Ahmad Brooks

Vic Fangio fends off questions from CNN, compares Corey Lemonier to a baseball pitcher

49ers Corey Lemonier

It was a baseball-themed press conference for Vic Fangio, who has a favorite team.

“The Phillies, I’m embarrassed to say.”

Besides a few mentions of a non-football sport, this press conference was unique in that a reporter from CNN was in attendance and trying to get information out of Fangio that she had no chance of obtaining.

“Can I ask you about Ted Robinson? Why did the team decide to not have him do play-by-play for two games, but not take a similar move with (Ray) McDonald?” she asked.

Vic Fangio 49ers“I don’t know, I’m not involved in those decisions,” said Fangio. “I’m the defensive coordinator. I’m not the owner, not the general manager.”

She was undeterred, perhaps after getting a tip that Fangio is easily the most forthright of the 49ers coaches who are made available to the media.

“With even Pelosi making a comment …”

Fangio interrupted.

“I’ve got no comment on that, you know, obviously.”

After an extra beat of silence that was on the awkward side, I asked about the development of Corey Lemonier.

“He’s developing. He’s a guy that got to play 300 or 400 plays last year, has played a fair amount of plays so far in these first two games. We’d like to see him rush the passer a little better than he has in these first two games, but he’s developing and he’s still a good young player that we like for the long haul,” Fangio said, which led to a follow-up question from Matt Barrows about whether Lemonier needs to diversify his array of pass rush moves (Lemonier is known for going with a speed rush around the outside just about every time).

“Obviously everybody’s got to have a couple pitches. It’s like in baseball, you can’t just be a fastball pitcher. You’ve got to have some offspeed pitches there,” said Fangio. “We run games with him. He was involved with games. That’s part of being different pitches. You can’t do it every play. He’s just got to rush a little bit better on an individual basis, and then we’ve got to rush better as a unit, also.”

Here’s a quick definition of “pass rush games” from SB Nation: “The CliffsNotes version is that it means when defensive linemen exchange pass rush lanes or gaps between offensive linemen in order to confuse them or create a two-on-one situation.”

Back to the football games, where Ahmad Brooks hasn’t looked like his usual All-Pro self. Is conditioning stil a problem?

“It’s improved from where it was. It’s improved,” said Fangio. “He’s played OK. I’ve seen him play better. He’s capable of better. But it’s not a huge drop-off.”

After a question about Dan Skuta, who Fangio compared “Bill Romanowski from years past, without all the fluff around it,” the press conference was just about over. Except there was one last question, from the CNN reporter, about whether McDonald would play in Arizona.

“To my knowledge, he is,” said Fangio.

49ers notes

— Vernon Davis hobbled past everyone at the end of the open locker room session. He wasn’t wearing a boot or using crutches, and it’s hard to tell if his limp was legitimate or exaggerated. My assumption is he’ll be listed as questionable and not play, since it’s only Week 3.

— Yesterday Colin Kaepernick said this about Derek Carrier: “He plays fearless. He goes out, he’s going to give you everything he has and he’s willing to go and make a play. I think he showed that on Sunday.”

“I think that’s a great compliment, coming from Kap,” said Carrier, who had three receptions for 41 yards on four targets against the Bears. “He himself, he plays the game with great intensity. So just the confidence he has in me is pretty reassuring.”

— Aldon Smith walked in and out of the locker room wearing boxing gloves. He stopped by his locker briefly, said something to Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman (who wasn’t wearing a brace and walked without a limp) before leaving. It’s weird to describe how athletes look (it’s kind of Tim Kurkjian’s thing, if we’re sticking with baseball), but Smith looks as lean as he’s been since joining the team. I don’t think he was ever in this kind of shape last year.

— Not practicing today: Tramaine Brock and Vernon Davis weren’t on the practice field. Anthony Davis was off on a side field with strength coach Mark Uyeyama, and Vance McDonald was throwing passes to the other tight ends (Carrier, Asante Cleveland and Xavier Grimble) at the beginning of practice.

Vance McDonald throw

— Also, I took this photo of something we see about every five to ten minutes at Levi’s Stadium, a commuter plane passing over.

plane over Levi's Stadium

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