HC Kevin Stefanski (10.20.23)
“Our guys are excited for this challenge going on the road. AFC opponent, three-win football team just like us. So we’re excited about all the things that go with playing on the road. Good week of practice. Was able to go inside today, get on the turf, which we’ll be [playing] on Sunday. So good week, never done, though. Still work to be done. We’ll still have some meetings tomorrow before we get on that airplane, but really excited about the challenge that the (Indianapolis) Colts present.”
You expect (Deshaun) Watson to start Sunday at quarterback?
“I want to see how he responds over the next 48 hours based on that full workload that he just got. But he looked good today.”
So is trending in that direction, fair to say?
“Those are your words.”
Will it be similar to what happened before the Baltimore game?
“We won’t work him out. Just want to see how he responds, how his body responds to again, a full workload today.”
Responding well from yesterday, though?
“Yes. Again, making progress every day.”
What is he wearing on his shoulder? Looked like some kind of device.
“I don’t know. That’s the truth.”
Was he taking his normal reps?
How did you think he looked? I mean, these are the first two days you’ve seen him out on the field for practice. How do you see him look?
“Yeah, I thought he looked good.”
Did he have more velocity on his ball today?
“I think every day when you’re working through something, you continue to make progress every single day. Hard to answer that question when I’m staring at that hat. It’s hard [laughing]. I won’t look next time.”
So he had a full day today, he was not limited?
“Correct. Full day.”
Who would be your backup on Sunday?
“P.J. Walker is the backup.”
Is he able to throw the ball? We’ve seen him throw some 30-yard passes, but can he throw it harder than that if he has to?
When did (Sione) Takitaki get hurt?
“At some point late in practice.”
Given that how Deshaun got hurt taking that hit on the run, do you have to alter your game plan at all as far as design quarterback run?
“We go into every game looking at what plays give us an advantage and where we go. His ability to move is a big part of his game and will always continue to be, and then we’ll call it accordingly, I would tell you. But you just look around the league, you’re going to have to make plays with your feet.”
Any concern whatsoever with opening it up during the game or taking a big hit or anything like that? Is there much concern about reinjuring?
I don’t think so, Mary Kay (Cabot). I think he’s confident in all the work he’s put in. Again, looked good at practice, and then we’ll see how he responds from that practice.”
How confident are you that Kareem Hunt will play?
“We’ll see, listed as questionable. We’ll see. Practiced, but again, similar, just see how he comes out of that practice.”
Zack Moss and Jonathan Taylor, do you expect to see them on the field together? If so, what kind of challenge do they present?
“Yeah, they’re two really, really, really good players. They have a really sound run scheme. Those two guys run hard. They have speed to have breakaway runs. In order to stop the run in any game, but particularly this game, you have to play as eleven. You have to be really sound in your run fits, and then you have to run to the ball because they run really, really hard. It’s good offensive line. They have a varied run scheme. So, in order to try to slow them down, you have to be in your gaps and you got to run to the football.”
You guys have been pretty good at home since you’ve come here. On the road has been a little bit of a different story. You’ve already played four home games, which means you got a lot of road games coming up. What do you tell these guys about playing just as well on the road as they have at home? How do you keep the momentum?
“Yeah, we love the challenge of playing on the road. The whole crowd is against you. I know our Browns crowd travels well, so we expect to see quite a bit of orange in that crowd. But you love going into those environments. It’s great as a competitor to be in those environments. Now, there are also things from an operational standpoint that you have to be on top of, particularly when you’re on offense, you have to be great in the huddle and you have to be great at the line of scrimmage with the snap count likely on the silent count. You really have to have a good road operation. And those are the types of things that are a challenge when you’re on the road.”
With P.J. in practice coming into the 49ers game and then obviously those game reps. Does that make you more comfortable with Deshaun being questionable if it is like a game-time decision kind of thing?
“Yeah, we trust our guys really at every position. Our backups stay ready, so they don’t have to get ready. And P.J.’s proven to do that in his career, so he’s ready if called.”
What about Harrison (Bryant) and Greg (Newsome II) to see how they respond, because they’re both questionable?
“Yeah, both look good in practice. I think with all those guys, you give yourself the 48 hours to see how they are. But I thought both those guys looked good.”
Does Jonathan Taylor remind you of any past running backs you’ve played?
“It’s a good question. Nobody comes to mind, and I say this – he’s got great power and speed, and that’s pretty rare. You have a lot of big backs that don’t have the breakaway home run speed, and he does.”
What are your thoughts on the Philly (Philadelphia Phillies) series so far?
“I like our chances in game four.”
Did you go to a lot of Phillies games?
“Oh yeah, quite a bit. After we’re done, I’ll give you the ’93 batting order.”
Was that when they were in the World Series?
“Yeah, it was.”
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