Shortly after the San Francisco 49ers cut down their roster to 53 players, head coach Jim Harbaugh talked with the media on conference call. Harbaugh talked about why he and his coaching staff decided to keep some players, and released others.
Harbaugh added seven rookies, including Kevin McDermott who is an undrafted rookie that bumped 13-year veteran Brian Jennings from the roster at long snapper. He said he based his evaluations on merit and the players that made the team, earned their roster spots. Below are some highlights from the conference call.
There was a lot of worthy players. The thing that was profound to me, so many guys improved, so many guys were ascending players, right up to the point of making the final roster. It made the day very exciting, very good day by the efforts of the players.
To see young football players ascend and get better as football players, that’s very exciting to me. I’ve yet to have a day where it’s not a good experience to watch the players ascend.
Harbaugh on cutting Jennings:
That was a big decision. Personal, because Brian Jennings to me, we breathe the same air. There’s nobody I can say I enjoyed more than Brian Jennings. I loved watching him play, I loved watching him compete, I loved being around him every single day.
He’s got more football in him. He’s definitely an NFL, top-level talent.
In the call, the head coach also talked about some of the players that were on the roster bubble and why they ended making the team.
Harbaugh on keeping linebacker Nate Stupar:
The way he’s worked, the way he’s ascended as a football player, improved, it’s been very good for our football team. You talk about the meritocracy; it was evident with Nate Stupar.
Harbaugh on seventh-round pick B.J. Daniels making the team:
Definitely thought a lot of him when we scouted him and drafted him. We coached him hard and he had to compete with multiple players at the (quarterback) position, some that were on this team, some that were veterans of the league. Nothing was ever handed to him and he competed. He earned that spot. Another example of the merit system.
Harbaugh why linebacker Cam Johnson was added to the roster:
There’s no question, especially in that game (Chargers), he earned it with merit. He showed that he’s an ascending and improving player… That was earned, again, through the body of work. That game was a shining moment, a shining game for him.