Locker Room Scouting Reports on the Niners

We've got the scoop on the Niners' top players, straight from the Packers' players and coaches. What will be on Aaron Rodgers' mind when he's on the move? Who's one of the best players in the NFL? What do the coaches expect from Randy Moss? Take advantage of our one-week free trial to get this inside scoop.

Aaron Rodgers, on the speed of the 49ers' defense

It's going to be a fast game. This is a defense that, opposed to some of the teams we played in the preseason, they really close fast. You add (safeties Dashon) Goldson and (Donte) Whitner in there. As a quarterback who likes to move around, I think that's definitely on my mind. It's probably not going to be me getting out in the open and making a move and trying to outrun somebody. It's me getting out, looking to make a play with throwing the football. When I have to run, making sure I figure out how fast those guys are coming and getting down, because those guys do really get after you quickly. You add in Aldon Smith coming around the backside with the havoc he creates as a pass rusher, you just have to be safe with the football.

T.J. Lang, on Justin Smith

Very tenacious player and a relentless guy. He doesn't take plays off at all. It's going to be 60 minutes of a battle out there. He makes plays from all over the field, whether he's hitting the quarterback or freeing up a guy to hit the quarterback or chasing plays down from the back side. The biggest goal going against him is to match his effort. He's a guy that goes 100 percent every play. It's going to be a challenge but I think we've been doing a good job of preparing for him.

Lang, on the 49ers' defensive scheme

They're definitely not vanilla. They do a lot of twists and some blitzes. Their effectiveness comes from when they're running stunts up on the line and trying to free guys to get to the quarterback. They're not just a straight-ahead, push-guys-around (defense). They like to move them around, bring some different guys, show a lot of different looks with a couple defensive linemen standing up and bringing them from depth. They present a lot of challenging looks. From the unscouted looks that we haven't seen, we're going to have to make sure our communication is on point and we all know where we're going and who's responsible for who and give the quarterback some time to make some plays.

Jordy Nelson, on the 49ers' secondary

It's a solid secondary. I think they had two or three guys go to the Pro Bowl last year. They've got solid corners and their safeties are big hitters who fit well in the run. They drop them down in the middle of the field to rob and have extra eyes on the quarterback and try to read and jump routes, and they'll hit you when you come across the middle. It's a great complement to what they have up front and the way they play defense.

OL coach James Campen, on DE Justin Smith and OLB Aldon Smith

Those are fine players. Justin Smith is one of the finest defensive players, in my humble opinion, at any position in football. He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. He doesn't stop, he's relentless, he pushes, he plays to the whistle and he goes back and does it again. He's not a rah-rah guy. He just does his job and does it very well. A lot of respect for him. The young guy (Aldon Smith), hey, he's gifted. He's got good quickness, he's got power. He can do a lot of things. (Left tackle Marshall Newhouse will) have to work both of those guys – and along with (left guard) T.J. (Lang), who has to work both because they run games and do things. It's a good challenge for those two.

Mike McCarthy, on RB Frank Gore

"Frank is an excellent football player and anybody who's had the chance to coach him really appreciates Frank with his talent, his instincts, his power. He's definitely one of the better players I've been blessed to coach. I think that says enough right there. Frank Gore is someone you definitely have to be aware of. He's between the tackles, his ability to get fast and get into the holes is exceptional. He's still has the ability to take a long run and he's a lot more powerful man than I think people realize."

Dom Capers, on TE Vernon Davis

He's a rare guy. He's a matchup issue because he might be the fastest guy on their team as a tight end. He's improved as a blocker. I think he's a pretty good blocker. They've got two good tight ends. Delany Walker's a good tight end, but Davis is a guy that can go the distance any time. You look at this offense now, there's a ton of No. 1 picks. You have three of them on the offensive line – Davis is a No. 1 pick, (Michael) Crabtree's a No. 1 pick, (Alex) Smith's a No. 1 pick. You pick that high, you're going to get pretty good.

CBs coach Joe Whitt, on what he saw on film on WR Randy Moss

I've seen Randy Moss enough to know what he is. I know he's highly motivated. He is an extremely talented man that you must respect and understand where he is at all times.

(Even after a year out of the league?)

He's probably even better. He's rested, he's energized, he's motivated. He wants to show in the league in my opinion that he's still the Randy Moss, and I believe he is. We'll need to know where he is.

Whitt, on WRs Crabtree and Mario Manningham

They're good football players. I've been really impressed with this receiving corps because they play with so much physicality, especially Crabtree in the block game and the run game. He gets after people. These guys can run the route tree. A lot of guys can't run the whole route tree, but they can run the tree. They can catch the ball -- they can catch the ball out in front of themselves so it doesn't always have to be a great throw for them to make an impactful play. I've been impressed with the whole group.

Shawn Slocum, on P Andy Lee

When Andy Lee punts, when he punts backed up, he gives you return opportunities. They do a great job in coverage. He hits some big balls – long balls – but I would expect us to have some punt return opportunities. He has the ability to punt different types of punts. He can hit it 63 (yards) with a 4.4(-second) hang time or he can hit it 45 with a 5-second hang time. He's good. He's accurate with his drop punts, with his Aussie-style rotation.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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