49ers vs. Packers: Aaron Rodgers And The Passing Attack

49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky spoke with the media, and naturally he spoke about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing attack. He also addressed the 49ers pass rush in part because OLB Parys Haralson sat out practice yesterday with an ankle injury (what's with all the ankle injuries???). Not too surprisingly, Ahmad Brooks and Travis LaBoy would split time opposite Manny Lawson if Paralson is a no-go on Sunday. However, Manusky thought he was improving enough that he'd be able to play.

As to the matchup between the 49ers secondary and the Packers passing attack, Manusky had a couple comments:

On whether the secondary is more equipped to face the Packers this year than last season:

"Very talented receivers. [Packers head coach] Mike McCarthy does a good job coaching the quarterback and coaching the offense up there. I mean, very successful quarterback, knows where to go with the ball. I guess we are, I hope we are a little bit better matched then we were last year because we lost up there. So, the more athletes you've got out on the field, of course you're going to have a little bit better chance as long as they know what they're doing."

On whether this is the best CB Tarell Brown has played:

"Probably. He's had a couple of pretty good games lately. Hopefully he'll have another one on Sunday."

It seems like Tarell Brown has been flying a bit under the radar lately, which is probably a good thing since it means we're not seeing him get blown up by a wide receiver. He and the rest of the 49ers secondary will have its work cut out for them on Sunday. The Packers rushing attack is struggling a bit, but the Packers passing game is pretty balanced in its own right. Greg Jennings remains "the guy" there, but even after his 51 receptions and 822 yards, the team has quite the arsenal of wide receivers. They have three receivers (Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson) with 34 or 35 receptions. Losing Jermichael Finley hurt the team, but the balance with their wide receivers has more than made up for that. Additionally, Brandon Jackson is a fairly frequent contributor in the passing game with 32 receptions this season.

Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings lit up the 49ers last season and this really is a matchup that could really decide the game. The 49ers will want to contain all the Packers receivers, but Jennings will be the guy to watch. It will be interesting to see who Jennings matches up with on the 49ers. There are times Shawntae Spencer appears to be the number one cornerback, but then we also see Nate Clements staking out the opposing team's number one receiver.

Greg Jennings scares me to death and I have no real reason to believe the 49ers offense can keep up in a shootout with the Packers. This matchup likely won't decide the game, but I think it will be a big reason the 49ers win or lose this game.

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky
Post Walk-Thru - December 2, 2010
San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center

On the defense playing better in the last few games:

"They're performing well, it's a good thing. I think mental mistakes are a big part of the National Football League and the more we cut down on them, the better we are. I think the guys got a better feel for it as the season goes on. We're playing alright."

On whether the practice schedule and travel schedule this week is better than the schedule after the Monday Night Football game vs. New Orleans:

"We'll find out after this Sunday. You're just trying to get the players' wheels back. Trying to have them study as much film as they can. Maybe you're not getting as many reps, but I think the goal is to try to get those guys ready to play on Sunday and they'll be alright. They'll be up to it."

On whether the team didn't have their wheels in Kansas City:

"I think so, I think that was part of it. I know defensively we wore down a little bit in the third and fourth quarter. So, we've got to get them back to where they were before, before training camp even."

On how he thinks the team will respond to the weather in Green Bay:

"It's kind of cold here now. They'll be fine I think. I think when you look at the schedule early on in the season, you see a game in Green Bay in December and you kind of go, ‘Oh.' But for the most part, we'll all bundle up and do what we have to do to keep warm up there."

On whether he'll go to the coach's booth for the game:

"No, I won't be up there."

On LB Takeo Spikes and whether his enthusiasm rubs off on the unit:

"Yeah, I think so. You know, he's an older guy that's been busting his butt to get to the playoffs. He's had a good season consistently from week to week. Always counting on him to lead the guys, and he has. So, it's good to see him having success at playing inside linebacker. You know he's always had success, but he's doing pretty good."

On what has been the surge in Spikes' play over the last month:

"Maybe he got a girlfriend or something, I don't know. He's spending the time. I think he feels more comfortable in the defense, understanding it. Every year that you play or be with a defensive coordinator, it's not the same stuff, but you're just tweaking things here and there. You get a better feel for it and you know exactly what's coming at you."

On Spikes fading out at the beginning of the season and if that was accurate:

"There was no talk about him; we wanted to get to see a little bit of the young buck [LB NaVorro Bowman] in there of course and I think you always want to see the rookies in there. If you could spot them in there at times, it'd be good to have. It's just that he kept on playing at a high level week in and week out. We're happy with what he's doing."

On what happens if LB Parys Haralson can't start or play:

"Right now we're going to wait and see what's going on with him. He's getting better and we'll see if he's a full go on Sunday. If not, it will be splitting time between Ahmad [Brooks] and Travis LaBoy. So, right now we're just waiting to see how Parys progresses."

On whether Brooks and LaBoy are three down guys:

"I think both of them, they have to play all three downs. That's what they're here for as backup players and they've got to step in. Both of them have to."

On whether the secondary is more equipped to face the Packers this year than last season:

"Very talented receivers. [Packers head coach] Mike McCarthy does a good job coaching the quarterback and coaching the offense up there. I mean, very successful quarterback, knows where to go with the ball. I guess we are, I hope we are a little bit better matched then we were last year because we lost up there. So, the more athletes you've got out on the field, of course you're going to have a little bit better chance as long as they know what they're doing."

On whether this is the best CB Tarell Brown has played:

"Probably. He's had a couple of pretty good games lately. Hopefully he'll have another one on Sunday."

On whether Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is playing at a higher level than last year:

"I think so. I think just watching him over the games he's played so far, he's doing a good job. Mike's (McCarthy) an ex-quarterbacks coach, understands systems. Aaron Rodgers has the arm, he has the speed, he has everything you're looking for in a quarterback and it's finally showing after a couple years. I don't know how many years he's been there, but he's actually progressing pretty nicely. He's a talented football player."

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