SANTA CLARA — Vic Fangio spoke in the media tent on Thursday afternoon. Here’s what he said about the New York Giants offense, courtesy of the 49ers.
Can you point to some of the major differences with the Giants offense from when you played them nine months ago?
“There’s not much difference. No sense for them to change a successful formula. They have a real good offense, starting with the talent level they have. They have a very talented offense. Their receivers and backs, as a group, along with that quarterback, is as talented as you’ll see. They do a good job. They always seem to find receivers in the draft, college free agency. They do a good job in their organization of finding good receivers. And they haven’t had [WR Hakeem] Nicks for three games and their offense hadn’t missed a beat. So, they’re a very talented group. And then they play with a lot of balance. They’re a team that’s committed to running the ball, mixing the run with the pass. They’re not an all pass team. They’re not an all run team. They’re constantly giving you a good mix of the run and pass.”
You mentioned they’re good at finding receivers. What have you seen from the rookie WR Rueben Randle so far?
“Good speed. Good size; was a really good draft choice for them. He’s a competent receiver. They lost [WR] Mario [Manningham] in free agency, and they went out and got guys to replace him. They lose Nicks for three games and their offense doesn’t suffer a bit.”
What have you guys done to improve your defense in matching up with them over the last 10 months?
“I don’t know that we’ve done a whole lot to improve that. We do have the addition of [CB] Perrish Cox here, which allows us to play the six DB’s if we feel we need to. But, other than that we’re two teams that are basically the same team that met last January.”
Can you work to cover WR Victor Cruz one-on-one like you did in the first half of the Championship Game?
“Sure. We’re going to have to mix it up. Like I said, when you have a corps group of receivers and a quarterback like they have, it’s not just one guy. You can’t feel comfortable if you shut down one guy that you’ve got the day. You’re going to have a good day. They’ve got Nicks out there, Cruz, the tight end that’s new for them, [TE Martellus] Bennett, the new young receivers they have. [WR Domenik] Hixon, who’s always been a good receiver, but has been injured a couple years. It’s not just a one-guy operation. You’ve got to be able to mix your coverages and guys are going to have some tough downs. And we basically played them last year both halves the same way.”
A couple of your players have talked about putting a pretty good pounding on QB Eli Manningham in the Championship game. How they didn’t think he was tough before, but they had some real respect for him the way he kept getting up and getting it out. Does that strike you or resonate with you, too?
“Well, he’s a tough guy. He’s a good quarterback. And one of the good qualities of any good quarterback is toughness and resiliency and he certainly has that. He’s exhibited that throughout his career, even when he was in his first year or two. And that won’t change. And winning a couple Super Bowls just makes him even more confident and more resilient.”
Have you consulted with either RB Brandon Jacobs or Mario Manningham just to kind of see what kind of insights they might be able to provide?
“No. Just in passing. This is the third time we’ve played these guys in I don’t know how many months. We kind of know them. They know us. So, it’s almost like you’re playing a division opponent that hadn’t changed coaching staff or personnel very much. So, we feel like we know them and they know us.”
What goes into the fact that Manning has been sacked so few times? What does he do well to avoid sacks?
“Well, he’s got a good line. They do a good job of pass protecting, number one. And number two, he’s got a great feel for this offense. This is the only offense he has ever played in. I don’t know what is this his seventh year in the league? So, he knows exactly everything in this offense, from option A to B or C. And he knows where to go with the ball very quickly. And he’s elusive. You wouldn’t say he’s a scrambler, but he’s elusive in the pocket. He buys time.”
You talked about Randle stepping in for them. How much do you think their offense misses Brandon and Mario?
“Their offense is a system offense. They’ve had that same offense for, ever since [Giants head coach] Tom Coughlin’s been there. And they just plug guys in. I don’t think they miss those guys at all. And that’s not a knock on Brandon or Mario. They’ve replaced those guys. And like I said, that’s something that’s always churning in the NFL. You’ve got to replace good players with new good players and they’ve done that. And they’ve always done that, particularly at the receiver position.”