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8 Things We Just Learned about 49ers Defense

Posted Aug 26, 2014

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio always speaks plainly. In his latest reveal, he explained his stance on Aldon Smith, among other players.

Vic Fangio seems to always tell it like it is. Here are nine things he let us in on during his press conference on Tuesday in advance of Thursday's game against the Houston Texans.

1. Nose tackle Ian Williams' snaps were limited on Sunday because he was “tightening up” physically, but he will play in Houston.

2. Michael Wilhoite hasn’t won the starting inside linebacker spot alongside Patrick Willis — at least not yet. “We’re confident in Mike," Fangio said, "and we think he’ll do fine in there like he did last year in those couple games he played.”

3. The 49ers aren’t sure when or if they’ll lose linebacker Aldon Smith to an NFL suspension as a result of Smith’s offseason. “I rely on you guys for that,” Fangio told reporters. “And you guys haven’t been very good.”

4. If Smith is out for an extended period, the team will employ at least two players in his place, as it did in 2013 with reserves Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier. With that said, Lemonier is growing into a three-down ‘backer. “You can see a big difference from him in year one to year two," Fangio said. "Still has a lot of room for improvement there, and it just comes with playing time. It’s just recognition and reaction. He can tell you everything perfectly, it’s just reacting and getting it done quick enough.”

5. Rookie outside linebacker Aaron Lynch injured both of his hamstrings at once during offseason workouts. “He spent June and July rehabbing, not training," Fangio said. "Rehab is different than training. He got out of shape again and put on a couple of extra pounds that were holding him back. And then when he started practicing, that’s why I didn’t play him in that first preseason game. Didn’t feel he was ready, both from a coaching and a physical standpoint. And played him in the second game and then this last game, you know, he played well. Hopefully, he can continue on that track.”

6. Tank Carradine has flashed his ability but the mental side of his game hasn't caught up with the physical. "He’s totally not zeroed in on how to do it all the time," Fangio said. "He’s made great improvements in that area, and he needs to continue to improve.”

7. If either of the 49ers starting safeties, Antoine Bethea or Eric Reid, are injured in a given game, veteran Craig Dahl is the first option off of the bench as a short-term solution. Then the team would decide whether to transition rookie defensive back Jimmie Ward into that role as a longter-term solution.

8. Soon after the 49ers signed outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks to a six-year contract extension in 2012, defensive coaches around the NFL told Fangio their teams would have pursued Brooks in free agency. "I do think he’s gotten overlooked media-wise and public-wise,” Fangio said.


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