Ricky Jean Francois says the offense can improve on “not starting off real slow.”

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Ricky Jean Francois said at his locker this morning.

Q: What does this team still need to work on?

JEAN FRANCOIS: One thing I know we’re going to work on is getting a better start, not starting off real slow, and executing plays, getting back into the details a little more better. Winning the division championship was one…

HARALSON: A little more better? Seriously? That’s what LSU taught you?

JEAN FRANCOIS: Yeah that’s what LSU taught me. Just like Tennessee did the same for you. But um – what was I going to say – we took our first step winning the division championship. We did that yesterday, but now it’s on to the next step.

Q: What went through your mind when you saw Patrick Willis injured and down on the field yesterday?

JEAN FRANCOIS: I know Pat is a hard player and I was like it has to be something serious for him not to just get back up and get back in the game. When I seen it was his hamstring, I was like, we’ve got Larry Grant. We’ve got backups that can replace him that it won’t like he’s not out there. The only thing that’s going to look really different is a you’ve got a different player with a different number and name on the back. He (Grant) went out there, he did a good job, we didn’t miss a beat, we made a shutout, so at the end of the day that shows that our backups can do the same thing as our starters.

Q: That goes for you, too.

JEAN FRANCOIS: Not just me, we’ve got many other players, like (Demarcus) Dobbs, Larry Grant, Tavares Gooden, Chris Culliver, we have a lot of players. Our whole defense got it that any player can get in the game at any time and not miss a beat.

Q: Is it a good thing that with a month left you guys still have a lot of stuff to improve on?

JEAN FRANCOIS: Everything has it’s time and place. We have a long way to go, and with the hard work and dedication and dudes staying inside here and talking to the coaches and trying to get the game plan two days ahead of time, that will speed up the progression before we get into the next month or the next game by them just reading over the plays, going over things, asking coaches questions. Some people look at it as a bad thing that we’ve got a long ways to go, but just walking by the offense – and I ain’t never looked at their playbook before – but, just seeing their playbook once, and just seeing how thick it is, I was like, “Yeah, we probably do have a long way to go,” but executing the plays that we do get, I think that will be the big thing, offense, defense and special teams.

Q: Was that your team’s best defensive performance of the year?

JEAN FRANCOIS: No. There’s a lot of things that we made mistakes on yesterday. You see their score at zero, but we’ve still got a lot to do, from the run to the pass, and not just defense but offense, too. You seen the slow start.

Q: How can you say you have to work on stopping the run? You held Steven Jackson to 18 yards rushing yesterday.

JEAN FRANCOIS: I give big ups to him. He’s probably one of the best backs in the NFC, and to keep him at 18 yards, that was a plus, that was one for us to say, “We actually stopped Steven Jackson.” We know we have to see him again so we have to prepare again later on in the season to go against that Pro Bowl back.

,