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On the Phone with Charley Casserly

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 20, 2011 – 2:46 PM

With 24 years of NFL front office experience, Charley Casserly knows his football. Casserly, who was a general manager for 16 years with the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, is currently an insider for the NFL Today on CBS. Taylor Price of 49ers.com spoke with Casserly about the impact of first-year 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, while also discussing the new mentality and attitude surrounding the team. You can follow Casserly on Twitter (@CasserlyCBS)

Count Charley Casserly as one of the believers in the 2011 49ers. Under new head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff, the 49ers have forged a new identity as a tough defensive team with a progressive offensive game plan. After watching the 49ers through the first six games of the season, Casserly attributes much of the team’s success to its impressive defense.

“Very strong front seven,” Casserly said. “There’s no question in my mind that this is a legitimate top-10 defense in the National Football League.”

Casserly singled out linebackers NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith as players who have added a spark to the unit since last year with their increased production. While Bowman and Brooks were on the 49ers last year, they have thrived in their new starting roles this season. Bowman currently ranks fifth in the NFL in tackles (56), while Brooks has become a versatile weapon in his first season as an every down linebacker.

Smith, meanwhile, was just one of many quality draft picks by 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke and his staff, according to Casserly. Casserly was also quick to praise Baalke for adding key free agents like veterans Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner and Jonathan Goodwin.

“Trent’s done a great job here with the draft,” Casserly said. “He’s been solid in that area. … That’s what personnel decisions are, they’re tests. If you’ve done your homework, you’re going to feel confident in making a decision. That’s what I see in the 49ers.”

Casserly said the 49ers are clearly the top team in the NFC West as they head into their bye week with a 5-1 record and a 2.5-game lead over second place Seattle (2-3). Casserly said the 49ers are also lucky to have a player like Braylon Edwards expected to have a chance to return in time for the Week 8 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The seventh-year veteran wideout hasn’t played since Week 2 due to a knee injury.

“Edwards is a big guy who gives you a big target, has got some speed, physical-type player,” Casserly said.

Above all, Casserly said he’s been captivated by the team’s new mentality under Harbaugh, saying he hasn’t been surprised by the instant success given Harbaugh’s track record.

“They’re doing a good job of moving people around with formations and shifting and motion to get edges on numbers and getting people outnumbered,” Casserly said. “They’re very creative there. That’s the thing that sticks out to me as much as anything. And obviously there’s a discipline and a workman-like approach that he brings to things that clearly the players have bought into.”

Click here to listen to Casserly’s conversation

Posted in Announcements | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “On the Phone with Charley Casserly”

  1. By Juanito on Oct 20, 2011 | Reply

    damn straight

  2. By time2speakup on Oct 20, 2011 | Reply

    I am, of course, enjoying every second of this ride we are on. I keep pausing, pinching myself, and meditating on it. And I think I got it figured. Harbaugh and Baalke make one of, if not the most dynamic Coach/GM duo in the sport. It is obvious that Harbaugh is capable of going to Baalke and “custom” ordering a player type (certain skills, attitude, mind-set, etc.,), and danged if Baalke doesn’t go out and get just that athelete. Case in point, our new center, CB Carlos Rogers (look up his rep BEFORE he was a Niner), Braylon, Witner, on and on. And the draft – Hey, virtual perfection.

  3. By HeavyMetal9er on Oct 20, 2011 | Reply

    Before the season started amidst the doubters and haters, I said that Harbaugh and his crew had a plan and they knew exactly what they were doing, and fans should have a little faith. The lockout may even helped by giving them time to polish their agenda. And what do you know, they really did know what they were doing. It has bee fun watching their plan unfold before our eyes, and there is much more to go. We have yet to see the full effect of the WCO. The fun is just beginning. Nobody has it better than us. Go 9ers!

  4. By rjd niner on Oct 20, 2011 | Reply

    Iam not worry about this year , Iam more concern about are we going to be able to keep it all together for a number of years to come
    I hope everyone understands what iam talking about niners

  5. By cage on Oct 20, 2011 | Reply

    Success breeds success.

  6. By Tom on Oct 21, 2011 | Reply

    It’s great to watch this group of guys……Keep it going ….Are the old days back? I sure hope so as it’s been a long dry ride.
    East Coast 49er fan formally from Burlingame during the 80′s…

  7. By DMT on Oct 21, 2011 | Reply

    Hey, did you all check out coach Harbaugh on the “Joe show”?

  8. By Mannco on Oct 21, 2011 | Reply

    A lot of the success lately I believe, starts at the offensive line. They deserve an A in husltle and commitment to making holes for Gore and keeping Alex upright. By doing that, they’re a huge key in keep the clock running, that translates into points and keeping opposing teams off the field. Also the Oline keeps the 9er defense off the field, in turn keeping them fresh, helping the front 7 shut down the rush and racking up the sacks. The O-line’s drive and the different blocking schemes being implemented seem to get better every game. The whole team befenits. Also the team is buying Harbaughs west coast offense and enthusiasm. They’re starting to gel. Hopefully this bye week, they rest and practice Harbaughs system even more, also ironing out little mistakes. They have 10 games left, hopefully they win the division games [should win them all] and win a couple of the games against the N.Y.Giants/Pittsburg/Baltimore, power teams. Go niners

  9. By jj on Oct 21, 2011 | Reply

    Way to go out on a limb and call the Niners the best in the NFC West. Seems pretty obvious. Best in the NFC coming soon??????

  10. By Randy K. on Oct 22, 2011 | Reply

    Thank goodness or blind luck that we ended up with Johnathan Goodwin intead of Olin Kreutz!

  11. By michael on Oct 22, 2011 | Reply

    goooooooooo niners baby super bowl chould be in talks

  12. By rjd niner on Oct 23, 2011 | Reply


  13. By gold49 on Oct 23, 2011 | Reply

    Usually I dont even want to watch any team play except the 9ers but Boy, What an exciting day of Week 7 football!! I cant wait until Oct. 30th against the Browns. Hopefully Braylon can play that game. We cannot take ANY opponent lightly! I HOPE THE 9ERS WORK HARD THIS WEEK BCUZ WE NEED THAT 6-1!!! LETS GOO

  14. By 49er Joe on Oct 24, 2011 | Reply

    NIIIINERSSSS!!! We are playing very good football…Hopefully we come out next week advance to 6-1…Shut all the haterz up…and its koo if espn or any other channels dont talk 9ers football…we know the direction were headed in..

  15. By J on Oct 24, 2011 | Reply

    Bowman is a monster. He rocked at Penn State and I was watching for him to light it up all last season. What a cool thing to see someon suceed who never forgets what it takes to be a winner.

  16. By anthony on Oct 25, 2011 | Reply

    did you all check out coach Harbaugh on the “Joe show”?

  17. By Jerseys on Oct 26, 2011 | Reply

    damn straight

  18. By ptucoco on Oct 26, 2011 | Reply

    It’s great to watch this group of guys

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