SANTA CLARA – Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here’s what he said.
ROMAN: Had a good practice yesterday, looking forward to another great one today. We’ve got a big game, division opponent, a team we’ve played four times. We know a little bit about them, they know a little bit about us. They’re a good team. They’re defense statistically the past two years has been as good as any. Pretty much their personnel, front end middle and back end are among the best in the league. Their secondary is a unique secondary as far as their size and range. They’re a good team. Knee-deep in the preparations.
Q: When you face big cornerbacks is it good to have a big, physical receiver like Anquan Boldin to match up against them? What’s the best way to attack size?
ROMAN: There are a couple of different ways to do it. You can attack size with size and say, “Our size is better than your size.” That’s one way to do it. Or you can attack it with quickness, the you-can’t-catch-me mentality. You can attack it with misdirection, that type of things, try to create a pause in their getup. They’re very good players. However you attack it, you’ve got to execute.
Q: Do you expect to see a lot more man coverage than you saw last week?
ROMAN: They’ll play man. They’ll play zone. They’re going to do what they do. They’ll definitely play some man. Always have to expect man. If a team plays man, you’ve got to go into a game expecting man all the time.
Q: Is it an easier adjustment thinking man and going zone?
ROMAN: That sounds pretty familiar. Think man, react to zone. Very good. You always want to run a route thinking man. It’s going to be physical. You’re going to have to be physical in your route. You can’t just run the lines on the paper versus man. You’ve got to get open. If it’s zone, now I react to zone. But if you’re thinking it’s zone and then bam, it’s man, it’s too late.
ME: I understand you script the first few series. After those first few series how do you choose which play to call, by feel or do you re-script between series?
ROMAN: It’s a little bit of both. We’re having constant conversations. I’ll say, “Hey, what do you think of this, do you guys like it?” And then, “No, because of this, or yes because of that.” Our staff, I think we have a good communication flow. At times, man, it’s easy. Anybody can do it. And then there are times when you’ve got to get a little creative with it. But, it’s a little bit of both, really. Every game is a little bit different in that regard, too, how it unfolds, “Hey, they’re playing what they’ve played,” or, “They’re playing something completely different, therefore we’ll probably do something different.” But we have really good communication flow as a staff. We’ll continue to get better.
ME: That communication, is it between series?
ROMAN: It’s at all times, really. It’s not a board meeting, but I think we’re getting to the point now where we can communicate a lot more efficiently than we did once we started.
Q: How has Eric Mangini been involved in that process in the days leading up to the game and even during the game?
ROMAN: He’s been great. Very, very thorough work put in on us and the opponent. I think he contributed to the game plan last week as he will every week. During the game he’s in the booth with us, helping us upstairs, helping communicate what’s going on and what just happened and whatnot between series. He’s doing a great job.
Q: Is he another set of eyes for you to really understand what the defense is doing?
ROMAN: Oh yeah. He’s part of our staff and he’s up there with eyes on the defense. Between series we’ll get together and talk.
Q: How will adjust to how loud the stadium is. Will you be using more hand signals?
ROMAN: It’s a loud stadium. We’ve just got to be very efficient with our communication. It’s just something we’ve got to practice, which we have been and we need to continue to improve. When it’s loud, verbal communication really becomes strained. You can’t let that strain of verbal communication affect your mental or physical play.
Q: There has been a lot of timeouts and using them at different times. Do you think football observers are over blowing the idea that you must save your timeouts for the end of the half and the game?
ROMAN: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Certainly, you’d love to have all of your timeouts and never have to use one. It’s something that you can always look back on after the fact and say, “Gosh, I wish we would have had a timeout there.” You’re always trying to save your timeouts but the bottom line is there are times when you need to use them to perpetuate a drive in the fashion that you wish. Needless wasting of timeouts is inefficient and not something we want to do. Now, is it over blown? I’m sure it is.