SAN FRANCISCO – Donte Whitner spoke to the media in the middle of Bill Walsh Field after Fan Fest on Sunday. Someone asked him a question about backup quarterback Scott Tolzien, and this is what Whitner said.
Q: What is it about Scott Tolzien that makes him effective?
WHITNER: I call him “Baby Drew Brees.” I remember the other day, (Brian) Tyms ran a fade in the back of the end zone and he didn’t run the route like Tolzien wanted him to run it, and you could hear him say, “Run the route like you’re ready to win the route.” He’s a leader. He’s not really a starting quarterback right now, but there’s always guys like that that you see come along in a couple years down the road, like, “Oh, he was in San Francisco and now he’s a starter and he’s really good.” He understands the reads. We can rarely trick him on the back end from a defensive back’s standpoint. And he knows where to go with the football, and that’s the first and foremost thing you have to know as a quarterback, and that’s what he’s doing. The other day in the game I thought he looked as good as anybody out there on the football field, so I think he has a shot.
Q: Coaches talk about his intelligence. Is that something that you can see as a safety facing him?
WHITNER: Yeah, you can see it when he makes the checks when a corner blitz is coming, or a linebacker blitz. He’s really intelligent. He picked up the offense, so I expect him to compete for the back up or even try to be somewhere in the mixture. He’s a really good quarterback.
Q: Is he a baby Drew Brees because he’s not the tallest guy?
WHITNER: He’s not 6-4. He doesn’t wow you with all the things he does, but he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Prime example, the other night there weren’t many three-and-outs when he was out there as the quarterback. He moved the ball up and down the football (field). That’s a good sign.
Q: Have you called Tolzien “Baby Drew Brees” to his face?
WHITNER: Behind his back. I’m pretty sure it will come out at some point in the locker room before we break camp, especially if he comes out this week and leads the offense up and down the field again without making mistakes, then you’ll really start to hear it.