In an NFL OT video for ESPN.com, Trey Wingo was joined by Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. The legendary ex-49ers duo took to the set to discuss their former team as the 2012 season rapidly approaches.
The 49ers have been preparing rigorously for the NFL season and are serious contenders to make a title run. And someone who knows a thing or two about that is Joe Montana.
As the quarterback for the 49ers, Montana went 4-for-4 in the big game. When it comes to Super Bowl championships, No. 16 is an expert.
In this brief three-minute video, Montana gave his raw input on the team going forward in 2012. He broke down the team as a whole, and he also looked at individual players on both sides of the football. He was able to profile the team and give his insight on why he thinks San Francisco has a winning formula right now.
Joe Montana on Alex Smith:
The big key to that team last year was the ability of the defense to get stops when they had to. And continue to give that younger offense – I say young because they were running it for the first time last year – now they should be settled in, they know what it takes to operate. And I think Alex Smith, the play that I think really made a big turn for me against the Saints, he hits Vernon Davis.
You look from behind, you watch the ball come out, the guy is just clearing the 'backer and he is throwing the ball dead straight at the safety and just trusting that Vernon is going to come in front. And he comes in front of the safety and he scores a TD. That play right there: confidence. That showed me confidence in his ability to throw the ball. He can make those throws and now it's just about managing the game.
Montana on 49ers offense:
When you bring in guys like Randy Moss and [Mario] Manningham, stretch the field; you don’t care about Randy doing a lot of things, but give me somewhere to throw it. He can throw it down the field, he can throw it a long way if he has to and Randy can get underneath it. The thing that’ll help to have those guys’ help is to get the ball in their hands, just understand how that offense works, let them go, let them play.
Montana on 49ers defense:
I think the more the offense is able to get in the end zone, the more the defense is allowed to do. When the defense is playing defense, instead of playing the game, when you’re trying to defend and not let people get in the end zone because you don’t want to lose a close game, 17-14, then it’s a lot more pressure on the defense.
I think once this offense gets clicking and shows how many points they can actually get on the board, that’ll help the defense and allow them to open up and start taking more risk and start making even bigger plays and more big plays.
Montana's comments were genuine and encouraging. And fans have to respect what Montana has to say, considering what he gave to the 49ers over the years. So, it's a good thing he thinks so highly of this franchise and what the 49ers are capable of.
Moreover, Montana believes in San Francisco's quarterback, Alex Smith. He believes that playing within this offensive system, and with the group of weapons they now have, that Smith is capable of leading this team to a title.
He acknowledged the top-tier defense and arsenal of offensive weapons, as if they were a support system for the QB—and they are. As a complete football team, Montana was correct in assuming San Francisco has a strong chance to go far in 2012.
And while he refrained from making any bold predictions, the Hall of Fame passer suggested the Niners have the makeup and what it takes to bring home a sixth championship.