Harbaugh Q&A -- locked, loaded for Detroit


Harbaugh Q&A -- locked, loaded for Detroit

SANTA CLARA -- Here's a transcript of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's meeting with the press before the team left Friday afternoon for Detroit (courtesy of the 49ers' public-relations department):How would you gauge the pulse of the team a couple days before this game?
Harbaugh: "Good week of practice. Locked, loaded, ready to leave fully loaded for Detroit."A lot of people are calling this NFL's game of the week. Does that alter your approach at all since there's no reason to hold anything back?
Harbaugh: "We do that every week. Every single week, we go into these games with one intent and that's to do everything we can to prepare ourselves to win and go out and execute and win the football game. That's all that's ever on our mind."

Does the team take on a different mindset, do you try to foster a different mindset when you guys go on the road with the hostile environment and the odds against you?
Harbaugh: "I wouldn't say that's a big percentage of what we do. We go on the road, you deserve to win, if you've prepared yourself to win, then you put yourself in a better position to win. You win on the road because you deserve to."A lot of guys spoke last week of practices leading up to the Buccaneers game, good practices led to a good game. Similar practices this week?
Harbaugh: "I'd characterize them as very good, especially Wednesday. I thought we had our best Wednesday practice of the season. Guys are focused; they understand what's at stake."When you say a team has a good practice, what is it about that practice that makes it good?
Harbaugh: "Especially on Wednesday, you can hear it. When the pads are on, you can hear a good practice. Guys are fronting it up, they're banging, they're where they're supposed to be, they're fitting it correctly, bringing energy, and they have focus, a purpose. The execution is at a high level because Wednesday, that's the first day, sometimes there can be a learning curve of the week's assignments and alignments, plays, etcetera. I thought all those things were really good for us, that's what made Wednesday a really good practice."After the first game you talked about coming home and watching and there weren't any 49ers highlights. Is there any difference of instilling in the team that everyone's going to be paying attention to this game?
Harbaugh: "We want to play in big games. This is an opportunity, no question about it. The better you play, the more opportunities you have like this. It's where we want to be."If you had the choice of making it one-dimensional, would you have it be a running team with Jahvid Best or would you try to figure you're going to stop Best and take your chances with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson?
Harbaugh: "That's not something that you could just sit up here and play the what if,' hypothetical game. You have to go out and take something away if you can. They're solid in both, good in both, so therefore we have to defend the run, we have to defend the pass. We're going to have to play at our best."On challenging Calvin Johnson when the ball's in the air.
Harbaugh: "I think you're darn sure going to do that at every position. A lot of units are going to be the challenge player in this game. We know our secondary will be challenged on a significant number of downs, and Calvin Johnson will be doing the challenging and we've got to respond and be up for the challenge."How did CB Shawntae Spencer look this week in practice?
Harbaugh: "Good."Will he be up and available for you on Sunday?
Harbaugh: "Yeah just like last week."But was he available last week?
Harbaugh: "Yes."He could have played?
Harbaugh: "He could have."So how do youhas CB Chris Culliver won that job then?
Harbaugh: "Tune in on Sunday and find out."Jim, is this game a gauge of where you guys really stand among the better teams in the league?
Harbaugh: "I don't have any real thought on that. Haven't seen every elite team in the league. Haven't studied every team in the league. This is game six for us. We know we're playing against a very good football team. And what's important now is the Detroit Lions. And I feel like our team is up of the challenge, ready to go, and we'll go there with a mindset and attempt only one thing. So, can't comment on where that stacks us up with the rest of the league, and I don't know how relevant that is on game six."Have you liked what you've seen from Michael Crabtree downfield blocking, and the things he does in that area?
Harbaugh: "All you have to do is watch Michael and he was outstanding in the ballgame last week in terms of blocking. Very pleased with the way he's blocking downfield."Is that something you saw from him last year was when you looked at the tape or was that something that he's embraced more this year with your philosophy.
Harbaugh: "I think all our receivers have embraced it more, and are doing it. And doing it better this year."With Joshua Morgan out and the trade deadline coming up at the end of this month, how interested would this team be in adding a starter-quality wide receiver?
Harbaugh: "Again, not speculating on potential guys that are out there. We're always looking and assessing the perils and merits of anything that can help our football team. So, everything always with one purpose, and that's to help make us a better football team. Not going to speculate on anything."

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”