This is the transcript of Eric Mangini’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
What’s LB Ahmad Brooks’ status and is there a possibility that he could play in this game?
“Yeah. He got some work today and he’s been involved obviously in all the meetings and that part has been good. He did get a little on the field work today, so we’ll have to see where he is. I don’t have the exact timeline on the protocol and everything, but I was encouraged today.”
What do you think led to Sunday’s performance, particularly early giving up 20 points?
“I think we obviously didn’t play well collectively. I think that anytime you go into a situation like we’re in, you’ve got to be ready to match the other team’s intensity and that intensity can change week-to-week, venue-to-venue. And, I talked to the guys about that during the, when we got together because there’s the scheme component to it, there’s the technique component to it, and then there’s the other component to it where you have to be able to be at that spot. I remember in New England I was with [former NFL LB] Roman Phifer and Roman in the back of the meeting room had this notebook and it wasn’t his normal notebook where he’s taking down the plays and that sort of thing. I said, ‘What’s this?’ He said, ‘I write down the process that I go through every week, the things that I do every week because I want to see what helps me play the best when I get to the games. It’s like current me talking to future me.’ I thought that was really interesting. I think that’s always something that’s a challenge. I would say especially for younger guys too is to understand what they have to do to be ready to go at the start of games. And sometimes you can be lethargic. If you are lethargic, what do you have to do snap yourself out of that in games as well. So, is there one clear answer? I don’t think there’s one clear answer from that perspective, but I do think it’s an important thing to learn from is how do you avoid it the next time?”
Have you been able to put your finger on anything specifically that’s led to some of these slow starts particularly on the road?
“I wish. It’s an age old question and it’s been different with different teams that I’ve been on. It’s been different with different players that I’ve been with and that’s why I was tell you the story about Roman, you can do things from a practice perspective, you can do things from a maintaining your body perspective. But, then you’ve got to be able to figure out what those triggers are for you, because your trigger is going to be different than my trigger to get us to the point where we can match the intensity of our opponent and exceed the intensity of our opponent at all times.”
How do guys snap out when they find that they’ve begun a game lethargically? How do you as a coach try to change the dynamic there?
“It’s funny, because different guys react so differently to ways that you approach them. I had some players where you have to get an understanding with them and it’s got to be an aggressive understanding. It’s almost like when someone bangs together something loud to wake you up. Other guys if you do that, it’s the worst thing you can possibly do because they go the other direction. So, you’re trying to reach different guys at different points. It’s one of those things too where everybody has to, you’re trying to raise each other up as well. You recognize it and do that as well.”
At 3-7, realistically playoffs aren’t going to be happening. Do you worry about it or do you have to guard against or talk about we’ve got to get up for these games because there’s still stuff to play for? Is that a worry that guys pack it in?
“No, no. Again, learning about these players, learning about these people, that’s not an issue. These are guys that care deeply about what they do. They care deeply about the 49ers. They care deeply about everything associated with the team and highly competitive. There’s times and places where I’ve been where you had to worry about things like that and you wonder. But, it’s also with any adversity, and I think I’ve shared this with you before, I don’t think it builds character, I think it reveals character. And, guys will get a chance to show who they are and what they believe in, which is great.”
MMQB.com writer Peter King wrote a very extensive piece about Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and his preparation for a game last week. I was just wondering if you read that and if you did were you able to glean anything from it from your opponent?
“It’s funny because you do read things like that and part of it is after doing pieces like that too, part of it is, ‘OK, how much of this is sincere and how much of this is just throwing it out there so everybody bites?’ You don’t know which is bait and which is real. I thought it was interesting. I thought it was a great piece. I really did.”
The play that they seemed keen on was a very aggressive play, a downfield play to WR Larry Fitzgerald, that seems to be this team’s MO, just to kind of go for the jugular.
“That’s a great play with him. Not just that play, but anything with those deep throws to Larry. They’ve got a lot of guys that they can hurt you deep. And then Carson, I think he’s outstanding with those types of throws. He always has been. So, even the throws that are typically your intermediate-type throws, which would hit 15-yards, 12-15, those will hit 20. Everything gets a little bit deeper. I remember the Rams were like that when we used to play them. We played them that year in the Super Bowl. Everything in-cuts. Normally it’s 16 they’re at 20, there’s significant stretch. Then you’ve got talented backs underneath, where when you hit the check down now you’ve got a lot of space, a lot of area to cover. I remember him in Cincinnati and that great deep ball.”
With DL Glenn Dorsey out, do you consider moving DT Quinton Dial over now and trying DL Arik Armstead and DT Tony Jerod-Eddie at the other spot?
“The nice thing about Q, Quinton, is he’s worked left and right. He’s one of those guys that since he’s been here has worked all those spots, so we have that flexibility to bring him over there. Arik’s worked both spots. He’s worked more on the left than he has on the right. But, during the course of, this is part of his growth as well, you’ve got to be able to play both sides. It’s like a cornerback. You can’t just play left and right, because sometimes you’ve got to match up. So, that’s good. So, yeah they are both working left and right.”
What stood out to you about Arizona Cardinals RB Chris Johnson particularly with what kind of seasons he had the last couple leading up to this?
“Well, he’s intensely talented and explosive. Any play could be a home run and sometimes you see that with players where they hit and things are going really well and then there’s a downturn and then they come back. Look at Carson, a lot of people would say that he had some off seasons and that’s really a testament to him to be able to fight through the challenges. A lot of people doubt you when those things happen. You have to have a great confidence in who you are and what you can do and when you get that next opportunity, maximize it. I think those are two guys that are maximizing their opportunities.”
Will CB Marcus Cromartie start in the place of CB Kenneth Acker Sunday?
“No. Cro will continue to play. Acker will start, but Cro will play and I think that’s a good combination. I think when Marcus came in last game he did a good job. And, I told you how I feel about him. I’ve been really happy for him, proud of him. Love his approach. Love the way that he’s earned more opportunities and when he gets the chance to go in, the way that he approaches everything.”
Given when he came in Sunday, it seemed like OK well Acker just got benched. Is that an accurate read on that situation or not?
“No matter what the situation in the game was, Marcus was going to get an opportunity to play. So, it wasn’t that specific chain of events. But, he was going to get the chance to play. And remember, Ack was coming off the injury, so it was going to work out that way either way.”
Does part of what happened in Seattle underscore how important Glenn is to the run defense?
“Glenn is important in a lot of ways. Have you gotten to know him much? He is just a really, really good person, really consistent teammate. His toughness is sometimes understated because his personality, you don’t get that when you meet him. You don’t get that when you talk to him. He’s such a nice guy to talk to. But physical, tough, aggressive and can set a tone. We were just watching him play on the goal line where he split two guys, really shouldn’t have been anywhere near the ball and was able to make the play. But, that’s his personality. I remember watching him in college. His college tapes, god they were fun to watch and we thought about drafting him at the time in New York. He got taken ahead of us. But, yeah, that’s hard to replace a guy like Glenn. Not just from a performance perspective, and it’s not that outspoken, carry the flag leadership, but it’s solid, steady, salt of the earth, great example work ethic, tough.”