Donte Whitner was on with Alex Marvez today on Sirius XM and Marvez said that Whitner sensed something was amiss with the way the Saints played the 49ers during the preseason.
“I remember sitting on the sideline early in the game and watching the Saints send safety blitz after safety blitz, six- and seven-man blitzes trying to knock our quarterback out,” Whitner said Thursday. “I don’t know if it’s true that Sean Payton got mad at coach Harbaugh for not giving him some type of agreement on how much he was going to play his starters in a preseason game. Coach Harbaugh said, ‘I don’t have to give you an agreement. This is a competition league.’
“I guess (Payton) got mad and wanted to test some of our protections. We were a new team and this was one of our first games and they tried to knock our quarterback out.”
Then today the audio came out of Williams targeting certain 49ers offensive players and wanting to cause them harm. Whitner shared his feelings regarding the audio and the punishment Roger Goodell imposed on those involved.
“Those are my teammates,” Whitner said. “If those things are true, I think it’s really disgusting and something should be done about it to a higher extreme than what is (already done). You’re out there intending to hurt guys. This is their careers and how they take care of their families.
“When you target guys specifically and aim to hurt, I think the penalty should be stiff. If we as players were to intentionally hit people with our helmets and get fined and suspended, eventually you’d probably not play in the league again. Everyone should be held to the same standard. It’s also in the rulebook. You cannot put bounties on guys or talk that way, put monetary value or anything of the sort.”
Whitner does admit the 49ers will use opponents injuries to their advantage, example Hakeem Nicks who they faced after coming back from a sore hamstring.
“We knew we could get up in his face and jam him and he really couldn’t get the deep ball,” Whitner said. “But we’re not out there to hurt guys. If a guy has a concussion, we’re not out there trying to hit him in the head. If he has a (surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament), we’re not trying to hit him in the knee to see if his ACL is OK.
“When you do that and you’re aiming to hurt a guy, you might mess up out there. If you’re going to make a tackle and you’re really thinking about hurting a guy’s knee or whatever, you might miss. When you’re on the field, you don’t really have time to think about other guys’ injuries. But to intentionally tell guys to hurt people and put monetary value on that, it’s just wrong.”
Whitner on his hit of Pierre Thomas
“I didn’t go out intentionally to hurt him,” Whitner said. “Whenever I play and somebody has the football, I want to hit them as hard as I possibly can without injuring myself and intentionally injuring them. But I want to hit you as hard as I can. It’s my job.
“I’m a safety. One thing you’re supposed to do as a safety is strike fear into the opposition and impose (your will) on an offense. If you don’t have guys like that on defense, that’s when (offenses) run up and down the field and do whatever they want to do.”