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Defensive Player Transcripts: Jan. 28

Posted Jan 28, 2013

LB NaVorro Bowman, CB Tarell Brown and LB Aldon Smith addressed the media on Monday in New Orleans.


(on if he believes this could be one of the most physical Super Bowls ever played) “I don’t know about ever, but I think it’ll be a pretty physical matchup. Those guys definitely demonstrate physicality, and I would like to think that we do, too. So, I’m excited about the matchup and I’m really looking forward to it.”

(on if he has seen many teams that can match their physicality) “From a coach’s mindset, I don’t think so. They like to say that we’re a very physical team, and we just like to go out there and demonstrate it. It’s the team’s job to play the way that they want to play. We just like to go out there and set the tone early. I think that gives us the best chance to win the game.”

(on if he wondered why he wasn’t drafted until the third round) “Of course. I’ve been playing this game exceptionally well, just doing the things that it’s taken to get to this level. But, when things like that happen, you have to overcome it. You have to put it behind you and deal with the situation that you’re in, and that’s pretty much what I did. Everything has worked out for me.”

(on if he believes teams were hesitant to draft him because of issues in college) “I don’t know. I was young, living my life. Now, I’ve learned from those mistakes and enjoying my life now. I’m happy about everything that’s come my way.”

(on linebacker Aldon Smith’s play this season and dealing with issues) “We’re human, man. We’re not perfect. We’re going to make mistakes, just as you are. That’s pretty much what me, him, any other guy has been going through. But, when it comes to football, it’s something that we like to do. It’s something that frees us up. We enjoy doing it, we enjoy competing, we enjoy being around each other. Aldon’s just done a great job of answering every bell. Even when Parys (Haralson) went down, guys didn’t know how well he would play in the run game. He stepped up to the task and been playing the way that we expect him to play.”

(on if he is surprised by how well Aldon Smith has played as a starter) “Not surprised at all. He was able to show us what he can do his first year. So, I was excited about it, actually, and glad to see him come out on top.”

(on if the first time he believed he could play at a high level was when he filled in for linebacker Patrick Willis in his rookie season) “I always knew I could play, but the first time for me to show it was against Arizona my rookie year. Like I said, that’s what you do: you have to take advantage of your opportunities and that’s what I did.”

(on if he believes the linebackers will dictate the flow of Sunday’s game) “Every game starts with us as linebackers, and we expect it to be like that. We don’t have a problem with it. Our work ethic speaks for itself. Our commitment to our team, to the game, to the preparation for the game speaks for itself. We like to say it starts with us every single game.”

(on how defensive coordinator Vic Fangio calls the game and how he interacts with them) “Vic’s in his own world up there. We’re out there doing what our commander says. Not really going to talk about the scheme or anything, but Vic does a great job with calling the game in a way that we feel comfortable and that he feels comfortable. It’s working out for us.”

(on the influence linebacker Patrick Willis has on him) “Me and Pat’s relationship is very brotherly-like. We do pretty much any and everything together. Whether we have any problems or whether it’s something good, we’re happy for each other’s success. We enjoy playing with each other. I think we both push each other every single day. We don’t get complacent with anything that we receive or accomplish. We always are just trying to do better and make sure we can make our team better.”

(on if Patrick Willis is humble) “A humble guy Pat is. Just a guy who’s always thinking about the next person. He actually surprised us -- I think it was last week -- with a gift, just because. That’s just the type of guy Pat is. Just demonstrates leadership skills and a great friend, and would do anything for you. I’m just glad to be a part of his team.”

(on the Super Bowl distractions) “That’s a hassle, I’m going to be honest. Just having people chase you down when you’re just trying to go grab a bite to eat, or things like that. It comes with the game, it comes with the success, but if we could put a schedule or something together, we’ll handle that and then we go out and enjoy our days. It’s something that we just have to deal with, I guess.”

(on if he has thought about his late father and high school coach this week) “Yeah, I think about them every single step of this way. From me coming from where I come from, those two really inspire me, had a lot to do with where I’m at, and I wish that they can see me right now, see me shining, see me still working and remaining the person I am. I still have one more thing to do, and that’s to win the Super Bowl. It’ll be for those two men.”

(on what made Aldon Smith the team MVP) “He’s always doing his job. I think that’s pretty much an MVP: always doing his job, you don’t really have to say too much to him, and he’s always producing. When we need a big play, he’s always able to produce that, and I think he’s very worthy of that award.”

(on if Aldon Smith’s defense in the run game was his biggest improvement this season) “Yes, I think so. I think playing a full, 60-minute game in this league is very tough to do. His first year, he wasn’t an every-down guy, and for him to take on that challenge this year, run with it and have the success that he’s having just shows the type of guy he is. He definitely proved himself this year.”

(on if he can appreciate the 49ers teams of the 80’s and 90’s) “Yes, I can appreciate what they did. I think it just puts those teams in another category. It’s an elite category. We have a chance to be placed in that category and we don’t want to let that opportunity slip away.”

(on how Joe Flacco is different from other quarterbacks that he has seen) “I think he executes their game plan very well. He doesn’t let the game get out of control. I think he’s a very good manageable quarterback and understands what his coaches are trying to get accomplished on offense, and understands the matchups that they’re trying to get. He’s definitely, I think, earned the respect of being at the top, doing the things that he’s been doing throughout this season. I think he’s in the ‘elite quarterback’ conversation.”

(on Jim Harbaugh’s personality) “Harbaugh is a down-to-earth guy. He wants to win. I think you would get that if you were around him as much as we are. You understand that he wants to win. He wants nothing but the best for the team. Even if some guys may disagree with some of the things that he does, it always comes together at the end and works out for us.”

(on if Harbaugh takes the time to get to know his players personally) “Always. Harbaugh’s always around, available whenever you need him. Always laughing, joking. Whatever it is, Harbaugh does it. It’s really not a cliché or anything. He’s actually the guy that you see and talk to every day.”

(on the challenges that Ray Rice presents) “He’s their go-to guy. They get the ball to him just the same amount as they get their receivers the ball. In the passing games, he’s a threat just as well in the running game. We’re going to have to be on our ‘A game’ and be prepared for Ray also.”

(on how their linebackers have been so successful) “Preparation, work. We do this. We’re football players. Guys who want to compete, guys who want to make the next big play. On some defenses, you have one or two playmakers, one or two guys who you know are trying to make a play. On our defense, I think we have 11 guys out there that are trying to make a play, that are trying to get the crowd into it, try to make sure that we’re communicating well. Just do all the things well, and I think that’s what makes us a great defense.”


(on if the Ravens are a chatty team in regards to motivating one another) “No, not really. I think that’s just the way they motivate their team and everybody feeds off that. They do a great job of communicating with their team and that’s what helps them. So, whatever works for them, that’s good.”

(on if the 49ers practice the same type of motivation) “No, not really. I think everybody is accountable for themselves. If they have something to say, they’ll say something, but for the most part we all motivate ourselves and just go out and perform.”

(on if there was a lot of trash talking last time they played Baltimore) “It’s always trash talking on the football field. Everybody’s competitive. Everybody wants to go out there and put their best foot forward and everybody wants to win. So, it’s always going to be trash talk, but nothing crazy.”

(on Aldon Smith and why he deserves team MVP) “His play speaks for itself. He’s been dominant every time he’s in there. He’s been dominant coming off the edge. He’s been dominant stopping the run, dominant rushing the passer. So he’s been doing a lot of great things that’s helped our team win a lot of games. I definitely think he’s up there for the MVP as well.”

(on Aldon Smith struggling to get sacks as of late and what he has seen him doing over the last couple of weeks) “He’s doing a great job still. A lot of guys are chipping him. A lot of guys are squeezing to him. A lot of guys are really pretty much double teaming him, so that happens. Other guys are getting free. Other guys are making plays and that’s the thing about football. We’re a very unselfish team and that’s what we need, guys that can come out and demand double teams and get other guys free as well.”

(on what it has been like watching San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick develop and if it has been fun to see) “Just to watch him grow as a player, I think going against him every day when he was a backup, we saw the potential. We saw the athleticism. We saw the arm strength. So for him to come out and do the things that he is doing is special and he’s making those game-changing plays and things that we need.”

(on what has made the biggest difference in Kapernick’s development) “Poise. I think it’s poise and his knowledge of the game. He’s coming along very quickly. A lot of guys don’t pick up the game as well so fast at a young age and he’s doing a great job doing it.”

(on if he was surprised that Donte Whitner was picked up so late during free agency considering what he brings to the defense) “It definitely surprises me just from him being a dominant player throughout his career, him coming in as a 20-year old, starting almost every game for the Bills, and coming to us and doing the same thing. His force has definitely been recognized and he got that this year getting the opportunity to go to the Pro Bowl as well.”

(on Donte Whitner learning the defense overnight) “It was less than overnight to be honest with you. I think, the first time I had the opportunity, the first time we had the opportunity just to kind of chat, he picked the defense up just like that. I thought, me personally, I felt like he had ran the same defense before. He was making all the calls, all the checks. It was surprising to me, but you can tell the potential that he had.”

(on if he learned a lot from playing the Ravens last year on Thanksgiving) “Well, you can and you can’t because there’s different coordinators, different time of the year. They were more of a run-based team at that time. Now they’re a lot more balanced. They’re doing a lot more of stretching the field as well this year, the past couple of games as well. (Anquan) Boldin is a strong receiver. He’s been dominate throughout his career. Played against him numerous times, with Arizona as well. So, they’re definitely a great challenge.”

(on his favorite Super Bowl moment growing up) “Not just moment, I’ve always relayed back to the Cowboys-Bills Super Bowl just because being a Dallas native. That was always big for me. So just watching them and watching them compete.”

(on San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh being an old school type of coach) “He believes more is more, practice what you preach. Everyday let’s work to get better. It’s no days off. We have no slow-paced walk-throughs. Everything is up-tempo. Even in the film room, everything is up-tempo and everything is to the T. That’s the great thing about coach. We understand what he expects, and he’s one way all the time.”

(on his thoughts on President Barack Obama’s comments regarding health and playing football) “It’s definitely my life. It’s something I’ve been doing for a nice amount of years. It’s definitely a dangerous sport, but at the end of the day the league is doing a great job of putting in place things to help players, help players with safety as far as the hits and with helmets and different things like that. I can understand where President Obama is coming from with saying that, but at the same time the league is doing a great job of preventing a lot of those things.”

(on what he would say to President Obama regarding the league’s efforts to balance safety and the way the game is played) “It’s a physical game. If you’re passionate about something that you do and you teach it the right way – tackling, keeping your head up, form tackling, making sure you don’t spear people, no crowning of the helmet – those things will prevent a lot of injuries as well.”

(on San Francisco being a good tackling team and what is the reason for that) “We practice that every day. It’s an everyday thing. We do open-field tackling, working on breaking down form tackling, getting your hands on guys, tackling guys in space. So, that really helps us when the game time comes around and makes the job a lot easier. But, when guys are swarming to the football if guys do end up missing tackles, there’s somebody else that can back you up and come up with it.”

(on the most interesting thing he’s seen since he’s been in New Orleans) “Just a lot of people with beads hanging out and enjoying themselves. It’s a great city, a great place to hold the Super Bowl. We’re fortunate to be here and we really appreciate the hospitality and the things that they’re doing for us here in New Orleans.”

(on bridging the gap between the team’s past and forming its own identity) “It’s a new team, new era, new time. Those guys  did an amazing job of setting the standard here with the 49ers and we’re just trying to get it back to where it’s supposed to be. This is a great organization. Anytime you get to play for this organization you want to put it at the top. You want to leave a lasting legacy here. So, for this team we just want to get it back to where it was and make sure the tradition upholds.”

(on what he sees from Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense) “Balance, very explosive offense when they want to be. (Baltimore running back) Ray Rice runs the ball very hard. They have a great offensive line. They do a great job of getting a lot penetration on D-linemen. Flacco can make every throw, a strong quarterback and the receivers are physical guys. They can stretch the field downfield. They make all the catches, and Flacco can make all the throws. So, it will definitely be a challenge for us. We’ve played against a lot of great quarterbacks throughout the years, these past two years being under Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, but this guy here, he’s a great quarterback as well.”

(on if facing elite quarterbacks over the years has prepared them to face any great quarterback) “Most definitely. Our back has always been against the wall. We like it like that, us as a team and us as a defense. We understand that it’s going to come down to us, and if we want to win the game we have to make plays, and for us to make plays we have to get turnovers, and we have to go out there and do that. For us, we have to be physical. We have to play 49er football and go out and play our game and have the least amount of errors and mistakes in this game because a lot teams capitalize on those things through the postseason.”


(on why being named team MVP means so much to him) “A lot because you have a lot of guys on this team who are all-stars, who have made Pro Bowls consecutively. You have Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, I can go on. I come in my second year and I get the MVP, it means a lot.”

(on how he found out he was named team MVP) “We were all in a meeting together as a team. (Head) Coach (Jim) Harbaugh got up and just went out there and said it.”

(on his relationship with Justin Smith) “Other than our last names being Smith (and) us going to Missouri, from the time I stepped into the NFL, he was the guy who helped me out with everything. I worked out with him during the (2011)-lockout and he helped me a lot just coming in my rookie year. Then on the field, we just work well with each other. We feed off each other. We have a rhythm that we just developed together.”

(on why he has gotten less sacks recently) “A lot more guys coming to block me. I’m getting double-teamed a lot, triple-teamed at times, and then the quarterbacks are getting the ball out fast. Another thing that’s really cool about that is if I’m not making a play, a lot of times I’m getting double-teamed a sack comes from somebody else. I might not get it, but at the end of the day the stats still say it’s a sack.”

(on if he agrees that San Francisco seems to get stronger in the second half) “I do agree with that. We really work hard. We lift a lot. We take good care of ourselves and I think that all just transitions on. We’re not just a team that’s good in the first half; we play four quarters of good football.”

(on if he was surprised he was named team MVP) “Yes, a little bit. Like I said, there are a lot of guys that are good (and) a lot of guys that could have gotten that award. It was an honor.”

(on the quality of linebackers playing in the Super Bowl) “You could say (that) it’s the linebacker bowl, right? There are a lot of guys that can play. You have a lot of guys. You have Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, me, Ray Lewis, (and) Terrell Suggs. There’s going to be a lot of talent out there. That’s where we are.”

(on the demeanor of Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio) “Vic is a calm guy. He’s not one of those coaches that’s yelling at you and doing a lot of vocal. He gets the message across and everybody understands it. We take it and go with it.”

(on if he talked to Michael Strahan while he was chasing his sack record) “No, I actually talked to him before the Atlanta game on the field. We joked around about it. He was kind of giving me a hard time about not getting it. That’s about it.”

(on Head Coach Jim Harbaugh saying every team needs an Aldon Smith on it) “That’s an honor. Coming from Coach Harbaugh, that means a lot. It’s an honor.”

(on President Obama’s comments on the safety of football) “I think the game has been like it always has. It’s a physical game. Everybody plays hard. Guys get hit sometimes and that’s what we all know coming into the game. We all signed up for it. It’s not like we signed up and thought we were going to play tennis. We came out. We’re playing football.”

(on whether the team has talked about the potential distractions of New Orleans) “Really be responsible. We know what our goal is. Our goal is to come in here and win the game, not just to come down here and be at the Super Bowl. We’re coming down here to win the game. We all have that goal, so everybody is just being responsible and doing the right thing.”

(on losing in the NFC Championship last season) “We were so close last year. We were so close. We all know how we felt and we didn’t want that feeling again this year. I think every time we were all together, whether it was for our workouts, just our meetings or just hanging out, we all knew that if we ever got back to this situation, it was not going to end up like that. We want to be here.”

(on how Justin Smith helps him on the field) “It’s attention. He’s a guy that draws a lot of attention. He’s a great player and a Pro Bowl guy. With that, if they’re doubling him, they might single me up. Regardless, we’re all getting a lot of attention and one of us will be free or singled up and we’ll take advantage of it.”

(on the advantage of the two weeks between the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl) “I think the advantage is that you get your body healthy. You get your legs back. The only disadvantage would maybe be the little bit of momentum that kind of gets lost.”

(on the extra attentions he has gotten from opposing offenses) “I really just go out and play. I don’t try to think too much about what they’re doing. I have to play my game. I have to do what I do well to be successful, so my goal is to just go out there and play.”

(on what Randy Moss said to the team before they left) “Everybody respects Randy Moss. Everybody respects his word and what he’s done on the field. He really just kind of kept it simple. We all know our goal. We all know what we really want, so just make the right decisions and be ready to play on Sunday.”

(on what was being said after falling behind by 17 against Atlanta in the NFC Championship) “Not a lot was being said. More so, we all believed in each other. We all knew what our goal was and we all had that understanding that we wanted to come out of there with a win. I think that’s one of the things that propelled us to the win – nobody panicked, nobody second-guessed each other. We just went out there and put four quarters together.”

(on whether playing at the Superdome earlier this season gives the 49ers an advantage) “We’ve been here before. I don’t think that really matters at all. It’s a game. Every game is different, so we’ll see.”

(on the process of getting a sack) “You beat the guy in front of you. Then you go and make the big play. Everybody cheers and you feel good.”

(on Head Coach Jim Harbaugh) “He’s a unique guy. He still thinks he’s a player. He’s really intense. I don’t know John that much, but I don’t know if he’s as intense as his brother.”

(on Coach Fangio and his dry sense of humor) “Vic is a really cool guy. He’s just cool and he doesn’t say a lot. You’re right on his sense of humor. He makes jokes and they’re not really that funny. He thinks they’re funny, but nobody laughs. He gets his message across.”

(on how Coach Harbaugh acts like a player) “You catch him running across the field, throwing the ball and doing little things like he’s still playing. He’s a big kid out there.”

(on who the team looks up to as leaders) “I think we all lead. I think there are a couple guys that have been playing a long time that you can look up to like Justin (Smith) and  (Patrick) Willis, but there are a lot of guys. Everybody is a leader and that’s what makes us really good.”

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