49ers will stay aggressive against the Saints

The 49ers' defense stumbled in the season opener, but defensive coordinator Greg Manusky wants the team to continue to stay aggressive when it meets the Saints on Monday night.

When it comes to playing defense, Greg Manusky's philosophy is pretty simple.

Here's what the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator said this week: "Play great defense, let's go get some sacks, get after the quarterback, make some plays on the back end, turnovers, picks, fumbles, things of that nature."

Doing all that is tough enough in the NFL, but doing it against the defending Super Bowl-champion New Orleans Saints?

The 49ers, coming off a season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks and mired in controversy over the play calling, must bounce back quickly Monday night when they face quarterback Drew Brees and an offense that can attack in a variety of ways. Brees often has three or four wideouts and running back Reggie Bush on the field, making coverage difficult.

"Not only do they have a lot of options, a lot of weapons, they're very efficient," said cornerback Nate Clements. "They don't make too many mistakes, so when we get an opportunity, we've got to capitalize."

A failure to capitalize is what got the 49ers in trouble against the Seahawks. Clements and Tarell Brown each got burned trying to jump routes on QB Matt Hasselbeck, but Manusky said he isn't likely to change his aggressive approach.

"I always want players to make plays," he said. "I don't want to go into a game and say, ‘OK, let them catch it and then we'll tackle them.' I don't want that. I want players to be aggressive, go after balls and pick balls off in the secondary and among the linebackers as well."

Clements said the 49ers will look for chances to make plays on Brees, who was 27 of 36 passing for 237 yards in a Thursday night season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. But he prefers not to say they're taking risks.

"I wouldn't say take risks," he said. "If we play our style and everybody is on one court, the opportunities will come. And when they come, you've got to make plays. I don't think we have to take more risks or press the issue."

The 49ers will have linebacker Ahmad Brooks on the field for the first time in more than a month. He suffered a lacerated kidney Aug. 6 on a drill with a blocking sled and missed the entire preseason. The question is, how will he be used?

Travis LaBoy played well in Brooks' place, totaling five tackles and one sack as a third-down pass rusher. Manusky said he might use one of them, perhaps Brooks, at linebacker and LaBoy at end.

"They'll be across the board and be put in certain situations to rush or, in the end, to drop (back)," he said.


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