He said it: Mike Nolan after Bears game

Mike Nolan gives his takes Saturday night on several subjects surrounding the 49ers' 31-28 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

On the fact there is plenty of work to be done for the 49ers after getting whipped by the Bears: "I thought we played very sloppy in the first half, and that was disappointing. We came out in the second half and those guys fought hard, but mentally in that first half we had a lot of errors. With the first group in there, you would have expected them to play better. But we'll learn from it. We faced a lot of adversity, and most of it was caused by our own performance. And that's something that we can correct, and we will. I'm confident in that. But again, you'd like to perform better than we did tonight."

On San Francisco's improved first-unit run defense: "That was the one area that I thought we did do a very good job. And going into it, we knew we'd have to do a good job in stopping the run, because that's important with getting better on defense. I was disappointed, though, with our pass defense, and we had some penalties that were very costly in every phase of the game, whether it was special teams, offense, defense. It was difficult. We had some second-and-long situations that we they immediately converted to first downs just based on (penalties) three times. Things like that … again, it's one thing when your opponent beats you, but it's another thing when you're not playing smart football."

On the botched Chicago punt when punter Brad Maynard ran 31 yards for a first down after he fumbled a punt to keep a touchdown alive: "Basically, you have a responsibility to see the ball punted before you come out of there. So the edge player on that side should be watching for that. There's always someone to force the punt on one side, and then the other side is supposed to watch and see it punted before they bail out, and we got out of there too early, and that's exactly what happened. And the delay that occurred because the ball was on the ground is one of the reasons he got turned. But he can't. He has to stay true to it and make sure he sees that ball punted. So that was one of those breakdowns that I'm talking about. They didn't really have to do a whole lot to have a good play, Just pick up the ball and go with it."

On the fine play of receiver Ashley Lelie, who led the 49ers with four receptions for 48 yards: "Ashley did a nice job, so there was some bright spots for us in the second half, which was nice to see. I thought (defensive tackle) Isaac Sopoaga also did a nice job in the first half. He made some plays in the backfield, played the run well. As I said last week, he probably had his best performance he's had in the two years I've been here last week. So it's nice that he's had some consistency. But on offense, I thought Ashley did a nice job. I saw him catch some balls up in the air, and three of them were over the middle, if not the fourth one as well. And that's a pretty good job by him."

On Sopoaga manhandling Chicago's Pro Bowl center, Olin Kreutz: "All I saw was his penetration in making some plays. But if he took it to him, there's no question (Kreutz) is a good football player. And he's extremely quick and extremely tough, Kreutz is. So I hope that's a good sign for Isaac, and thus far it has been."

On some poor play by the first-team defensive backfield in the first quarter: "That will be a strength of our football team. There's no way that shakes my confidence in that group. What it does do, though, is it should open there eyes to say, 'Look it guys, if we don't play like we're capable of, those kinds of things can happen to anyone.' But one of the things I did like is I thought Michael Lewis did an outstanding job of supporting the run in the first half. He came up and made some big, big tackles at times, and I thought our corners supported a time or two. So in the run area, it took 11 guys and the guys did a good job. But in the pass defense … They'll shore it up, and they'll learn from that film and the tape, and that's the good that will come out of it."

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