The lasting memory we have of Donte Whitner last season is not a good one. Ravens' wide receiver Jacoby Jones is probably still making guest appearances in his nightmares.
Whitner is the 49ers' last line of defense. Anything that succeeds over the top falls directly on his shoulders.
The numbers in the Super Bowl weren’t pretty. The Niners allowed two touchdowns on his watch, touchdowns which he tried to attribute to anyone but himself after the game, as reported by Steve Berman of BASG:
Just caught up, I don’t know. Chris was man-to-man, that was his guy, and Jones just got behind him. The guy’s an extremely talented guy, the guy who caught the football, extremely fast. (Culliver will) be better next year. He’ll be better covering the outside next year, and hopefully we don’t give up those type of plays. It’s the Super Bowl. Coverage goes with rush, and on that play I don’t know if we had the best rush. We definitely didn’t have the best coverage. Joe Flacco was able to step up, throw it deep, and that’s exactly what we didn’t want all week long. So it’s on everybody. It’s not on Chris. It’s not just on the secondary. It’s not on the linebackers or the defensive line. It’s on everybody, because rush goes with coverage and on that play we didn’t have good coverage or we didn’t have good rush.
Simply put, the 49ers can’t have that.
Whitner emerged as a leader of the defense over the past few seasons. A leader must take responsibility for his actions, good or bad, and he definitely can’t throw his teammates under the bus. His remarks were disappointing, to say the least.
The 49ers need Whitner to be better next season, both on and off the field. Whitner is a good player, but the 49ers need him to be great. If he isn’t, Jones will not be the last player to take advantage of his defensive lapses.