Looking for Moore

New York native Brandon Moore goes home this week to play the Jets, the idolized team of his childhood. He'll make his return as a starting linebacker with some very big shoes to fill. Moore, you see, is the 49ers' new version of Julian Peterson.

Q: Are you excited to be going home as a starter this week?

Moore: Oh, definitely. This is a big moment for me. I'm excited, I'm nervous – all the good things that go along with starting your first game in your hometown I'm dealing with now.

Q: What's it like this week to actually be preparing to start a game after practicing as a backup your first three years here?

Moore: I think it's harder to be a second-team guy to prepare than it is to be a starter. Because the second-team guy gets maybe an eighth of the reps and has to be responsible for everything that's going on during practice and during games. So, going in as a starter, I think getting all the reps and seeing all the looks is beneficial to me and I think it will help me to play better.

Q: How does it feel being the new Julian Peterson?

Moore: Oh, I'm just the old Brandon Moore. Julian's a great guy, a great athlete, he was big for us. Losing him is going to be tough for us. But it's just a situation where we're all going to have to step up in our own different ways to try to make up for that.

Q: Julian played a lot of defensive end. Do you think you'll end up playing some at that position?

Moore: I think I might play some. Defensive end is one of the places we're banged up right now. I'll contribute wherever they want me or need me.

Q: Where do you see your strengths as a player being?

Moore: I'm real adamant about my technique, adamant about running to the football, running around and just trying to make things happen, having a motor.

Q: You played more inside linebacker when you got here in 2002. How have you been able to make the transition to the outside?

Moore: I played outside linebacker in college, so it's kind of a situation where I was going from outside to inside back to outside. Coaches thought it was a little bit stronger of a position for me, but wherever they need me, wherever they want me to play, that's what I'll do. The confidence that they've shown in me now proves that they have all the confidence in the world in me that I can get the job done, so that's reassuring.

Q: Your brother Rob played receiver for the Jets. What were some of the things you learned from him about being a better football player?

Moore: Never giving up, never quitting. Just doing everything to its completion. Doing all the extra things.

Q: Has it been difficult being Julian's backup these past two years, not really knowing when and if your chance would ever come?

Moore: You take our linebacker group, man, they're a bunch of guys that can run around and play. I mean, if anything, it was my privilege to play behind and learn from all those guys. Derek (Smith) and Jeff (Ulbrich) – all the guys that are here. I don't think I could have come into a better situation and learned, and not being thrown in the fire right away. So I'm grateful for that. I think it's awesome that I got to learn from the guys I got to learn from.

Q: What kind of responsibility do you feel now not to let things slip with both Derek and Julian out?

Moore: If you go into any situation expecting to fail, you're going to fail. So I'm going into it positive and doing the things that I can do. I can't do anything more than that. I can't be Julian. I'm just going to be Brandon Moore and do the things that I do the best.

Q: Do you see this as an opportunity to finally step out of the shadow of the great linebackers ahead of you here?

Moore: Definitely. This is my opportunity to show what I can do. It's my opportunity to shine and contribute.


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