49ers

Gregg Williams transcript -- Saints-49ers playoff

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Gregg Williams transcript -- Saints-49ers playoff

Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams spoke to the defense on Jan. 13, the night before New Orleans faced the 49ers in the NFC Divisional playoff at Candlestick Park. Documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon has provided an edited version of the audio on his Web site, the United States of Football.

The following is a partial transcript of Williams' remarks to the team, at a hotel near the San Francisco airport. It contains direct references to targeting Frank Gore, Alex Smith, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter.
On competing:
"We don't (profanity) apologize for how we're going to play. You're here for a reason. You're here because we saw in you -- and we hope we picked the right person -- that won't apologize for competing the way we have to compete."

Focus on victory:
"There may be better athletes, but not defensive football players that have to go into war tomorrow and play the way we (profanity) play. A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on victory."

Attacking the head:
"The NFL's a production business, don't ever forget about it. Where are we at right now? We've gotta tie at the top. We've got a lot of guys up at the top. Kill the head and the body will die. Kill the head and the body will die."

On Frank Gore:
"We've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head. We wnt him running sideways. We want his head sidedways. Little 32, we want to knock the (profanity) out of him. He has no idea what he's in for. When he's on the sidelines we've gotta turn that (profanity) over, turn their coaches over, turn the spectators over. Go get that (profanity) on the sidelines."

On Alex Smith:
"It's a great game, it's a production business. We hit (profanity) (Alex) Smith right there. Remember me, I've got the first one, I've got the first one. Go lay that (profanity) out. We're gonna dominate the line of scrimmage and we're gonna kill the (profanity) head. Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head. Early, affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head."

Shocking the 49ers:
"They're gonna come in, they're gonna be shocked with our contact. They're gonna be shocked with our speed. They're gonna be shocked with our strip."

On reaching the NFC Championship:
"Make 'em kick field goals, be the best defense in that stadium. Remember the walk-aways, and remember whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to get on that bus, drive back to the airport and get ready for the next one."

On Kyle Williams:
"Respect comes from fear. This is how you get respect in this league. We need to find out in the first two series of the game, the little wide receiver, No. 10, about his concussion. We need to (profanity) put a lick on him, right now. He needs to decide. He needs to (profanity) decide."

On Michael Crabtree:
"We need to decide whether Crabtree wants to be a fake-(profanity) prima donna or he wants to be a tough guy. We need to find it out. He becomes human when we (profanity) take out that outside ACL."
On Frank Gore and Vernon Davis:
"We need to decide how many times we can beat Frank Gore's head. We need to decide how many times we can bullrush and how many times we can (profanity) put Vernon Davis' ankle over the pile. We need to decide. And when they are fearing us they give us the ball."

On Alex Smith:
"Alex Smith, in the preseason game, when you guys avalanched that (profanity), had eyes that big. You all saw 'em. Another thing we always say in this room, is never apologize for the way we compete. If you're in this room, you understand that we don't apologize."

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

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USATSI

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

SANTA CLARA – Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon did not win the right to suit up for the 49ers’ first four games. Behind the scenes, he made it his mission to earn a contributing role.

“He really started to get better with his coordination with his feet from the bump-and-run coverage and from playing ‘off.’ There’s always a light that goes on,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And we felt that for a couple weeks from Ahkello. Once he did that, he definitely earned the right to be out there.”

The plan was for Witherspoon to rotate into the action and share time with starters Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson. But he played just six snaps on Oct. 8 against Indianapolis before sustaining a concussion. Witherspoon returned to action last week and played 34 of the 49ers’ 74 snaps last week at Washington. He showed enough to coninue getting significant playing time.

“He’s earned the right to play,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “He works his tail off in practice. He’s so deliberate in his approach. Whether it was scout team, whether it was team reps, whether it was walk-through, it didn’t matter.”

Witherspoon, the 49ers’ third-round draft pick at No. 66 overall, had a pedestrian training camp. Taking his lumps in August showed him what he needed to do to get into real games in October.

“I really turned up my focus, my intent every day in practice,” Witherspoon said. “What I did in camp wasn’t good enough to be a starting corner in this league, and that’s what I learned.

“I really focused on being aware of what it takes. That’s something I implemented these last four weeks -- that every day focus and competing on every single ball, and taking the mindset that no ball’s caught on me. I think that’s really helped my game, and helped these coaches trust me, as well.”

Witherspoon expected Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to attack him. But of the 25 plays he was in coverage last week, Witherspoon saw only three passes come his way. He surrendered two receptions for 33 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Just being a rookie, I thought it was going to come, where they were going to be taking that one shot,” Witherspoon said. “I kept waiting for it to happen, but it didn’t happen. Going up against a smart quarterback, I know he saw me out there.

“There were a few times he looked my way in coverage. I wasn’t perfect in coverage, but I think he was looking. And I thought I did a good job.”

Witherspoon (6 foot 3, 195 pounds) is comfortable lining up on either side of the field, which he did during his college career at Colorado. He said he has not put on much weight but he has added more muscle, which has allowed him a better chance to compete physically against bigger NFL receivers.

Witherspoon fully expects to be challenged on Sunday when he is expected to see considerable playing time against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. Witherspoon figures Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will be paying particularly close attention any time Dez Bryant lines up on his side of the field.

“They’re going to be looking at the ‘rook,’ ” Witherspoon said.

Said Shanahan, “They’re going to try to do that with all our DBs, so I don’t think it even matters who’s out there. They’re going to attack when we’re in single safety, which we are the majority of the time. They’re going to go outside and keep going out there until you stop them.”

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch Kyle Shanahan's full sit-down interview with Matt Maiocco on "49ers Game Plan," which is scheduled to air Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3).

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

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AP

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.