The tenor in the media room for Jim Harbaugh’s press conference was considerably more positive today than it was on Monday. The 49ers got back on their feet and blew out the Rams following two devastating losses of their own to the Seahawks and Colts. Harbaugh was complimentary of his team’s ability to stare down adversity and win despite a short week and the loss of integral players — namely Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis.
Here are some highlights from Harbaugh’s post-win press conference. They always seem to be entertaining when the 49ers are victorious (at least when I’m covering them, anyway), and this was no different:
— He credited the defense with putting together a strong team effort against a Rams team that gained fewer total yards than the 49ers gained running the football alone.
“A good team win when you look at the defense,” Harbaugh said. “Very good team defense. Glenn Dorsey played exceptionally well. Navorro [Bowman], [Tramaine] Brock came in and caused a big play on the interception that Donte [Whitner] got in the endzone. A lot of key guys, but overall very good team defense.”
— Harbaugh highlighted Dorsey and Brock on more than one occassion, and also seemed to indicate that an open competition in the secondary could push Brock ahead of Nnamdi Asomugha for the number three cornerback role.
— He gave the offense similar credit when asked about getting the running game going. He said the offensive line played well in concert with the fullbacks, tight ends and wide receivers. He, of course, heaped praise upon Frank Gore as well.
— Injury news was an open-faced compliment sandwich of sorts. Harbaugh again indicated that the 49ers “dodged a bullet” with Joe Staley’s injury.
“It appears he was able to walk that off,” Harbaugh said.
But Quinton Patton wasn’t able to walk off what ailed him, and he won’t be for a while. Harbaugh said Patton has a fractured metatarsal (he said “metacarpal” but that’s a bone in the hand) in his foot and admitted the rookie wide receiver will miss some time. He did say Patton would remain on the 53-man roster.
— Harbaugh said that, even with the increase in snaps to Patton before exiting with his fractured foot, the intention wasn’t to make him the second-string wideout. But with Patton sidelined and Kyle Williams contributing very little through four weeks, this may be an opportunity for Jonathan Baldwin to take a step up.
“[Baldwin]’s got a competitive heart,” said Harbaugh. “I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just something you see. I guess a bird watcher knows the gist of a bird just by watching it fly. I feel like sometimes I got an eye for a competitive heart. I see it with Jon.”
His use of totally obscure references may be an attempt to veil true intentions, but in this case Harbaugh was quite complimentary of the game Baldwin played, saying there would be more action for him in the future.
— Harbaugh had more unusual praise when he broached the topic of Vernon Davis and his impact on the passing game, which became quite dynamic in his return from what he revealed to be a tear in his hamstring.
“Vernon is just a special creation. He has different kind of blood flowing through him than you or I do,” Harbaugh said. “The way he has never been sidelined for a game, and had a tear in his hamstring and then all of a sudden it just heals back together. His muscle structure, his DNA, blood flows different, somehow, someway.”
— Harbaugh said he didn’t catch much of the fan and media reaction following the 49ers’ back-to-back losses, especially because of the short week. He also said negative energy can be a good thing when it comes to motivating a player.
“Energy is energy. There’s positive energy and there’s negative energy and sometimes a person can get more energy from negative energy. Sometimes that can be a gift … thank you very much,” said Harbaugh.
“[When] People are heaping flowery words of praise upon you, then you feel more exposed before your enemies. I just quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson there.”
Harbaugh wouldn’t acknowledge paying attention to fan criticism as a coach or as a player, saying he doesn’t “hear the noise.”
“I don’t hear the screaming and the yelling and the dust and the sand,” Harbaugh said.
— The logical follow-up questions were about Twitter, the medium for Kaepernick’s revolutionary favorite-therapy leading up to the Rams game. Harbaugh said he found Twitter to be a drain of time when he used it at Stanford.
“When I was over at Stanford and Twitter … Tweeter … Twitter-er became popular, there was stress that we as coaches need to be on Twitter to communicate with recruits, the fan base, etcetera,” he said. “We tried it for eight or nine months and found it to be way too time consuming.”
But you were pretty good at it, weren’t you coach?
“Anything to try to be good at, you know?”
And that’s Jim Harbaugh in a nutshell. Always trying to be the best, even if it’s Twitter.