Trent Baalke held a press conference Wednesday morning. Of course he ducked the Harbaugh question and mentioned plans to meet with some of the 49ers’ big name players, such as free agents to be Michael Crabtree and Justin Smith. But what really stuck out was his response to this question about Frank Gore:
How much do you think RB Frank Gore has left? Is he still a guy that he’s still got it, that you feel strongly about bringing back next year?
“Frank’s, everyone asks that question all the time. I think I’ve been asked that question for five straight years now. Frank’s just the Energizer battery, he just keeps on ticking. The last two games of the season, I think you saw what Frank still has left in the tank. A very good football player. One of the most passionate, if not the most passionate football player I’ve ever been around. So, I still think he’s got it in him. I know that he still believes it. I talked to him the other day on the phone and we’re going to do what we can to get him back as a 49er.”
One could argue Gore has been the 49ers best player for the last decade. He could (perhaps even should) be a Hall-of-Famer, and yet he’s a 31-year-old tailback with more tread on his tires than most running backs, even at his age. He’ll be seeking a significant deal considering the risk involved, and he’ll still want to be a bell cow. Whether the 49ers should re-sign him is a difficult decision for a team without much cap space that has holes in other areas.
Baalke discusses Gase story … sort of
We all remember the story last week about the 49ers’ discussions with Adam Gase, with Tim Kawakami reporting that the 49ers told Gase they wanted Jim Tomsula to be the defensive coordinator if Gase became the team’s head coach. Then Albert Breer said that Gase wanted either Vic Fangio or Vance Joseph to be his defensive coordinator.
Here’s what Baalke said about the subject today — pay attention to a certain word that starts with “m.”
What kind of attempt was made to or interest to keep Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio part of the staff?
“Yeah. There was an attempt. And it all played out. It all depended who the head coach was going to be. I think that question was asked earlier about a situation with Adam. Everyone that we interviewed had a different way to approach things and there were no mandates made to any of them through the process. It was a process where we went in, we talked to the coaches, we had them kind of give us the idea of what they would like to do with the staff and we went from there.”
“There were no mandates made to any of them.” We’ll see if any of the parties involved (i.e. Gase or Fangio) ever dispute Baalke’s statement publicly.
Ease up, Kap!
What Baalke said about Colin Kaepernick made a lot of sense, especially the last sentence.
What does he need to work on?
“That’d be a question you’d need to visit with him on. But, I know that what he’s down there working on is just all the technique things that go along with the position; footwork, delivery, changing platforms, throwing platforms, arm angle. He’s working on all of that stuff. And, being able to take a little pace off of the ball when he needs to take some pace off of it.”
Not that Kaepernick is as good as John Elway, but Elway was a quarterback who needed to learn to throw shorter passes with some touch early in his career. If Kaepernick can “take a little pace off of the ball” while throwing accurately enough to keep defenders from deflecting or intercepting his short passes, his life could get a lot easier next season.