From the locker room

What the 49ers were saying late Saturday night after their 22-21 exhibition victory over the Oakland Raiders at Candlestick Park.


On the Raiders first touchdown:
"They had a good play. The defense we called - I've got to get back on that one, but they made a good play."
On how the defense responded tonight: "Well, I'm disappointed in the way that I played, particularly. We did some good things. We have to look at the film and see what we can do to improve."


On whether he's had an instance where he's gone 19, 18, 35 [yards] in succession:
"No, maybe high school. Maybe once or twice, but I don't know. The line definitely made it easy tonight."
On whether he sees his role increasing as the season goes on: "I don't think about that. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, and I'll leave it at that really."
On whether he felt more confident on the field tonight: "I definitely was. I look to improve every game and every practice. There were a lot of things I wanted to work on going into this game. My line made that easy."
On how much he thinks the offense distinguished its power running tonight: "It definitely showed up tonight and we don't want it to end tonight. We want to improve with that. We'll look at the tape, look at the film and look to correct a couple of things, but tonight as a whole, that's definitely the identity that we want to take on."


On his first NFL touchdown pass:
"Coach called the play, and I went through the progress, read my reads and got a little happy feet and escaped the pocket. I should have planted my feet and stepped up. I was supposed to. It felt really good though."
On how the touchdown felt afterwards and whether he's going to keep the ball: "Of course, yes. I'd love to keep the ball, but Delanie [Walker] ran off the field with it."
On the two-point conversion: "Coach called the play and I just went through my progressions and found the open man."


On how he felt playing in his first preseason game:
"I was happy to be going through it with my teammates. We're a real team, a real team. Three plays and out, but it's going to be a long season and I'll be ready."
On how Glen Coffee is playing: "He's doing a great job, running strong, finding the holes. Glen's going to be a great player."
On how the offense is moving the ball: "We're doing great, especially in the run game. Our team is moving the pile. We've just got to keep going and get some points."


On how the offense was able to move the ball:
"I think it was important for us to establish an aggressive approach to this game, to really establish the run. I think we accomplished that today. I think it's something we can build on going into the future with the running game."
On how Glen Coffee performed: "Glen did an amazing job today. He really hits the holes hard. As an offensive lineman, [inaudible] guys who go north and south in order for him to hit the hole. He did that tonight and that's why we were successful running the ball tonight."
On how the offensive line is coming together: "I think every time we've had a chance to play together, we've started to jell more as a unit. I think this game really having an aggressive approach to this match-up, I think we really did a great job establishing the running game and the cohesiveness of the run-blocking unit."


On his play:
"I would have liked to been a little sharper out there today and finished that one drive with a touchdown. The other drive we were moving, and I would have liked to get some points out of it."
On the play of RB Glen Coffee: "Glen was doing a great job. The offensive line was doing a great job of opening some holes for him and he was hitting them hard. We're doing well."
On whether he wanted to do more when he was in: "It's tough to say right now. The one drive we were moving, the first drive I was in, we weren't able to convert on fourth down. I would have liked to have at least come away with points on that one. The other one, we get down inside the five, I would have liked to have scored a touchdown there. So, those two things are a little bit upsetting."


On how the defense is playing:
"We are starting to understand each other a little more, but we still have a long way to go to be No. 1. That is what our goal is, and we will be relentless to get to it."
On his play: "I have a ways to go myself. I am a part of this defense and I know where I want to be at, and I'm not there yet."


On whether he thinks if he is picking up offenses quicker from his first game to the second:
"I think there are still some things that I need to work on, but like you said, as you become a little more accustomed to and more used to the NFL and the people playing in front of you, you perform a little better. My interception, I would have to say hats off to Kentwan Balmer, with the pass deflection. Without him, I wouldn't be able to intercept it."
On the chemistry he's built with the linebacking unit: "I think we are doing real well. I think we have a bunch of veteran leaders with Takeo [Spikes], Jeff [Ulbrich], Pat [Willis], Parys [Haralson], Manny [Lawson]. They are a bunch of great guys and they are providing great leadership to the young guys, getting us to step up our game to their level. I think it's a great thing that we are striving to become great linebackers and we have great coaches to learn from and I think we are improving every day and every practice."


On whether it matters to him which quarterback is throwing the ball to him:
"No, because our receivers, as long as we run our routes the same, the timing is going to look the same anyways."
On what happened on the pass he tipped that was intercepted: "I was just trying to snatch it out of the air too fast and it slipped off my fingers. I should have just caught it regular, but I was running across the middle. I was expecting someone to try and bat it down, so I tried to snatch it out of the air real fast and it slipped out of my hand."
On whether the ball came out faster than he thought it would: "No, I just tried to snatch it real fast. As a receiver you want to make sure you snatch the ball. So I was just trying to snatch because I was expecting somebody to snatch it. I should have just caught it naturally."


On his performance:
"It felt good. I was hurt early in the pre-season and it felt good to finally come back out and have some success."
On his difficulty on coming back after his training camp injury: "[I've] been playing football since I was five years old, it's pretty much the same football, you just go out there and play. Coach [Jimmy] Raye did a great job of calling the run game and especially the offensive line, both units did a great job."
On how he viewed Glen Coffee's play in the first half: "Glen had an awesome game. Actually, on a couple of those runs, I was in there blocking for him. He did a great job and we're happy to have him."
On the comparison of Jimmy Raye's offense and former 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner's offense: "Norv had a knack for also calling run plays, and because he understood that, it sets the passing game. Jimmy Raye does a great job of coaching it. He's done a great job of implying the attitude that we need to run the ball. He has just been amazing."
On his favorite Jimmy Raye-ism: "‘We're going to go out there and we're going to knock ‘em in the mouth! Kick ‘em in the teeth, knock ‘em in the mouth.' He's always saying that. ‘We're going to run that power and we're just going to come off the ball flat-back half-speed and hit ‘em in the mouth.' That's all he says. He's a great coach and I'm glad to have him."


On his interception in the first half:
"We were in deep coverage and the guy happened to run a deep route and the guy kind of overthrew the receiver. I happened to be there to catch the ball and I was thinking touchdown and then I ran into the quarterback. I got a lot of fight from the guys for that, but the most important thing is that we stopped a drive that they had going in for a score."
On the last time he played defense: "I haven't played defense in three years. It feels good just to get back out there. Last year I played offense. Prior to that, I hadn't played defense. It's been fun, but it's kind of like riding a bike, so some of my old instincts are coming back. It's a lot of fun. I'm excited about the opportunity."
On what's changed in the secondary from what he's seen: "We've taken it upon ourselves in practice as well to try to get as many interceptions and fumbles and things like that, as we can. We're trying to have as many takeaways as we can in practices, just kind of transferring over into the game. We've been looking for opportunities and opportunities have been coming our way. When they come our way, we have to make the play, and so far, we've been able to make those plays."


On what the team accomplished in the second preseason game:
"We just wanted to step the intensity up. That's one of our things. We really don't care about what the opposing team is going to do. It's all about us, and with saying that, we had an identity that we wanted to come out and establish. And that was reckless, relentless – just being [inaudible]."
On who he is seeing emerge on defense: "Our outside linebacker Diyral – he's a rookie – Briggs. He's doing a great job. He's a smart guy, a smart young guy, very attentive. I think what you're seeing out here on the field, that's a testimony to what he puts in throughout the week. He's one of the guys – there are several guys, several guys."
On him asking Patrick Willis for permission to address the team: "It's out of respect. He's our team captain. And I talk to him in that way because I respect him, and at the same time, if he had something to say, I would never want to cut him off. I'd never want to do that. That's just the way it's supposed to be. I have the utmost respect for him, and it's the same he displayed towards me."
On his impressions of Glen Coffee: "I've known Coffee for a while. I told him when he first got here that I didn't like him, and he said, ‘Why?' I said, ‘Because you used to run all over Auburn.' I used to pay attention to Coffee every Saturday. I was like, ‘This guy is a bruiser.' When he got here, I found out that he wasn't as big, but he runs hard and he has a big heart, and that's something you can't measure."


On how it felt to play again:
"It felt good just to be back. I missed the first preseason game. The coaches gave me some great action to go in there and show myself. I got a touchdown and a two-point conversion. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the quarterback and the offensive line. They blocked well. The quarterback scrambled out and made a great pass."
On the play of the younger guys: "They were confident in the huddle. I was in there with the second team, and they were very confident. They had their heads up high. They knew we could do it. They were ready to get the first down. I was just happy to see them doing what they did best, pushing the ball, getting the defense pushed back, blocking the guys they needed to block, making great choices about their assignments. It was a great thing to see them doing so well."

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