This is the transcript of Vic Fangio’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ p.r. department.
Last week, obviously, we saw that LB Ahmad Brooks was on the sideline. How difficult of a decision was that for you to make?
“It was difficult to do, but it was an easy decision. He missed an entire meeting on Tuesday and then was 20 minutes late on Wednesday, so, at that point, and on top of what happened in New York, it was just time to not start him and take drastic measures. Told him he wouldn’t start on Wednesday. He knew that. And last week was not a good week of practice for him after that happened, so, that’s when I basically decided that he wouldn’t play very much unless we needed him.”
How is he? Is he getting back in your good graces this week?
“Yes. We talked on Tuesday, or, Tuesday, yeah, we talked. He’s fine. Had a good day at practice yesterday and expect him to be fine.”
He told us that Tuesday was a mix up. He mixed up the schedule Tuesday. What happened Wednesday?
“I don’t know.”
Can you say, is he back as a starter?
“Yeah, I think he will, provided he keeps practicing like he did yesterday.”
It seemed that you guys had a lot more issues besides him in terms of the pass rush against the Raiders. What did you see on film in terms of why you couldn’t get more pressure on Raiders QB Derek Carr?
“We didn’t have a good day rushing as a unit. We had some good rushes. The ball got out there before we could get there. Overall, it was not a good day pass rushing for us. And it was across the board, wasn’t just one guy. Everybody had some that were good, but we didn’t have enough together. Give the Raiders credit. They pass blocked us.”
Can you give us just a progress report on LB Aldon Smith since he started out strong against the Giants and then just how he’s played?
“He’s been fine. He was like the rest of us in that game. His pass rush was inconsistent. He had some good ones. One where he could’ve had a sack but we didn’t cover right and the ball got out. But it was inconsistent in that game, his pass rush. Otherwise, he’s been fine.”
Do you feel like Ahmad Brooks apologized to you, and do you feel like it’s a fresh slate then?
What are you guys going to be able to do today indoors and where are you guys headed?
“I’m not sure where we’re headed. All I know is we’re on the bus at 11:50 a.m., I believe, and it’s somewhere close, I don’t even know.”
How about DL Glenn Dorsey? Do you think that he starts on, or plays on Sunday?
“It’s still not looking much better than last week. He is getting better, but it doesn’t look like it.”
Did you have to introduce yourself or reintroduce yourself to CB Tramaine Brock yesterday at practice?
“Yeah, I went up to him during stretch and had a little joke with him about it, but yeah.”
He played well last year. In the big picture, just as far as his career, does this set a guy back that he wasn’t able to get on the field much at all and kind of build on what he did last season?
“Well, it’s never good that you basically have missed an entire season outside of the 60, 70 plays that he’s played, if he doesn’t play in these next three weeks. Setback? Yes, it’s a setback. But I don’t think it should have a big negative effect moving forward into his career, other than he’s lost a year of experience and playing. Every time you play, you learn new things. You just do. The more you play, the more you practice, the more you improve. He has lost that, and it was evident in the Denver game when he did play. He had a good week of practice, but it was his first week of practice and he was rusty. We practice for a reason. In defense of him, he was rusty and wasn’t ready to play such a good passing team.”
LB NaVorro Bowman said he never once wanted to rule himself out for the year. Regardless if he plays a game for you or not down the stretch, what does it mean to have him active and perhaps getting back on the practice field maybe next week and his attitude through this whole thing?
“Well, his attitude’s been fine. I see him putting everything he’s got into the rehab and I see with my own eyes what little I see, and that’s what the guys that work with him daily tell me. Nothing’s really changed from this week from last week. Yes, he’s on the 53, but he didn’t practice yesterday, so, I don’t see a big change yet.”
What’s CB Chris Culliver’s status for this week?
“Luckily, I think we dodged a bullet there. I think he, ultimately, is going to be fine. He was out there yesterday doing a little bit. Hopefully, he’ll be able to do a little bit more today. I don’t know what our practice will be like today. I don’t know how big an area we’re going to that’s inside. Hopeful that he’ll be playing and ready to go.”
He basically started every game except I think the one in Denver. For a guy who missed all of last year, when you talk about missing time with injuries and practice, how has he played this season?
“I think overall here, and especially in the last month, month and a half, he’s played good football for us. Unfortunately, at the corner position, you only highlight some of the catches that guys get on you. But he’s done a good job for us and we missed him on Sunday after he went out. I think he’s had a good year overall.”
Could Brock play on Sunday?
What about CB Leon McFadden? He’s a former third-round pick. Obviously, hasn’t panned out to this point. Do you see things that indicate, ‘OK, this is why he was a third-round pick’?
“Yeah, he’s got good quickness. He’s a savvy guy. He’s a confident guy, too. He’s into the game, wants to play, likes football. So, there’s some hope there for us that he can be a part of us these next three weeks and into next season.”
What about DT Tank Carradine? He’s gotten some more and more snaps each week. What do you see from him?
“I see improvement. I see a guy that’s playing the run better than he was. I see a guy that’s being better in his assignments and I see a guy that’s into it. I think the arrow is up on him.”
Was the run game the missing element for him? Something he didn’t do much of?
“A part of it. A part of it. But not totally, part of it.”
If DT Justin Smith decides that he’s not going to come back next year, would Tank be in the mix? Would DL Quinton Dial, Tank, DT Tony Jerod-Eddie, would that be the kind of competition to kind of succeed Justin there?
“Well, basically, with what we have right now, yes. I’m trying to think if you left somebody out.”
You got DL Lawrence Okoye.
“Okoye. And Glenn will be in that mix, too. Glenn’s a versatile guy. He can play nose or end.”
I think I’ve asked you this earlier, Okoye, do you still see him as a defensive lineman or have you caught any glimpse of him on the other side of the ball? What do you think is his best fit?
“On defense, yes.”
Can you speak to the Seahawks? You just saw them two weeks ago. What are you expecting to see out of them that you maybe have not seen?
“Well, I hope we see a lot of new stuff because what they’re doing lately has really been working for them. They’ve evolved into a really good offense. They’ve got two very special players in [Seattle QB Russell] Wilson and [Seattle RB Marshawn] Lynch. Their offense is built around those guys. They’re doing a great job of, when sometimes offenses and defense evolve over time, and I think theirs has evolved to be their best offense schematically and player wise that they’ve had in the four years we’ve been here. Those two guys are dynamite. Their receivers are good. [Seattle WR Doug] Baldwin’s a good receiver. [Seattle WR Jermaine] Kearse is a good receiver. They’re really clicking on all cylinders right now offensively.”
Is there another quarterback that comes to mind as far as doing what Wilson does now as far as being able to extend a play and keep his head up?
“No. The only other guy that scrambles as well as this guy in the last 10, 15, 20 years, may be [Jets QB] Michael Vick. Vick was quicker to go. This guy is quicker to keep looking downfield, looking for the throw, seeing if you broke down in coverage because of the length of the play. He’s got a special knack for that and he’s really good at it.”
Have offenses been doing a better job of taking advantage of Bowman’s and LB Patrick Willis’ absence in recent weeks? It seems like tight ends have been particularly troublesome for you guys.
“I wouldn’t say that they’re trying to do that. Inside linebackers are going to be in the middle of all the action, so, I don’t think you have to particularly try and pick on them. They’re going to be involved in a lot of stuff, and particularly the way we play. They’re going to be at the stress point in a lot of routes. I don’t think that they’re designing it that way. They’re an important position.”