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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jim O’Neil evaluates defense, prepares for Week 6

Oct 11, 2016 at 12:35 PM

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Opening comments:

"Alright. I thought that the kind of mini-bye week that we had coming off of the Thursday night came at a good time. Really allowed us as a defensive staff to go back through the previous five weeks, learn about our defense, learn about our scheme, learn about our personnel and just really study and kind of dig into what we've done well, what we haven't done well enough, what direction we've got to go with some of the scheme stuff that we're doing and what direction we've got to do personnel-wise, technique-wise, that kind of stuff. Obviously, the biggest thing that we need to focus on is stopping the run. We've got to do a better job there and it's technique, it's tackling, it's doing a better job executing scheme. We've got to do a better job of creating turnovers. We were really good at it the first three weeks of the season and then the past two weeks, we've gone O-for and then we've got to stop committing penalties on third down and allowing offenses to extend drives when we're off the field. And a lot of times when we've committed some of those third down penalties, it's equaled points. But, I was happy with how we started the Arizona game. I think the first six series we forced punts. Then we had the turnover where we gave up a touchdown and then we stopped them on two-minute and then as the game got going in the third quarter it got away from us a little bit. So, we've got to continue to harp on being consistent and guys doing their jobs within the scheme and the plays will come."

Jim O'Neil Evaluates Defense, Prepares for Week 6 

Does stopping the run include personnel changes? I know you talked about DL Glenn Dorsey perhaps having a bigger role at nose tackle.

"I don't know about personnel changes, but more scheming it around what we do well with the personnel we have."

What did you think of LB Nick Bellore's first start?

"I thought he was solid. I think it's been a long time since he's played that much defensive football and I think Nick would tell you he probably left some plays out there on the field. But, I thought his communication was really good. I thought he did some really good things for us in coverage. He was, just talking to him yesterday, he was a little hesitant at times to make sure, you know, he was making sure what he saw was true instead of just going and I think that as he plays more that will happen for him. But, we were happy with him as a defense."

You mentioned scheme there a bunch in your opening comments. What kind of tweaks are you going to make? I guess, what's wrong--?

"No. It's just, every time you go to a new place and you have new personnel, it's what do you do well? So, this defense is 8-0, eight wins and no losses. Well, let's call more of that. This defense is six losses, two wins. Let's not call that as much. You know what I'm saying? We have four or five mental mistakes in this defense, 'Hey, our guys aren't doing a great job understanding that' whereas this defense we're executing at a high level. It's just where are you going to shift your emphasis on what your guys do well and what they understand well."

Are the issues in the run game similar to the ones in Cleveland or is this totally different?

"No. Totally different personnel. Totally different scheme that we're running."

Have you met with the defensive staff yet or the players?

"Yeah. We met this morning. We talked about the game. We talked about some of the things that we as a staff learned over the four days that they were away from the building and just talked about how we're going to move forward."

Did you present this as kind of the, this is the blueprint for what we want to accomplish here?

"Yeah, I mean we're not making major changes, guys. I believe in what we're doing. We've got a good coaching staff. We've got good personnel. We've just got to do a better job focusing on the details, executing and then we'll do a better job as a defensive staff focusing on what our guys are doing well."

When you're facing an opponent like this though where you've got a guy like Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor or Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy who can just really break every type of integrity you guys have out there. How tough is it to get settled knowing that these guys are such elusive type players?

"Yeah. The two guys you mentioned are really good football players. Quarterback's a dual-threat guy. He can make plays with the ball above his shoulder and below his shoulder and LeSean McCoy's having as good a year as probably anybody in the NFL as far as running the football. So, they're doing a good job and it's going to be a big challenge for our defense. We're still in the beginning phases of our game plan, but we'll be excited. We'll be ready to roll."

You mentioned maybe changes and things that guys might not understand. Is there a balance you have to strike there of hey maybe they just need a little bit of time and this is something that would still be effective for us?

"Sure. But, I think for right now you want to emphasize what we're doing well, what they're good at. Like we talked about months ago, what, to me, makes this scheme great is it's very easy to adjust it around what you have personnel-wise and that's what we're focused on doing right now is just what are guys doing well and let's do some of that."

Do you notice a big change in what the Bills are doing offensively in the three games with Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn at coordinator as opposed to former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman?

"Not a huge, no, I think Anthony's doing a really good job. They've got good balance on offense. They're obviously running the ball very effectively. They're throwing the ball effectively. So, they're playing good offensive football right now. They're playing good complementary football to the defensive side of the ball. I didn't look at it that way, as far as by coordinator."

But you do have to kind of place more emphasis on what you've seen the last three weeks as opposed to--?

"Sure. Yeah, because every coordinator's going to have tendencies. Every coordinator's going to have stuff that they like over another guy."

CB Tramaine Brock gave up four touchdowns in the last two games. How do you kind of compensate that and as a coach are you inclined to kind of shift coverage more and help inside on that side of the football?

"Yeah, I know Brock's been hit on a couple touchdowns and the one thing I'll say is, a lot of times in our defense, Brock absorbs the hardest job play in and play out. He's given up some, but he's also made a lot of plays for us. So, I wish Brock would have made a couple of those plays, but again, he's made a lot of plays for our defense. He's going to continue to be a big part of what we do defensively. So, I'm not down on him at all."

How was LB Aaron Lynch's conditioning in that first game?

"I think it was good, not great. I think he's in good kind of track shape conditioning. But, the only way to get into good football conditioning is to play football and unfortunately for him last week, his first week back, we were in walk-thru mode every single practice. So, this will be the first week where he's actually playing football outside of the game. So, I think he'll get a lot better and you'll see him a lot better in Week 2 than he was in Week 1. He did some good things, but I know Aaron. Aaron wants to make plays and we want him to make plays."

How big of an influence has Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan been on your career?

"Really big. He gave me my first chance in this league. I coached in college football for I think it was 11 years. You guys can check me on that. And then I kind of went to the New York Jets and got around [former NFL head coach] Mike Pettine and [Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator] Bob Sutton and Rex Ryan and everything I thought I knew about football they kind of flipped it upside down on me and really taught me a lot about attacking protections and coverages and [Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator] Dennis Thurman's the defensive coordinator now. There's so many guys that were on that New York Jets staff that I learned from. But, yeah, those guys have been huge in my development and learning this game and learning this league."

Since you are not on the same staff with Rex, do you still talk to him a lot, bounce stuff off him?

"Not as much football stuff. You know, 'Hey, how are your kids doing?' He asks about my kids and that kind of stuff in the offseason."

When did you first meet him?

"Rex? When I was the defensive coordinator at Towson University, Rex was the defensive coordinator at Baltimore and Mike Pettine, I played for his father in high school. So, there was a connection there. So, I was able to get access to the building and every chance I could I'd get over there for their spring practices and OTAs. So, I got to know Mike, I got to know Rex and I got to know Dennis Thurman. And then when I was in college, I thought Rex was going to get the Atlanta job or a couple jobs the year before he ended up getting the New York Jets job and he had contacted me and asked me if I wanted to come and then when he finally got the New York job, he hired me. I think I was there before his press conference I was so excited to get a job in the NFL."

Is the new corner, CB JaCorey Shepherd, is he mostly a slot guy?

"That's what he was when [head] coach [Chip Kelly] had him in Philly. I know that our personnel department liked him coming out and then obviously Chip and [defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro] Azz were familiar with him in Philly. But, I'm excited to see him out there today."

Is he going to be someone in the mix this week for that spot or is that something that--?

"That's going to be up to him. How much can he absorb in such a short amount of time? We did have some meetings with him over the weekend to try to teach him the scheme. So, it's going to be how much can he pick up, where is he at physically, where is he at technique-wise what we're asking guys to do? But, if he's ready to roll, we'll use him. We're going to have to."

How do you think Chip is handling starting 1-4? Tough start. What's the mood in the locker room?

"He's been unbelievable. Hasn't flinched at all. I think that the one thing that you'll see about our staff is we believe in what we're doing. And Chip's been great. Very positive, upbeat. Every day I'm around him I learn so much from him. So, it's been a great working environment. I think he's handled everything as good as you can."

* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers
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