On preparing for this 49ers team:
Just a lot of differences. Obviously there's some different players, it's quite a bit different of a scheme. There's a handful of guys left over, but a lot of fresh, young talent. And a lot of hungry guys, you can tell. So it's quite a bit different group.
On use of safeties being similar to what Cardinals do:
Yea, there's a lot of similarities, not stuff that our defense is doing currently, but a lot of stuff we saw during training camp, day in and day out. Just a lot of changeups, a lot of things to throw you off, a lot of things that break some rules, protections. But you know, overall, you look at the group, they run to the ball, they have tremendous defensive speed. I think NaVorro's one of the best handful of linebackers in the league, probably top two, with he and Kuechly. Just a phenomenal player. Ahmad Brooks is a great player. Bethea, I mean you just go across the board, great players across the front. And some young guys, some young, high draft picks that they're getting on the field, and they're getting their first action, so you know they're hungry. I was really, really impressed just watching them the last couple of days.
I think they had some issues with some alignment stuff, and some snap counts that got them a little out of position on some plays in Pittsburgh. And, unfortunately, they gave up a couple of big plays. But we're not expecting that to happen. We know that this is a rivalry game, as I said, there's a lot of really good players, and I have a ton of respect for Coach Mangini, playing against him a bunch of times when he was in Cleveland. So, we got our hands full offensively. It's a group we gotta play our best to be able to beat.
On problems being correctable mistakes:
Very much so. Just kind of some bluffing when the ball got snapped and they got a little bit out of position. Unfortunately, that can happen. But we don't expect to see that, really, again. I'm sure those are mistakes that they will clean up, and you'll go back and everybody has a game like that where you just are off just a little bit and they happened to exploit those plays you're off a little bit. Every team has those kinds of games during in the season. We don't expect that kind of offensive performance. We gotta play phenomenal football. This is a very good group, and on top of that, it's a home game, it's a big rivalry for us. We've been watching them play in the playoffs for a number of years, and we realize how good this football team is, and you can't go off of just one last game film. You go off of history of players, and how good they looked that Monday night opener against Minnesota. So, we realize how big this task is and how difficult this is going to be.
On if he's peaking at 36 years old:
I think so, I think I've got a lot left. And I can play a lot better, I've made some mistakes here and there, continue to work on cleaning those up. Age to me is just a number. My body feels great, I love the game, I love Wednesday practice, I love Friday practice, I love the preparation. I love staying up late on Mondays and Tuesday nights and watching film. Those are all the things that I still enjoy. I expect to have success throughout the year.
On experience helping avoid sacks:
And very good offensive line play. Those two things go hand-in-hand. Understanding where your problems are, how to correct them, how to fix them. And we haven't seen a pass rush like we're about to see from Ahmad Brooks the guys they have up front. There's a number of things that go into that, and the main thing I look at is just really solid offensive line play. And if we do make a mistake or have a breakdown here or there, just making sure you get rid of the ball so you don't have a negative play.
On Kaepernick spending offseason improving himself:
Yea, I know he's worked really hard. He was actually out in Arizona quite a bit, and just hearing all the stories to the media, he spent time with Kurt. Obviously Kurt's been a great player in this league, and has tremendous amount of knowledge, and I'm sure Colin was soaking up as much of that as he could. He's made a ton of plays in this league, and we're very focused defensively. We're talking about the advantages that he can take and make against your defense if you get out of your zones and out of your holes. We have a great deal of respect for him, and we have to do a really good job setting the edge against this offense, because they're a really good rushing team.
On what he does in offseason:
Well, it just depends. I spent a lot of this offseason in rehab. And then on the side just studying stuff, and watching, self-scout stuff. Watching yourself, watching the teams you're playing outside of your division, then watching your division opponents. Obviously, Seattle had a nice playoff run, so watching a lot of that football on the coaches cuts. But it really depends. I've had offseasons where I've had surgeries, and you gotta find time around your rehab to get your studying in, working on your feet and throwing, all those things. So this year was a little bit different, little bit longer of an offseason, but really a great offseason for me.
On what Iupati brings for them if he plays:
A ton. Lot of experience. He's played at an extremely high level for a long time. He's picked up our system really, really quickly. And it's a fairly upfront and easy system for a new guy to kind of come in and get, which is really good. And on top of that, he's worked really hard to get it down and understand it. But really, just a physical presence. We run the ball behind him. He takes great pride in knowing that we have certain plays where we're going to run right behind him. And the defense knows it's coming, and it doesn't matter. We expect him to move people, and he does. So he brings a lot. I'm excited to finally get him back, and get him in some real games.
On facing risk-taking defenses allowing for exploiting the risks:
Well, I don't know if look forward's the right word. You just gotta really spend a ton of time. You gotta go back and watch so much, and then expect something that you haven't seen on film. I know Coach Mangini, one of the greatest things he does is just focuses on your protections, and finds ways to get two guys on one guy. Where you either gotta get hot, or you're gonna get sacked. And you shoulda gotten rid of the ball. And do a ton of disguising, where they line up one way and finish another. You really gotta see the field, and really understand that anything could be coming from anywhere. And just because you haven't seen it on film, or it wasn't in the cut-up, you gotta be prepared for that to happen. We know there's gonna be certain pressures that come out of a couple different personnel groupings, and a couple different defensive fronts that we haven't seen yet. And we gotta rally on the sideline and talk about it, and sort it out. And be ready for it maybe to not come up again, or something completely different to come up again because Coach Mangini is so smart, and really has a great feel for protections. That he's gonna find a weakness, there always is a weakness in protection, and you really gotta figure out which angle he's gonna be going at.
On differences for him in Arians offense from day one to now:
Yea, I mean that was like two offenses ago, it seems. It was the same offense, but really to be where we are, and to have what we have in it, and just the repetitions and the time. and the mistakes we've made, the good things that have happened. I've always learned from the mistakes a little bit better than I've learned from the successes of plays. But, in a totally different place than we've ever been in this offense. It's just everybody across the board, from the backup tight ends to the starting receivers, to the running backs. We're getting more and more comfortable each week. We're getting more comfortable each practice. And we're still installing new stuff each week. So, it's an offense that keeps you on your toes. You can't ever feel like you got it, or you figured it out because it's always evolving.