Eric Mangini on Aldon Smith: “Loved the way he was working, approaching things. I’m really happy for him and I’m cheering for him to do great things.”

SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of defensive coordinator Eric Mangini’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

Opening comments:

“Good morning everybody, how are you doing? We are just pushing forward on our installation, our situational defenses. Got through walk-thru, we’ve got another good day of practice today. I thought yesterday went well, and just moving the plan along.”

 

How do you kind of account for what you think the Vikings will do on Monday night?

“I’ll tell you, the first game of the season, to me, is always one of the toughest because you’ve had a whole offseason, they’ve had a whole offseason. What you show in the preseason isn’t necessarily what you’re going to do or what you’re going to get and you don’t know what things they like from their OTAs, from training camp, things along those lines. Then you add an element like [Vikings RB] Adrian Peterson, who is a special player. And, what’s the balance going to be? Run? Pass? How are those things going to play out with Adrian back there?”

 

How hard is it to game plan going against two burners on the outside, you have Vikings WR Charles Johnson and you have Vikings WR Mike Wallace who can basically just clear out, opening the middle for Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph, so how do you, how tough is it to game plan for something like that?

“Yeah, and you’ve got a really special running back. You’ve got a quarterback that can run and do different things that create problems outside of what you normally get. There are a lot of different things that you have to try to get in place because you’re first answer may not be your best answer and you’ve got to work on a couple of counters. So, as the game goes on and you go into the plan thinking it’s going to unfold one way and it doesn’t, having the ability to refer back to, ‘Hey, remember when we did this or this,’ and be able to not only put that in on the sideline, but also execute it.”

 

Have you decided on who’s going to start at cornerback and where are you in that process?

“Well, we’ll let the week play out. All of those guys are working at it and some of it is how they practice, but it’s also how well they deal with the game plan and understand the game plan. So, we’re evaluating that as we go and then we’ll work it out at the end of the week.”

 

It seems like those guys have different skills sets. Would it make sense to decided playing time based on matchups?

“Well, there’s a component to that. The other thing that you get is you see a significant amount of 11 personnel. Not just from Minnesota, but from all teams, so that’s when you get in your substituted defenses where multiple guys can play. You can look at it from a matchup perspective and I’ve done that quite a bit over the years, where you put certain guys on certain guys. Sometimes I’d say it’s a really good approach and other times you really want to go left and right, depending on how they are building the formations, how they’re building the passing game, what the threats are, because even though that player has a specific set that you’d like to matchup on, those routes that you’re getting aren’t consistent with where it’d be a big edge.”

 

WR Torrey Smith said the other day that he was surprised to find out that CB Keith Reaser and CB Kenneth Acker both had missed last year due to injury because they were both so good and so polished when he arrived. Did you have the same reaction that they didn’t really seem like guys who are feeling their way along this offseason that they just kind of jumped into it with two feet?

“Well, I’ve liked that about, not just those guys, but when you look at the rookies, guys like [S] Jaquiski [Tartt] or [DL] Arik [Armstead] or [LB] Eli [Harold]. Those guys have all approached it the same way. You don’t get the sense from any of them that it’s too big for them. You don’t get a sense that they’re in awe of it. If anything, you feel their excitement. You feel their excitement about the opportunity that they have and the challenges that they’re going to have and that’s what you look for. The last thing you want as a coach is to have a guy that you’re comforting through the first game. So, I’ve liked that and young guys have a nice quality about them, because sometimes they don’t know what they don’t know and that’s a good thing.”

 

How has LB Ahmad Brooks looked after being away for a week?

“He’s looked good. Ahmad has looked really good. And Ahmad is a guy that throughout the spring, throughout camp, really been impressed with his work ethic, his toughness, his consistency, his approach in the classroom. All those things have been outstanding, outstanding.”

 

You would expect no restrictions on him, he can play?

“No, I don’t expect any restrictions on Ahmad at all and Ahmad’s built in versatility where he can go left, he can go right, he can move around. Ahmad can be anywhere.”

 

Did you see him take some, you know, new approaches to his fitness, to his eating or did he share any of that with you over what he did during the offseason?

“I should probably talk to him about his fitness and eating, I could use some of those tips. We hadn’t talked much about that. Its, and again, even though I’ve been here the past couple of years, the relationship you build with guys on the other side is a little bit different. I’ve talked to [TE] Vernon [Davis] probably ad nauseum about his eating and fitness. He’s got a good regimen going. But, we haven’t done a lot of that. We talked more in lines of the importance of it and it wasn’t a conversation that had to be revisited because he’s been so proactive with all that stuff.”

 

Is there any, was there any awkwardness there with Ahmad being gone for that time and then being welcomed back? Because he was kind of in limbo for a while, how did you kind of plan for that in that time?

“Well, it’s going back to what I said initially with the first game, there are so many different plans that you have in place and really our planning has changed pretty dramatically throughout the course of the spring and training camp, where changes have taken place and one system, plan, idea, core group of things that you liked looks totally different. And then, you push the next one forward and something changes and you have a different group then you change again. And, going into this game, now you have to have a ton of different things prepared because you don’t know what you’re going to get, I mean, you have an idea. You try to eliminate as many variables as you can, but you just don’t know.”

 

One of those big changes was former 49ers and current Oakland Raiders LB Aldon Smith. Obviously, you only had him for this offseason, but today he signed with the raiders up the freeway here a little bit. Any reaction to him getting on with his career?

“Yeah, I’m really happy for him. There’s another guy that I had a great experience with. Loved the way he was working, approaching things. I’m really happy for him and I’m cheering for him to do great things.”

 

Can you talk about how you see LB NaVorro Bowman approaching this game and whether this has kind of played up to a dream scenario for you, just he’s come in all the way through this healthy and is ready to go Week 1?

“Yeah, that’s exciting. We’ve worked with him and he’s worked with us in terms of how much, the approach. And a lot of that for a guy who goes through a major injury, there is a learning process, there is a building confidence process because the first few times you make a certain movement, you react, you’re not thinking, it’s a measured movements. Things can, sounds can be made that you’re not used or that you worry about and it’s just part of the healing process that comes with it and you just try to get the best plan and everybody is a part of that plan.”

 

He’s such a key figure, not necessarily on the defense but on the team, do you sense or do you notice other players sort of reacting, when he makes a play does it kind of lift up the rest of his, the guys around him?

“Yeah, the group as a whole is very supportive of each other and another thing that you always look for in this situation is how guys respond to each other and you can see it on tape. A guy makes a play, there are a bunch of guys over there congratulating him. It’s not about, ‘Hey, I need to get mine. I need my plays. I need my sacks. I need my tackles.’ It’s we need to be successful and guys are excited about other teammates success and that, to me, isn’t always an easy thing to get. It isn’t always an easy thing to build. It’s organic. You can try to push that along but as I watched, have watched the guys and seen how they respond to each other, they like each other. They care about each other. They don’t want to let each other down and I respect that and really like that.”

 

The Vikings offensive line, obviously, has a few moving parts, more so than you would usually, do you try to test them to make sure they are all on the same page?

“Yeah, you’d love to test anything that’s different but we have a lot of moving parts and a lot of different things as well. And, they’ve got a moving part that came in that really is a huge test with Adrian. And then, the things that he can do, whether he has perfect blocking or whether he has no blocking, he can create yards after contact. He can create holes that aren’t there. He can bring the ball all the way backside even though he’s pressed the wall front side. He tests the integrity of your front and there are plenty of examples on tape where things have broken down and he generates something that really a lot of backs can’t generate. And, he’s a guy that gets stronger as the game goes on. It’s not like he shoots his gun early in the game and then slows down. He builds, builds tempo and I’m sure Minnesota’s going through the same process. They’ve got new guys working together, communicating together. In the offensive line, there’s a lot of communication but we all deal with that, you deal with it in secondary. And, they’ve been working with each other for a little while now and I’m sure they pushed that comfort level up.”

 

In the preseason, we saw Jaquiski working in maybe playing some linebacker in some certain sub-packages. How much of a luxury is that to have a guy who physically can probably fill in the run game but also has the speed maybe to cover some players in the modern NFL?

“Yeah, you’re always looking for that. In substituted defenses, you want to get as much speed as you can out there, but you don’t want to get so little that they just run the ball and you can’t do anything about that. And, [DB] Jimmie Ward’s done a nice job too. He’s a guy that had missed a bunch of time and missed some more time, but has come back and gotten stronger and stronger as we’ve gone on through this preseason, so I’m excited about him as well. Both of those guys, it’s amazing they played high school football together. I don’t know what that record was but that team should be pretty good.”

 

ME: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers coaches’ headsets weren’t working properly last night in New England and that sort of thing happens a lot there. You coached there and against them, any comment?

“No. I have nothing to add to that.”

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  1. ME: Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers coaches’ headsets weren’t working properly last night in New England and that sort of thing happens a lot there. You coached there and against them, any comment?
    ———————–
    Poor form old top. You should have known from the very start with how you phrased that that he wouldn’t touch it in a million years.

    1. Agree. Eric’s been down that road in NewYawk; quicksand.
      Perhaps:
      “Is all the sniping and speculation about the Patriots legitimate?”
      Allows for wiggle room or evasion, doesn’t set anything on fire. Actually, I wonder if Eric will remember that question from Grant…….

    2. 9/11/15

      A great day in this site’s history. (Sebnynah or The Great Wizzard of OZ) was knocked down a peg or two from his arrogance palace, where he used to take glee in ridiculing those simply interested in voicing there 49er views (apparently what this site was intended for). Seb, like Oz was revealed for who he really is…Someone ignorant of NFL technical talk (i.e., x’s and o’s.) at 11:14 am, 9/11/15 by a poster known as E, on Grant’s article:”Raiders Sign Aldon…” Anyone interested in reading of Seb’s demise are welcome to enjoy this event…R.I.P. SEB.

        1. Seb,

          Is ther a time you’re away from this site…I thought I might type w/o interuption.
          Oh well, you’re welcome to the event and please invite your Raider comrades.

          *********** R-E-F-R-E-S-H-M-E-N-T-S FOR ALL **************

  2. I feel physically ill over Aldon Smith being on another team. The niners just let a hall of fame player for nothing…. This is the Charles Haley situation all over again, only Aldon was a much better teamate and has never burned personal bridges.

    Just so much stupidity…. and all because the niners didn’t like having to deal with the weak media harping…. lame.

    1. You don’t look good in the picture Big Suede, maybe you should lay off the sauce for awhile. In all seriousness, you might want to tap the brakes on the Haley comparison, and I agree Aldon Smith was stupid….

  3. While I’m happy that Aldon landed on his feet by being given an opportunity to continue his career in Oakland, I also strongly feel that he gave the 49ers no other option but to cut ties with him.

    I hope for Aldon’ sake that he can find the help needed to not only save his career but perhaps his life and maybe the life of someone else. Luckily for Aldon it was a tree and not a person he hit with his truck while driving intoxicated a few years ago.
    A shoot out at his party left one person (caught in the cross-fire) permanently injured. Although Smith was not found to be the person responsible for shooting the party goer, he was found responsible (along with Delanie Walker) in initiating the event by shooting their guns off in the air in an effort to dismiss the crowd.
    While Aldon may have made a good teammate, his private life lacked responsibility and endangered others.
    I stand with the 49ers on their decision even Aldon becomes a HOF player.

  4. While I’m happy that Aldon landed on his feet by being given an opportunity to continue his career in Oakland, I also strongly feel that he gave the 49ers no other option but to cut ties with him.

    I hope for Aldon’ sake that he can find the help needed to not only save his career but perhaps his life and maybe the life of someone else. Luckily for Aldon it was a tree and not a person he hit with his truck while driving intoxicated a few years ago.
    A shoot out at his party left one person (caught in the cross-fire) permanently injured. Although Smith was not found to be the person responsible for shooting the party goer, he was found responsible (along with Delanie Walker) in initiating the event by shooting their guns off in the air in an effort to dismiss the crowd.
    While Aldon may have made a good teammate, his private life lacked responsibility and endangered others.
    I stand with the 49ers on their decision even Aldon becomes a HOF player.

  5. I really hope he can keep his act together and not slip up again. I believe in redemption, but Aldon is not just a repeat offender, he seems to be a serial offender who has lost control.
    I am sad he is no longer with the Niners, but am glad the headache is gone. I wish him well.

      1. Its not just Mary. There have been reports in Seattle about the signing trying to suggest he may move back to more of a SS role with the Seahawks. Though I think it is all a case of Seattle article writers not knowing much about him, so they are grasping at straws and see he played safety in college.

        1. Well Dion Baily is Kam’s replacement and we also signed Kelcie McCray from Kansas City. We are his 4th team and KC did not want to let him go.

          But they must see something in Moody they like — body type and athletism and a hard hitting guy — competition.

          Hawks need to stay healthy this year and we need depth!

              1. I may not like Kam because he is on the Seasquawks, but as a football fan, I can recognize talent, and Kam is one of the big reasons Seattle’s defense is so good.
                Hope he holds out until they trade him.

          1. McCray came in a trade, Mary, the dunderhead. You don’t even know what’s going on with your own team.

            It cost them a fifth round pick and smells of desperation.

            On the other hand, McCray has a very cute first name. Kelcie.

    1. I am surprised that Moody did not make it into the final 53 of any team even as a special team player. Or may be I should not be surprised. The Niners had enough time to take a long look at him for evaluation.

      1. I didn’t think he was eligible either. How many games did he suit up for last year? If he suited up for less than 9 games then he may well be eligible.

        My understanding is to be PS eligible:
        – The player must have no accrued seasons of NFL experience (i.e. been on a 53-man roster for 6 or more games in a season); OR
        – If the player has 1 accrued season of NFL experience, he must have been on the active 46-man roster for no more than 8 games of the season.

        I thought Moody suited up for every game last season, but maybe I am wrong. I think this is a case of of some mis-reporting of the situation.

        1. A team is allowed two exceptions who don’t qualify for the practice squad if they don’t have more than two full years of NFL experience.

          1. Looks like you are correct htwaits. A new rule I wasn’t aware of the ramifications of. Makes me wonder if the 49ers tried to keep Moody on the PS, but he refused to sign?

            In order to be eligible for the practice squad, players must meet one of the following requirements:

            – A player is eligible for the practice squad if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. Players gain an accrued season by being on the active roster for at least six games. If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 45-man active gameday roster for fewer than nine regular season games.
            – NEW RULE: Each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.
            – If served two seasons on a practice squad, are eligible for a third season only if the team has at least 53 players on its active/inactive list for the duration of that player’s employment.
            – A player has served one season on the practice squad if he is on the practice squad for at least 6 games. The rule previously required 3 games on the practice squad roster.

      1. Super lame writing.

        Another article available on the Vikings, “The Glorious Return of Adrian Peterson”. Oh, brother. At least we don’t get crap like that from grant (we get a different kind of crap from grant).

  6. Off topic but I just noticed PFF absolutely loved the Hayne Plane during the preseason. And I’m not even talking about his kick returns. According to PFF, JARRYD HAYNE led the league on their ‘RB Elusiveness’ rating, which measures RB’s, with a minimum of 24 carries, performance independent of blockers. For example, the 2nd best score this preseason went to the Rams RB, Trey Watts, who measures 5’9′, 208.

    That’s a fantastic accomplishment for any running back, but especially for a man his size. It really goes to his ability to change direction without sinking his hips. As one NFL scout said: “there are only a handful of guys in this league with the ability to change direction on a dime, without sinking their hips”

    When you combine a skill like that, with the type of vision Jarryd displays on every play, you have a player who must be active every Sunday (or M/T).

    1. Just how elusive was Jarryd as a running back you ask? He led the league with a 121.1 rating and the second best rating was 5’9″, 208 LB, Trey Watts, who had a score of 74.0.

      Wowza!

      OK, enough of my man-crush for now. GO NINERS!

    2. I know my Aussie heritage clouds my judgement a little when it comes to Hayne, but from everything I have seen of him in preseason I have to agree with Jerry Rice that he is a guy the 49ers should be looking to incorporate into their game plan each week, get the ball in his hands a few times a game from the get go.

      He’s shown the stage isn’t too big for him, and he’s a fast learner. The best way to keep the learning going is to get him on the field. And by just about every measure in preseason he showed he can be a dangerous weapon, with not just the highest elusiveness rating but also the highest yards after first contact (again by quite a ways).

      1. I’m wondering if Jarryd can’t run a few of the same routes Delanie Walker used to run. From the FB spot there are screens, flares, shoots, circles, seams, wheels and even a reverse. By next season his repertoire can increase, but this year give him a few chances to make plays.

  7. Considering that Hayne may not even suit up for some games, it certainly lends credence to the thought that preseason stats are really nothing to get excited over.

    But having said that, JH could be a pleasant surprise for us sometime during the season.
    Time will tell.

    1. Preseason numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, no question about that. But Hayne certainly passes the “eye-test’. His pad level has improved, and his receiving skills are impressive. My biggest worry with Hayne was always A) learning the playbook and, B) holding onto the football. I can’t speak to how far he has come with the former but it’s clear to me that he knows how to hold a football, high and very tight, and he seems to switch ball carrying arms with ease.

      I want to see Jarryd Hayne returning kicks Monday Night! If Reggie Bush or Bruce Ellington are our primary return men, and one of them gets injured returning kicks, I think it will be far more detrimental to our offense moving forward, and that gives Hayne the edge as a kick returner for me.

    1. How so? Injuries aside, he’s hardly practiced as he injured himself on the first day of TC.

      Its kind of like saying injuries aside, Kevin White has been a bit of a disappointment so far. :-P

      1. In the reagard that many of us were anxious to see what he could do and he hasn’t been able to get out on the field. The injury is there but there’s also been speculation including comments from the coach that he’s taken longer then some think he should have to recover from this injury.

        And yes it is exactly like saying Kevin White has been a disappointment in fact White is a bigger disappointment because we know there is no chance we’ll get to see him play this year.

        Put the daggers away Scooter.

        1. Wasn’t having a go CfC, just pointing out that you can’t really separate the disappointment from the injury. I even had a :-P face!

  8. Hayne made the team because he not only passes the eye-test, but he has size, speed, and the ability to handle kickoffs, punts, and the RB position who can catch.

    I agree with you that Hayne likely needs to become more acclimated with the offensive scheme and other nuances of the game, but I would expect to see JH get a little more playing time as the season progresses.

  9. Wish Aldon was still a 49er as well, but without the baggage.
    Aldon has been his own worse enemy and until he can conquer his inner demons we will continue to hear of his off-field struggles.
    Hope he comes correct and salvages his career – would be a sad cautionary tale if his NFL playing days ends with the words “I wonder what could have been.”

  10. Aldon is a sick dudfilme.

    1. Justin Smith made Aldon Smith. Take a look at the film. Majority of Smiths big plays were a product of the stunts he and Justin ran.

    2. If he really wanted help with his addiction, he would’ve left the Bay Area. Any guy that’s drinking alcohol 1st thing in the morning has major issues. His problems will continue. His career is essentially over. He’ll be out of the league in 3 years max.

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