Here is a transcript of Vic Fangio’s Sunday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. staff.
I’ll ask you the same question I just asked Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. Which guys on your defense stood out to you at practice?
“We had a few guys that have stood out here in these two practices. [LB] Aldon’s [Smith] obviously been practicing well, is one. Think our safeties have been practicing well. Those are some of the guys that come to mind immediately.”
Facing Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco, is it a challenge that, thinking back to the Super Bowl, does that linger at all in your mind that you didn’t answer the call?
“No, I don’t think so.”
He’s so good at throwing the deep ball and got some very fast receivers. Is that a nice kind of change, a different test for your defensive backs?
“It is. The whole thing is a great test and a great learning experience for us. These joint practices, we’re going against a different offense than our offense runs, likewise for their defense. We’re going against different players. They may have a few more speed receivers, so it’s good to go against that speed. Their running game is different so it’s good to go against that. I’ve done over 20 of these joint practices in my days, and they’re always very good and very beneficial.”
Specifically, how did CB Chris Culliver do? I know he didn’t practice much today, but how did he do yesterday against the deep ball and against that speed?
“He did fine overall. I think they called him for one pass interference on one of them which looked like a very questionable call, but we’ll live and learn with that thing. But I thought he practiced well overall.”
A lot has been made this preseason so far of the pass interference, contact, holding. How are you guys preparing differently, if at all, to pass that down to the players given how things are called more?
“Well, we’ve always taught our players to play with the technique that’s within the rules. The officiating has been instructed to be more diligent in that area. We saw a negative with that the other night in our game where it was on one of the third downs there in the second half. They called us for an illegal contact penalty, which in no way, shape or form was an illegal contact penalty. And the league’s already confirmed that it wasn’t. You hate to think that these guys have been drilled into their head that they’re seeing ghosts out there now, too. We were called for a penalty where a guy did nothing wrong, nothing from a technical standpoint or rules standpoint, but yet was called for a penalty. We hope that stuff gets cleaned up by the time the regular season comes.”
How has LB Aaron Lynch looked so far in his first practices?
“He’s doing fine. He practiced some last week. Didn’t feel he was quite ready, and for his benefit, didn’t play him in the game the other night. But he’s been practicing out here these two days, will continue practice. He’s making steady progress here.”
Are you going to get some guys back on the defensive line pretty soon? DT Justin Smith or DT Ray McDonald?
“Yeah, I’m thinking that those guys will be ready to return maybe when we get back to San Francisco at some point in the near future.”
A lot of people are wondering, and I realized we asked you this a week ago, but was wondering about NT Ian Williams and anything more on his prognosis?
“No. Still anticipating him to be ready at some point and to start practicing, hopefully sooner than later. But, you know, we’ll see.”