To go and get over the top against the defending NFC champs in the way you did today has to be just huge for your confidence.) – “Definitely. It’s definitely a big win. We have definitely been preparing this whole season. Even our losses; we’ve definitely been preparing the right way. We knew eventually it was going to turn around, so it was definitely a step in the right direction.” 

(That sack. You took no prisoners there. Tell me what happened.) – “It was just a look we have. It was just a look we have. It was open and I just kept going and I ended up at the quarterback, so it was definitely fun.”