Press Pass: San Francisco 49ers Linebacker Patrick Willis

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis spoke to the media Saturday afternoon. The scheduled press conference featured some defensive representatives in Willis, Justin Smith and Vic Fangio, after Friday's presser saw Jim Harbaugh, Randy Moss and Alex Smith. The 49ers are hard at work back at training camp, as the season looks to kick off in less than 40 days.

Willis spoke a bit about last season, as they transition in 2012 with all eleven starters back on defense. "Even though we statistically had done well, we don't want to rest on those. We want to come out and duplicate, and make it that much better and play that much better as a defense," Willis commented.

To check out the rest of Willis' comments, follow me after the jump for a breakdown.

LB Patrick Willis
Press Conference - July 28, 2012
San Francisco 49ers

On training camp:

"Last year, coming in to training camp and we were just as eager to go and take on the season, not knowing what was ahead of us and not knowing the outcome. And I feel like we're back here with that same mentality and that same motor. We're out here working just as hard as we were last year to be even better."

On expectations:

"We always expect a lot out of ourselves and a lot out of this team, and to do well. And it took a while to finally get there , but it doesn't feel good to just get there once and not let it happen again. So, our main focus is just coming out each day and earn the best we can that day, and just doing that day-by-day, and we'll see where we are at the end of training camp"

On role in defense:

"My role last year changed a lot, I covered a lot more than I pass-rushed. But I got the opportunity to pass-rush some...for me, it's about just going out there and being the best I can be at all times and just giving my teammates all I got."

On being the caliber-linebacker he is:

"Last year I had done well, I had done okay. But you know, I know I can do better. I'm always my worst critic. I'll never say I had done great, I'll always say I can always do better."

On covering tight ends:

"I think we got two of the best tight ends in the league...and I figured if I can cover our guys or cover pretty well, then there shouldn't be a tight end in the league that I shouldn't be able to cover. So I just try to work on covering those guys when I have an opportunity to to that, Delanie [Walker] and Vernon [Davis]."

On Aldon Smith:

"He's learning. Last year, he just came in on third down but this year he's getting put into the starting role and asked to fulfill a big job. I'm sure he's going to get it done; each day is a work-in-progress for him. But I'm sure he's going to get it."

On the linebacking corps:

"We all lead together, we all depend on one another, they don't just look at me as the guy to always be the first one to initiate. We know what we expect out of one another, so it just comes second nature to what we need to do. When we step out there, even if I'm not the first one to go, the first person knows that when he goes, you got to go, and do it right. And that's just indicative of what we believe in our linebacking room."

On the future of No. 52:

"I think I'm starting to understand more know -- because maybe I'm not as fast or not as quick or whatever it may be -- but I still feel as good as I once did, but one thing that I take pride in most is my knowledge. That I'm always just trying to understand more, more, more -- I probably ask more questions now than I ever have."

Willis then emphasized a further understanding of the game. He talked about his knowledge catching up to his physical ability and when those two things to do meet up, "we might have something serious." I thought it was serious already.


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