Maybe Nolan's reputation for being a defensive specialist formed because he was emotionally defensive. This seems to be the problem whenever anyone questions his decisions.

Media: "Your defense is leaking like bed-wetting 12 year old. What seems to be the problem?"

Nolan: "Problem? I have no problem. The players just need to play better and listen to me more."

Media: "Alex Smith says you threw him under the bus. What gives?"

Nolan: "Why would you even suggest such a thing! he's a grown man, he should have come to me and not you."

And now he is continuing his long tradition of lashing out against players when pressed by the media.

It happened with Trent Dilfer and Alex Smith. Apparently Dilfer was the greatest quarterback Nolan had ever seen - well, until he saw JT O'Sullivan.

Finally we get to present day. In defending Mark Roman, a safety who hasn't had an interception since 2006, Nolan said, "Mark's a good football player. He helps us win and helps people around him, and makes the players around him better. They feel assured he'll do his job. . . . Not to take anything away from Dashon. Dashon's a good player. Will he help our stealing the ball? I don't know. In the 'Big Sub,' he was in every down. He has been playing, and I don't recall seeing him get turnovers at that time."

It's almost like he caught himself, realized that he was implying that Goldson couldn't make the players around him better and threw Goldson a little bone.

Then he remembered he was Nolan and called out Goldson for not getting any turnovers.

The simple fact is that the defense needs change. Who was making interceptions left and right during training camp? Dashon Goldson. Will he need more coaching to be successful? Yes, but that is Nolan's job. Roman doesn't even wear the defensive communication device on the field anymore, Patrick Willis does.

This is just another example of Nolan getting defensive when the media presses him and he doesn't have the answer. "We need to play better" is a complete cop-out. How does the team play better? By doing what they are still doing? Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is the hallmark of insanity.

This is not to say that Nolan is insane, but he is certainly flawed in this respect. Should Goldson start? I would say yes, but there is an argument for him not starting. Throwing Goldson under the bus, however, is not the way a coach should handle things.