49ers

Harbaugh: 49ers WR Crabtree 'a good guy'

Harbaugh: 49ers WR Crabtree 'a good guy'

JUNE 15, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com

When 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh last spoke in front of a microphone, he was in the San Diego Padres' TV broadcast booth, telling veteran broadcaster Dick Enberg that he expects the labor situation to be resolved in early July.

He also praised quarterback Alex Smith's character, concluding "we can win with that."Harbaugh went on with Murph and Mac this morning on KNBR-680. Obviously, Harbaugh has given a lot of interviews since signing with the 49ers, here are some updates and new material he covered Wednesday on "The Morning Show":
On the labor situation
"I don't know anything more than what you read in the paper and what I read in paper. I choose to be optimistic and prepared. . . . You got to be prepared. And that's what we're doing. We've organized, we're prepared for any scenario that might occur. The old adage, you measure twice and cut once. We've measured about 12 times and haven't cut once. So we're looking forward to that."NEWS: NFL headlines
On what's occupying his time at work
"We really organize and trouble-shoot and comb through all our systems and our schemes. That's been done. The playbook is ready to roll, and it has been since before the draft. After draft, it turned to game-planning, organizing training camp. Every minute of training camp has been organized. And, then, looking at our opponents, not only the preseason ones, but Game 1 (Seahawks), Game 2 (Cowboys), Game 3 (Bengals) and Game 4 (Eagles). So we just keep plugging away at that."RELATED: 49ers 2011 schedule breakdown
On contingency plans based on when lockout ends
"What the organization of practices and installations of our offense, defense and special teams would be if we had a full training camp, if we only three weeks of training camp, if we had 10 days before our opener, etc. Those contingencies have been made. We feel like we'll be ready no matter what the scenario is."On the get-together of offensive players last week known as "Camp Alex"
"What a neat thing that is -- where character guys can really get a leg up on some of the competition. And just thinking about it, too, it's kind of a generation of guys playing football now, they've grown up over-supervised, over-officiated and over-scrutinized, and now these guys are organizing practices and throwing sessions like we had to do when we were kids. . . . It's just been interesting for me to watch and read that our guys are getting together. And that could really bode well for us.WATCH: More video from Camp Alex
"Here's the thing, what's going on at San Jose State. I don't know the particulars. And I really don't want to know the particulars. I think it's a phenomenal thing that the players are organizing it. Obviously, you don't get that many guys out there -- if what I read is correct -- by just one guy. That's a lot of guys making plans, changing their schedules and making the effort to be there. I think it's a sign of character guys that winning is important and being prepared is important. I'm hands-off, let them organize it, and what a phenomenal thing for those youngsters to be able to do without the over-supervision and without people telling them what to do. They have to figure it out. And when it comes to winning, that is a key component, thinking your way through success and figuring out how to win."On Alex Smith's play, not his character, being the issue thus far in his career
"When it comes to performing on the field, that will be determined when we get all our players in here and we practice and start playing games. We'll find out who our best players are. Right now, we don't know who our best players are. We'll figure that out when they get in and start practicing. But I think all of our players, from what I watched on tape and the players we drafted, I'm excited to watch them throw the balls out there and compete. We won't play any games. We won't play any politics about who plays and who starts and all of that. It's who's playing better? Or who's practicing better? Those will be the guys out there in the starting 11. So, just to sum it up, we don't know who our best players are, yet, and we'll find out when we throw the balls out there."On receiver Michael Crabtree
"I've been around him a little bit. And Crab to me is a good guy and a good football player. Just some of the things lately kind of goes back to the analogy I gave a little bit ago, when you're kids and working it out and sometimes you get into some tussles and shirts get ripped and noses get bloodied, but that's part of figuring it out. I know he's a good guy. I know the other guys on our team are good guys. That's another interesting part of watching these guys figure it out. I know personally, when it comes to me, getting into quite few scrapes growing up. Most people I know and are friends with had some run-ins at some point in time. And, usually, you're better friends because of it. But, no, he's got the license and the ability. And from my experience begin around him, I think he's a guy who's about us and about the team being successful."

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

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USATSI

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

SANTA CLARA – Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon did not win the right to suit up for the 49ers’ first four games. Behind the scenes, he made it his mission to earn a contributing role.

“He really started to get better with his coordination with his feet from the bump-and-run coverage and from playing ‘off.’ There’s always a light that goes on,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And we felt that for a couple weeks from Ahkello. Once he did that, he definitely earned the right to be out there.”

The plan was for Witherspoon to rotate into the action and share time with starters Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson. But he played just six snaps on Oct. 8 against Indianapolis before sustaining a concussion. Witherspoon returned to action last week and played 34 of the 49ers’ 74 snaps last week at Washington. He showed enough to coninue getting significant playing time.

“He’s earned the right to play,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “He works his tail off in practice. He’s so deliberate in his approach. Whether it was scout team, whether it was team reps, whether it was walk-through, it didn’t matter.”

Witherspoon, the 49ers’ third-round draft pick at No. 66 overall, had a pedestrian training camp. Taking his lumps in August showed him what he needed to do to get into real games in October.

“I really turned up my focus, my intent every day in practice,” Witherspoon said. “What I did in camp wasn’t good enough to be a starting corner in this league, and that’s what I learned.

“I really focused on being aware of what it takes. That’s something I implemented these last four weeks -- that every day focus and competing on every single ball, and taking the mindset that no ball’s caught on me. I think that’s really helped my game, and helped these coaches trust me, as well.”

Witherspoon expected Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to attack him. But of the 25 plays he was in coverage last week, Witherspoon saw only three passes come his way. He surrendered two receptions for 33 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Just being a rookie, I thought it was going to come, where they were going to be taking that one shot,” Witherspoon said. “I kept waiting for it to happen, but it didn’t happen. Going up against a smart quarterback, I know he saw me out there.

“There were a few times he looked my way in coverage. I wasn’t perfect in coverage, but I think he was looking. And I thought I did a good job.”

Witherspoon (6 foot 3, 195 pounds) is comfortable lining up on either side of the field, which he did during his college career at Colorado. He said he has not put on much weight but he has added more muscle, which has allowed him a better chance to compete physically against bigger NFL receivers.

Witherspoon fully expects to be challenged on Sunday when he is expected to see considerable playing time against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. Witherspoon figures Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will be paying particularly close attention any time Dez Bryant lines up on his side of the field.

“They’re going to be looking at the ‘rook,’ ” Witherspoon said.

Said Shanahan, “They’re going to try to do that with all our DBs, so I don’t think it even matters who’s out there. They’re going to attack when we’re in single safety, which we are the majority of the time. They’re going to go outside and keep going out there until you stop them.”

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch Kyle Shanahan's full sit-down interview with Matt Maiocco on "49ers Game Plan," which is scheduled to air Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3).

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

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AP

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.