Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Donte Whitner Belittles Saints Bounty Program, Says 49ers Don’t Need Such Incentives to Play Physical

Donte Whitner needed no bounty or special incentive to knock one of the New Orleans Saints out of their NFC divisional-round playoff game.

On Monday, he shared his lingering thoughts about the Saints’ bounty scandal that was exposed by an NFL investigation during the offseason.

Whitner’s main message: “We don’t have to talk like that around here.”

The Saints, as we’ve learned, were ordered by then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to take out several 49ers offensive mainstays. No 49ers were seriously injured in the making of their 36-32 triumph.
Instead, Saints running back Pierre Thomas was knocked out of the game on a hit by Whitner that resulted in a fumble near the 49ers goal line on the game’s opening drive

“For a defensive coordinator to come up and talk about injuring players and knocking players out of the game, you don’t really have to say that when you have the right type of guys in the room,” Whitner said.

“All coach Vic (Fangio, the 49ers’ defesnive coordinator) says is, ‘You have to go out there and play physical football. We have to stop the run. We have to stop these players from beating us and running through our defense.’

“If you have the right type of guys in that room, you don’t have to set bounties or pay money for guys to play physical and play hard. It’s going to come naturally. That’s the type of guys we have on our defense. That’s why we don’t have to do those type of things.”

The 49ers ranked first agaisnst the run and second in points allowed during last season’s 13-3 run that led to the NFC Championship game.

Whitner said Fangio maintains a “very calm” approach, from the practice field to the pre-game meetings. “He’s the same guy he is each and every day, and you can appreciate that,” Whitner said. “Some coaches get into that moment — the night before a game, the day of a game – and you really don’t know who they are. They change into another person, because they’re as nervous or more nervous than the players. We don’t really see that with Vic.”

Whitner has seen a lot of Randy Moss from their time together in the AFC East, what with Whitner starting his career in Buffalo and Moss reviving his in New England. Whitner backed up the impression that Moss looks as fluid and play-making as ever.

“He’s very similar,” Whitner said. “Me coming from Buffalo, we play those guys two times a year. He looks the same. He’s always been a long strider. He’s never really looked like he’s running fast, until you actually see him create separation on a (defensive back) and throws his hand up and looking for the deep one. He’s doing those same things.

“I’ll even go as far and say there are times he’s running wide open and the ball didn’t even reach him. They try to get the ball out to him but it didn’t reach him. I believe he still has everything and more. I say ‘and more’ because he’s determined to show he’s still Randy Moss, and can still run past guys, and can still score touchdowns.”

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