Although the focus on Sunday is going to be on starting quarterback Troy Smith, the San Francisco 49ers defense will be worth watching, too. The Niners have given up more points (162) than any other team in the NFC and rank 13th in the NFL in average yards allowed per game.
Here are excerpts of a media interview with defensive coordinator Greg Manusky this week:
On the ability of Denver Broncos QB Kyle Orton to get rid of the ball quickly: “Definitely, he gets the ball out quick. His back foot hits and the ball comes out. He’s playing pretty good. I think they’re fourth or fifth in the league in passing offense, so they’re efficient at what they do. They’ve got some wide receivers on the outside that he gets the ball to. We’ve got to defend them across the board from up front in the running game and also in the passing game.”
On whether be believes the defense has something to prove after giving up 23 points to the Carolina Panthers: “Yeah, I think definitely, across the board from the corners to the outside linebackers, inside linebackers. We’ve got to play better up front. We’ve got to play a little bit better on the back end as well.”
On the progress of rookie safety Taylor Mays: “He’s doing well. I think each week he’s getting better and better. Sometimes there’s a little dip or a drop, but for the most part he’s playing a lot of special teams too and playing some defense, so he’s getting a number of reps, which sometimes he didn’t play at the start of a series because he was on punt and stuff. He was tired.”
On whether a wet field will play into the hands of the defense: “Yeah, pretty much. We’re a mudder football team. I was always (a mudder) as a player. I used to love the rain and the slop; bring everybody down to my speed.”
On the play of rookie linebacker NaVorro Bowman: “I think across the board with young players, sometimes it’s not going to be exactly what you want, but you’re just trying to get through it. You’ve got to expect some mistakes. You don’t want the mistakes, but for young players, sometimes that does happen. With his performance ability at times, sometimes he makes a mistake. But he learns from it.”