SANTA CLARA — Vic Fangio spoke in the media tent Monday afternoon. Here’s what he said, courtesy of the 49ers.
What’s your feeling about this depth? It seems to be developing across the board. In these first two preseason games it seems like everybody you put in will do well defensively.
“Yes, we’ve been able to develop some good depth at some places, other places not as quality as we have at some of the other places. But, we’ve had [DT] Tony Jerod-Eddie, [DT Demarcus] Dobbs, [DT Glenn] Dorsey, those guys have gone in there and done a good job up front. The four outside backers in [LB] Corey [Lemonier], [LB] Cam [Johnson], [LB] Dan [Skuta] and [LB] Parys [Haralson] have gone in and done well. [LB Michael] Wilhoite and [LB Nate] Stupar and [LB Nick] Moody have done well up front there also. So when they’ve gone in the game, they’ve played well. In the secondary, [CB] Nnamdi [Asomugha] has gone in and played well. I’m trying to think who else. You know [S] Eric [Reid]’s been playing with the second team there, he’s gone in and done well. So yeah, we’ve had some guys go in there and play pretty good these first two preseason games. We haven’t been stretched a whole lot these first two preseason games. In other words, teams haven’t been attacking us down the field a whole lot. So, sometimes the preseason games can be a little misleading.”
One of those plays where you guys were stretched a little bit, Nnamdi was matched up with Kansas City Chiefs WR Jonathan Baldwin on that particular route. How did he fair on that?
“Are you talking about the third-down play?”
“Yeah, he did well on that play. He stayed on top, had good tight coverage and got us off the field on third down, so he played that play very well.”
I think I’m thinking of an earlier one. That was the one that went out of bounds. This one was more of a post in the end zone.
“Oh, the one in the end zone? Yeah, he was in good shape there and our free safety C.J. [Spillman] was in good shape in the middle of the field. The quarterback overthrew it. But we were in pretty good position there. I think we would have had a chance to make the play if the ball was thrown better.”
How high of a priority was it to develop that depth a little bit more?
“Well, the whole goal of training camp and preseason games, which preseason games are part of training camp, is number one, to pick the right 53 players for your team and to prepare your team for the regular season. The more we get to play those guys, the more it helps us pick the right 53 for the team and the more depth we can develop will help us play a 16-game schedule because invariably a lot of them will get called upon. So, it’s been good up to this point.”
A year ago, it was tough to find anyone after Parys’ injury at outside linebacker other than the starters. This year it looks like, are five guys going to make the team at that spot?
“Well, I don’t know that. That remains to be seen what numbers will be kept exactly at every position. But, we definitely have six players that have stepped up and played good in training camp at the outside linebacker position and they’re making the decision tough for us.”
How tight has the cornerback race been? It seems like everyone’s doing well there as well.
“Well, at corner we’ll traditionally keep five, potentially keep six. I think we’ve got the three guys that have started – I’m talking about in nickel – and then we’ve had Nnamdi playing and [CB Tramaine] Brock playing and [CB] Perrish Cox has done a good job, too. We’ve got six guys there and we have the two young guys that are coming; the draft pick and the free agent. We’ve got eight guys there that are competing and we’ll be able to, I think, find a good five or six guys out of that group.”
When it comes to cornerback, do you need to look into the future as well? Are you totally interested in 2013, or do you need to start thinking about which of these guys you’re going to have in 2014 and beyond?
“Well, I think the priority is 2013, but you always have an eye for the future. So, if it’s close, then maybe the future takes over. If it’s not close, we’ve got a season to play here.”
Do you expect CB Eric Wright to figure into that picture at all?
“I have no idea. I haven’t heard. You guys know as much about that as I do to be honest with you.”
Coming off last year when he didn’t play, is Parys Haralson noticeably different for you in camp this year compared to years past?
“Not really, he’s playing about the same. I do think he’s trimmed down a little bit and it’s helped him move a little bit better on defense. But, I do think that’s contributed to his better play so far.”
Is his mindset any different?
“I don’t think so.”
You talked about S Eric Reid, just because he’s a first rounder does not mean he’s handed a starting position. How close is he to being the starter?
“He’s close. He’s close. He’s done well all camp. We’ll probably start him in this game coming up and we’ll see how he does with that.”
Can you talk a little bit more about [Parys Haralson] and how is he doing? Have you seen a new dimension in him? How has his camp been?
“I don’t see a new dimension. I just see him playing good in the style that he’s capable of playing in, which is a physical style, relentless-type player. I see the same player we had in 2011. We didn’t get him last year.”
Is CB Tramaine Brock still the guy at the nickel position, or not nickel position, the third cornerback?
“Him and Nnamdi right now are those two guys.”
Are they both, is there any separation between those two?
“I think there’s starting to become but we’ll see.”
You mentioned free agent cornerback Darryl Morris is playing pretty well. He hasn’t, I think he’s just played one defensive snap in the preseason, why is that?
“Why is that?”
“First off we’ve had, he’s the eighth corner of an eight corner group. So, it’s hard to get them all in there for significant time. I think you do a disservice to put a guy in there for four or five plays, which knocks off four or five plays from somebody else. We’d like to get him some action where he can play in double-digit plays and feel comfortable out there and get rolling. He’s done well here lately in practice so maybe we’ll be able to get him a snap, a couple snaps in these last two games.”
Can you tell us who’s leading that third cornerback battle?
“You guys can keep watching.”
If I guess it right will you tell me if I’m right?