SANTA CLARA — Here is a transcript of Vic Fangio’s Thursday press conference courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
How did CB Carlos Rogers look to you during yesterday’s practice?
“He did fine in yesterday’s practice. He took part in about half of it, opened up a few times, looked good running and then we shut him down at that point and hopefully he’ll be able to do a whole lot more today.”
Is it the hope that he ramps up to 100 percent and plays on Sunday? If he is 100 percent, would he step into his old role?
“We’re hoping that he can get 100 percent healthy. And then we’ll see exactly what his role will be at that point.”
How have CB Tarell Brown and CB Tramaine Brock played these past two games?
“They played well. They haven’t been perfect, but overall they have played well. We’ve played two really good offenses, two that have really good quarterbacks. You can’t play well as a unit if your corners don’t hold up to some degree.”
Is there an inclination just to leave well enough alone and keep those guys out there and just use Carlos as a nickelback?
“All possibilities are on the table.”
With CB Perrish Cox having been up there, do you gain any extra insight regarding scheme or is it more about the locker room persona that he can offer you guys?
“Not really. I haven’t asked him one question.”
How much different is this defensive line now? You seem to be rotating in DT Tony Jerod-Eddie and TE/DT Demarcus Dobbs even LB Dan Skuta more, LB Corey Lemonier a little bit more in the beginning of the season when you first faced Seattle. How much more can you use those players, rotate them in with DT Ray McDonald and DL Glenn Dorsey and DT Justin Smith now at this point?
“We have been using them and they’ve been getting 15-20 snaps a game, sometimes more, sometimes less. It’s kind of on Ray and Justin, how they’re feeling. Again, like I’ve said many times, it all depends upon the length of series. Last week we had a couple long series, so they got in on those series. It’s a fluid situation, but we’re comfortable with our guys in there.”
Do you feel more comfortable calling on them now than you would earlier in the year in maybe more critical situations?
“Possibly, because they’ve gone out there and done it.”
Did you know that LB Ahmad Brooks was going to, in a goal line situation like that, that he was going to come over the line or attempt to do that? He’s done that in college before. Is that something that you were expecting could happen?
“Possible. We told them, as I’m sure you guys know it was a new defense for us. I told him if the ball got inside the one he had to be ready for the quarterback sneak. That’s what he was anticipating. He jumped the gun a little bit.”
Did you talk about actually leaping over the–?
“I told him if he goes up high, if the quarterback goes up high and leaps over you’ve got to run with him.”
About the D-line, was there a conscious decision this year to cut back on Justin’s snaps, Ray’s snaps and are you seeing the fruits of that now in the playoffs?
“I wouldn’t say it was a conscious decision, no. Some of it was injury related. Some of it was guys coming along and us having confidence in them playing more. And then, some of it was just the personality of the games that we’ve been in.”
How much does defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, when a player comes here to visit before maybe signing here and he sells the work ethic of that group, how much does that play into how these guys go about their business?
“I think it plays a part. It helped with Glenn Dorsey, one of the reasons he wanted to come here. Glenn threw himself right into it from day one and you can see the results.”
What makes head coach Jim Harbaugh stand out as a head coach? He’s had such success so quickly.
“He’s got good assistant coaches.”
Did he do anything special, change anything after you guys started winning?
He was the same guy?
“Yes. I think the one thing you can say about Jim is that he takes this game and his job very seriously, but he doesn’t take himself seriously. And I think that’s a good compliment.”
Any recollection of scouting against WR Anquan Boldin last year before the Super Bowl and kind of how you prepare for a player like that?
“No. I don’t remember.”
You guys have prepared for Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch now six times, this is the seventh time. Is there anything new that you’re telling these guys or reemphasizing that they haven’t heard before?
“No. Like you said, I’ve prepared or we as coaches have prepared six or seven times, they’ve played him six or seven times. They know him and they respect him. He’s either the best or second best back in the league depending upon who you ask. He and [Vikings RB Adrian] Peterson are the two top running backs in this league.”
Do you think Ahmad will practice today?
“Hopeful. I think he will.”
Can you talk a little bit more about Marshawn? What makes him, from your position as a coordinator trying to defend him, what makes him so difficult to defend?
“He’s very strong, very relentless in his running style, and yet he’s got some allusiveness to him that he can jump-cut, makes really good cuts and can jump-cut laterally, gets you a little bit off balanced, so he’s got you a little off balanced and now he turns his power on. He’s a powerful back, but yet he has the ability to get you off balanced, which now makes his power even more effective. And he’s a relentless guy. He doesn’t like to be tackled.”
When you say you’ve faced him a handful of times, what’s the number one thing you take away from those past games that you have to bring into this game?
“You’ve got to be able to tackle him. It’s going to take more than one guy. We’ve got to be great up front. We can’t let him get into the secondary unscathed because then he’s really tough on the DBs to tackle. He’s just a great back.”
As a defensive coach with the Saints, did you guys find the Superdome as a significant home-field advantage? Does it mess with an offense? If so, how does that compare with Seattle?
“We did at that time. When we went to the Saints back in 1986, they hadn’t had a winning season for like 19 years before we had gotten there. By the second year, we had a winning season and got on a pretty decent role there. That stadium was alive. Because it’s a dome and it’s a concrete dome, the noise is even louder and it ricochets off. Yeah, it is an advantage.”
Can you compare it to what Seattle has?
“I don’t know. Having said that, we were a good team on the road, I don’t know that our home record with the Saints was as drastically different than versus the away record.”
Going back to Week 2, there were a number of personal fouls that played into that game and some missed tackles. Fundamentally it seems like the defense has been playing a lot better when it comes to not making those types of mistakes. Have you noticed that? Is that something you’ve keyed on throughout the season?
“Yeah, I think we’ve done a decent job of avoiding the post-whistle penalties. We didn’t have any last week. I think our players understand the importance of the situation, not to be selfish and let their emotions get in the way of our team goals.”
It seems like S Eric Reid especially, and some changes at cornerback, you guys are a much better tackling team and that showed up in Green Bay. How much was that an emphasis going into the playoffs, just being a better tackling team?
“That’s an emphasis for us from day one.”
How high of a level is Justin Smith playing at as not a young man in this league?
“Very high level. He’s still one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. He’s got versatility. He can play inside or outside. Plays the run well. Rushes the passer well. Brings an intensity and intangibles to your team that can’t be measured.”
This is a matchup of two young, very mobile quarterbacks but still mobile in different ways. What are your thoughts on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
“Very quick, very elusive, very smart, really tough to tackle and extremely fast. He’s in the 4.4s if you were to put a clock on him for the 40-yard dash. He gets to that speed quickly. For some of you old-timers, it doesn’t look like there’s many of you out there, he’s a very fast, very much quicker [former NFL QB] Fran Tarkenton from back in the day. That’s who I see when I watch him.”
Would you characterize this team as loose this week?
“Our team? I think we are. I think we’re focused, but loose in a good way.”