San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner has seen the additions the Seattle Seahawks' defense made this offseason. He knows his tag-team partner at safety, Dashon Goldson, left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But Whitner doesn't believe the 49ers' defense has fallen off one bit.
"We feel like we're the best defense in the NFL," Whitner said Friday on NFL Network's "NFL AM." "We have pass rushers. We have a tremendous front seven. Two of the best -- if not the two best -- inside linebackers in the NFL."
The 49ers didn't play like the best defense in the NFL down the stretch last season. Lost in all the conversation about the 49ers' last four offensive plays of the season: The 49ers' defense played lousy in the NFC Championship Game and in the Super Bowl. The 49ers' pass coverage largely was to blame. Whitner seems to understand that it's not the 49ers' strength.
"We have guys out there in the secondary (who are) relying on the guys in the front seven. Your secondary is only going to be as good as your pressure is. We have a good front seven, so we'll be pretty good," Whitner said.
Whitner said the 49ers' rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks is "very personal" because of the head coaches and because the two teams mirror one another on the field. We'd expect the Seahawks, not the 49ers, to have the best defense in the NFC West next season.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.