San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh spoke to the media after Friday’s joint practice with the Denver Broncos. He talked about how Fred Warner is coming into his own, Tarvarius Moore’s progress, and more. Check it out.
It seemed as though the tone of practice was what you guys would want? Lively but not--?
“You know what, I’m pumped for our guys because they came out with the intent to continue with the message that we’ve been delivering with, that relentless pursuit, being violent, but obviously being clean. They came out here today and they didn’t skip a beat being on the road. Felt good, felt their energy out there, so it was good. It was a good day.”
It seemed like early in practice, even like after stretches that the linebackers started getting going vocally. How different is that this year?
“[LB] Fred’s [Warner] coming into his own. He wanted to, obviously, last year as a rookie, but having [LB] Kwon [Alexander] with him, because Kwon’s very vocal, it’s brining out Fred. Fred’s very confident and just a good football player, so they do what a linebacker group is supposed to do, so I won’t pump them up for doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s a good group, though.”
I think we ask every week about DB Tarvarius Moore and his progress. What are you seeing from him at this point specifically here to help him make that step?
“He’s made tremendous strides from just getting aligned, being more vocal, giving out alerts, talking to the linebackers, talking to the safeties, talking to the corners, even talking to the D-Line which he has to do at safety. He’s made tremendous strides. He hasn’t scratched the ceiling yet, so he’s got to continue working. Every single rep there’s something new for him and he’s definitely going in the right direction, so I’m pumped for him.”
How much of it for him was really he had the cornerback thing and I know he played safety before that, but relearning to ride the bike so to speak?
“I don’t know if he’s relearning to ride the bike, but he’s doing pretty good. I’ll argue that him playing corner is going to be good for him, because there are going to be times where he’s, we may not have the ability to use him in a matchup with receivers. He’s got that in his bag. So, he’s doing a nice job and he’s got to continue to compete and make that safety room tight.”
How difficult is that decision going to be when DB Jimmie Ward comes back?
“It’s definitely something to talk about. Tarvarius, you know, he had the door open, but we always talk about, if you get your foot in the door, it’s your job to blow that thing open. He’s doing a good job. He’s going to make it very difficult.”
What were your impressions of Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello when he was on the staff here and now that he’s got an opportunity to call plays, what do you make of his chance here?
“Rich, everything happens so fast during practice, I’ve got to see it all, and I know they’ve got a lot of things scripted, but Rich is very smart, very detailed. He’s got a great grasp of the system that he’s running, he’s got tremendous confidence, knows exactly what he’s looking for and what he’s doing. There’s no doubt in my mind that Denver offense is going to gain yards and score points this year with him calling plays. [Denver Broncos offensive line coach] Mike Munchak, the O-Line coach is one of the best in the league, so they’ve got a great staff on the offensive side of the ball.”
Did head coach Kyle Shanahan talk about how it’s unique for him to come back here, being a Colorado native with his dad, and what he has done for this franchise? Was that discussed at all?
“No, you know what, he’s been, I’m sure it means something to him, but he hasn’t talked about it. He’s been here plenty of times since his dad lives here, but I’m sure it means something to him.”
On Wednesday’s practice, the story was about a quarterback throwing five interceptions and not your defense having five interceptions. What went on there? Were you pretty pleased with their performance?
“We’re obviously trying to set records the other way. [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo], I’m sure he would want a couple throws back. It was a good day. For Jimmy, I know he got a lot of flak for it, but not all of them were his fault, believe it or not. But no, I’m pumped up. Anytime we get the ball, got the ball a couple times here, dropped a couple, so we’ve got to continue to preach on getting the ball, whether it’s our offense, another team’s offense, it doesn’t matter. We’ve just got to keep doing it.”
Did DL Solomon Thomas get a couple sacks on the two interceptions in the red zone that Garoppolo threw in that practice?
“He may have. My eyes were in the backfield, so he may have.”
When you say Jimmy got flak, was that from the media or from his teammates?
“I’m guessing from the media. Everyone in the building knows what actually happens during a play and I think jimmy went all camp with only throwing two interceptions, so I think it’s okay to excuse him for one bad day. He’s going to be special, so no one’s skipping a beat in our building.”
Have you crossed paths with Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio in your coaching career?
“Yeah, my first NFL job was with Vic as a quality control. I got in late, it was about a week before training camp, and I think his first meaningful words to me were about Week 8. Now that I actually know him, I realize it was nothing personal. It’s just his personality, which, he’s a great man, so it was a great learning experience to be with him.”
First head coaching job, he’s 60 years old, shows how much he loves the game. Why do you think it maybe took so long for him to get that shot?
“You know what, I don’t know. That’s more of a question for management. I think he should’ve been a head coach a long time ago.”
How beneficial is the timing for these joint practices towards the end of training camp, keeping the motivation going?
“Big time. Anytime you get into, I love these practices. I think every team should, too, personally. You just get a chance to see different bodies. It’s just like Denver’s offense. They’ve been playing a two-gap system and now they’ve got to play a penetrating system. So, for them, it’s great. For us, it’s great because we get to see things that our offense doesn’t do. And the same thing for our offense going against them. They’ve been seeing our type of style and they play more of a two-gap system we get to practice against it. So, it’s a great thing for us, it’s a great thing for them and I think they’re priceless, personally.”
What did you see out of CB Quinten Rollins? It seemed like he made a play there?
“Yeah, he made a pass break up. Quinten had a great college career, was a second-round pick, so he’s got good history, he’s had some injuries to him, but he feels good, feels healthy. And so, it’s the same thing, he’s got his foot in the door and it’s his job to, along with us, to help him, coach him to blow that door open.”
Did Fred have a forced fumble there?
“Yeah, Fred started it with a forced fumble. He’s starting to get a knack for that so it’s pretty cool.”