Matt Millen, the former NFL linebacker and former Lions president who currently serves as a TV analyst, was unimpressed with the 49ers’ linebackers when breaking down San Francisco’s loss to the Giants on Sunday. When 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis heard that Millen criticized him, he wasn’t happy.
Millen said on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco that he thought Willis and 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman had the worst game he had ever seen the two of them play on Sunday. Willis later went on the same radio show, heard the same comments, and said Millen doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“Whoever this Matt Millen guy is, I’d like to ask him if he could do what we do every day and do what we do for 16 games a year and see if he can hold up every game,” Willis said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “I doubt he would. I doubt he would be able to consistently play at a high level as Bowman and I do. I really don’t care about what this guy has to say.”
Now, it’s easy to rip Millen after his disastrous stint running the Lions, and believe me, I’ve ripped Millen plenty myself. But the reality is Millen did, in fact, play linebacker in the NFL at a high level. So Willis is wrong when he says Millen couldn’t do it. If Millen ever criticizes an NFL general manager for drafting too many bad wide receivers with Top 10 picks, that G.M. will be justified in saying Millen has no room to criticize. But Willis is wrong to suggest that Millen doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to playing the linebacker position.
Still, Willis may be right to think that people were too quick to jump off the 49ers’ bandwagon this week.
“We went in and everybody is on your bandwagon when you are playing good,” Willis said. “Everybody has everything positive to say and when you don’t do well, they got everything critical to say. For us, we are going to continue to do the things we need to do and that’s play football. Every game is not going to be a perfect game. Every game is not going to be your best game.”
What the 49ers need to do now is play one of their better games on Thursday against the Seahawks. If they do, they’ll be back to being clear favorites in the NFC West, and Sunday’s loss to the Giants won’t sting quite so badly anymore.