S Whitner says Niners have to know where Rice is at all times

January 30, 2013 | WNST Staff



(on if it’s easy to stay focused on football this week) “Well, when you have the type of guys that we have, we really like to play football. We’re really not here for everything else. We’re here to play football and to come back with a ring. So, yeah, it’s easy for us to switch off and on.”


(on the biggest way LB Ahmad Brooks has grown this year) “He’s just tremendously focused out there. And you can tell it – he was second-team All-Pro. He’s out there getting to the quarterback. Even if he doesn’t get sacks, he’s putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback, setting the edge on the run, getting all of the blocks, being extremely physical, tossing a lot of tight ends around, and that’s what we like him to do. So, that’s why he was second-team All-Pro.”


(on the successes of Brooks and DT Ray McDonald that gets overlooked) “He and Ray are extremely physical on that side, teams do not run the football to that side. Really, teams can’t really run the football on us at all. We have four guys up there that are extremely physical, extremely talented, and they really make this defense. That’s why we play like we do, because those guys go out and work the way that they do. All four of them are top guys in the National Football League.”


(on a unique challenge that Ravens RB Ray Rice brings to the game) “Well he’s a smaller guy, so he can hide behind some of those linemen and pop out at the last minute. Extremely shifty, and they like to use him in the pass game also. Try to work your linebackers. Joe (Flacco) can go deep, and (if) the second or third receiver isn’t open, you better believe it’s coming down to Ray Rice – and Ray Rice makes a lot of plays in the pass game also. So we have to know where he is at all times.”


(on the challenge facing Joe Flacco) “Extremely, extremely strong arm. Likes to take chances, but he’s extremely accurate on the deep ball, also. Some other thing we’re going to have to do is understand that when he’s being pressured in the pocket, the play can sometimes be extended. If you’re not continuing to stay deep in your deep zones, then that’s when you’ll get beat. We understand that, it’s something that we haven’t really seen, and we just have to keep those guys in front of us and not allow them to get behind us.”


(on the different strengths of the Ravens wide receivers for Flacco) “They start off with Anquan Boldin. Extremely physical guy – they move him in the slot. He’s really their possession receiver, but he also goes over the middle, breaks tackles. Fearless guy. Extremely strong, extremely quick. Not the fastest of guys, but extremely quick and can get behind the defense. Then you go to Torrey Smith. Torrey Smith is extremely fast, probably top five in the National Football League as far as pure, straight line speed. And that’s his deep throw. When he wants to go deep, he’s going to Torrey Smith. He can run other routes, but his specialty is going deep. And then you have (Dennis) Pitta. Pitta is starting to emerge as a top guy for them. He’s getting behind the defense, he’s scoring in the red zone, and he’s becoming just a reliable, all-around guy for them. Developing into a top tight end in the National Football League. It’s hard to jam him, so we’ll have to be physical with him. He’s pretty good. And then Ray Rice. He uses Ray Rice also in the pass game. Everybody knows what he can do in the run game and the plays that he can make, but as far as getting up into receivers and making them miss, catching the football and making big plays, he’s probably, right now, one of the top running backs in the National Football League in terms of being able to receive the football out of the backfield. So, they have a total group of weapons for him, and he’s been utilizing them well.”


(on the importance of San Francisco’s secondary against the Ravens’ deep game) “Our secondary is going to be huge. Not allowing his guys to get behind us and keeping them to a certain amount of big plays in the football game is going to be huge. And it’s huge each and every week, though. It’s not just because of the Super Bowl, it’s each and every week. But they have, arguably, one of the fastest guys in the National Football League in Torrey Smith. He’s been getting behind the defense all year long, especially over the last four games. You’ve seen a lot more (Anquan) Boldin going a little deeper, and they have tight ends that are getting behind the defense. So we have to be disciplined in what we’re doing and have to understand that sometimes, when the rush looks like they’re getting there, he’s still going to be able to extend the play and he still has a strong enough arm and accuracy to throw it deep and get it to where it’s going. And we just have to be aware of that.”




Super Bowl XLVII – Wednesday, January 30, 2013







(on what San Francisco’s secondary needs to do to keep the Ravens receivers in front of them) “Well we can be very detail-oriented, and that starts with everybody in the secondary, from the nickel to the outside corners to both safeties. If we’re in a cover-two and the corners are supposed to get a really, really good jam on them to break the rhythm of the play, he has to be detail-oriented and do that. If the safety is supposed to be two yards from the top of the number, 14 yards deep, with a good pace on the inside receiver, then he has to be detail-oriented and get that done. A lot of times when you see mistakes happen on the back end, it’s because guys aren’t really detail-oriented. They don’t really know their responsibility, they’re probably guessing, or they want to do something on their own. Every play you see happen out on the football field, there’s somebody that didn’t do something right, and that’s why it happened.”


(on if it’s a coincidence that two hard-hitting teams like Baltimore and San Francisco are in the Super Bowl) “I don’t think it’s coincidence. I think that when you play the game the way we play the game and the way that the Baltimore Ravens play the game, good things happen for you. We play an old school style of football, we play a physical style of football. Stop the run, and then we get after you in the pass game and get pass rushers. That’s how you win football games. It’s won up front, really, with the offensive and defensive line, and really with us affecting quarterbacks. So, it’s no coincidence.”


(on the tough reality that injuries can play a big role in players, such as Alex Smith, losing their jobs) “It’s tough. I don’t think I’ve ever had to deal with that. I might have had to deal with that once, when I was in Buffalo and Perry Fewell, the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants now, was my defensive coordinator. I think I might’ve hurt my hamstring or something and Jairus Byrd, who was a first year free safety went in, and I think we were playing the New York Jets, and he had two interceptions. Next game he had two interceptions and the next game he had one, and then he had two again. I kind of went through a similar situation myself, with then having to be a role player and probably play some nickel and come in on third down, something like that. So it was extremely tough to deal with, but knowing the guy that Alex is, Alex will get out of this and he’ll go somewhere and play football and he’ll win some games. He’ll let this fuel him, and that’s the way he can deal with it. He’s been dealing with it great so far, Kaep (Colin Kaepernick) has had a great year, but I believe this is not the end for Alex Smith and he’ll do great things.”


(on if he worries that injuries may cause a change in football in the future) “I don’t worry where football is going because I know a lot of money is involved in this to where people can come up with the research and come up with the plan and come up with an idea to keep the game going. I do worry that moms are not allowing young kids to play now, who might have an opportunity to learn something from the game, be able to use it as a tool to further themselves educational-wise, and not really allow them to enjoy something that can be wonderful to you. I know that a lot of people worry about the brain and the neck and all that, but there are ways to play the game the right way and not be injured. There’s a lot of players out there on defense that think they’re flying in and diving headfirst and showing toughness. That’s not the way to play the game. There’s a way to play the game of football, and you know, we’re not perfect. We can’t really prevent injury. It’s going to happen sometimes. That’s why people love this game, it’s like gladiators out there. That’s why people love the big hits on ESPN and all that, it’s like gladiators. Not too many people can go out there and endure this to do this. That’s why people love it.”