Fresh off the first of four preseason tune-ups, Eric Mangini took the podium on Tuesday to tie a bow on the Houston Texans game.
The San Francisco 49ers defense coordinator discussed standout players, rookie impressions and a notable rule change.
Catch up on all the news and notes with the top four headline-worthy topics below.
- Pleased for Purcell
Mike Purcell's breakout performance on Saturday put smiles on many faces in the San Francisco locker room. The third-year nose tackle drew praise from the likes of Jim Tomsula, Ian Williams and Quinton Dial for his six-tackle outing versus the Texans.
Mangini was the latest to express his delight for Purcell as a person – not just a player.
"He's such a good guy, and he's such a hard-working guy. He doesn't say very much, but what I've always respected about him is he's a really good listener in terms of the coaching," Mangini said. "He finds good mentors too. He works with the older players and learns as much as he can from them. And then he gets an opportunity, he goes out and makes a really strong case for himself.
"As a coach you love to see guys who work the way that Mike's worked and had some early success here. I'm excited to watch him throughout the rest of the preseason. I thought he did a really nice job."
- Skov Shows Smarts
That Stanford diploma doesn't just look pretty hanging on Shayne Skov's wall. According to Mangini, the second-year linebacker's intellect is quite evident on the football field.
"He's a very, very smart guy who does a great job with adjustments," Mangini said. "Very rarely do you have to coach Shayne twice on the same mistake. He sees it, he understands what the coaching point is and typically it doesn't happen again. And he's getting a lot of playing time, which is great for him and great for us to see where he's going and where he is at this point."
Against the Texans, Skov started in place of NaVorro Bowman and recorded eight tackles in 75 total snaps (66 on defense and nine on special teams). Even though Mangini coached the tight ends a year ago, the defensive coordinator has noticed significant improvement from Skov, who spent his rookie campaign in 2014 on the practice squad.
"I think he looks different – not just last training camp, but even from the spring," Mangini said. "He's had so much more work this year than he did last year and that's helped him significantly. I can't say enough about his recall and his ability to self-correct."
- Top Pick Makes Debut
As is the case with all rookies in their first NFL game experience, Arik Armstead showed promise and room for improvement in Houston.
The team's 2015 first-round pick entered the game in the final minutes of the first half and played both defensive tackle positions. Armstead tallied two tackles but was also flagged for holding. On the penalty, Armstead saw the offense setting up a screen and grabbed the running back coming out of the backfield.
"There are a lot of things that he's seeing for the first time in the position that he's playing," Mangini said. "But in terms of overall effort, chasing the ball, playing the screen – he had great awareness, great awareness.
"He's just got to understand he can't hook the guy. You can knock him down, you just can't hook him. But that's one of those things that you love the fact that he recognized it. You love the fact that he was trying to take it away. Now we just coach that other component of it for the next time it comes up."
- Two-point Take
When the Texans scored the game's first touchdown on Saturday, they opted to go for two points instead of kick the usual point-after attempt.
This could become a more common sight around the NFL this year after the league voted to push back PATs to the 15-yard line, making the kicks 33-yard tries instead of 20-yarders. Theoretically, this decreases the risk of two-point attempts, which will remain at the 2-yard line.
Mangini was asked on Tuesday to provide his thoughts on the rule change and how it affects the 49ers defense.
"It's one of those things where anytime these new rules role out, you're sitting back wondering 'OK, how many guys are going to go for two every time?'" Mangini said. "In the past, you had a two-point package that may have been one or two plays. But now if you get into a team that's consistently going to go for two-point plays, those plays are usually very specific for that situation. They're usually not vanilla. So there's going to be adjustments involved.
"Do you want to pressure it? If they come out in a gadget formation, what do you want to check to? The margin for error now is a lot smaller, but the risk-reward before from an offensive perspective was, you just didn't get the volume that you may get this year, so that's an area that you're going to have to have more bullets to be prepared for."