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Whitner's Blog: On the Road Again

Posted Sep 21, 2012

I feel great about everything that’s going on around team headquarters – being 2-0, the way that the defense is playing, the offense is playing. It just feels good. But we have to continue to work on fundamentals, tackling and getting turnovers, because each week is a different week. You have different players you have to go out there and key in on, you have different quarterbacks, you have different styles of offense. Just staying focused on a week-to-week basis is going to be key for us and I believe we can do that.

Looking ahead to the Vikings, the first thing that jumps out to me is their running game. Adrian Peterson is a great back and they also like to use Percy Harvin, run some screens to him, go deep to him, crossing routes – just get him the ball to have him makes plays for them. That’s what really goes through your head when you’re thinking about the Minnesota Vikings. We’re going to be at their stadium and their arena so we’re going to have to come out and start fast. We have to make sure we start fast, we don’t give up any big plays and then we should be OK.

This is my third time playing at the Metrodome including preseason games and it gets loud. Especially when their team gets on a roll, you know their fans are going to be 100 percent supportive of them because that 12th man really gives you a boost. We’re going to have to be ready to handle that crowd noise, especially early in the football game. We can’t allow them to get any momentum to let those fans get in the game, that’s going to be key for us.

My locker is next to Frank Gore this year and we’ve been hanging out a lot together off the football field. Frank lives in Miami during the offseason and I’m in Miami during the offseason so we see each other a lot. Everybody on this team pretty much hangs out together outside of the locker room and you need that to build that camaraderie, to build that confidence when you step on the football field. To actually step on the football field and know the people around you, you need that and we have that on this team.

I’m looking forward to this trip to Youngstown. It was good for us last year and I believe it’s going to be good for us again this year. I’m actually from Cleveland and Ted Ginn Jr. is from Cleveland. I know Teddy’s trying to do something Sunday night, but I’m trying to plan something for Monday for the guys. I haven’t really solidified what I’m going to do for the guys yet, but it’s going to be along the lines of a restaurant. I’m still trying to lock it down right now, but that’s another one of those things that builds team camaraderie.

Being up there, being in a hotel and not really having anywhere else to go or have anyone else to hang out with but your teammates, it helps make those bonds a lot stronger. After seeing how it helped us last year, I think the trip to Youngstown will make us that much stronger when we get on the field.

#AskDonteWhitner Q&A

Q: What has been your favorite moment thusfar as a 49er? – Scott Seronello
A: Beating the New Orleans Saints and moving on to the NFC Championship game.

Q: Who were your role models (both personal and professional) growing up? – Dan Sellery
A: My role models personally were Ted Ginn Sr., he was my high school football coach. Him and my mom were my two big role models growing up. Professionally, I didn’t really know anyone on a personal level. But the guy I used to emulate and respect the way he plays the game is Brian Dawkins. He was a guy that was going to hit you each and every snap, he was a guy that you knew would bring it each and every time he stepped on the football field. He had so much energy and he was just a ferocious player back there. He was like Wolverine, that was his alter ego.

Q: Hardest player to bring down? – John Koenig
A: The hardest player to bring down that’s not on the 49ers? I’d have to say three people – Adrian Peterson and then a couple smaller guys, because smaller guys are hard to bring down, too, because they’re so shifty. Maurice Jones-Drew and one more is Darren Sproles, he’s really hard to hit in the open field.

Q: How many picks we getting this year? – John Koenig
A: I’m not really psychic, but if I had to take a guess, I’d say somewhere around 20-plus this year. We want to do better than last year (23).

Q: I'm a huge 9ers fan and I want to know where your guys mindset is!? On the game ahead of you or is the team seeing playoffs? – Bradley Lee Drury
A: Our mindset is focused on the Minnesota Vikings. I’m not even going to say it’s on the Minnesota Vikings, it’s on today’s practice, then it will be on Saturday’s preparation and then after that it will be the Vikings. We have to take it day-by-day and focus on the process and then the result will take care of itself.

Q: Are you ready to win this Super Bowl this year? – Austin Downing
A: Yes we are. We’re ready to make the playoffs, first and foremost, and then go into the playoffs and compete and make it back to the NFC Championship game and then this year have no letdown. That’s our goal.

Q: How old were you when you first played football? – Ivery Hammond
A: I was 9 years old.

Q: What is the bigger bang for the buck to you, an INT or a devastating hit? – Nelson Estupin
A: For me, it’s a devastating hit because you put that on film and that can create turnovers eventually. Teams see that, receivers and tight ends see that, they see you coming and they don’t focus in on the football. That leads to tips, balls hitting on shoulder pads and helmets and creates turnovers for the offense. They start to hear footsteps and that devastating hit turns into more interceptions for everybody else.

Q: Which do you consider the biggest hit you have given in your career? – @El_Stan
A: I would have to say the hit I put on Pierre Thomas in the Saints playoff game. Biggest hit considering the stage of the game and what was at stake. They were knocking on the 1-yard line trying to get in so I would have to say that one. But I did have one earlier in my career on Chad Johnson when I was with Buffalo and he with the Bengals. There’s two of them, but the one on Pierre Thomas is tops.