Okeafor on the edge

"I definitely have goals, definitely have sack goals, but those are for me right now. You don't make goals for somebody else. You make goals for yourself. I'm just out there trying to make myself better. I'm my own worst critic, so if I fulfill my own goals, then I'm probably going to exceed what other people expect of me. But I'd definitely like to get one a game. That would be a great feat. I guess that would be a minor goal, as long as it helps us win."

Q: Now that you've established yourself as a starter this season, how do you feel you're playing?

Okeafor: I just try to play and complement those guys around me and fly around and hustle and make plays, extra plays and bring some intensity. I'm playing on the same side as B.Y. I have a lot of expectations for myself over there because I'm playing next to such a great player. You can't help but to feed off that.

Q: How important do you think the front four has been in the team's defensive success so far?

Okeafor: Everyone on this defense has a role, but we've got a big role. We're the first line of attack in stopping the run, and it's our duty to put pressure on that quarterback and not allow him to get in a rhythm, make him make some errant throws, make some things happen throughout the timing. We take pride in that. We've been doing pretty good so far, but there's definitely a lot of things we can improve on, and we're definitely working hard every day to get better on those things and become a real balanced unit, a real dominant unit. That's the goal, to become a dominant unit. It takes a whole lot to get there.

Q: Do you feel like, as a unit, you guys are starting to mature together along the defensive line?

Okeafor: Definitely. We've been around each other a little longer and have a little bit more camaraderie and, you know, feel more comfortable with the player next to you and the abilities of the players next to you, so you can work off of that, and feed off of that.

Q: How much has it helped the tackles that you and Andre Carter have been able to add more pressure this year rushing from the edges?

Okeafor: Any time you got pressure on the edges it's going to help everybody. That's one thing me and Dre really take pride in and focus on - coming hard off those corners and not letting quarterbacks just sitting back there in the pocket. We're going to rush him and make him step up, or throw off his timing a little bit of that pass. Definitely the more pressure we can bring, the more we can mess up their timing and the better we can be as a defensive unit.

Q: You had a sack in each of San Francisco's first three games this season. Nobody in team history ever has done that four games in a row. Was that something you were thinking about in last week's game against the Rams?

Okeafor: Yeah, I was. And I was trying to get it. But there are things an offense can do to keep you away from the quarterback. You don't like to see double-teams and sometimes triple-teams, but that does mean they are respecting your ability and they're not going to let you beat them. If they're double-teaming you, somebody else has got to be free. There's certain things that are out of your control. You just have to roll with what they give you. If they give you three guys there to block, you have to beat three guys to get a sack.

Q: Do you feel that opposing offenses are more aware of what you can do personally now?

Okeafor: I'm playing a lot more now and getting an opportunity to show my skills. The more and more I play, the more people see what I can do. But we've got so many good players on the defensive line, someone's going to have to get those double teams, and somebody's going to have to be free with the one-on-ones. So, whoever they pick to double-team, they have to fight their hardest through it and whoever's got the single blocks has really got to take advantage of that and put pressure on the quarterback.

Q: Do you start setting a goal now for double-digit sacks this season?

Okeafor: I definitely have goals, definitely have sack goals, but those are for me right now. You don't make goals for somebody else. You make goals for yourself. I'm just out there trying to make myself better. You can't really worry about impressing other people or things like that. I'm my own worst critic, so if I fulfill my own goals, then I'm probably going to exceed what other people expect of me. But I'd definitely like to get one a game. That would be a great feat. I guess that would be a minor goal, as long as it helps us win.


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