Video and transcript: Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio

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Video and transcript: Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio

49ers Transcript: Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio

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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?

Occasionally, yes.

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?

Chicagos defense?

Yeah.

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.

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

SANTA CLARA – Despite recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons and being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Eric Reid said he believes he is now in a role that best fits his skillset.

Whereas in the past, the 49ers’ safety positions were considered interchangeable, there is a clear delineation this season under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“Even dating back to college, this is the first time there’s a distinct strong (safety) and a distinct free (safety),” Reid said. “I’ve been used to the interchangeability type of role.

“(In) some situations, certain calls where there’s a motion, we might flip. There are a couple situations where I might be in the post in the free-safety role, but it’s not nearly as much as it has been in the past.”

Reid, who is listed at 6 foot 1, 213 pounds, said he is excited to be stationed closer to the line of scrimmage for run support while free safety Jimmie Ward patrols the deep middle of the field.

The 49ers offseason program concluded Wednesday, and Reid found himself in the middle of the action with an interception on a short Brian Hoyer pass over the middle. While he will still be counted upon for coverage, his biggest impact could come to assist a run defense that last season ranked among the worst in NFL history.

“I love it, being around the ball more,” Reid said. “I anticipate making more tackles, hopefully making more plays. I feel like I was made for this position with my body type, being a bigger safety. I’m excited about this year.

“I feel like I’m using what God has blessed me with, more, which is my size and being in the box in the run game. In the past, I felt like I could do more. And being in the post, I can’t use my size as much when it comes to the run game.”

After producing seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid recorded just one interception in 26 games over the past two seasons.

As a first-round pick in 2013, the 49ers picked up the fifth-year option this season for $5.676 million. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the season. Reid said the 49ers have not spoken to his representation about a long-term extension. That will come, he believes, if he lives up to his end of the bargain in his new, streamlined role.

“I look at it from a business standpoint,” Reid said. “I majored in business. They have me under contract. They don’t have any reason to talk to right now. I imagine if I play well in the first half of the season, they’ll reach out to me. Maybe they’ll reach out to me before training camp, I don’t know. It’s whatever route they decide to take. It’s a business. I’ll treat it as a business. I have a job to do, so I’ll do it.”

 

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan always wanted to coach football with his father. But, first, he knew he had to prove himself without any boost from his well-known dad.

Once the son established himself as one of the NFL’s respected offensive minds, the Shanahans teamed up for four up-but-mostly-down seasons with Washington.

Mike, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, hired his son to serve as his top offensive assistant in 2010.

“I thought we saw football similar, but we quickly realized after a few weeks that we saw it differently,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “We grew together. He gave me a lot of leeway while I was there. It was fun to try a bunch of different things, having to even incorporate the zone read when we got Robert (Griffin).

“We did our deal in Washington, and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it.”

Kyle Shanahan broke into the coaching ranks under Karl Dorrell at UCLA. He moved onto the NFL to work with Jon Gruden on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. But nothing prepared him for the scrutiny he would face as offensive coordinator under his father.

Kyle Shanahan adjusted the Washington offense to take advantage of Griffin’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback as a rookie 2012. The club qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But things blew up the following season as the Mike Shanahan-Griffin relationship soured. Shanahan and eight assistant coaches, including Kyle, were fired the morning after Washington’s 3-13 season concluded.

Mike Shanahan has remained out of coaching, though he was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching job after the 2015 season. The 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

Kyle Shanahan rebuilt his career with one season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and two successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons to enable him to become CEO Jed York’s choice to replace Kelly.

There is no official role for Mike Shanahan, 64, on his son’s staff with the 49ers. But the father has attended several of the team’s practices this offseason, including both days of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp this week. Mike has been issued his own iPad that gives him access to the 49ers playbook and coach's film. He will likely visit for an extended stay during training camp. But Kyle said he believes his dad will mostly remain home -- only a phone call away -- during the regular season.

“He’s enjoying life right now,” said Kyle, 37. “He’s got a pretty good deal in Denver, where he lives. He can help me out in other ways anyways without having to be here every day.”

Mike Shanahan does not need to be in the building every day to counsel and have influence on his son as he tries to navigate his first season as the head coach while also maintaining the responsibilities of running the team’s offense.

“You’re going 1,000 miles an hour,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Sometimes to see everything you’ve got to really slow things down and take your time to look at stuff and you don’t always have that time as a head coach.

“It’s nice when someone you know who thinks similar to you has a similar background and he just sits in a room all day and watches stuff. He doesn’t have any other responsibilities. He can see some things that I’m not always seeing and just to bring things to light that maybe I missed or other people have missed.”

Mike Shanahan was a successful NFL offensive coordinator for seven seasons. He won a Super Bowl on George Seifert’s staff with the 49ers in January 1995. His dad believes his time around the 49ers has a lasting impact.

“When I was with San Francisco, Kyle was at the 49ers training camps in Rocklin,” Mike Shanahan told Fangirl Sports Network. “He stayed with me at camp and we talked about football every night.

“He had the opportunity to experience an organization that had won four Super Bowls in nine years. He also had the opportunity to be around some great people and leaders. He still tells stories and talks about people like Steve Young, Joe Montana, Harris Barton, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Deion Sanders, and many others. What a great experience to see how these men handled themselves on and off the field.”

The Denver Broncos hired him to become head coach shortly after the 49ers’ 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan went on to win two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the Broncos.

Kyle Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke before finishing college at Texas, where he caught 14 passes for 127 yards in two seasons. He figured he would have a career in football and it would not be as a player.

“I’ve wanted to coach my whole life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “This is all I’ve known, just growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too. Since I was little, it’s distracted me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient, it’ll play out for us in the long run.’ Fortunately, it did.

“Once I realized my genes were a little bit better as a coach than as a player, I pretty much locked into that – and that was about halfway through college. I haven’t looked back.”

During his short time with the 49ers, players on both sides of the ball have expressed amazement at how knowledgeable Kyle Shanahan is about the game of football. His dad told Fangirl Sports Network to succeed as a head coach he must always be dedicated to stuyding, learning and teaching the sport.

“He loves the game and knows it inside and out,” Mike Shanahan said. “My advice to him is to never lose the drive to study the game as he’s done over the last 13 years. To stay in the NFL as a head coach and have success for any length of time, you must never lose your drive to teach and stay abreast of what the top teams are doing every year: offense, defense, special teams. You must be able to coach all positions to really understand the whole game.”

Former 49ers president Carmen Policy said he remembers young Kyle serving as a ball boy during 49ers training camp in the early 1990s. Policy, who remains close to Mike Shanahan, has followed Kyle’s rise in the coaching ranks while playfully questioning the sanity of the family business.

Said Policy: “I used to tease Mike, ‘What kind of father are you to let your kid go into coaching?’ I said, ‘You should be charged with dereliction of parental duty.’ And he’d laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I tried talking to him and then my wife tried talking to him, but that’s his passion, and that’s what he wants to do, so I’m not going to dissuade him from it.’

“And, then, look at what happened. Here he is. He’s the head coach of the 49ers, and that’s just incredible.”