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January 16, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Dan Quinn: “We certainly know that these guys are a committed running team”

Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met the media after practice today to talk about the NFC title game matchup with the 49ers and other stuff. Here’s what he said:

(On how Michael Crabtree changes the offense of the 49ers…) “I think just number one, he’s a terrific catcher. Third down, he’s such a factor and I think the size and the length that he has as a receiver. So that’s one of the things when you go against a guy with that kind of skill. We certainly recognize that and he’s definitely a factor for them.”

(On if having Crabtree back limits the abilities to what the defense can do…) “No. Not necessarily. That’s one of the great things with our defensive backs. We’ve got certainly a different array of guys who can cover. So we try to feature that. So it’s kind of like last week when we asked, ‘Well how are we going to handle a tight end?’ Well we have a variety of different guys. So I’m going to stick to that line.”

(On the run defense…) “Wellwe certainly know that these guys are a committed running team, much like going against our offense and that’s one of the things that we respect about them is their ability. They stay committed and they stay with it. A lot of respect for the way they run it, the coaches in terms of the style that they do it. For us, it’s a matter of attacking and hitting our fits and that sound like nothing more, if not a scheme change. Just really a mindset and the way that we attack and hit our fits.”

(On what makes the 49ers’ run game so effective…) “They’re more of a man-blocking scheme in terms of a zone blocking scheme. So that’s one thing where they use pullers, where they can wham and trap. So that’s one thing that’s a little bit different, compared to a zone team. So just when you play different teams and they feature different styles of things. So that’s the challenge for us this week in terms of their run game.”

(On the 49ers’ offense focusing on taking Earl Thomas out of plays…) “Well certainly he has an impact on so many games for us. So for him to feel like that, maybe he just didn’t get in the flow that he normally does because he’s a factor every time we line up and not just the middle field, but the times that he’s down, the way he covers. So it’s his attitude, it’s his mindset. There are so many things that he brings to us. So for the games that he doesn’t feel like he’s in to the connection, I can’t answer for that. But, he was a factor then and he certainly is for us.”

(On the challenges of communicating with his players on the field with the noise in the stadium…) “Yeah it’s one of the awesome things here that we just have to work really hard in terms of the way we can signal and get the information out to the guys out fast because with our fans and the energy that they bring to our field is something that we have to work at and practice at.”

(On if it’s a challenge to communicate with the other coaches over the headsets…) “It can be at times when it really gets cranked up. There’s definitely some yelling, which is common for us anyways. That’s just defense you know? It just goes with the… offense, it’s very calm and here it is for defense, let’s go. So that’s just the way it is for us and that’s every game. There’s wild and intense moments in the game and there will be some more for this weekend for sure too.”

(On his thoughts on the Crabtree’s comment that Richard Sherman isn’t one of the best cornerbacks in the game…) “Sherm [Richard Sherman] is someone that we really hold in high regard. So couldn’t disagree more with that.”

(On what makes Richard Sherman so special …) “He’s got size and length and outside at corner, sometimes when you’re outside and you can play on the guys and you can play press and he’s strong too. So I think it’s a combination of things. He’s got terrific ball skills and awareness. When the ball is in the air, he can go and track it and then just the ability to use his size where he can make the break up on the pass when it’s a little bit further away from most people.”

(On Sherman having the ability to get under an opponent’s skin…) “Yeah I think it’s just the challenge and the way he plays and the style and the attitude that he brings and it’s what makes him so fun to coach and be a part of because his energy is the same all the time and I feel that the guys who come and follow us at practice and you feel that all the time and it’s one of the things that I admire most about him is the competitiveness that eh brings, the edge that he brings to practice, to the game and really to our defense. So that’s why I admire his style of game so much.”

(On KJ Wright’s style of play and his impact to the defense…) “Really during that stretch, just prior to him getting hurt, I thought he was really playing some of his great football and we’ve seen him… different challenges that we’ve asked him to do, whether its covering a back or a tight end or just the knowledge that he brings to the whole line backing crew. So for potentially having the ability to have him back and part of the mix will be something that would fire us up for sure.”

(On if it will be difficult to mix KJ back into the linebacker rotation…) “Not necessarily. He’s been in everything and connected the whole time. So we knew that we’d get a chance to him back and we certainly hope that this is the time. So he’s working extremely hard, just like you’d imagine for him to have a chance to get back. So we couldn’t have been more fired up to have him back on the grass with us.”

(On the improvements of the run defense…) “When those games happened; we really tried to have a commitment of saying, hey, let’s get back to playing a really physical brand and style that we want to play and that includes outhitting guys and it was really just in changing the attitude. We didn’t have a scheme change or a philosophy change in that way, it was more, hey let’s get back to connected and do the things that we do really well’ and for us, that was in terms of hitting our fits and really playing aggressive at the line of scrimmage. So not necessarily a scheme change or philosophy change, just a call to, hey, let’s get back to doing some of things that we do well.’”

(On the defensive meeting the day after the second 49ers game…) “The day after I think just the meeting that I remembered was, let’s get back to the things that make us unique and outhitting was one of things that we talked about a lot. We’re a physical team; we take great pride in the way that we want to play fast and physical. Let’s make sure that we put that on tape and that was important to us. When we left that meeting, it was more like let’s take the oath and lets stay true and connected to that message all the way through.”

(On Bobby Wagner’s development in the second half of the season…) “Yeah I think when he came back from the injury, that was kind of the time when he was banged up and he came back and it was, okay, there was a game there where he may be didn’t play as fast as we’d like him to and then it clicked and where he kind of got back into his rhythm. He is someone that we certainly count on to do a lot of stuff in our defense. Not just from the attitude that he brings, but making the calls. So for him, he had a couple where he was a little slower in terms of getting back and then once it kind of: ‘I’m back in the groove again,’ and I think that made all of the difference for us and a lot of that time it’s just, hey, let’s get back in and get your reps and get going again.”

(On if he shared the same thought that the Seahawks’ defense had poor tackling in the second 49ers match up…) “Well that’s one of the things that we try to emphasize the most, in terms of us really playing as hard as we can and with really good fundamentals. So for us, tackling is something that we work on and talk about constantly in terms of taking the ball away and tackling is some of the core principles for us. So it’s something that we drill a lot and so it was important to us. So there was a number that we had some really good tackling, but you kind of always remember the ones that you missed and say, okay, let’s make sure we can identify that and move on. But it’s something that we take great pride in terms of the whole unit.”

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