Whitner's Blog: Turkey and Touchdowns


For Thanksgiving I stayed here and went over to Tarell Brown's house. I had thanksgiving dinner with him and his girlfriend, Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox. They cooked and we watched some of the football game, it was pretty cool. Food was really good and I enjoyed it.

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. I haven't been able to be home with my immediate family in maybe 10, 11 years since I was a sophomore in college. When you can't be with your family, it makes it special when someone invites you over to have a real, home-cooked Thanksgiving meal and not have to order out. It's really special and it helps with bonding when you spend holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas together with your teammates if you can't spend them with your immediate family.

Thanksgiving food is great, but you have to be disciplined. You know Thanksgiving only comes once a year and a lot of guys just want to pig out but we understand that we're professional athletes. Your diet is essential to how you go out there and perform on the field and if you go and pig out on Thanksgiving you're probably not going to be at 100 percent, the peak of your game.

It's important to spend time with your family, friends and teammates, but you also have to be conscious that you have a job to do on Sunday. There's a lot of studying to be done – it's a Thursday and the game is on a Sunday – so you have to make sure to throw some of that in there along with enjoying the holidays with your friends, family and teammates.

My interception return for a touchdown in New Orleans was a huge play, but a lot of the credit goes to Dashon Goldson for making the big hit. A lot of credit also goes to the defensive line for pressuring Drew Brees and forcing him to make a high throw. It all started with the pressure. Brees got out there, he really couldn't see so he threw a high ball. He made the receiver go up for it and Dashon cut his legs out and it turned into a tipped ball. I wasn't expecting it to be up in the air but I was just breaking towards the ball trying to make a play and then I caught it and ran it back.

So there's a lot of key parts to that play but it all started up front and with Dashon making that big hit. I finished it with style and dove in the end zone, but next time I probably won't do that. I ended bumping my knee a little and it was swollen a little bit, but now it's fine. I probably won't do that again.

Dashon and I take pride in being physical safeties. We understand how to do it. You have to hit with your eyes up at all times. A lot of guys go in there and they close their eyes and cringe and drop their head but we don't do that. We keep our head up and eyes up and we wrap up. But we also play physical and we bring it when we hit.

If I had to say anything to the young kids out there that watch me and Dashon and watch our defense, the first thing is to be safety-conscious. Anything you hit, you want to see. If you can't see what you hit, that's a danger zone. You can hurt your neck, get a concussion or do some serious injury to yourself. So keep your eyes up, keep your head up and wrap up when you tackle. Nicks and bruises come, but if you do those things, the probability of you having a career-ending or serious injury goes down a lot.

We know we have to put a lot of extra study in for Sunday's game against the Rams. Whenever you play a team the second time around, you know that they know you, and you know them. You have to study a little harder than you did last time if you want to stay ahead of the curve get an advantage.

It's going to be a tough football game, they're getting a lot better. The defense is getting a lot better, Steven Jackson runs hard and we have to make sure Sam Bradford isn't comfortable like he was last game. We have to try to keep him off-balance with our looks and pressures and play 49er football. We didn't play 49er football last time but we expect to play it this game.

Instagram Photo of the Week


This photo is about the early morning grind. Getting in here every morning at 6:30 and working out four days a week. I think it really does something to your mental psyche, your physical and your emotional. So when you step out on to the football field and you get home from practice you feel good about yourself. You want to carry those feelings to the game so that's why I do it every morning at 6:30 a.m.

#AskDonteWhitner Q&A

Q: How good does it feel to pick six the Saints? – Joe
A: It felt really good. There's not too many times in football you get a chance for a pick six, so anytime you get one it's a great thing.

Q: What's your favorite color? – Sam
A: Red

Q: What is the biggest reason the secondary has improved since you got in SF? Coaching, talent, schemes? – Jorge
A: I would say all of the above. You need the coaching, you need the scheme, you need the players with the right intelligence level. Us having another year in this scheme really helps, too.

Q: Hash browns or home fries? – Sam
A: Hash browns with hot sauce.

Q: What's the best part of playing for the 49ers? – Chris
A: Winning. And being a part of the No. 1 defense in the National Football League.

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