Fangio tells brutal truth


Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio spoke to the media after today’s practice. He’s a blunt guy and he explained, among other things, there are only two positions set on his defense. You figure that out for yourself, and I’ll give the answer below. He also implied his defense is not ready for prime time.

Q: What do you know about your defense two days into practice that you didn’t know?

Fangio: We didn’t know what to expect. Obviously we need a lot of work. We all knew we would be behind and that hit you right in the face how far behind we are. We’ve taken the attitude they used to tell us in maternity, “Don’t tell us about the pain. Just show us the baby.” We’re going to get their as fast as we can.

Q: Do you take a different approach?

Fangio: It’s more difficult because obviously we would have had 20-some practices before this in the spring. My attitude has been we’re going to throw as much at them as we would have if we had a normal offseason. We need to find out what this team is all about and what best fits our defense. If we try to go too slow and hold off in inserting things we may find out we wish we would have inserted it because maybe it’s a good fit for our guys. We want to insert as much as we can and see what best fits our guys and then maybe tone it back.

Q: Did you give your players a play book?

Fangio: No. Offense is different. There’s a lot of memorization. We’ve got to do a lot of reacting on defense, instinctive stuff is more of a premium on defense. I felt there wouldn’t be much to gain by that.

Q: You resisted looking at film of your guys?

Fangio: I did resist for the most part. What we told the defensive team is obviously there’s a few defensive starting positions here that are solidified. Most of the others are wide open. I’d be lying to you if I said all 11 are open. You guys know who the two or three guys are that are entrenched here. Unless they fall off a cliff they’ll still be here. But we’ve got a lot of jobs open. As it looks now it’s five starters from last year’s team at this moment are not here and don’t look promising to be here. That’s a whole new defense right there when we have to replace at least half of them.

Q: Can I guess the two or three? Justin Smith, Willis and . . . long silence. Spencer?

Fangio: Smith and Willis. Who’s the other one?

Q: Shantee Spencer.

Fangio: Yeah, he’s in the hunt, yeah. There’s a lot of jobs open. Trust me.

Q: Some defensive players don’t know much about the defense.

Fangio: They’ve only had two days of insertion. They’ve only seen 20 to 30 percent of it. We’re trying to establish our base concepts in these first few days.

Q: What do you think of (C.J.) Spillman?

Fangio: We like his raw ability. We don’t have any starting safeties right now. All those guys are fighting for it.

Q: We you be comfortable with playing a game with your defense now?

Fangio: I’ve got no choice there, we have to be comfortable with what we have. What we’ve got is what we’ve got. You’re always looking to get better. Whether we will or whether we won’t is up to the front office.

Q: Aldon Smith is behind Parys Haralson. Is there any chance for them to switch sides?

Fangio: They can switch. One guy could go over to left side and vice versa. We don’t know exactly how we’re going to play our guys.

Q: Are the outside linebackers where you don’t have any settled starters?

Fangio: Probably but we’re less uncertain there than at other positions.

Q: Looks like your defensive line is pretty set.

Fangio: We’ve got Ray, Isaac, Justin, Ricky Jean and who else am I missing, Will, guys who were here last year and have done well.

Q: What has Ian Williams shown you as an undrafted rookie?

Fangio: At this point an undrafted rookie you can almost put in three phases – one this guy’s got no chance, two this guy’s got a chance, or three we may have found something here. He’s got a chance. He’s definitely not a waste right now.

Q: He’s in that middle group?

Fangio: Yeah.

Q: Are there any No. 3’s, might have found something here?

Fangio: Not yet.


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