Weinke preparing 'like I'm the starter'

Chris Weinke directed the San Francisco offense in practice Wednesday, just two weeks after he joined the team. The veteran says he's much more comfortable with language and dynamics of the offense now, and here he talks about the adjustments he has made to get up to speed and how prepared he'll be if called upon to take over at QB during Sunday's season finale against the Cleveland Browns.

Q: What's been the biggest adjustment for you learning this offense?
It's not that I haven't run these plays, it's just the verbiage. You know, everybody calls something a little bit different. There's just been a lot of studying the last two weeks, just trying to get comfortable with the verbiage and their thought process in terms of how we're reading these certain plays.

Q: How prepared would you be if indeed you had to come in and play on Sunday?
Well, I think being here for two weeks, obviously, I have a better understanding of the offense than I did the first couple of days. Obviously, any time you can get reps, like I did in practice today, you become more comfortable with each rep you take. So that's the important thing. I've run all these concepts, and these routes, and made all these calls. The only difference is the verbiage of it. They call it a little bit something different here, and what it boils down to is just me continuing to study and get comfortable with it and be able to operate if I'm called upon.

Q: You'd be excited about the opportunity to play, right?
Oh, there's no doubt. Who knows what's going to transpire throughout the rest of the week, but I've always said all along, regardless of if I was the starter, the backup, or the third guy, I'd prepare like I'm the starter. Because in this game, you never know. So I'll continue to do that. When you're not playing the game or it's taken away from you, you appreciate it that much more. So, it's great to be back and back out practicing, getting out there and mixing it up with the guys and really having fun. That's what it comes down to. That's why we all play the game. Believe me, if I get a chance to play, I'm going to have some fun.

Q: You weren't here to see the offense when it was struggling. Do you feel there's a standard to uphold now if you are called upon to play?
I wasn't here, obviously, in the beginning of the season, and I don't know exactly what happened. But from my experience of just being here for two weeks, it's hard to believe that this is a 5-10 team. Just the way these guys approach practice every day, the excitement and energy that they play with on game day. I just feel like, what I've seen in the two weeks that I've been here, I'm very excited to be a part of this team. Shaun, obviously, stepped in and did a great job the last two weeks, and watching our defense against Tampa was fun. There was guys flying around and hitting guys … Like I said, it's fun to be a part of it again. It's fun to be in the locker room with the guys, and get a chance to come out here and practice and prepare for a game.

Q: How did it actually feel for you today, running the first-team offense in practice?
There's always an adjustment. I think it's a little bit easier for a guy that's older, that's a veteran, to know that, ‘Listen, it's still football.' The size of the field is still the same. The plays are the same, they just call them a little something different. But when you're away from it, you can sit there and throw the ball all day. But it's never like taking a snap from center and watching all the guys making all the adjustments on defense, and being able to make those reads. So it was fun to get back out there. It always takes a little bit of time to, I guess, shake the rust off, but I enjoyed it today, it was a lot of fun.

Q: Was it kind of chance to say, ‘I still have got it?'
Well, I said it early on, I think I have something to offer a football team. I don't think my playing days are over. And although I wasn't with anybody through the first three-quarters of the season, I truly believe that I can still play the game, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to come out and be a part of this football team.

Q: How much work have you gotten with starting wide receivers Arnaz Battle and Darrell Jackson?
Little to none. The only time I've thrown to those guys is one-on-ones, or just throwing different routes. In a game-type situation, this is the first opportunity I've had to work with those guys today.

Q: How much is that a concern going into a game?
You know, I've watched those guys closely throughout practice the last couple of weeks, and obviously watched them in the games. So I think I have a pretty good feel of what those guys do, and if I continue to take reps throughout the week in practice, come Sunday if I'm called upon, I'll do the best I can to operate this offense to the best of my ability.

Q: What do you see from the Cleveland defense, which is ranked 31st in the NFL?
Well, you watch those guys on film … I don't like to look at statistics. I like to look at the players on the field. And they've got great athletes. They're playing a 3-4 defense. You look at a veteran guy like (Willie) McGinest who can rush the passer, can cause havoc. A former Florida state guy, (Kamerion) Wimbley, who's on the other side and playing great. And they try to confuse you. What we have to do is be solid up front and do our job. Like I said, I don't care about statistics. You watch those guys on film, they can get after the quarterback, and they know how to play defense.

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