NEW ORLEANS –
According to Willis, whether the first-team defense gave up three scores or pitched three shutouts as they did to Drew Brees and the Saints first-team offense, the inside linebacker knows there’s always more work to be done.
As Willis put it bluntly inside the Superdome’s visiting locker room, “I’m the last person to be satisfied.”
Although they had success in their first game running Vic Fangio's defensive scheme, Willis sees room for improvement.
“I know we can always play better,” he added. “There’s always room to get better. That’s the focus I take.”
In reality, Friday’s loss in New Orleans will soon be irrelevant. What’s important is the work to be done before the regular season begins.
Willis is clearly aware of that.
“That’s what training camp and the preseason is all about, getting ready for that first game,” he said. “September 11, that’s when it counts.”
On a night where the 49ers starting quarterback completed two passes while facing heavy pressure from the Saints starting defense, Smith put things into perspective following a disappointing outcome.
“No one is going to care what your record is in the preseason,” Smith said. “But we need to take the strides necessary to do be where we need to be when the season starts.”
Many of those strides will have to come in pass protection. New Orleans blitzed heavily in the preseason opener, and the 49ers could simply not throw a counter punch by making big plays of their own.
“It was good for us to see,” Smith said. “They brought a lot of pressure early and we didn’t handle it. It’s kind of a feast or famine thing when they play that way. It’s big plays either way is what it seems like usually.
“We left plays out there, especially those first three drives.”
The pressure from New Orleans was consistent throughout the night. It wasn’t strictly from their starters.
“Once their twos went in, I thought they’d go into more base stuff and calm the blitz down,” said rookie quarterback
Kaepernick had a busy night to say the least. He played for three quarters and change, attempting 19 passes and leading the team with 47 rushing yards on six carries.
Young players and veterans alike spoke in the same fashion following the loss in New Orleans. With three preseason games remaining, the focus is on improving each day until the regular season begins.
“We’ll go back in the next day and start critiquing ourselves, what we did good and what we did wrong so we can get better," said rookie cornerback
The 49ers next practice will be at a familiar home, none other than Candlestick Park, when the team holds a “49ers Fan Fest” event. The open practice at their home stadium should give the players incentive to get better in front of their home fans.
Notes and Quotes
Team captains have yet to be determined by the 49ers, but tight end
Special teams coordinator Brad Seely was the lone 49ers coordinator on the sideline last night – offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio sat in the coach’s booth.
Akers’ kick certainly impressed his new teammates. “I’m glad we got him,” said tight end