Peterson: Facing 49ers 'is special to me'

Former San Francisco linebacker Julian Peterson talks 49ers and Seahawks and discusses several subjects surrounding his new team and his old team as the NFC West rivals prepare to meet for the second time this season on the national stage of Monday Night Football.

Q: At 4-4, are things going as you had hoped at this point?
Peterson:
No, I think everybody wants to be undefeated up until now. It's definitely not a problem that can't be fixed. Finishing games is our biggest problem right now.

Q: Are you surprised that at 4-4 you are still at the top of the division?
Peterson:
Our division is struggling right now. We had a couple of rough games from everybody in our conference. With that, we are still number one, but it won't remain the same if we don't address some of the issues we have right now.

Q: Is finishing games the biggest reason for the inconsistencies?
Peterson:
I wouldn't say that. Our biggest thing is paying attention to details and finishing plays. From a defensive standpoint we really haven't given up the big plays. That hasn't really been our Achilles heel. Our biggest thing is getting off the field on third downs. We have to be more consistent on that than we have been in the past. We have flashes of playing great, having three or four three and outs. Then we will go through where we miss a couple and we can't afford to do that right now.

Q: Was the first 49ers game the best game the Seahawks have played?
Peterson:
I don't think so. That was one of our better games, yes. But I would say one of our better games was against the Rams.

Q: Are you surprised the 49ers are at 2-6?
Peterson:
Yes, I thought they would be better as far as record indications. But the struggles they have go for any team in the league. There are only a few teams that are peaking right now. It really doesn't matter how strong you start out. It's all about how you finish. Right now they are struggling, but any game can kick it off and hopefully it's not against us. That goes for any team.

Q: Does it matter to you that you will be facing one of the worst offenses in the league?
Peterson:
No we aren't concerned about. Our main thing is to slow down the run. Frank Gore has been successful in the past. I know with their last game, they did a good job of setting up the tempo against the Atlanta Falcons. Even though they didn't get the win, but I think they accomplished what they wanted to in the run game. So we just need to take care of the run and everything else will take care of itself.

Q: Is there anything else on offense that is a cause for concern for Seattle's defense?
Peterson:
They definitely have big-play guys. You have Arnaz Battle, Darrell Jackson, and Alex Smith can get it going once he gets into a rhythm. I think they have a three-headed monster when it comes to running with Frank, because the other guys, Maurice Hicks and Michael Robinson, are more than capable. So they have a nice unit, but we just need to take care of the run first and everything else will take care of itself.

Q: Why don't you think the 49ers used you more in the third-down pass rush?
Peterson:
I think we just had a different situation in San Francisco. In San Francisco, we had a lot of rushers already. We were struggling when it came to coverage. We had corners and safeties go down. We were missing critical guys to play third down in space and with that somebody had to adjust and that was me. I didn't mind that. I did whatever it took to help the team out. With Seattle, we have a lot of good cover guys which gives me the opportunity to stick my head in on the pass.

Q: Do you like your role in Seattle better than the one you had in San Francisco?
Peterson:
No, it doesn't matter. I just don't want to be labeled as one guy. Usually whatever opponent we are going against is my biggest thing. If it's an athletic tight end, put me on the tight end and put someone else on the rush. Or if you need pressure as a pass rusher, stick me at defensive end. But that's my only concern with all that.

Q: What kind of obstacles does Vernon Davis present with his game?
Peterson:
I think the biggest thing is his speed and size. He's a 4.4 guy. He gets separation down the field. Him and number 46 (Delanie Walker), both do a good job of stretching the field to help out the quarterback. Most teams don't have a big enough safety to take some of these big athletic tight ends, so we have to make sure that we use our athletes to counter that and to help out in certain situations.

Q: Who would you compare Vernon to in terms of tight ends you have covered?
Peterson:
His size and speed is similar to Jeremy Shockey. Shockey is more of a consistent route runner and catcher, but the size and speed factor remind me of Shockey. Vernon is definitely faster.

Q: What are the challenges of going against Jonas Jennings versus Adam Snyder?
Peterson:
I am familiar with both guys going against them in practice. Snyder is more well-rounded on the offensive line. He can play all positions of the offensive line. He's a solid blocker. We just need to make sure to attack him very well and get him off his game plan and focus of what he needs to do. We just need to apply pressure on him and let him know we are attacking him every time.

Q: Will you be assigned to cover Vernon?
Peterson:
Occasionally, but there is no particular guy right now.

Q: When you guys played before, Rocky Bernard had that big hit on Alex Smith. How much does that do to fire up a defense?
Peterson:
It sets the tone. But our mentality was to do whatever it took to get the win. Both teams were 2-1 and 2-0 in the division. So it doesn't matter who is in the game. We are going to apply the same kind of pressure and enthusiasm.

Q: How much did you guys think about the 49ers beating you twice last year during the off-season?
Peterson:
We didn't really focus on that. The biggest thing was that we needed to refocus more. There were some comments made in the media saying this would be the game where they would get their run game back and things of that nature. Anytime you talk like that a week before a game you better be prepared to know that team is going to be ready for you next week. My advice is don't say anything (laughing).

Q: Do you remember who said anything?
Peterson:
No, I can't remember. It was probably a number of guys. Like I said, they were feeling good about themselves. They were 2-1 and 2-0 in the division.

Q: How much better are you guys as far as run defense goes?
Peterson:
The biggest thing is that everyone is at their gaps and they know what their assignment is and trusting the guy next to them. If I have the inside gap, the next person has to come over the top. Nobody is peaking at anybody else's gap and that's the biggest thing to our success in the run defense.

Q: Does it bother you that the NFC West has the least respect in the league?
Peterson:
It does, but the proof is in the pudding if you look at all the records. They can say what they want. No matter what record it is, whoever is hot that day is going to win. Regardless of how the situation plays, anything can happen.

Q: Is it still special to face your former team after three times?
Peterson:
It is special to me. I like it. I get to see a lot of the guys I played with and get to go against them. We get to talk about it later on and that's the fun part for me.

Q: Did it almost seem like you were playing in front of a home crowd the last time you played the 49ers?
Peterson:
That was my whole point to let everyone know I am still the same guy and don't listen to everything they read saying once you get an injury you won't be the same. That's all I wanted to prove.

Q: To have that kind of performance against your former team, was that about as special a regular-season game can get for you?
Peterson:
Definitely. Like you said going against your team and in front of the former home crowd. I usually get the crowd into it. They booed me and that made me feel good because they knew exactly what I was doing and they responded to it and I got the reaction I wanted.

Q: After every sack, you pointed to the back of your jersey. What were you saying?
Peterson:
No matter what the number is, the name is still the same.

Q: What do you think of that number?
Peterson:
I still hate it, but what can you do.


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