SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions scrammbles with the ball during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 16, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
It's pretty interesting to hear players talk about the opposite side of the football because they have a different perspective. Given the caliber player he is, it's easy to value what perennial All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis has to say. After Sunday night's win over Detroit, Willis gave an interview at his locker and had a chance to field some questions about the offense.
The San Francisco 49ers focused their attention on upgrading the offense and it's shown thus far. The team looks significantly better on that side of the ball, scoring at least 27 points in their first two games. Niners quarterback Alex Smith also has one of the league's highest passer ratings, with 115.9 (2nd - NFL), as the team has gotten off to 2-0 start by outscoring powerhouse offenses.
Willis has been impressed by this start, but not surprised. For Willis' comments on the 49ers offense and the 2012 campaign, continue after the jump.
On Michael Crabtree:
[Michael] Crabtree [is] big. I know last game I saw him do something like that, and I kind of made it known to him. I said, ‘Crab, that's the way a receiver runs the ball in traffic.' If he knows he's in traffic, he lowers his head and he fights for it. And just to see him come out here and do that and pretty much take the game over in the 4th quarter like he did was amazing. Him and Alex [Smith] hooking up like that.
On Vernon Davis:
Vernon has been everything we've expected him to be. What he does out there on the field, to us, is what he's supposed to do. To us, we're like ‘good job,' it's nothing miraculous in our eyes. To us, we know the potential he has, he does it everyday in practice. So when he does it in games, it's like, ‘there you go.'
On Frank Gore, veteran leadership and the 2012 season:
Man, Frank, to me, is still one of the best backs in the league. Frank and I have been down that road, coming out every year, and just fighting and fighting and going home at the end. You know, to have the season we had last year and then just to start the season this year with that same mentality that we want to have that chance to go and play for what we all play the game for, and that's to play in the Super Bowl. And that has to start now and that starts with us, we have to lead by example, we're some of the older guys -- he's a little bit older than I am -- but it starts with us, by going out everyday and practicing hard, showing the younger guys how to practice and when we have the opportunity in a game to showcase it, we do that.
During his league tenure, Willis has seen some great offenses -- even in 2012 already. He knows this team has playmakers and they have an offense capable enough of taking them the distance, hence the confident manner in which he brings up the Super Bowl.
This offense is not even fully healthy and they have been putting on a clinic in 2012. Not to mention, the bumps in the road typically come early. As the season progresses, I'm expecting the offense to find their groove and start opening it up a little more. But they've already gotten off to such a hot start, it makes you wonder what their potential truly is.
Willis and this 49ers defense have been giving the offense a lot of opportunities, providing them with great field position and has allowed them the slack in that they aren't required to put up a league-leading number of points. The offense and defense look to be complementing each other extremely well to start the season. It's a total team flow, emoting the unity this team truly has.
They will win as a team and lose as a team, but right now they have high aspirations and the means to win a Super Bowl this year.