The San Francisco 49ers first-team defense allowed six points in two series of action Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings.
The 49ers won, 17-6, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio wasn’t pleased with seeing his starters allow 59- and 68-yard scoring drives that were the only points allowed in the team’s preseason opener.
“We didn’t play as well we’re capable of playing in those first two series,” Fangio said bluntly on Monday.
Christian Ponder’s 52-yard passing play on the opening drive was a result of a “busted coverage” according to Fangio.
“We didn’t play the coverage correctly,” the respected coordinator said. “We needed to have another person deep there and we weren’t there.”
When you consider the game’s biggest passing play by either team, coupled with an offsides penalty on the second drive and second-year linebacker Aldon Smith suffering a bruised hip, Fangio has plenty of things to address when he gets back to work with the defense this week.
“We were not sharp at all,” said Fangio, who wondered if his team came into the game over-confident after a strong start to camp.
“Sometimes we say prior to the game it might happen, and then you say that would be good for us,” Fangio said. “But while it’s happening and even afterwards, I wouldn’t agree with that. No, I didn’t like looking at it.”
Fangio wanted to see more of Smith in the preseason opener, but the bruised hip caused him to miss out on 15 more plays of action. According to the coordinator, last year’s team sack leader will be missing “a good bit” of this week’s work.
Long-term, Fangio isn’t overly worried about Smith’s absence, calling it a “short-term” setback. Fangio doesn’t envision Smith falling behind to the point he won’t start the season opener Sept. 9 in Green Bay.
Without Smith’s service for most of the preseason opening win, undrafted rookie Kourtnei Brown was called into action with the first-team. Fangio said he saw “potential” with the former Clemson defensive end.
However, Fangio didn’t see enough plays from Brown, nor did he see enough from many of San Francisco’s young defensive reserves.
“We didn’t have a lot of plays on defense in the second have, which is good most of the time, but you’d like to have more for a preseason game,” Fangio noted. “We didn’t get a long-look at a lot of the guys we were hoping to get a long look at.”
Fangio, did however, catch a long look at experienced outside linebacker Eric Bakhtiari, who led the team with 2.0 sacks.
“He played well,” Fangio said. “For a guy that’s only got one year in the league, he’s got a lot of experience, he’s been in a bunch of camps. He’s a smart player and it showed in that game there.”
After discussing members of his secondary, Fangio was asked to share his thoughts on a hot-topic around camp, Donte Whitner’s nickname for reserve quarterback Scott Tolzien.
Following Sunday’s 49ers Fan Fest event, the 49ers safety called Tolzien, “Baby Drew Brees.”
When the comment was relayed to Fangio on Monday, the quick-witted defensive coordinator said he got the gist of Whitner’s nickname meant. That said, Fangio offered his own praise of the second-year quarterback.
“Donte’s trying to say that’s the type of player he’s like,” Fangio said. “I don’t think he’s saying he’s Drew Brees or as good as Drew Brees at this moment in time. But he does play that style of play and I was very impressed personally with what Scott did in the game the other night. I wasn’t surprised by it because he does that here on the practice field.”
Tags: Aldon Smith, Donte Whitner, Eric Bakhtiari, Kourtnei Brown, Scott Tolzien, Vic Fangio
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