San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio took some time at the podium Thursday afternoon at team headquarters in Santa Clara, speaking about what lessons he can bring into Sunday's NFC Championship from their meeting with the New York Giants back in week 10.
Giants QB Eli Manning got some yards, obviously, against you in the first game, but you won. What things did you like about what you did in that game?
"That we won. We didn't really play our best that game, but we played tough, hung in there. It was a hard fought game, came down to the end there as you know. They moved it on us some during the game at times. They're a very formidable opponent as we found out the first time."
As usual with the Niners this year, nothing specific will be spoken of during pressers, but Fangio would shine a little light on Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks:
What have you seen that Giants WR Hakeem Nicks in the first two games has done very well, Giants WR Victor Cruz a little bit quieter, but what have you seen out of the first two games from them that has allowed Hakeem to break free?
"Well, he's made some huge plays in their passing game. He's caught some deep balls. He's caught some short balls and turned them into long touchdown runs. He's the guy that you've got to do a good job of tackling when he does catch the ball because he has the ability to turn a short to intermediate catch into a long one as he's done here lately against both the Falcons and the Packers. So, they've got three great receivers in him, Cruz, and [Giants WR Mario] Manningham. They're a formidable group and it's hard to focus your attention on one guy because they've got three good receivers."
The 49ers secondary will have quite a test with the trio of New York playmakers, but may be a bit slowed with some soggy conditions. Fangio talked about what sort of things the team needs to do to prepare for a potentially sloppy Candlestick field:
You touched on the field conditions. I'm wondering what your process is. Will you go out a couple of hours before the game and look at the field and then make those decisions about the shoes? And how does that affect the pass rush too?
"It'll obviously be important for the players to have the correct shoes on, the one they feel most comfortable with, depending upon the exact condition of the field. And the players sometimes fight that. Obviously when it gets wet you need the longer cleats and a lot of the players don't like that because they feel it slows them down a little bit. So, there's that fine line between traction and slowing you down. So, it's a big decision that each and every player's going to have to make individually. And again, as far as it affects me and play calling, it'll just be what I see out there as far as what the effects of the field actually are."