49ers Transcript: Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio
Do they change much with QB Jason Campbell in instead of QB Jay Cutler?
I dont think so. Theyre kind of similar quarterbacks, strong armed guys, athletic. Hes been experienced. Hes played in the league a long time as a starter, both in Washington and Oakland. So, I really dont think their offense will change that much.
Cutler obviously has the rapport with WR Brandon Marshall. Do you think that rapport will be there with a new quarterback in there?
I do. Hes their best receiver by far. Hes caught 67 balls. And Im sure hell be looking for him.
Do they move him all over the field?
They move around some, yes.
Including the slot?
Your defense has struggled to cover quick, inside receivers. What do you attribute that to and has that had an effect on the overall performance?
The guys youre alluding to, everybody has a little bit of a hard time of covering some of those guys. Its just a tough position, at times, for the nickel to cover or a corner if hes inside their on base. And youve got to get some good slot receivers and theyve caught some balls on us. But, I dont see it as an epidemic by any means.
DT Justin Smith, I dont think he has a sack this year and hes going up against an old pal, G Chilo Rachal, this week. What have you seen on film with Chilo? And what kind of battle do you anticipate between the two of them?
Im sure itll be a good battle. Chilo obviously knows Justin from practicing against him here for the few years that he was here. And I think the lack of sack totals really doesnt have the meaning that it may look like it has on the surface. Hes been playing very well, giving us good pass rush. The sacks just havent been coming. Theres years when inside pass rushers just dont get a lot of sacks.
How much of, New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride kind of alluded to this several weeks ago, but there was a play in the game, this last game, where Justin kind of hooked that guard and shoved him into the tackle and LB Aldon Smith came around and got the sack. How much of that is them working together on the fly? And how much of it is a plan that is put out on the practice field?
I think its something that just happens on occasion out there. Theres a lot of hand fighting and guys get grabbed both ways. And theres nothing illegal about it or anything. Its just normal hand play.
Youve been in the game for a long time. Obviously the Bears defense back in the Super Bowl era, the 46 was supposed to be this defense to end all defenses. How close to that level is this defense playing because these guys are playing pretty good as far as I could tell?
Well, theyre playing extremely well. I havent seen them play a lot this year on film. But, they obviously are playing extremely well. And the thing that jumps out at you is their takeaways. Theyre getting a large amount of takeaways and its helping them win their games. And weve got to be able to try and match them in this game. But, hopefully our offense will do a good job protecting the ball because right now theyre the best in the league at taking it away.
And last year was sort of, you guys were doing all the takeaways. How much is it a skill? How much is it just a set of circumstances that come together?
Well, theres definitely a skill to it. You immediately think of their corner CB Charles Tillman whos probably the best at it and has been for the last few years. And theres definitely a skill involved in it. And there are circumstances involved in it, too. Theres no denying that.
Maybe there was nowhere to go but down after last year. But, your run defense, while still good, hasnt been as the brick wall it was last year. What do you attribute that to? And is it a concern?
Well, obviously its always a concern if youre not playing something as well as you think you should. And obviously last week in the first two series we didnt do that at all. Give the Rams credit, they came out and blocked us and we didnt play to the level of intensity that was needed to be played in that game with the blocking they were giving us and the great running that the running back was doing.
Did you notice that level of intensity go up as the game went on?
Yeah, we played much better against the run as the game went on.
How do you account for that? Sometimes the intensity hasnt been there at the beginning of games. Is there a way to push a button and get that going earlier?
Well, I dont know that it was totally an egregious lack of intensity on our part as much as it was that they were much more ready than we were. And we just didnt play with the edge that you needed to play with to stop a good running game, which St. Louis has.
Getting back to the quick slot receivers, would you consider putting CB Perrish Cox in that roll to see how he can do?
Well, hes the guy that plays behind CB Carlos Rogers for that role. And if something ever happened there, he would be the guy to go in. But, we havent considered that, if youre alluding to replacing Carlos with him, no.
I often wonder over a season, when you see a team playing as well as the Bears defense is, how much do you say, I hate the word copycat but I cant think of a better one right now. How much do you see like some teams do something great week one through four and say you know what, lets go and incorporate a little more of that into what we are doing. Does that happen at all?
Not to the degree I think youre alluding to. Its hard to change drastically what you do schematically mid-way through a season. They have a system there that they have in place. I think the lesson there to be learned for everybody is theyve had that system in place since Bears head coach Lovie Smiths been there. I guess hes been there six or seven years now. So, if you have a consistent system in place, you consistently get the players that fit your system. And if you make a mistake or two in your player acquisitions, it doesnt hurt you quite as much because youve been drafting those kind of players and acquiring them over the years. A lot like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Theyd been playing the same defense since former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher got there in 1992, I believe it was. And theyre playing the same defense. And hopefully thats something that well get to here with the stability. And youre always looking for the same kind of guys.
Aside from the takeaways, what are some of the trademarks of Lovie Smith and Bears assistant head coachdefensive coordinator Rod Marinellis defense?
Well, they go all the way back to there on the staff of Tampa. And they played the Tampa two and the one-gap defense. And they play a lot of cover one, cover three also. And they try and keep it simple and get the good players that they get, that they have, playing fast.
Just with defending Jason Campbell, they do seem in a lot of ways to have similar skillsets. Obviously, Cutlers the starter so his skillset must be a little bit better. But, they do seem to do similar things. Is there anything drastic that you have to watch out for from him compared to the other guy?
No, I do think theyre very similar there. Big guys, strong arm, both mobile, both can run the boot game. Both are good scramblers, they can keep plays alive. Theyre a threat to run the ball when they pull it down. I do think theyre very similar guys. And I think thats another good thing on their part that their backup quarterback, when this happens that they do have to put him in there, they dont have to go to a whole new offense per say.
Is it safe to say that Cutler will take a few more chances down the field, where Campbell might be a little bit more, I dont know if conservative is the word, but?
Well, I dont know if thats true or not because number one, Campbell hadnt had a lot of snaps with this offense in the regular season. So, I dont know that we can forecast that. But, Im sure Campbell has confidence. Hes got a big arm and hell try and stick it in there.
Do you look at Raiders games this week to scout out Campbell?
No, well go back and watch the preseason games when he played a lot and, obviously, the half from Houston last week.
Is it fair to say that CB Tarell Brown will be on Brandon Marshall a fair amount, or would that just be dependent on where Marshall is?
Yes. It will be dependent upon their formation.
Any surprise that DT Matthew Masifilo was claimed?
Yes and no. Surprise from the standpoint that it happened so late in the week. So, he obviously cant probably go in there and suit up for them this week. Id be surprised if he does that. So, the timing of it was a little surprising. But, Matts a good football player. They obviously had some feelings about him. And they had an opening, needed a D-lineman and they went out there and got him.