Mora in charge, Part II

"Well, no one has picked us to go to the Super Bowl, either. We're coming off a 5-11 season and they are coming off a 7-9 season. If anyone has a chip on their shoulder, it ought to be us."

Q: You can you talk about the familiarity factor of facing your former team?

Mora: I really honestly don't think it is a factor because it is still the players playing on the field. I think there are little things that they'll tell their players about Greg (Knapp) or I and there are little things that we tell our players about them, but you don't want to overwhelm your players with a bunch of stuff that really doesn't matter to them. It's paralysis by analysis. You can't take your players abilities to just go play the game by filling them up with all this stuff that may or may not matter. So, we're just going to let them play. They'll see it on film and they'll make their decisions. That is what they do every week anyway. But, there is a little to it, in terms of there are some things that you feel that you might be able to take advantage of. There are some things that you'll tell them to look for, in terms of technique or in terms of, I don't know about schemes so much defensively for them, but offensively. It's the same for them. Their defense every day goes against the same pass offense that they are going to see on Sunday. It will be fun to watch.

Q: What other playmakers besides Michael Vick are you relying on?

Mora: Well, we've got Warrick Dunn who is a tremendous runner. He's averaging almost six yards a carry in the preseason. Peerless Price, who is our Z-receiver. Alge Crumpler, who was a Pro Bowl tight end for the NFC. T.J. Duckett, who is a big running back. We went and signed Dez White from Chicago and he's been outstanding. And then we drafted a guy named Michael Jenkins from Ohio State who has done really well. Then, you guys remember Brian Finneran, the big tall white kid from Villanova.

Q: How will you use Dunn and Duckett?

Mora: Start Dunn and use them both.

Q: Is your offense more 49er-esque or Denver Broncos-esque?

Mora: It's Denver Broncos-esque in the run game and it's not 49ers-esque in the pass game. It's Atlanta Falcons-esque.

Q: What are your impressions of the 49ers' defensive performance in preseason?

Mora: Just like us offensively and defensively, they are adjusting to a little bit of a new scheme. Just like we have problems, occasionally they have problems. But the one thing I know about those guys, or the guys that I am familiar with at least, is that they play with great effort, they have a passion for the game and they care about being good players, so I expect to see a fired up defense rolling around the field. I'll be proud of them if they are doing that, I can tell you that.

Q: Some observers are saying the 49ers are going to be one of the worst teams in the league. Is it dangerous to face a team like that?

Mora: Well, no one has picked us to go to the Super Bowl, either. We're coming off a 5-11 season and they are coming off a 7-9 season. If anyone has a chip on their shoulder, it ought to be us.

Q: How aware do you have to be of Julian Peterson when you are game planning?

Mora: You know what, you always have to know where number 98 is. He's a great player, he's a great talent, he's a great kid and you better know where he is because he can do some special things. That is one of the reasons they franchised him and that is one of the reasons that he is one of the highest-paid linebackers in the National Football League this year because he's one of the best players in the National Football League. You got to know where he is. If you don't know where he is, you can have a problem on that play. And he can be anywhere. That is the thing about Jules is that he is so versatile.

Q: What did you see in Jenkins to pick him over Rashaun Woods in the draft?

Mora: He'll be a big part of this offense. It wasn't necessarily anything in terms of comparison with Rashaun Woods, it was just that we targeted Michael Jenkins. We liked his size and we love his speed. He's a sub-4.4 guy that can really run at 6-4½. That was something that we wanted for our offense. For Mike Vick, we want big receivers. And when you get one that can run like that, you jump on them. So, it had less to do with Rashaun Woods and it had to do with Mike Jenkins was a guy we liked. I think Rashaun Woods has proven to be a great college player. As I watch film, I saw the catch he made in the end zone that called back. He's done some really good things and he has got a great future.

Q: Why with Vick do you want to have big receivers?

Mora: Why? So, he can throw the ball up high so they can go get it. With any quarterback, if you could get big, fast receivers, that is what you want. But when you are running play-action game and crossing routes and stuff, you like the bigger receiver. You know, there has been a little move in this league, as you guys know, to the bigger receiver and the smaller corner. I think with the way the game is going to be played this year with the lack of their ability for them to put their hands on you, that size sometimes becomes and issue, especially with the ball. You guys have heard me say, 'win at the moment of truth.' There is a moment of truth and when you got size and they can't touch you, you've got a little bit of an advantage.

Q: What's the biggest difference between being head coach and assistant coach in terms of interacting with players?

Mora: There has been zero change. I'm the same guy, I'm just talking to a bigger group now. The guys that could tell you how I deal with the players the best are Ulbrich, Derek, Julian and Plum and T.P. and those guys. But, I'm doing the same things. I'm saying the same things. I have the same attitude as the head coach, in terms of how I want the player I am responsible for to play as I did as an assistant coach. It's just that I'm now able to talk to the whole team, rather than just have the team. So, that is what is fun about it too. I believe I know how to develop a team. I was able to take a group of rookies in San Francisco and mold them into a pretty decent unit for awhile. I think if you ask those guys, for the most part they would all say they had respect for me and they liked me. So, I think I did the right thing for the defense. If that is the case, I think I am going to keep doing the same things with the team.

Q: Did you make any attempt to get Ahmed Plummer in the offseason?

Mora: We absolutely talked to Ahmed. I think what the 49ers did is they showed an early commitment to him. And knowing the type of person that Ahmed is and his loyalty to the organization and his teammates, they knew they could play that angle and they got him. That is to their credit and that is to his credit. I think it is great for Ahmed and the 49ers organization and the fans of San Francisco that he stayed there. You want guys who are going to stay with your program and help build stability and help build an identity that the fans can have with the players. He got his money. He got paid and deserves the money. Would I like to have Ahmed Plummer on my team here? Without a doubt. I think he's a tremendous player. Like I said from the very start, he's just a great person, but I'm happy he stayed there for him and the 49ers.


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