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Post-Practice w/ Fisher, Cignetti, & Foles: Gurley Rocks and Tavon Blocks

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fisher – Post Practice – 10/28/2015

(On if he views the 49ers as a rival)
"Well, they’re clearly a division rival and there’s no doubt that. I mean, we’ve had some great battles since we got here. Their record’s not reflective of the type of team they are and what they’re doing on the field right now. They’re well coached. I know (49ers QB Colin Kaepernick) ‘Kap’ gets some criticism for this or that, but his numbers are really no different than they’ve been the last three years. We went back and checked. He’s rushing the football. He’s throwing the football. I said this earlier, Seattle’s really difficult to go up against on third down, and they didn’t have a good day against Seattle on third down. But, no body does. But, you take that away, they’re top five or top six in the league in third down efficiency and they can run the football and they play good defense. So, it’s just like last week. We’re playing a good team. We’re going to have to play really good. We have to play better than we did last week."

(On what makes QB Colin Kaepernick dangerous as a runner)
"Well, he’s a long strider, but he’s got great speed. In the open field, he can make you miss. The frustrating part about defending him is he’ll push up the field, he’ll make a move, he’ll head to the sideline and before you blink, he’s picked up 20 yards and a big first down. So, he can shift field position very, very quickly. He knows what he’s doing in the zone read and the read option stuff. You go back and look at a couple games, he’s been very productive in it. I’m very impressed with (RB) Carlos (Hyde). Carlos can run the football. We expect to get a big dosage out of him."

(On the 49ers addition of WR Torrey Smith)
"Torrey helps them. Big play guy. Great deep speed. When things break down, underneath he’s looking for (WR) Anquan (Boldin), especially on third down. But, when things break down, the balls going down to (TE) Vernon (Davis) or to Torrey. They’re usually making it a big play."

(On if he’s seen DB Janoris Jenkins take his game to another level this season and if so, how has he gotten there)
"Well, I thought he was really productive since his arrival here, but yeah, he’s knocking down a lot of passes. He’s getting himself in position to make a lot of plays. He’s tackling well. Those two deep ball interceptions that he had earlier in the year were as good as you’ve ever seen. So, he’s playing well. I mean, this game’s important to him. He studies. He understands. He communicates. He’s a top corner in this league."

(On if he expected S Mark Barron to thrive like the way he has this season)
"We did, yeah. We saw it last year in some packages. He’s playing a lot more snaps now, which is fine for him and fine for us, because the more snaps he plays, it appears the more big plays he’s going to make."

(On how much of a spark WR Bradley Marquez has been on special teams)
"He’s come in and does not resemble a rookie. He’s got a veteran approach, a professional approach to special teams. He’s very, very instinctive. They didn’t return many kickoffs and when they did, Bradley did a great job last week on taking on the double team and driving the big lineman in and coming off and making a tackle inside the 15 yard line. I mean, (Special Teams Coordinator) Coach ‘Fas’ (John Fassel) has a method to his madness and Bradley understands everything that we’re doing. So, he’s been real productive."

(On if he know 49ers Head Coach Jim Tomsula at all or just through the business)
"Just through the business, yeah."

(On if the 49ers are doing anything different defensively)
"(Defensive Coordinator) Eric’s (Mangini) always been an outstanding defensive coach. It’s the same front. It’s the same odd front, three man front. They’re doing a lot of the same things that they did. It’s a deceptive defense. They can rush, even though they don’t have the sack numbers. Similar to Cleveland. You don’t have the sack numbers, but still you’re getting good pressure on the quarterback, forcing the ball out, forcing checkdowns or making tackles, getting off the field. They’re really stout against the run. It doesn’t appear overall statistically, but when you look at it and break it down, they’re hard to run against. (S) Eric Reid’s an outstanding safety and they miss (S) Antoine (Bethea) I know that. But, it’s…(S Jaquiski) Tartt has filled in and I know that he’s doing a good job. So, (LB) NaVorro (Bowman) can play. It’s a good defense."

(On the biggest reason why he wanted to trade for Barron last year)
"Well, we had a first round grade and a first round talent that was available. We didn’t spend too much time trying to figure out why they wanted to move him, but we felt like he fit into our defense. For value wise, it just made too much sense to go ahead and get him."

Frank Cignetti – Post Practice – 10/28/15

(On San Francisco’s defense)
"Hey, excellent defense. Another run at 3-4 teams, like you guys asked about last week. We talk about it every week. Every week’s a challenge. Every defense in the National Football League presents their own problems."

(On if he’s played a 4-3 team this season)
"Yes, absolutely. (Seattle)"

(On if Seattle is the only 4-3 team he’s faced this season)
"Yes."

(On how he gets going earlier in games)
"We’d love to start faster. It’s something we’ve talked about. Minimize mistakes. In football, there’s things that stall drives. If we can start just eliminating some of those things, we’ll start faster."

(On if he scripts plays)
"Yes. Oh, absolutely. We script plays for the first half, second half. It’s a situational game. So, plays are scripted for the situations too."

(On when the adjustments take place during the course of the game)
"The preparation through the week, there’s a part where you trust it. Then, you feel the course of the game in terms of adjustments that you have to make. So, it’s not only at halftime, but it’s in between series. There’s time in between the series where you’re talking with the staff, you’re communicating with players. What’s taking place out there? You get a chance to look at the pictures on the (surfaces). How are they playing you? So, you get a lot of information in terms of what direction to go."

(On how the team felt when the choice was made to go up-tempo during the game)
"It was great. It was a great choice. It gave us the spark that we needed. We needed something to get us going and I thought we did very well in it."

(On some of the qualities that QB Nick Foles has that makes him successful in the up-tempo offense)
"Well, one, he’s comfortable in it. He’s been in it before. You look at his background, he’s very comfortable in the no-huddle offense. He sees it well from being…like all quarterbacks do. It’s just not Nick Foles, but he sees the field better when he’s in the gun."

(On if he’s changed the play calling the last few weeks after seeing RB Todd Gurley’s production)
"No. You know what? You don’t change in terms of the play calling. The scheme is what we have. Now, obviously, there’s times that you might run the ball more with Todd."

(On if Foles has more responsibility in the no-huddle offense)
"Well, we talk about the quarterback runs the offense. Whether we huddle or whether we’re in the no-huddle, he runs the offense. He has the ability to keep us out of a bad play call."

(On if he gives Foles flexibility in the no-huddle offense)
"Absolutely, and he does a great job doing that."

(On the spark the offense gets from seeing WR Tavon Austin’s get a huge block)
"Man, it was exciting. When you see a perimeter player down the field, laying the wood like Tavon did, I mean, that’s exciting. That’s football. You have to love it. It creates energy."

(On what is it about Austin at his size to be able to make those plays)
"Well, one, he gives tremendous effort. He has tremendous power."

(On how he decides to use the no-huddle offense)
"That’s something that just came up that, ‘Hey, what do you think about maybe going no-huddle and giving us a spark?’ Obviously, at that time, it was the right thing to do."

(On if he’s going to use the no-huddle offense in the future)
"We evaluate it every week based on the opponent we play."

(On any distinguishing characteristics he sees from the 49ers defense)
"They do a great job up front, 3-4, two gappers. Physical up front. Front seven, they play the run really well. Back end is very active. Good football team."

Nick Foles – Post Practice – 10/28/15

(On what he sees from the 49ers on defense)
"Really disciplined group. They do a great job in the secondary of disguising and playing hard up front. It’s going to be a great challenge for us come Sunday."

(On if the 49ers are physical)
"Physical bunch up front. Like I said, they want to disguise in the secondary and they want to try to jump some routes. They do a lot of great things. They play really disciplined on defense. They don’t bust a lot, which is a solid way defense plays."

(On if they expect to come out with a no-huddle offense)
"That was a loaded question. No, we’re going to run our offense. We’re going to do what works. It’s a week-to-week thing. Last week we just sort of switched it up. We needed to get something going. So, this week we’re going to run our offense and see where it goes."

(On if he has more flexibility to change things based on what he sees in the no-huddle offense)
"It’s just something that I get with (Offensive Coordinator Frank) Cignetti during the week and we talk about it. We talk about the offense in general. What my reads are, what we’re looking for on these plays, these runs, whatever it may be. We have a game plan going in and it’s not just me free lancing whenever I run the offense."

(On if he likes that they have enough confidence in him to give him leeway in the offense)
"Yeah, absolutely. They have confidence in me to have leeway in different situations. That’ll keep going on as we build these relationships. The relationships are building day-to-day and week-to-week. This is my first year in the offense, first year with Cignetti. So, Frank and I are just developing that relationship and learning each other each and every week."

(On what sticks out to him as to why the offense hasn’t been able to get going faster)
"I think the big thing is we’ve got to stay inside the chains. We’re getting to too many third-and-longs. When you’re in third-and-longs, especially early in a game, it’s really hard to convert. A lot of defenses do a lot of exotics on third down. It’s one of those things where I think we’re just having to make adjustments on the sidelines. And then when we get things going, try to get that rhythm. The big key is just staying inside of the chains on first and second downs, getting positive yards. That’ll help."

(On if defenses are doing things they aren’t doing on the film, particularly early in the game)
"Yeah, absolutely. You study film and there’s defenses that they’re going to run their defenses, but each week, they’re going to have a new wrinkle based on our offense. Just to show me something different, to show us something different. And then that’s where you go to the sideline and we have the Surfaces where you can sort of look at it and adjust and look through the pictures and see what they’re doing."

(On if it’s encouraging that they’ve been able to make the adjustments to get going)
"Yeah, definitely. We go into halftime, we have a game plan going into the second half. In the NFL, you’ve got to make adjustments and you’ve got to make it on the fly. Our coaches do a great job of that."

(On if RB Todd Gurley’s success has opened up the passing game)
"Yeah, absolutely. When you can run the ball, it really opens up down field throws. It opens up run-action. Defenses have to put more guys in the box and they have to be aware of him, so it will help us. Now, we’ve got to be able to throw the ball effectively and do things like that to help the run game out. You’ve got to have a balance."

(On if teams are trying to take Gurley away with more eight-man boxes)
"It just varies. Defenses are going to try to do different looks. They might go two-high when we have a run look thinking we’re going to have a run-action pass on. They try to switch it up."

(On the reaction when WR Tavon Austin makes a big block)
"It just goes back to, what you want is team-first guys. He’s a guy who everybody talks about his explosive play-making ability, but he’s a team-first guy and he shows it right there blocking down field. Without those blocks, Todd (Gurley) doesn’t get in the end zone. Who knows, Todd can do a lot of things, so he might bulldozer guys. But, having Tavon down field, a guy like him, a playmaker blocking, is a great example for everyone else."

(On what a record above .500 would mean)
"It’d be great just to get something going. We have a great group of guys in here that work hard every day. Coaches that give us a game plan and bust their butts every day, every night. Just to get above .500 and get this thing rolling would be great. I sound like a broken record, but it starts today. Just working and staying disciplined today and what can I do today. Let tomorrow take care of itself tomorrow."

(On if division games become rivalry games)
"Yeah, absolutely. The guys you see every year, you play them twice. When I was in the NFC East, it was a rivalry every game. Now, being here, it’s a rivalry. Guys are familiar. Teams are familiar. Coaches are familiar. The fans love it. I know the fans, it’s a little bit more hostile in these weeks. This is the fun part."