Ken at the controls

Ken Dorsey talks about taking over this week as the 49ers' starting quarterback, and why he'll be better than last season in the role.

Q: Now that you're in the saddle as the starting quarterback this week, do you build on what happened when you were in that role last year?

Dorsey:
You definitely build on what happened. Not a lot went well, but we did some good things last year. We were able to do some good things. That four-game stretch that we went through last year at the end of the year helped me a lot because we played some really good defenses that year. A couple of them were in the top five. Having that experience in playing Tampa Bay this week helps, because Tampa Bay is a top-five defense in the NFL. They're exceptional, so you definitely pull from that.

Q: Do you look at this as the last opportunity that you will get for a while?

Dorsey:
I don't look at it like that. I just look at it like it's an opportunity for me to go out and play and do some good things. You just never know what kind of opportunities will arise. I didn't have any idea, being the third-string quarterback two weeks ago, that I'd be starting today. You never really know and you never shut the door to anything.

Q: Do you think you're a better quarterback than you were a year ago?

Dorsey:
It's just having that experience in games, having the ups and downs in a game and things like that. Having an idea about how fast it is and how quick things happen. Those types of things really help you. Naturally, in camp, you can't simulate any type of game speed in practice, but having the past game experience really helps.

Q: Have you improved your arm strength?

Dorsey:
It's improving each and every year, I feel like. I'm able to keep developing not only on the field, but off the field through working out here and doing things that I've picked up in other places to incorporate that into getting better.

Q: Have you changed your mechanics?

Dorsey:
We did a lot of working on it during the offseason. It's been something that I really feel saved my career because I think that it's something that has improved my accuracy on the ball and my velocity on the ball. None of that matters when you're doing it in practice; it's got to carry over, but it's something I feel more confident in.

Q: What have you changed?

Dorsey:
I come across my body less. I had a tendency to come across my body. It's just little things and little tips that help improve getting your arm a little higher and finishing through the target.

Q: Why are you still working after practice when you're getting all the reps as the starter?

Dorsey:
I think that it's important that if you don't do something well in practice, you go out and do it out there so you feel confident in anything you do.

Q: Did you feel your career needed to be saved?

Dorsey:
No, no. I don't think that was the right choice of words, but I think it's something that propelled me to a level to be confident enough to know that I can make every throw and have no doubt in my mind that I can make every throw. I think that's what it takes to be a starter in the league - having no doubt in your mind that you can go out and make every throw on the football field. I think that's where the development, in terms of my offseason workouts with the coaches, came from. That's being able to be sound mechanically and not have any doubt in your mind that you can make any throw on the field.

Q: Have you felt that before?

Dorsey:
No, but I think I didn't throw the ball as well on certain routes because of the mechanical things. You're not quite as comfortable with the routes because you're just not throwing well, whereas now I feel like I can throw all the routes and be comfortable with it because the accuracy is a lot better.

Q: Who changed your mechanics?

Dorsey:
Coach (offensive coordinator Mike) McCarthy and coach (quarterbacks coach Jim Hostler. It was a combination effort between everybody, seeing one thing and taking little things from each person and applying it.

Q: Have you gained weight?

Dorsey:
I've improved in that category. I've been able to put on some extra pounds in the offseason and do some things in the weight room that will help me on the field. I put on about 10 pounds in the offseason.

Q: What do you have to do to combat the speed of the Tampa Bay defense?

Dorsey:
I think just being smart with the football. The defense strives off of turnovers, and it's easy to say, ‘Protect the football and be smart with it,' but you have to go out and do it. I think that's going to be an important part of the game for us because it's a fast defense that thrives off turnovers.

Q: Is there one guy on the Tampa Bay defense that you always have to be aware of?

Dorsey:
I think that they do a good job of disguising that you have to be able to adjust as you go. They might have a safety down strong, but as soon as you snap the ball, the safety comes down weak and the strong guy is going back to the middle. Because something like 10 of the guys on that defense have six years of experience in that system, they know what they're doing, and they do it extremely well. We have to be able to adjust on the run.

Q: Do you have to accelerate your progress being a seventh-round pick and not a first-round pick?

Dorsey:
It's true. You always have to be able to go out and prove that you can do a job. You don't have that guarantee that you can be there for a long time. That's where the extra work pays off, where you can go out and do a job consistently.


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