Fangio assesses the 49ers defense


Vic Fangio was the podium speaker today after practice, and here’s what he had to say about his defense.

This transcript is courtesy of the 49ers.

On his assessment of DT Isaac Sopoaga:

“He was rusty the first couple practices, which was to be expected from the long layoff and the injury and a new system, but he has really picked it up here the past few days and looks to be healthy and seems ready to go.”

On LB Ahmad Brooks and his performance in the first preseason game:

“He played very well in the first preseason game and he’s carried it over to this week in practice.  We’re really excited to have him with us. He’s got a chance to have a very good season for us and hopefully he’ll keep progressing and improving. As he understands our defense, more and more each day, that improvement will happen naturally, but we’ve been very pleased with him so far.”

On what he has seen from LB NaVorro Bowman in practice and last week’s preseason game:

“He’s a good athlete, smart football player and has some good toughness to him. He’s still a young player, having not played very much in his career so far here. He’s improving each and every day. I expect to have a good season from him.”

On what likes about CB Tramaine Brock and Tarell Brown:

“They’re both good players and they’re in the hunt there for being one of the final spots in the secondary. They have some versatility. They’re a little different both in their approach and the way they play the game, but right now we see them as strong possibilities for us.”

On whether he has ever come across QB Josh McCown:

“No, never have. Not that I can remember. I remember the name, but don’t believe I’ve ever coached against him.”

On whether he believes Brooks will become a starter:

“Yeah, if he keeps playing the way he played last week and keeps practicing the way he’s practicing, then that’s an eventuality right there.”

On LB Parys Haralson’s performance in training camp:

“Parys right now is the starting right outside backer and I could foresee that being a strong possibility also. Aldon is behind him there and we’ll see how it all shakes out in our different packages. Some guys may play in some; some guys may play in others, so that remains to be seen.”

On whether he has seen improvement from LB Patrick Willis since last week in training camp:

“Yes, he’s made some improvement in his rush abilities, still not where he wants to be, nor I’d like to see him at, but the one thing about Patrick, when he’s got something in his mind, he goes very hard to try and improve it, both mentally and physically. He has the ability to improve in that area greatly and I trust that he will just because of who he is.”

On whether he usually waits to blitz during the preseason:

“I use the preseason pretty much to – I like to use it as an evaluation tool for our defense as a whole and as each and every individual. I’ve gone into some games and blitzed more than other ones in the preseason, but particularly last week in our case, comparing it to them (New Orleans Saints), they’re in their third or fourth season with that defense with a lot of their same players. We wanted to keep it simple last week so our guys felt comfortable in playing hard and playing confident, and that is what worked best for us. They took a different approach, which is fine, some people do that. You find in preseason games, some defenses will major in something; this week we’re going to blitz a lot, next week we’re going to play a lot of zone. Everybody has a different way of doing it and last week they chose to do that, which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

On what the best barometer of pass rushing skills is:

“It depends what position you’re playing. Obviously if we’re blitzing, we’re evaluating linebackers and maybe even defensive backs as blitzers. If we’re just rushing the standard four-man rush, then obviously we’re evaluating our four-man rush abilities. Whether you’re rushing four or blitzing a lot, there’s some evaluation going on. It’s just different.”

On Colin Jones taking reps at wide receiver instead of safety:

“Today he lined up and helped out at wide receiver. Colin is a good special teams player and if you’re going to make the final 53, you have to be versatile in his situation. We’re trying to see. He runs well and he’s fast, so they want to take a look at him at wide receiver. There are no conclusions to be drawn from that yet.”

On whether that is similar to Bruce Miller also taking reps at other positions:

“Yes, he was a defensive player in college and we drafted him to be a fullback and he’s done well there as a fullback. But again, when you start picking 53 out of 90, and then having to suit 46 out of the 53, anybody’s versatility for those last few spots is a feather in their cap and may get them on the field. Because he has defensive experience, we wanted to see if he had any chance to helping us on the defensive side of the ball.”

On whether Bruce Miller can help on the defensive side of the ball:

“Much too early to say.”

On his assessment of the defensive line:

“It’s been good. Our guys there do a great job of setting the tone for our defense. In my mind, we have four starters up there, doesn’t really matter which three run out there for the first play. They’re a good, hardworking, prideful group.”

On whether Bruce Miller will get any reps on defense during preseason games:

“We haven’t decided that yet. We just decided in between sessions today to put him on defense, so we really haven’t talked about that. We’ll see how he comes along and make that decision for these last three games.”

On how the adjustment to defense will be for Miller:

“It will be an adjustment, and today he just worked on the service team, so he was just reading cards, so he wasn’t having the play huddle calls and what not, which is tremendously different than being in the defensive huddle, hearing the call and knowing what to do. It will be an easier transition for him than fullback is. So we’ll see how he does.”

On how many plays the starters will have in the next preseason games:

“It might kick up a little bit more for each guy. We had some guys last week that played nine or 10 snaps, we had some guys that were in the 15 range, we had other guys in the 20 range, we had other guys that were 30, 40 and above. As those 10s go up a little bit, the 30s and 40s come down a little bit. We haven’t discussed that yet. We’ll sit down either tonight or tomorrow and kind of get a guideline for that.”

On who the starting CBs will be if Shawntae Spencer and Carlos Rogers are out:

“Remains to be seen. That hadn’t been determined yet. There’s a lot of guys working there. I think it’s too early to say that Carlos or Shawntae are down for long periods of time because I don’t think they are. And if they were down, we don’t have an answer for that yet.


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