Given their recent affiliation with the Philadelphia Eagles, linebacker Takeo Spikes and safety Michael Lewis garnered most of the media attention on Wednesday. While the two defenders do plan to share their knowledge of the Eagles personnel and scheme, they both insist there are no hard feelings towards their former organization.
After being traded to Philadelphia prior to the 2007 season, Spikes did anticipate a long-term stay with the Eagles, but his release this off-season was another part of the business that the veteran linebacker understands, and accepts.
"In this line of profession, I hate moving," confessed Spikes. "Even though it's a year in and out, I hate moving and I thought my time stay would be longer there in Philly, but it's just part of the business.
Finding a home with the 49ers where he's made an impact with an interception in each of his first two starts has helped Spikes to move on and get over his release.
His primary concern these days is further entrenching himself as a playmaker for San Francisco, and helping the defense live up to its potential.
"When people look at us we definitely have an identity, but it's not the consistent perception of what we want it to be across the league. But, it is still early. We have time, but do we have a sense of urgency? Yes."
Drafted by the Eagles in 2002, Lewis earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 2004 and hoped for a contract extension, but negotiations fell apart and the safety departed Philadelphia on bad terms. He said he too, has since moved on.
"I learned very quickly that this game is also a business," said Lewis. "At one point in my life I thought it was personal, but it's never personal, it's business. By saying that, I'm saying I got over it once I signed with the 49ers. I just moved on. You can't continue to linger on the past, you've got to move forward."
Asked whether or not this game means any more to him, the 49ers starting safety said any extra motivation or desire for a W aren't tied into it being against his former team, but all about the 49ers own set of circumstances.
"If you would have asked me that question five months ago, I probably would have said yeah," admitted Lewis. "But now, we need a win and that's the way I'm approaching it. We haven't played well at home as of late and we need to get this W."
So despite having his own elbow injury to deal with and having to miss practice on Wednesday, Lewis plans to strap up and play his best football this Sunday in order to help his team notch a much needed victory.
"It feels good, I've been rehabbing it. Fergie's (athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson) been doing a great job with that and everything is going to be ok," said Lewis.
Advice for the O
18 sacks tie the Eagles defense for first in the league in sacks, a pretty clear indicator in itself of what the 49ers offense can expect this Sunday from Eagles DC Jim Johnson and his unit.
But Spikes and Lewis had a few more pointers for their 49ers offense about their former team.
"They put a lot of pressure. He's the type of coordinator to where if he sees any indication to any prior games to where you can't handle the blitz, you pretty much better expect that," said Spikes. "Not sometimes, not every now and then, you better expect it every play. It's like, 'If you show me you can pick it up, then I'll play you regular. But if you can't, then I'm going to make you show me that you can pick it up.'"
Spikes said Johnson did an excellent job sending the blitz from all directions, although the linebacker joked that his former coordinator preferred certain positions rather than others.
"I always told him when I was there, I think you like the DB's a little more than the LB's," said Spikes.
Lewis, two seasons removed now from being with the Eagles, concurred with Spikes assessment.
"He preferred dropping the linebackers and bringing the safeties up there. That was Jim. He's very aggressive. It's one of those types of schemes where you never know who is coming. He's not afraid to put nine guys in the box, blitz guys, and leave his corners on an island."