Warriors

Harbaugh: 'We're from the sticks & stones school of approach'

921645.jpg

Harbaugh: 'We're from the sticks & stones school of approach'

Jim Harbaugh addressed the week's headlines with the media on Monday, including on Frank Gore, on the Cardinals -- and complaints out of losing coach Pete Carroll.Transcript courtesy of 49ers media servicesHow was your weekend?
Great, outstanding weekend.

Did you see the big game?
No. I spent every waking and asleepmoment with my wife and kids. Had a wonderful weekend, every minute of it waswith them.

Did you guys do a bunchof the work last week, preparation for the Cardinals gameplan?
Yeah, its ongoing. We did some of it onFriday and then that continues today and tomorrow. And then the next day, andthe day after that, the hay will not be in the barn.

Four days off for theguys during a five day period.
Did they need that time to get off their feetand get those bumps and bruises rested and healed?
Yes.

How do they feel?Theyve reported back. Is it a healthy bunch right now?
I believe so. I believe it will be,especially as the week goes on. A lot of our guys came in and lifted and gottreatment. Going in that direction.

I think RB Frank Gorehas 103 carries in seven games. Is that about what you want to see from himworkload wise? Thats considerably less than he had at this point last year.
No, didnt have any number in mind.

Generally speakingthough, do you want to see him have fewer carries this year than he did in theregular season last year?
No, not necessarily. Hes doing a greatjob. Been very productive when he has had the ball in his hands.

A lot of people arewondering, RB Brandon Jacobs you guys brought him here in the offseason,still hasnt gotten on the field for any plays. Whats the vision for him asfar as how hes going to make a contribution?
I think thats all decided on the field.Brandon came here, in training camp was doing very well and got injured. Thenhe is working his way back. Thats a process thats going on and simultaneouslyyou have some guys who have played very well at that position. So I would say itsa process.

What do you make of the Cardinals?
Very good football team. They play outstanding defense. Very dangerousoffensively. A team that we know. They know us. Have a lot of respect for theCardinals.

When you see a team struggle protecting the passer as much as they havethis season, do you see that as another golden opportunity for you guys to getto the passer?
Its a challenge for everybody. In this league, call it a struggle, callit a challenge. Every single week, thats a challenge and an opportunity forboth teams. Both teams are faced with the challenge of protecting their passerand both teams have the opportunity to get to the opposers passer. Its a testof wills on sides, protecting and putting pressure on the passer.

What do you like most about G Mike Iupati and GT Alex Boone and theway theyre working together?
Just been fantastic. I thought the guard play this past game was topnotch. Both of those guys, Mike and Alex Boone had their best or close to theirbest games, which is saying a lot because theyve had good games. The way thethree of them worked together, I thought it was outstanding. Upon furtherreview we had to really look at it and say that both Mike Iupati and Alex Boonehad excellent games. The more you watch the tape, the more you appreciated thataspect of it.

Is it hard to believethat Alex Boone was an undrafted rookie?
That happens, yeah. To his credit, hestaken his opportunity, his talent, his work ethic, and also a great attitude.And then hes got it. And I think its a great lesson for all the youngplayers, individual players, that working hard, doing it with a great attitude,a team attitude, you figure it out. You get it. And hes a wonderful example ofthat.

C Jonathan Goodwin hadsaid last week hes never been around a guard that enjoys running power as muchas G Mike Iupati. Does that show up on film? Or do you get a sense just fromhim how much he enjoys getting up and going after linebackers on those plays?
Yeah, I think its high enjoyment level.Hes a very strong man that plays very physical. Its talent. Its attitude.Its a lot of those things. But, hes unique in that he is as big, as fast, asquick twitch as he is. And also secretly likes it to come down to just that,the physical nature of it.

When you obviouslylooked at film from 2010 when he was a rookie, did he jump out at you? Has heimproved a fair amount in these past two seasons?
Yeah, I think hes getting better andbetter. The group is as a whole. Talked about it before. Offensive line coachMike Solari and Offensive Line coach Tim Drevno do a great job with them. Andcontinues to keep going on the right track.

Has the line had to usethe silent count much yet this year? And does Phoenixs stadium \ require itmuch?
Yeah, anytime youre on the road youhave to be prepared to the use of silent count. Yes, we have had to use silentcount this year.

Im sorry can yourepeat? Its hard to hear.
Yes, we have used the silent count thisyear, and you always have to be prepared for it when youre on the road.

Is Phoenix any harderthan Seattle? I know theyve said theyve had to use it quite a bit in Seattle.Is Phoenix any harder than any place else? Or just average?
I think anytime youre on the roadyouve got to be prepared to have the silent count in your arsenal.

Are you going to findtime to watch the baseball game tonight?
Hopefully have some time to watch it.Its pretty exciting.

Seattle Seahawks headcoach Pete Carroll on his radio show today, he compared your statements aboutthe Seahawks corners to what New York Giants offensive coordinator KevinGilbride said about DT Justin Smith. Do you care to respond to that? Are theresimilarities to what Kevin Gilbride did and what you said Friday?
No, I dont think so. And anytime youask me about anything, the officiating from a game, previous game or anupcoming game, theres a way weve been instructed to handle that. And that isto not criticize the officiating and to address any concerns, and also justanything you want clarification of, or interpretation with, with the officialsin New York. So, thats what weve been instructed to do. Thats the way Imgoing to answer all the questions, whatever you all ask or have your ownconcerns. Thats the protocol. So, thats how Ive been instructed to go aboutit. Thats what well do.

He said he thought youmay have thought your receivers were overwhelmed.
Well, Im not going to comment on, orget paraphrased, or let somebody quote somebody else, and then have a reactionto it. I think you pretty much know that were from the sticks and stonesschool of approach. So, calling us names isnt going to hurt us.

Some people would say,why wouldnt you just limit I guess your response to say
No comment?

Well no, thatssomething that were going to take up with the league office, and leave it atthat?
Well, thats what I did. You made astatement, or I was asked a question. Is this how you interpret the play? Thatsnot the words I would use. Well take it up with the league. But, thats whatweve been instructed to say and do. I can stand up here and say, no comment,to just about any question. I try not to do that. I try to be professional, tryto answer questions the best that I can.

Has the league respondedand given you a satisfactory answer?
We havent, no, we havent, and we dontdiscuss those responses either. Thats part of the instructions.

With lofty win total unlikely this year, here's a number the Warriors can chase

durant-kerr-ap.jpg
AP

With lofty win total unlikely this year, here's a number the Warriors can chase

OAKLAND -- Getting to 73 wins is impossible for the Warriors, and the pursuit of it never entered their minds.

Reaching 69 wins, their average in three seasons under coach Steve Kerr, is highly improbable.

Even winning 67 games, the lowest total under Kerr, is extremely unlikely.

There is, however, a number the Warriors are aiming for that also happens to be within their grasp -- but only if they can fight through the regular-season malaise and break an unhealthy tendency.

They can get to 35 victories at Oracle Arena. Currently 16-6 at home, the Warriors would have to go 19-0 to reach 35, and it’s possible insofar as they are less than two years removed from posting an NBA-record 54 consecutive wins at home.

Can a team that once went 14 months without losing at Oracle summon a three-month stretch of perfection at home?

The schedule invites the possibility, but it’s still up to the Warriors and how they cope with tug of three long seasons and that tendency to float a bit in front of their home fans, two factors that have had more effect at home than on the road.

“In general, the appropriate fear we always talk about, it’s there on the road for most games and it’s not there as much at home,” Kerr conceded Monday.

Kevin Durant used different phrasing but echoed the comments of the coach.

“You tend to relax a bit when you’re at home because you’ve got your home crowd,” he acknowledged. “You’re just comfortable in that situation. You can go home and go to sleep in your own bed after the game. So you relax a bit.

“On the road, it just feels like this is the last game of your career. It just feels that way, especially when you’re playing a tough opponent and somewhere with a crowd that’s going to be really, really into it.”

Having gone 39-2, 39-2 and 36-5 over the last three seasons, the Warriors are assured of having their worst home record under Kerr. Still, 35 is not impossible.

The drop is not unanticipated, as Kerr experienced something similar as a member of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, when they won three straight championships as their regular-season wins steadily dropped, from 72 to 69 to 62.

“Where it has truly been the most tangible and palpable is home games against lesser opponents,” Kerr said. “We’ve lost six. Maybe two of those are playoff teams.

“We didn’t lose those games the last the last three years. We dominated the home floor. That’s where it really shows.”

The Warriors have lost at home to the Rockets, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Hornets and Clippers. Only Houston is a playoff lock. Detroit, Denver and the Clippers are on the fringe of the postseason race. Charlotte is a longshot, Sacramento a no-shot.

The Warriors, in every home loss, have started drowsily or played too carelessly or were self-destructive enough to give back a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

“This is the first year in my four years where we’ve lost a lot of home games that we shouldn’t,” Kerr said. “That just points to emotional fatigue. Trying to get up for 82 games is a difficult thing, especially in Year 4 of a quest to get back to The Finals.”

Coming off a successful road trip during which they won four of five games, the Warriors this week face the Knicks, Timberwolves and Celtics -- the latter two being playoff locks.

A home sweep is difficult, of course, but hardly inconceivable. And if the Warriors can pull that off, they’d have only four remaining home games against teams fighting for a top-four playoff slot: the Thunder and Spurs twice each.

Oklahoma City appears to be getting their act together. The Spurs, while still formidable, are starting to look like a team in decline.

They’re also the two teams most likely to get the full attention of the Warriors, who began the week by sitting through video of their last three games, during which they committed numerous hideous errors.

The message: Their unforced mistakes are the surest route to defeat.

“There are key points of the year where we have to hit the reset button in terms of our priorities,” Kerr said. “Right now is one of those times. This is an important week for us. We need to take care of the ball. We need to be smart and make good decisions. If we do that, we’re really, really hard to beat.”

Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'

chucky-ap.jpg
AP

Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'

Jon Gruden has been interviewed several times since becoming Raiders head coach. Quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t listened to most of those sessions, and certainly doesn’t seek them out.

One landed in Carr’s inbox recently, and something Gruden said really resonated.

Gruden’s message, paraphrased: If Derek Carr is not successful, then I’ve failed as a coach.

There are two comments in that one. Gruden considers Carr extremely talented, and he’s taking responsibility for unlocking the quarterback's vast potential.

Gruden will be hands on in Carr’s development, with all the coaching intensity and fire and eyebrow raises that have become Gruden’s signature.

“He’s going to demand of me. He’s going to push me,” Carr said on this week’s episode of the Raiders Insider Podcast, which will drop Tuesday morning (Subcribe right here). “He’s going to make me be the best version of myself.”

Carr had a direct answer to skeptics wondering aloud whether he can thrive under Gruden’s particular coaching style.

“I want him to be tough on me,” Carr said. “For anyone who thinks I want him to be a different way has no clue about me or how I play football or how I prepare to play this game. I don’t need to tell stories about how I prepare or manage myself.

“(Jon) and I are going to get along great. I hope that he demands of me. I hope he’s hard on me. I don’t need to know he loves me. He has already told me that about 20 times. I appreciate that and we’ll be friends forever, but I know he’ll be demanding and tell me what I need to do. Let’s go fix problems that I have and let’s do what I need to do to win championships. Hopefully that will give people some insight and hopefully that’s the story that gets out, because that’s the truth.”

Carr met his new head coach briefly before his introductory press conference, but has known Gruden since filming the Gruden QB Camp segment back in 2014. They got along great then, and in each interaction since.

“We have so much more in common that people realize,” Carr said. “I think it would blow some people’s minds. Him and I are very similar in the way we go about our business and how we carry ourselves. It’s an exciting time.”

Carr’s excited to have some stability in his football life. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback will start his fifth NFL season with his fourth head coach, fourth go-round with an offensive coordinator and third offensive scheme. Gruden signed a 10-year contract. OC Greg Olson signed a four-year pact. They’ll be here a while, and Carr’s excited about that.

“It’s going to be really nice,” Carr said. “To know Jon signed on for a 10 years and (Olson) signed on for a long time shows me a couple of things. No. 1: that they believe in me. I don’t think Coach Gruden would’ve quit his day job, which I’m thankful he did. To get (Olson) out of a good spot in L.A (with the Rams), shows that they believe in me and that’s awesome. And, No. 2: I’m going to have two people I can talk to in a different language for years to come. We can grow within the relationship, and hopefully we’ll all ride off together. It’s set up that way right now, and we have a lot of work to do to reach that point.”