OPENING STATEMENT: “These are your injuries: Donald Stephenson didn’t practice today, he had an ankle sprain. He got rolled up yesterday. Doesn’t look like it’s too bad, but it was swollen today. Sanders Commings is making progress with the foot strain. Junior Hemmingway, slight hamstring sprain he should be back here. We have the day off tomorrow, but he should be back the following day. Eric Kush has an ankle sprain. It’s just a matter of getting the swelling out of that thing. (Joe) McKnight is continuing with the knee and making progress. David Van Dyke has a slight hamstring there. Otis Hudson today, his lower back tightened up. DeMarcus Van Dyke, slight hamstring. (Phillip) Gaines he’s being evaluated right now. He banged his head a little bit, and we are just trying to take precautionary measures. I think he’ll probably be ok. We had some good work today, got to work some two minutes today live. The guys, I thought, did a nice job. It was one offense vs. two defense and then we flopped over and went one defense vs. two offense. And the threes went against the threes. We got 10 plus snaps with each group, so it was good work there. We’ll try to do that, we’ll try to break down the situations as we go and by the time we get to game time we should have them all in.”
Q: The tension was kind of palpable when the kickers were going at it one on one. Talk about that competition.
REID: “They are challenging each other. Both of them are good kickers. Today was a tie, I told them it was like the World Cup. We practiced for an hour and then they tied. It’s still exciting to watch though.”
Q: I know that you leave the personnel stuff to John Dorsey. But you said about a month or so ago, that you’re still optimistic that something will get done with Alex Smith. Are you keeping the same stance right now? Where are you at with that?
REID: “There’s communication going on. I told you before that is the important thing. Alex is a good football player and he’s great for this football team. We’re lucky to have him here. They are working through it, and we’ll see what happens. These things take time, you know how the game goes. Alex isn’t worried about it, and I’m not worried about it. We just go play.”
Q: Is there a potential for distraction if it doesn’t get done before the season?
REID: “I don’t think so. Alex, he’s been around and he knows how it works. So I don’t think so.”
Q: That’s quite a laundry list of guys that were out. Is that too many?
REID: “No, not at all. We got good work today. Guys will be coming back here quickly. That happens normally in the first few days then they get back into it. They’ll l be alright.”
Q: What did the San Diego game show you about Chase Daniel? What do you need to see from him to ensure that he sticks around?
REID: “He needs to keep being Chase Daniel. Keep being himself and playing the way he plays. He’s a competitive guy, and he makes plays. He did play well in the San Diego game, so he’s a good football player.”
Q: You say be Chase Daniel, that’s what? Intermediate passes? Make good decisions?
REID: “No, there’s no part of the offense that you hold back. He gets it all just like Alex has. He can make all the throws and he’s a good football player.”
Q: Sounds like you guys put a lot of stock in that San Diego game for guys that didn’t get to play a lot. Was that a pretty good evaluation point?
REID: “Well, yeah that and what we’ve seen. We’re not just putting it on that game. If what you’ve seen before that game transfers into the game, and they play four quarters with it, and it still comes out with that same picture then that’s a worthy evaluation tool. And give them an opportunity.”
Q: You are getting Ryan Harris a lot of work. What have you learned about him since he’s been around the past few days?
REID: “He’s a good solid player it looks like. We’ll see how he does with time. He’s had a couple injuries in his career so we’ll see how he does as works through this thing.”
Q: Other than Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson is he the only guy you’re comfortable with on the left side?
REID: “No, I would tell you that we could probably kick 71 (Jeff Allen) out there. And he could probably do a pretty good job too. He’s been working, you saw him working reps out there today.”
Q: You’ve talked about how you want to ingrain this mentality of finishing in the team. How have you approached that?
REID: “Well, we talk about (it). You hear the guys mention it on the field. They are working hard. It’s not just finish a series or a game, its finish every down the right way. Not that every play is going to be a perfect play. But you give it your best shot. Then you get back and you do the same thing. And you keep your attention to detail throughout this practice. These are long, so you keep your focus, that attention to detail, and your intensity level up. Then you rest when it’s over.”
Q: Phillip Gaines, since the pads have come on what have you seen from him and his development?
REID: “When he has been out here it’s been good. He’s had a couple bruises and been banged up a little bit. But he’s a smart kid and very talented too.”
LB DERRICK JOHNSON
Q: How do you think the illegal contact rule could affect you guys in coverage?
JOHNSON: “It’s too early to say. Preseason time, they’re going to test it out. Football is hard, regardless. When you have world class athletes out there running routes, it’s kind of hard not to put your hand on them for five yards. They’re going to make an emphasis on it, so it is what it is. You have to practice the new technique and get away with what we can.”
Q: What kind of impact will it make with the bigger emphasis this year on cracking down on rub routes and screens where they can only block one yard from the line of scrimmage?
JOHNSON: “It will help, big time. A lot of teams do that, and it’s smart by them. It’s illegal, but you can do it a certain way to beat man coverage. It’s pretty hard to cover.”
Q: Now it seems like the lead blocker has to wait on those plays, does that help you because you can sniff it out a little easier?
JOHNSON: “You can sniff it out a little easier and they won’t come into you so hard. They’ll make it more like they’re running a route even more. It’s going to work out for us, but being on defense, you’re behind the eight ball anyway. Whatever we get thrown at us, we just have to play.”
Q: You’ve had a revolving door next to you at inside linebacker the last few years, how is that having to have a new partner every year? What does Joe Mays bring?
JOHNSON: “Joe brings communication to the game, physicality to the game. He’s a very smart player. I know, being in this league 10 years, change is (imminent). Every year, there is going to be change. We don’t control what goes on upstairs. When a new guy comes in – old or new – we have to get him acclimated to the system. Every guy that’s come in, it hasn’t been a big problem.”
Q: The better at stopping the run the other inside linebacker is, the less he plays. If he does his job on first down, then it’s a passing situation.
JOHNSON: “That’s true, that’s a good thing. There are pros and cons to it. We want that mike linebacker to be a run stuffer. A guy that can line up everybody and be thick in the hole. We have a great defensive line, so having that extra guy that can hold his own; it’s going to be key for us this year.”
Q: How does having a day off tomorrow impact your preparation today?
JOHNSON: “It gets you through. Today, I was feeling my age a little bit early in practice, but I got through. It’s one of those things where, it doesn’t matter what motivates you during this time, you want to see results out there on the field. Everybody is getting evaluated. Whatever motivates you, that’s my (mindset) every day. When they blow that whistle, whatever motivates you, you better be running.”
Q: A lot of changes behind you in the secondary, does that change what you do up front?
JOHNSON: “The NFL is about change. Depending on personnel, you have a lot of young guys. There are opportunities to take some spots in the secondary that are open. Competition brings out the best in them. By the time the fourth preseason game (comes), I’m sure they will have a lot of evaluated tape and we’ll get the right guys in.”
Q: You’re 32, have you given any thought to how much time you want to keep doing this?
JOHNSON: “First of all, I’m 31 – I’ll be 32 soon. No, it hasn’t crossed my mind. I’ve been fortunate and blessed not to have a major injury. Every year, when I go back to work out with Jamaal (Charles) and all of these guys – if I can keep up with these guys, I can come back.”
Q: When you are in nickel coverage, it seems like Bob Sutton has you and Husain Abdullah probing the A-gap, is that an assigned blitz or do you just go if the opportunity is there?
JOHNSON: “We have different packages, I don’t want to tell everything, but we want to give the offensive linemen different looks. Even if we’re not coming at the time, it makes them talk, makes them think. When you think when you have Tamba (Hali) and Justin (Houston rushing) on the outside, it’s a second too late.”
LB JOE MAYS
Q: How has the weather been for camp?
MAYS: “You can’t ask for anything better than this. I was in Houston last year and it was hot, muggy. It was about 90 degrees at eight o’clock in the morning. This right here is awesome.”
Q: How will you utilize the day off?
MAYS: “Bubble bath. Bubble bath sounds nice, but I think I’m just going to try and relax, get off my feet, definitely hit the cold tub and try to spend as much time with my family as I can.”
Q: What’s it like to play with Derrick Johnson?
MAYS: “It’s been great so far. Me being able to pick his brain, seeing what he sees on the field, talking to him, communicating with him. It’s been great. He’s been just a big time play maker. Now, I’m trying to pick his brain so I can get the chance to be where he’s at. Doing things that he’s been doing on the field and bring my style of play to the team as well.”
Q: What are your observations from this defense so far?
MAYS: “Hungry. I knew that they were going to be that way especially how they lost that game last year in the playoffs. They were going to be hungry. It’s contagious. They brought that out onto the field and now me being a part of it, I feel like I was a part of that team last year. So now, I’m hungry as well. I want to come out, I want to be great. They want to be great. So, let’s do it together.”
Q: They dial up a lot of different things for different people. How do you think that could benefit you?
MAYS: “It can benefit a lot. You have so many great players on this defense from front to back. I think on offense, they kind of key in on those guys. It doesn’t matter if a guy like me, Allen Bailey, Mike DeVito, any of us go out there and can do great things for the defense as well.”
RB/ST DE’ANTHONY THOMAS
Q: How big is this playbook?
THOMAS: “It’s pretty interesting. Just going out there and just learning the plays. I am with a great group, I am with a great coach, and it is great being out there working hard with those guys.”
Q: Are you a running back? Do you care what people call you as long as they use you?
THOMAS: “No, I just feel like I am a contributor. Wherever the coach puts me, I just am going to go out there, work hard and make plays.”
Q: Are you surprised by how you measure up against these NFL players?
THOMAS: “Not at all. I know it is pretty interesting just going out there. I just like having fun and going out there and competing.”
Q: Has it been a tough adjustment at all putting on the pads?
THOMAS: “Not at all. I have been playing in pads all of my life so I am pretty much adapted to it pretty fast and now I am just ready to go.”
Q: Do you hope to contribute as a punt returner right away?
THOMAS: “Yeah, for sure. I just go out there and when it is time to catch returns, catch punts, I just go out there and catch them all.”
Q: What does it take to be a good punt returner?
THOMAS: “Just being focused, being patient, good footwork, and just locating that ball and looking it in all the way.”
Q: Do you have to have a special mentality when it comes to fielding punts with guys just flying at you?
THOMAS: “You just have to have confidence and be patient.”
Q: What is the best advice a veteran has given you?
THOMAS: “Just to take care of my body, take care of my body and just seeing those guys (and) how they carry themselves and how they take care of their bodies. I am just taking it all in and just staying focused and keep going out there and working hard.”
Q: How do you get through the heat?
THOMAS: “I think I average like at least 15 Gatorades a day so just keep drinking Gatorades and just keep going.”
Q: Does taking care of your body entail avoiding big hits?
THOMAS: “Not at all. Just ice baths and stuff like that. Getting in the ice, stuff like that.”
Q: How has the speed of practice compared to the college game for you?
THOMAS: “A lot of fast guys out there but I just go out there, be patient, be confident and just have fun.”
Q: Does it seem too fast at all?
THOMAS: “Not really. I am adapting to it pretty well and I just got to go out there and know my assignments.”
Q: Are you still catching up after being on your own during OTA’s?
THOMAS: “Yes, I had to catch up a lot and I am still catching up. But I am just going out there, whatever I can to contribute to this team.”
Q: What is it like learning from Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe?
THOMAS: “They are both motivators to me, just seeing those guys go out there and work hard. So I just want to be great just like those guys and go out there and just compete and work hard every day.”
Q: Is there anyone you make sure is on the field at all times when you go live in practice?
THOMAS: “Not at all. They always talk about my size but I feel like I have a big heart and I am not scared of anybody.”