Willis says 49ers can’t make mistakes against Ravens

January 31, 2013 | WNST Staff

LINEBACKER PATRICK WILLIS

 

(on in-game communication) “Communication is always valuable. It’s something that we talk about in our defense all the time. We talk about if we communicate well, we feel like we can play well. Sometimes on the headsets, if that thing goes out, I’m looking at my coach, Coach (Jim) Leavitt, and I’m just waving my hands like I don’t have a call because that’s how important it is to have that communication throughout the board.”

 

(on Ravens running back Ray Rice) “I think he’s a good football player because he runs the ball hard. He runs the ball hard. He runs in between tackles well, outside well, catches the ball really well. I’m excited about the challenge. I really am. I’ve heard that he’s been saying a lot of good stuff about us. I’m being sarcastic right now. It’s going to be a good football game. They didn’t get here for no reason. They’re a good football team, but we didn’t get here for no reason either. So, we’ll see on Sunday.”

 

(on injuries on the defensive line) “I’m not worried at all. I’m not concerned at all. Obviously, it’s the longest any of us have played in one season, but Coach talks about it all the time that we have no excuses. We just show up and do the job. We understand what’s at stake this Sunday. This is a game that none of us have played in, but even through the regular season, we understand that when we’re out there on the field, we do our job. We’re doing it at a high level, so we’re certainly going to do that.”

 

(on Baltimore being a very intense and physical team) “I like to say that our division has stepped up a whole lot. At one time, the NFC West was a stepping stone for other teams to play. They kind of licked they’re chops to play us because they saw us as an automatic win, but now I really think we’re changing that. As far as the physicality goes in the game, we played Baltimore last year and it was a physical game. I like to think that we play physical games all the time, so we’ll see on Sunday when it’s over with because we’re going to give it all we’ve got.”

 

(on struggling against the St. Louis Rams) “I don’t know. Give credit where it’s due. They won the game. They made more plays than we did and we didn’t make enough. It’s never good to play five quarters, but if you play five quarters, then you must want to win and we didn’t. Just to sum it up, they made more plays than we did.”

 

(on how the team has been since arriving in New Orleans) “Yesterday was probably one of our best practices. It’s something Coach talks about all the time. It’s about us getting better every day. You never want to stay the same otherwise you’re not getting better. Today, we have to come out with that same focus we had yesterday, the same intensity we had yesterday and just put it back-to-back and let this week carry us into Sunday, let the momentum (carry) into Sunday.”

 

(on yesterday’s practice) “We were executing on all cylinders. Our defense was competing. Our look team guys were giving us a heck of a look. Our offensive guys were completing and catching passes, blocking well. It was just an all-around good practice special teams wise and that’s what it’s going to take. Anytime you can have all three phases having a good practice, that’s a good thing. And we have to be able to carry that over from practice into the game.”

 

(on Chris Culliver’s comments about gay teammates) “That’s something I don’t to get into, hypotheticals, questions. He said what he said yesterday and I know that’s not his heart. Culliver is a great kid, great guy. I love having him on our team. He’s really helped our team be what we are. He’s just young and it’s unfortunate that he came off the way that he came off. But like I said, I know he didn’t mean it in his heart.”

 

(on being an elite linebacker) “Ever since I’ve been a kid, I always wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing. But as I’ve always wanted to be the best, I’ve known there is always going to be opinions, opinions of who’s the best. For me, I just want to continue to play the game and continue to play it hard and know that each time I look in the mirror, if I can ask myself, ‘Did you give it everything you had today?’ And if I can truly answer that question because I’m the only one that can, then I’m OK with that. It’s just going out there and just competing, and hopefully some day when I’m done playing and people are talking about linebackers, hopefully my name will be mentioned in that. Some day when I’m done playing, hopefully I get to be enshrined in that Hall of Fame as an inductee. That’s my ultimate goal. It’s not about the fame. It’s not about the fortune. I just feel like if I go out there and play the game and play it in the right way and give it everything I have, the most gratifying thing would be to get inducted because no one can ever take that away from you. Money will go, but nobody can ever take that away from you.”

 

(on how he stays focused this week and not letting comments said to the media distract the team) “Because one, I don’t think it takes us away from our goal, where our mindset is. In this business, it’s always going to be something, and we know those guys. We know those guys hearts. We know that those things that come out of their mouths aren’t intended to hurt anyone or intended to make it about them. We understand what our goal is, and our goal is to win a football game. When there is a whole lot of media involved, it’s easy to take a word that doesn’t mean what they might mean it to mean and make it come off another way or it’s written another way. Our mindset is still what it is. Our mindset is still focusing, and we understand the task at hand.”

 

(on his close relationship with Mike Singletary) “It was a combination of things. When I first got in this league, it was a little bit different. I came from a 4-3 to a 3-4. I was just used to being a middle linebacker and just spilling and kind of getting on the edge of blocks and things like that. Like I said, I’ll never forget my first practice. Frank Gore ran the sweep, and Larry Allen was coming off the block, and I thought I could just make a move on him and go around him. That didn’t happen. I felt like Larry Allen pushed me from one side of the field to the next, but that wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was hearing Coach Sing – he didn’t call me by my name, not in the Senior Bowl or training camp. I think it was one of those things you had to earn his respect for him to call you by your name. He called me 52. He would call me 52. He’d call me Mississippi. As a man, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Man, I have a name. Call me by my name.’ But I didn’t know what I didn’t know then, and Coach Sing was one of the types of people that you had to earn his respect. He always said respect was earned. I said that to say that he was a guy that taught me no matter if I weigh 235 pounds, 240 pounds, it’s about coming down and it’s about letting the other man know that you’re not about the run around me. It’s about letting the other man know that you’re coming right down the middle, and he taught me that. He taught me that that’s possible. I worked with him every day. Now, it doesn’t matter who it is, he can weigh 240 pounds or he can weigh 185 pounds. If my objective is to get to that ball, then I guess I have to go through you, find a way to go through you somehow. That was just the physicality of it, and really just mentally having somebody on your back all the time it can be tough. But at the same time you can grow from it.”

 

(on what he learned from playing the Ravens last season) “I just learned last year that it’s going to be a 60 minute game. There is going to be very little room for error. They’re a good football team. We can’t allow them to get up on us, and we can’t allow mistakes to happen. I understand that some things will happen during the game. Make no mistake about it, it’s a football game and some things will happen, but we have to make sure we are able to bounce back from it fast and not let it get the best of us.”

 

(on what about the Super Bowl has surprised him) “Honestly, I really don’t know. People all week have been saying, ‘I bet you’ve been having a blast down there. I bet you this has happened.’ But what they don’t understand is that for me, every game I play in, whether it’s the first game of the season, the middle of the season or it’s the last game of the season, I’m the same person. I still get those same nerves the day before the game, the day before the game, but during the week, I don’t try to do anything different than I would do for a regular season game or a playoff game. I just always want to make sure I’m staying who I am. Who I am is just chilling, laid back, watching film, getting some sleep, eating, and just relaxing. This is the same thing I do during each week. We don’t have so much media, but other than that, I love you guys. You’ve all been pretty good, so I appreciate that. I’m just chilling. I don’t see a big difference other than in the media, per se.”

Comments on Facebook

Leave a Reply