49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 2, 2009
Pass rush is Manusky's biggest ? mark

If Greg Manusky could improve one thing on his defense this preseason, it would be this: "I think we gotta get guys that can beat those one on one matchups, pressure the quarterbacks more." Manusky, however, did note that the 49ers haven't exactly been beating their heads in an effort to improve the pass rush. "We've just been playing vanilla," he said. "We haven't tweaked anything."

The 49ers - in case you've been living under a rock - have exactly one sack through three games this summer. It it came when JaMarcus Russell tripped over his own shoelaces. Only one other team, Jacksonville, has just one sack. However, the 49ers rank 19th in passing defense and have seven interceptions, which ties them for second this exhibition season with the Buffalo Bills who, it should be noted, have played four games already. Only the Packers have more interceptions. They have eight.

They also will be without one of their (potentially) better pass rushers Friday in San Diego. Ahamd Brooks had arthroscopic surgery on his knee Monday. He will miss the Chargers game and likely will be scratched from the Arizona game as well. Look for undrafted rookie Diyral Briggs -- a practice-squad candidate -- to take his place as Parys Haralson's primary back up.

Speaking of interceptions, Manusky was asked if there's still a competition at right cornerback. The answer - yes. In fact, Manusky said there was a three-way competition between Dre Bly, Tarell Brown and Shawntae Spencer. But that's a little hard to believe. Yes, Brown was looking good before injuring his toes. And, yes, Spencer also has had a solid summer. But Bly has started just about every training-camp practice, every preseason game and has looked very, very sharp. It's very difficult to see him being demoted before the Sept. 13 opener against Arizona and all this talk of an ongoing position battle may be just coach psychology to keep the competitive juices flowing ...

Other Manusky notes ... he said his starters ideally would play between four and 10 snaps in San Diego ... He said he was not alarmed by the luck receivers are having against top cornerback Nate Clements. "As long as it's done in the preseason, it's ok," he said. ... He said Mark Roman would start in place of Michael Lewis (concussion) in San Diego but that he was expecting Lewis to be ready for Arizona. ...

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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