Vic Fangio on his defense


Here’s the complete transcript of Defensive Coordinato Vic Fangio’s post-practice interview, courtesy of the 49ers.


On whether Aldon Smith is a little more advanced than he thought he’d be at this point:

“He’s had his flashes and I think that’s what you’re seeing, that he is flashing his ability, which gives you the impression when you’re kind of watching the whole thing and not focusing on one that he’s doing that well, but he’s struggling right now picking up the system and being efficient where we need him to be. But, he has made progress and he’s basically where I expect him to be at this point.”

On Aldon Smith’s progress playing on two feet:

“I think he can do it, it’s just going to take time. These guys that have these transitions from college line to outside backer to 3-4, it’s a process and he’s going through that process right now. I do think he can do it and eventually will do it, but right now he’s still in the process.”

On how he sees Dashon Goldson fitting in on the field:

“I’m not really sure right now because I haven’t seen him play. I know I’m much more happy with our safety position right now than I was the last time I stood before you guys. We’ve picked up a few guys and we’ve got good competition back there, and he’ll be part of that competition.”

On what he sees out of the defensive backs that he likes:

“Well, we’ve become more athletic, more experienced, and just generally have uplifted and set the bar higher there on our talent level back there.”

On whether he has a timetable of when he might see Reggie Smith again:

“I don’t know what the timetable is on that. He just had his, whatever he had done, yesterday. I haven’t talked to Fergie and nobody’s told me so, I know it’s nothing serious, but I don’t know the timetable.”

On whether strong safety is Donte Whitner’s job to lose and what the competition is between both safety positions:

“Right now, we are looking at our safeties as they should be able to play both. So, at the end of the day we’d like to get the best two safeties in there, and having said that, one of those safeties may move up and play a lower position when we start playing five and six DB’s, and if that happens then that opens up another spot and those packages for a third safety in the game, so we’re not sure how that will all unfold right now.”

On whether Taylor May’s size has ever created any talk of moving him to linebacker:


On why he thinks Taylor May’s is better suited at safety:

“He’s just got a safety build to him. Playing linebacker and lining up thick on a tight end or a tackle and having to do combat with 260-270 pound tight ends, and 300, 320, 340 tackles, don’t believe that fits his game right now.”

On how Frank Gore looks from a defensive perspective:

“He looks pretty damn good to me. He seems like a guy who comes out here, loves football, competes hard, he’s got great vision. He’s an elite running back.”

On what Patrick Willis needs to do to get better in reference to Jim Harbaugh’s mantra of getting better every day:

“Patrick needs to, right now, improve his blitzing ability and his pass rush, and that’s what we’re working on at this point. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Patrick in that most cases he’s even been better than I thought he was. He’s a real pro, very good student of the game, just a tremendous person out there. I knew he was very good, he’s even better than I thought he was in most areas and we need to make him a better blitzer right now than he is.”

On what blitzing would do to Patrick’s game:

“I think it would complete his game to where not only is he a good cover linebacker and play the run well, but he’s a threat that when we rush him, either as the third or either as the fourth or fifth guy, that he’s got some real ability and he’s somebody that the offense may have to account for in that regard.”

On what Patrick has to do to improve his ability to get better as a blitzer:

“He’s got to improve his technique. He’s behind as a blitzer from a know-how standpoint and just from technique right now. He needs to really improve what happens when a back steps up to block him, how to beat that block. He’s behind right now on that, but he knows that and he’s working diligently, both on and off the field, to try and improve that.”

On what he’s seen from NaVorro Bowman in regard to blitzing:

“We had a nice session today against the backs and he showed up there and did a nice job rushing, so that’s something we need to look at as we move forward, that if that’s one of his better qualities, we will try and utilize it.”

On whether he sees Isaac Sopoaga starting this week considering he hasn’t practiced yet:

“Well, we haven’t made any final decision as to who’s playing on Friday. Obviously, he hadn’t practiced once yet, you know he’s doing a lot of work with the trainers and the medical staff and the strength coaches, so he hadn’t seen the field yet.”

On whether that’s a concern that he’s going to be at a physical position and he hasn’t practiced yet:

“Obviously it’s a concern particularly in this season the way it’s unfolded, but I think he’ll be fine here in the short term.”

On what the team will do with other positions in which there are players injured, such as cornerback with Shawntae Spencer and Tarell Brown:

“Well luckily during training camp, we’ve got a bunch of guys out here. So, what it does is create some opportunity for these young guys to show if they really have something. Those reps from those two guys now are being filtered down; it’ll give us a great opportunity to see what Chris Culliver’s got early on here, what Cory Nelms has got, what some of the other younger players moving forward, those reps filter down.”

On what two key points he has for his defense going into Friday’s game:

“The whole training camp process, which includes preseason games, is to prepare your team, and in this case you’re talking to me, so the defense, for the season. Our number one job there at this point is to evaluate the team and make sure we pick the right guys. Number two, we’ve got to prepare our guys for the season, so I’m really anxious just to go out there and see our guys play, see our DBs cover people, see our guys rush the passer, see our guys play the run, who can play zone. It’s really a good opportunity against a quality team to evaluate our guys and see where we’re at.”

On whether he foresees the starters playing around 20 snaps in this week’s game:

“We haven’t really talked about it yet, but I would assume whatever we’ve got kind of ticketed for the offense would be similar on defense. It becomes an individual thing, too, some guys might need 20, some guys might need 10, some might need 30. It may not be a whole unit type thing, it will be individualized.”

On what Tramaine Brock has shown during training camp:

“He’s shown versatility, he’s played some corner for us, he’s moved inside and played some nickel, and when you’re looking to pick your team and dress it on Sundays, you need to at least have seven, eight, or nine DBs available, and versatility is important when you get to those numbers because they’re may be packed times when we have four out there, five or six and even on occasion, seven. The more versatile those guys are, the more things you can do on defense. He right now has that in his corner.”

On whether Phillip Adams has shown similar versatility:

“Yeah, he’s been at corner, we’ve tried to keep him more at corner, we’ve been filtering him in at nickel some, not quite as much as we were earlier. We wanted to get his feet under him. He’s come off that serious injury last year that he’s still recuperating from and get his mind right. So we’ve been working him more at corner than nickel, but we haven’t forgotten him and he’s still been playing some.”

On Culliver’s progress at cornerback, having little experience at that position:

“His progress has been coming good. He’s got good talent. He’s got the body and skills to be a corner in this league, he just has to learn how to play corner. You eluded to him not playing it much in college, that’s part of it, and part of it, he’s got to learn how to prepare and be a pro and be on top of his assignments which is a growing process for rookies, every one being at different levels. He’s got to pick up on his assignments.”

On if Aldon Smith reminds him of anyone he’s coached before:

“The only guy that I’ve had direct contact with that was a similar build to a degree was Ronaldo Turnbull. I don’t know if you guys remember him, he came out of West Virginia in the late ‘80s and played with New Orleans in the ‘90s. He had some long arms, little different build, but similar.”


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