SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio spoke about the team’s plans for injured cornerback Shawntae Spencer and safety Reggie Smith. Spencer (hamstring) is expected to get some work in and could see some practice time. Smith (torn meniscus) also could see field time today.
For Spencer, he needs to show how he can handle himself back on the practice field before the coaching staff can make a decision on his role with the team.
Fangio said that Smith also has to do the same and that he could also get back into the mix for the starting free safety position. Dashon Goldson and Madieu Williams have both been at free safety and Williams had a solid game on Saturday.
Cornerback Phillip Adams is only “75-80 percent” and that has been something that he has been monitoring. Also, rookie linebacker Aldon Smith has been improving, but Fangio says that he still needs to learn his position better.
Overall, the defense is still a work in progress in Fangio’s mind.
“We’re fine where we need to be, yet in some ways we’re not,” he explained. He’s hopeful that the next few days will help give him an idea of what the team should look like. “Everything we’ve gone through to pick the best 53 (players).”
Rookie cornerback Chris Culliver said that the defense is still learning and that he sees the still learning from the new coaches.
“We’ve got a lot to do,” Culliver said. “We’ve got guys in new positions, guys that haven’t been doing the things (they need to) now with the whole new coaching staff. It’s definitely some learning and that’s what this preseason game’s for.”
For the final preseason game, there isn’t a set pitch count for the defense. Fangio expects to determine playing time for each player by the flow and situation of the game. He hopes to get more backups in to give them more opportunities to get playing time.
The offensive line struggled against the Houston Texans on Saturday and starting left tackle Joe Staley said he didn’t wnat to give any excuses for his mistakes.
“No excuses,” Staley said. “I just got beat. I’ve got to get better. We played terrible. I’m not going sit here and make excuses.”
The very vocal Staley was noticeably subdued by his disappointment and frustration in the offensive line’s play. He said that he was ready to get back onto the practice field and get back to work.
“We’ve just got to play better,” Staley said. “It has nothing to do with schemes. We’ve just got to play better.”
His linemate Tony Wragge echoed the team’s desire to get back to work.
“Mood now is to just get back to work,” Wragge said. “For the most part, make the corrections and perform. Our point is that once it (mistakes) happens to us, we try not to repeat it.”
Center Jonathan Goodwin said that the offensive line wasn’t very happy during meetings.
“Guys weren’t happy, I think everybody wants to play better,” said Goodwin. “No offensive lineman wants to see his quarterback getting continuously hit. We’re not happy or satisfied.”
Goodwin had to split the starting role on Saturday with Adam Snyder and he said that despite the possibility of sharing the starting spot, he wasn’t going to let up in his preparation.
“I haven’t always been a starter, you’re always competing,” Goodwin said before Monday’s practice. “Regardless of what the position is, whether you’re a starter or a backup, you should always prepare. I just keep practicing to the best of my ability and improve every day.”
The locker room wasn’t as upbeat as days before but there were still some laughs thrown around. Reggie Smith, Josh Morgan, Curtis Taylor, Ted Ginn and Shawntae Spencer were all sharing a conversation before their scheduled meeting. Rookie Aldon Smith was listening to his music on full blast from his headphones prior to being interviewed from reporters.
Running back Frank Gore spoke very briefly before heading to a meeting. He said he has no updates on his current contract situation. His agent Drew Rosenhaus is meeting with the 49ers front office in hope of getting a contract extension. Gore said that he would like to treat this day as any other day with practice and meetings. He’s hopeful that a solution is found soon.