Whitner says the 49ers defense is going to have to beat the Patriots

SAN FRANCISCO — Donte Whitner spoke at the podium after the 49ers beat the Dolphins on Sunday. Here’s what Whitner said.

Q: Can you talk about your body slam of Reggie Bush?

WHITNER: We just want to be physical any way we can. When you’re physical as a defense, it gives the offense something else to think about – not just your scheme, not just your pass rushers, but they have to think about protecting themselves when they’re around the football, and that’s how we play the game.

Q: Can you talk about Culliver?

WHITNER: Culliver is getting better each and every week. He’s playing like a top corner in the National Football League. He’s a guy – six-foot-plus. Almost 200 pounds. Wants to be physical. Really starting to study and become a student of the game. He’s just going to get better each and every week.

Q: How excited are you about the challenge you face next week against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

WHITNER: We’re going to be able to see where we are as a defense. We understand who’s going to have to win that football game. It’s going to be the defense. We understand their offense is going to try to control the football, get some big plays and put points on the board. We can’t allow that. So we’ll be ready.

Q: Tannehill was playing well in the first half, but he struggled in the second half. What happened?

WHITNER: We got a little lead, and they started to have to run routes longer than 10 yards. If you look at their offense, they’re really three steps, get the football out, don’t make him read too much. They don’t want him making mistakes. In the second half we got up two touchdowns and they had to throw the ball a little longer, go to five, seven step drops, try to get the football down field. Our rush was able to take over.

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