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Willis Pleased with Progress

Posted by Taylor Price on August 25, 2011 – 10:35 AM

When Patrick Willis talks passionately about progress being made with the 49ers defense, people should take notice.

That was the case Wednesday, when the four-time Pro Bowler shared his outlook on the new-look defensive unit.

“I’m very excited about what we have and what we can accomplish,” Willis said.

Although he’s had several trips to Hawaii, Willis has yet to play in the postseason. Personal glory, however, doesn’t change his view towards the game of football. For Willis, it’s all about team success.

“I don’t feel there is more added pressure on me,” the 49ers linebacker said. “Pressure is when you’re not prepared. To me, I come out every day to work and get better. I don’t look for the easy way out or short corner. The only thing I know is to go out and work.”

Getting back to work is exactly what Willis has done. Besides getting individual tips from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and linebackers coach Jim Leavitt off to the side at times during practice, Willis has been pushing himself in a number of other ways.

Adding more pass rushing and blitzing techniques have been well documented in camp, becoming a better communicator is a part of it, too.

Willis has again been wearing the coaches’ radio in his helmet during preseason games, but said he’s unsure if it’ll be the same way this season. “We’ll see what’s best for the team.”

Whether or not Willis is relaying in play calls from the sideline, the 6-foot-1, 240-pound linebacker who has an astounding 595 career tackles already to his credit, remains as one of the team’s key voices. If Willis feels excited about the strides being made, it should certainly makes waves.

And with Saturday’s third preseason matchup pitting the 49ers against a top-notch offensive attack in the Houston Texans, Willis sees it as a suitable challenge.

Willis will likely play into the third quarter like most starters, but preseason or not, he said it’s not easy coming out of the game.

“Every time I have an opportunity to play,” Willis said, “I look to play for 60 minutes. … When I get started, I want to finish. When the coaches pull me, I come out. In my mind, it’s gameday and I’m set to play.”

Willis admitted to looking ahead at the regular season opener against the Seattle Seahawks “a little bit,” but said the team would continue to get deeper into their preparation for the Sept. 11 matchup as the weeks come.

Asked if he missed his old teammate Takeo Spikes, Willis said he certainly did, but appreciates his “new brother” beside him in second-year linebacker NaVorro Bowman. “He’s a joy to play with,” Willis said. “The opportunity is there for us to become an inside linebacker tandem and that’s what we’re working toward.”

Posted in Announcements | 27 Comments »

27 Responses to “Willis Pleased with Progress”

  1. By jmillz on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    The inside linebaker position is as important to the defense as a QB in an offense, and we have the best in the league. I’m very excited about this season. last season our weekness was our secondary, and i believe we improved alot in that area. its been said a couple years straight now, but WE ARE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!

  2. By Bruce The Plumber on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    The 49ers D looks great this year.

  3. By pekelo44 on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    with no special teams mess to clean up (brandon jones) a.k.a. fumbler, and a new widend reciever core + some new exciting to watch work 2nd stringers, we gonna take the conference, the rams and seahawks did loose some key players to injury. All we need now is Crabtree to get healthy.

  4. By time2speakup on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    It is amazing how, to a man, the team has raised its level of interest and enthusiam. The players finally have the means to bring out all they have been wanting to show the past few years. My only prediction is that this version of Niners will play sound, solid football game in and game out. And the rest hopefully, will take care of itself.

  5. By ro9er on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    GO NINERS! We will be going to the post season for sure.

  6. By Red&Gold 4 life on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our defense is the strongest weapon our team has, and with Willis eyeballing the QBs of opposing teams, I smell a few INTs coming his way. We just need to see our offense become a weapon, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the protection our offensive line provided for our men in the backfield. Keep the improvements coming.

  7. By CJ on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    I still dont think 52 gets his due props I mean come on, I heard on the new madden game he isnt even going to rated a 99. were talking the best mlb in the league. As long as he is in the game, I have no worries about our defense. offense is a different story with the lock-out and all. that left us behind the eight ball.

  8. By candlestickmagicman on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply


  9. By baustin on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    willis is by far the best middle linebacker in the game jerome harrison who lol go niners.

  10. By tom in NJ on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    PW is the man…Just hope our offense scores enough to win games for us!

  11. By 49erKIDD on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    i got to say alex smith is kinda looking alright this year frank gore is healthy braylon edwards is looking good patrick willis is a beast and so is vernon davis all we need is crabtree to stop being a crybaby and get healthy then i think we got the division this year!!

  12. By jrparker on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    If Patrick is excited then we all have reasons to be excited. This might be the year for number “6″.

  13. By fredammer on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    i belive that we are in for a good season and winning the nfc west then to the superbowl

  14. By NY49er on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    letz do it baby!

  15. By NY49er on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    my question is why mckown and not culpepper? culpepper could throw and he is a big boy wtf!!!

  16. By HOUSTON49ER on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    Come on niners put a whippin on them sorry Texans!

  17. By Josh on Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

    defense wins championships, you can score 50 points in a game and you might win but if the other team score 0 you will win

  18. By 49erfan on Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

    We have a great defense and some good player’s to throw the ball to. But we are not going to make play offs untill we get rid of alex smith. Every year its the same thing “o he looks better this year.” Get rid of him already please.

  19. By Red&Gold 4 life on Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Josh, I agree defense wins championships, but you need offense to put points on the board in order to win the games that lead to titles. I want the NFC West title first.

  20. By qdogg49er on Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

    We will make a strong statement to the rest of the NFC, we’re back and hungry for 6 baby!!!!!

  21. By qdogg49er on Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

    Patrick Willis a.k.a. P. Willy is a defensive juggernaut!! Best MLB in the league. ( sorry Harrison & Urlacher ) NINERS !!!!!!!

  22. By big mike on Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

    willis is a beast the defense is good but alex smith got to go steve young come out of retirement.lol

  23. By AK49ER on Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

    I am a long time 49er fan bout 30 years now,Born in Cali, Now i reside in the big ak …I havnt seen my team look this good with this many weapons in 20 of those years! Lets go 4 it this year and get number 6 and shut all these haters and long time critics to bed about our one and only true dynasty!!!Alex last chance to prove youself budd….I dont care if u pull it together or if are still wet behind the ear in this league Kapernick gets his shot….In my opinion he is our future and i see great things 4 our proud 49ers here and seasons 2 come.49ER FAITHFULL 4 LIFE…!!!!!! SOUUUUN!!

  24. By Hermie on Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

    I am definitely ready for some quality football. I am convinced that our “D” will keep “us” in many games. I was worried for a while and felt they were not making the necessary moves w/defensive backfield. I feel they stepped up later in the free agency period and signed some serviceable people, and upgraded (Whitner vs Clements…ironic, both being from Buffalo). I am excited about Goodwin coming in and calling the O-line a$$ignments. We “will” have a really good O-line for some years to come, I believe management “Did” do well with their first two picks last year!!

    I am excited because HARBAUGH sees “CK” is our future…NOT Alex!!! Read between the lines what he is saying and CK is his guy…I am convince after Harbaugh’s interview that CK will be starting sometime after week 4, UNLESS, Alex shows him something we haven’t seen in the last 6 yrs.!! HARBAUGH is a savy guy and based on HIS insinuations he knows Alex is not the man!!

    I am not being dillusional..Playoffs this year!!! and BIG step forward.

    Go 9ers!!

  25. By CaseyJay... on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I think us 9er fans have a lot of excitement coming this year… (regardless of QB)… We may not score everytime, but we have a coach that knows how to create advantages for our Playmakers… Expect tons of west coast smash mouth with our 3 headed RB monster, plenty of wide open Play-action plays, and 6-7 yd catches to open up the field. On Defense, WOW… I mean our D line got better, our LB’s got better (Navarro is a ball hawk that can cover speed RB’s & TE’s) so we won’t get burnt where Spikes did last year. Our secondary… WOW.. Cant say enough about the additions of Whitner, M.Williams, & Rodgers… latter 2 may not start, but depth is MAJOR in NFL, and Whitner is a Consistent Ball hawking safety that will LEAD our secondary…. Depth all across the board…. LETS GO 9ERS!!!!!!!!

  26. By 49ers4life on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply


  27. By skeets71 on Sep 1, 2011 | Reply

    I hope the Niners unleash P Willis and the D on QB’s this year I dont think teams can handle the speed of the defense last year they played to conservitive they gave opposing QB’s to much time.Patrick Willis and the other line backers need to defend the middle of the field.

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