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Jim Harbaugh: Marcus Lattimore 'Better Every Day'

Posted May 28, 2014

The San Francisco 49ers coach offered updates on his injured players while also mentioning the marked improvement of his second-year running back.


Jim Harbaugh spoke with reporters after the second day of San Francisco 49ers OTAs on Wednesday.

What’d you see? What’d you like out there?
“A lot of exciting things going on. Team’s just striving to be better today than we were yesterday. See if we can’t be better tomorrow than we were today. But, a lot of exciting new players and feel like we’ve got a lot of fire power in our corner. Feel like we’ve got a lot of ammunition in our camp. Was thinking the other day - how does it get better than this? Very exciting.”

WR Michael Crabtree participated in OTAs last year, obviously a bad situation. But, how’s he looking out there now and is he under any orders just to take it easy?
“You saw Michael practice a good portion of the workout and there’s a plan in place for him. More limited than some of the other receivers that we have. But, I think our medical staff and Michael and these coaches are taking a smart approach.”

WR Stevie Johnson, he wasn’t out here today. Can you tell us why and whether he’s been out here?
“Yeah, he’s been here just about every day.” 

Do you know why he wasn’t here today?
“I do know why, yes. He had a little something he’s working through.”

How about RB Frank Gore? Has Frank been here? Has he been a regular out here as well?
“He hasn’t come to the practices yet. But, he is doing his workouts.”

In Florida?
“No, he’s here. He was here this morning. Yeah.”

Same for TE Vernon Davis?
“No, Vernon hasn’t been here as much, no, at the facility.”

Is there a reason for that that he’s enlightened you on that you can share with us?
“As you know, the workouts are voluntary. That would be the reason.”

And G/T Alex Boone hasn’t been here as well.
“Yeah.”

Has he expressed to the organization any dissatisfaction with his contract as a reason why he’s not here?
“Again, the workouts are voluntary, as you know. And in terms of – what did you say, contracts?”

Dissatisfaction with his contract.
“I’ve always chosen, as a policy, not to discuss contracts publicly.”

What do you try to get done in these sessions when you do have a lot of new guys you’re working in?
“Learning the system. Practicing football plays, techniques, alignments, assignments. And in this phase we’re allowed to go offense versus defense. You see the seven on seven and team drills, fundamentals, executing, install plays. Trying to hone those and perfect those.”

Have you seen some of the rookies, they’ve just come off the mini camp, picking up things quickly? It seemed like a fairly seamless practice for just the second OTA with the entire team?
“Yeah, they did a good job. They really did a good job all weekend. They’ve studied extremely hard. I’ve seen worse. And, they’ve been better than most groups that I can remember as true rookies. They’ve done a fantastic job.”

It seemed like there was a good amount of red zone work today. Is that something you want to emphasize this offseason? And how did the offense execute in that area of the field?
“Yeah, I would say we’re about 35, 40 percent operating in the red zone in these OTAs. Thought it was good. Thought it was good. Especially yesterday offensively. I don’t know if a ball hit the ground. Today the defense surged back and had a better day. But, the guys are working really well together. That’s the thing as we walk off the field, we’re most pleased with - how well the offense, defense are working when they’re in the competitive situations.”

Is 35, 40 percent a step up more than you’ve done it in the past, or about the same?
“A little bit more than last year. But, wouldn’t say a huge step up. It pretty was close to that.”

What have you see from WR Brandon Lloyd and does he at all look like a guy that had been away from football for a little bit?
“Seeing really good things. Seeing surge off the line of scrimmage. He’s got the ability to burst at the top of his routes. Runs excellent routes. Acrobatic type of catches that he’s able to make. Really good hands. So far really good. No, it does not seem like a guy that’s had a layoff from football for a year. 

And is this just in what we’ve seen, but it does seem like QB Colin Kaepernick feels pretty comfortable throwing it to him. Have you seen the same thing? Do you sense the same thing?
“Yeah. Kap said it the other day - he feels like he has a stable of receivers now. And maybe that’s the first time that we’ve said that since we’ve all been here together. And I concur. It feels that way.”

How did RB Marcus Lattimore look to you?
“Marcus is in the same situation. Each day trying to get a little bit better. And you see the improvement with him. Every day looks a little bit better than the day before.”

What are the adjustments for a new player? You see everything on paper and then you come out here and the language and do it all actually for the first time. For new players, especially the rookies, the college guys that might have come from a different system, what’s that like to learn all that stuff?
“It’s learning new words for some of the similar plays or adjustments or techniques that they had done before. So, it’s the terminology.”

So, this is the chance to actually get out and do this instead of looking at it on paper I guess, these camps?
“Yeah, and they’ve done it. This is really their third week being involved with the team and the veterans. They’ve practiced. This is their third week, including a weekend of just rookies. So, they’ve come a long way in a short period of time, and they’re acclimating well.”

Colin looks just looks like he’s carrying himself very comfortably, not that he didn’t in the past, but do you think he’s really kind of blooming into a leader or whatever you want to call it? What a starting quarterback should be?
“He does. He does. And I really expect a real breakout year for Colin. Athletically, he looks bionic. If you all remember the Six Million Dollar Man, that’s what it looks like to me. He’s very gifted and he always has been. He has the look and feel of a guy who’s really going to break out, even more so than he already has. I’m really excited about everything about his game right now.”

You guys have all said that you hope or expect for him to have that new contract before the season starts. General manager Trent Baalke said that specifically. Do you expect that? Do you think that’s going to happen?
“Again, I’m hopeful. I’m a big proponent of Colin Kaepernick, his abilities. On record as stating that I would like to see that happen. It’s a process. I know you’ve heard me use that word before in many other ways. But, that is not like some of the other examples. There’s a process in place. And it’ll play out.” 

As far as Lattimore is concerned, is he still easing into things, or is he just going at OTA speed? Where is he confidence-wise with that knee? And is he ready to kind of burst?
“He seems like it. He had strained his hamstring a few weeks back. And he’s really been coming back from that day-by-day, more so than from the knee. You talk to him, the knee feels good, and he’s getting back, getting the hamstring back.”

T Jonathan Martin working through something?
“Yeah, Jonathan came down with mononucleosis and he’s toward the end of the cycle. There’s one month. It’s been close to a month since he’s come down with that, and he’s getting better.”

Was CB Chris Culliver here today?
“Did not see Culliver today.”

Has he been here most of the time?
“He’s been here quite a bit, yes.”

One other question on Lloyd, could you see him as a slot guy? Does he fit that skill set?
“Right now, I see him having the skill set to play both the slot or outside as a receiver, like he’s done throughout his career. But, really looks good. We’re glad we have him.” 

Saw DL Lawrence Okoye sort of keeping up there with CB Darryl Morris.
“Yeah. The fella, they liked that. That was one of the high points of practice. Watching Lawrence run down on the kickoff. And he’s been doing that for us. He’s a big guy and he can run. And that’s, like a lot of guys, trying to find their spot. Trying to find their role. And that’s a place that he’s working in right now. And fun to watch, wasn’t it? A big, 300-and-however-many-pound guy running down on the kickoffs. I’d love to see it.”

Is Culliver still limited with his knee, or is he a full go?
“Yeah, he’s been working. Yeah, practicing.”

But he’ll be ready for training camp? I mean, just a full prediction?
“I expect that, yes. God willing and the creek don’t rise.”

Jack Harbaugh?
“Jack Harbaugh.”

LB Aaron Lynch, does he fit the LB Aldon Smith profile of that type of body type as a pass rusher?
“They look similar when they stand next to each other. We don’t put those type of expectations on a young player. Again, he’s learning his role. Learning the system, and making mistakes and correcting them. But, he’s been doing a real good job. Very pleased with the way he’s studied, the way he’s practiced, and how he’s coming along, yeah.”

And how do you gauge where Aldon’s at on the field, how he’s looking?
“Looked good, looked good today. Pleased.”