SANTA CLARA – Carlos Rogers spoke in the media tent Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what he said about the 49ers defense.
Q: You guys are ranked No.2 against the pass right now. How have the defensive backs stepped up this season?
ROGERS: It’s our second year in the system. Guys are stepping up and taking on the challenges. Our defensive line and linebackers do a good job stopping the run, so the next option for teams is to throw the ball. If we step our game up and eliminate their catches and their long passes, it’s going to help the defense out.
Q: Why is the defense causing as many turnovers as it did last season?
ROGERS: Sometimes we’ve been in position, sometimes the quarterback does a good job of holding onto the ball or throwing the ball away. We don’t have as many turnovers as we had last year, but we’re better in a lot more categories. You asked about our pass defense – we’re giving up 184 yards a game. Last year, we weren’t near that. Turnovers are great, but if you’re getting off the field with a lot of three-and-outs, you give your offense a lot of possessions. That’s good too.
Q: Is it working to your advantage that teams are focusing on not turning the ball over? Are they being more cautious?
ROGERS: Turnovers are about defenses being in the right position to get the interception. Some guys jump a route. Some guys punch the ball out of ball carriers’ hands. A lot of ways to get turnovers, you just have to make a conscious effort to keep working for them. We’re trying, but we aren’t going to go out of our way to say, “I’m going to jump this route because we don’t have the turnovers we had last year.” We play defense. If it’s third and four and they gain three yards, we’ll take that.
Q: Do you feel like Dashon Goldson is playing better than he was last year?
ROGERS: I think so. He can be 15, 16 yards deep and the opposing coaches might think he’s in Cover 2, next thing you know, a run comes and he stops the run for a three or four-yard gain from back there. I think he does a good job of disguising. He’s studying a lot more. He knows what opposing offenses are trying to do. He’s going to make a lot more plays.
Q: Did you know much about him before you came here?
ROGERS: I didn’t know much. There were a few guys I heard about when I was out there on the East Coast. They’re weren’t playing so well as a team, so they weren’t getting a lot of media attention besides Patrick Willis, basically. Being a DB, I followed Dashon, but he just picked his game up to a whole other level. We were just talking the other day that we have to pick our game up to another level. It’s the second half of the season. We want to put our offense in a good position to make the playoffs.
Q: You guys are the No.3 seed right now. Have you guys talked about getting the No.1 or No.2 seed?
ROGERS: We haven’t talked about it. We’ve talked about putting our self in a good position against the division teams. Where we fall in the playoffs, we fall. It doesn’t matter.