Tag Archive | "Colin Kaepernick"

The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/49ers

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/49ers

Posted on 05 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Jacoby Jones 108 yard kickoff return TD (3rd quarter)

4. Jacoby Jones 56 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 10 (2nd quarter)

3. Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Randy Moss on two point conversion attempt incomplete (4th quarter)

2. Joe Flacco 15 yard pass to Anquan Boldin on 3rd and inches (4th quarter)

1. Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree on 4th and goal incomplete (4th quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Ravens-49ers: Five predictions for Super Bowl XLVII

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Ravens-49ers: Five predictions for Super Bowl XLVII

Posted on 03 February 2013 by Luke Jones

Sixty minutes remain in the 2012 season for the Baltimore Ravens.

Only sixty minutes are left in the Hall of Fame career of 37-year-old linebacker Ray Lewis.

Head coach John Harbaugh, quarterback Joe Flacco, and the Ravens might call themselves Super Bowl champions after 60 minutes of play in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday night. To do it, they must topple the San Francisco 49ers, a team with a loaded roster and more talent than Baltimore.

The 49ers are the better overall team — or at least looked like it all season — but the Ravens have heard that story before and are fine being underdogs as we learned against the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. Baltimore prevailed in the most-recent meeting with the 49ers last season and owns a 3-1 advantage in the all-time regular-season series.

But none of that matters now as the Ravens and 49ers play for the right to be called champions of Super Bowl XLVII.

Here’s what to expect as the 13-6 Ravens attempt to win their second NFL championship and first since Jan. 28, 2001 while San Francisco tries to win its sixth Super Bowl title and first since the 1994 season …

1. Ray Lewis will provide a solid but unspectacular effort in his final NFL game with nine tackles against the run-heavy San Francisco offense. The 49ers will have some success running the football with their read-option attack, but the presence of Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe at inside linebacker — both missed the Dec. 9 game against Washington’s similar running game — will make a major difference in preventing running back Frank Gore from having a big day. Lewis is a clear liability in pass coverage and the Ravens will be vulnerable should he need to match up with a tight end or running back at any point, but the veteran still plays the run solidly. It won’t be a performance reminiscent of Super Bowl XXXV, but Lewis’ cerebral presence will be a major asset in trying to deal with the 49ers’ pistol formation.

2. 49ers tight end Vernon Davis will be problematic over the middle of the field, catching a touchdown and 85 receiving yards to lead the 49ers. The Ravens have proven over and over they have few answers for the top tight ends in the NFL as Aaron Hernandez was the latest to have a strong game against them in the conference championship. Ellerbe and strong safety Bernard Pollard will be the ones to draw the assignment most often, but that becomes dangerous when you consider how critical each is to stopping the run against such a unique offense. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will mix it up as much as he can, but Davis will be difficult to stop and the 49ers would be wise to go to him early and often.

3. As I predicted in the AFC Championship game, the team that wins the battle in the red zone will prevail in New Orleans. The Ravens were 4-for-4 in the red zone against New England and held the Patriots to one touchdown in four trips inside the 20. It’s a simple concept, but the team that can limit its opponents to field goals inside the red zone will have a great chance to win in what should be a very close game. The Baltimore defense has employed a “bend but don’t break” philosophy all season long and just finds the ability to tighten up when opponents see the end zone in clear focus. The Ravens ranked second in red-zone defense (43.4 percent) while the 49ers were 21st in red-zone offense (50.9 percent). Meanwhile, the Baltimore offense scored touchdowns on 57.1 percent of trips inside the 20 (11th in the NFL) while San Francisco allowed touchdowns in 61.1 percent of opponents’ red-zone opportunities. The team that wins this battle will raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

4. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick will play admirably, but a critical turnover in the second half will cost the 49ers dearly. Making his 10th career start on Sunday, Kaepernick is already an incredible story as he’s found success so quickly after replacing former starter Alex Smith midway through the season. His ability to make huge plays as a runner kept Pees and the Baltimore defense awake at night over these last two weeks, and the Ravens will be careful to protect the edges and force the 49ers to count on inside runs with Gore. Kaepernick’s arm shouldn’t be slept on by the Baltimore defense, but you feel better about the thought of him dropping back to throw 35 or 40 times as opposed to letting him rush for 85 yards in open spaces continuously. As impressive as he’s been in the postseason, Kaepernick hasn’t faced a defense as hot as this one and he’ll throw a crucial interception in the fourth quarter to swing the momentum in the Ravens’ favor.

5. Continuing one of the best postseasons in NFL history, Joe Flacco shows the world it’s his time as he leads the Ravens to a 27-24 victory and is named Super XLVII Most Valuable Player. I picked against the Ravens in Denver and Foxborough, so fans may wish I were doing it again but I just can’t overlook what’s happened over the last month. The offensive line has been exceptional, the defense more dynamic, and the Ravens just have the feel of a champion at this point. This will be a close game, but I’m going to side with the team that has the better quarterback as I erroneously attempted to do in picking the Broncos and the Patriots. Flacco has been brilliant in the playoffs, throwing eight touchdown passes without an interception, and he has continued to remain even-keeled throughout this improbable run. He’ll throw for 250 yards and two touchdowns to put a bow on one of the greatest individual playoff runs in NFL history. Kaepernick might be the next big thing at the quarterback position, but Flacco and Harbaugh finally step into the limelight they deserve and Lewis rides off into the sunset with the franchise’s second Super Bowl title.

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Kaepernick says Niners offense no “gimmick”

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

QUARTERBACK COLIN KAEPERNICK

 

(on emphasizing the deep pass) “I think it’s just part of our offense. Our receivers have been making plays deep. You want to work on every throw on the field. You have to be accurate everywhere. Part of it is that your receivers have to be aggressive to the ball.”

 

(on the variety of the offense) “It’s going to depend on the gameplan. There are things that we ran at the beginning of the year that we are going to continue to run; there’s new things that come up. There is a lot in this offense.”

 

(on potentially joining the 49ers storied history) “It’s a great opportunity to get a win and to bring back the legacy to San Francisco that great teams and great quarterbacks have before.”

 

(on how close he was to playing baseball over football) “Basketball was my last option. That was something that if football and baseball didn’t work out I would have played basketball.”

 

(on playing against New Orleans Hornets forward Ryan Anderson in high school) “It was the first round of the playoffs. I think we lost by like 10 points to them. I think I scored 34 and he scored 50.”

 

(on dealing with the media) “I try to stay low-key. I do what I have to do with the media. Other than that, I am all football.

 

(on his comfort level with the media) “It’s not that I’m not comfortable with it. To me, I’m here to play football. That’s what I want to do.”

 

(on the offensive line) “They are willing to work every day. They are going to do everything it takes to make sure they are ready mentally and physically. They go out and perform on Sunday.”

 

(on LaMichael James) “He’s developed a lot. He has become a playmaker for us. He is someone we want to get the ball in his hands. He is fast. He’s quick, but he also runs with power for how little he is. There are a lot of things they have to defend.”

 

(on the receiving core) “Our receivers have done a phenomenal job this season, knowing their routes, knowing the combinations we have going for them, and then making plays. They come to work every day.”

 

(on the gameplan for the Super Bowl) “I think the coaches are going to do whatever we need to do to win. The coaches will call what they think the best play is and what they think will help us get into the end zone.”

 

(on running a ‘gimmick’ offense) “Any offense is an offense to try and put points on the board. You can call it a gimmick, you can call it a ‘trick-em’ offense, you can call it whatever you want. If it is putting points on the board it is effective.”

 

(on his charitable donations) “Camp Taylor is a foundation that I’m connected with right now and anything I can do to help them and help those kids is something I’m going to do.”

 

(on Frank Gore) “He’s a great player. He’s a great leader. He’s a workhorse. He’s going to do whatever it takes to win and we need Frank Gore to be Frank. That will be good enough on Sunday. I think you can put Frank in any offense and he will be successful. He’s the type of running back that can adapt. He can do anything we need him to do. I think that’s why he has been doing so well.”

 

(on having patience when running) “I think it’s very important. You can see Frank waiting for a hole to open, waiting for a crease or a seam. Once he finds one, he’s going to hit it.”

 

-more-

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Thursday, January 31, 2013

 

MORE QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA SESSION

 

QUARTERBACK COLIN KAEPERNICK

 

(on the experience of playing against the Bears on Monday Night Football) “Getting my first start, getting a win, being successful in that game – it helped me moving forward from there.”

 

(on being drafted by the Chicago Cubs) “They drafted me after my third year in college, based on what I did in high school.”

 

(on playing with patience) “I think you need patience at every position. At some point you are going to have to be patient and wait to make your move. Whether it’s quarterback, receiver, linebacker, DB (defensive back), it doesn’t matter.”

 

(on being the potential Super Bowl MVP) “My only focus is on the game plan and trying to win. I haven’t thought of any possibilities or any scenarios other than just going out and playing.”

 

(on the expectations of the 49ers) “There are great expectations in this franchise. We have had great quarterbacks and great Super Bowl teams. We want to be a part of that.”

 

(on working with Alex Smith during last season’s lockout) “It just helped me get more comfortable with the offense, rather than going in to training camp and trying to learn it. He (Smith) helped a lot, going over the different routes, different combinations, things like that.”

 

(on transitioning from college to the NFL) “Ultimately it’s just going out and playing football. The biggest difference is the playbook and terminology. Everybody is faster, everybody is stronger so it equals out.”

 

(on joining former 49ers quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young as Super Bowl champion 49ers quarterbacks) “It would be a great honor. They played well for so long and have such great regard with their names, and people speak so highly of them, to be mentioned in the same breath would be an honor.”

 

(on if Alex Smith could take back the starting job) “That’s not something I think about. I’m just worried about going out and trying to win this game.”

 

(on Randy Moss) “Randy has been great. I have nothing but great things to say about him. He’s one of the true leaders on this team and he really brings this team together.”

 

(on his high school football team) “We had a good team. We had a good offense. We put up points.”

 

(on his athleticism leading to success) “I think a lot of the success I have had has come more from the hard work than just pure talent.”

 

(on the unpredictability of football) “You’re just going to work hard and see what happens. You’re not really thinking what if this happens, what if that happens.”

 

(on high school all-star games) “I didn’t get to play in any. I went straight up to Nevada and started training. I went up to Nevada as soon as my high school year was over and started working out with them.”

 

(on having to choose between football and baseball) “If I got a football scholarship, I was going to be a football player.”

 

(on being compared to Cam Newton) “We can both run and throw. That’s the similarity. For me, I want to be my own man, I want to be my own player.”

 

-more-

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Thursday, January 31, 2013

 

MORE QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA SESSION

 

QUARTERBACK COLIN KAEPERNICK

 

(on his development as a passer) “Geep (Chryst) has been great. He is always in our ear, talking, making sure we know every situation that might come up. He’s previewing situations during the game, he has been phenomenal. It’s a constant conversation. It’s constant work, trying to game plan trying to make sure we have every detail ironed out.”

 

(on his being passed in the draft) “Any time someone says someone else is better than you it is going to motivate you.”

 

(on advice for Chris Culliver) “I’m not here to give advice. That’s not my job. I’m here to play football. That’s what we have a PR department for.”

 

(on the Harbaugh brothers coaching against each other) “Any sibling rivalry is big. It’s bragging rights. Beyond just winning the Super Bowl, it’s bragging rights for the rest of your life.”

 

(on the offensive gameplan for Sunday) “I think they (the coaches) are going to call plays that they think are going to be successful. Anything that is going to move the ball they are going to try and call.”

 

(on the changes from the regular season through the playoffs) “Things haven’t changed that much except that more people want to talk to me now.”

 

(on the preparation for the Super Bowl) “I think our team is ready for this. Our team has won in these situations; our team has won games, so we are going to do whatever we can to make sure we are ready for this week.”

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Faltering against 49ers offense no option for Ravens

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Faltering against 49ers offense no option for Ravens

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — After toppling two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks on their way to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, the Ravens defense now faces a different challenge entirely.

As unconventional as an offense comes in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers reinvented themselves in the second half of the season, utilizing the pistol read-option attack behind second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick. A once-conservative offense that relied heavily on the shoulders of running back Frank Gore has now become a dynamic one, scoring a combined 73 points in playoff wins over Green Bay and Atlanta to give the 49ers their first Super Bowl berth in 18 years.

Whether the pistol formation is the latest flavor of the month or not is irrelevant as it pertains to Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, but coach John Harbaugh sees lasting appeal in the possibilities the formation provides. The Ravens certainly aren’t treating it like a gimmick after falling to a similar attack that was run by the Washington Redskins in Week 14.

“You can run your whole offense on it. You aren’t limited to an option type attack out of it,” Harbaugh said. “Not just the entire run game but the entire pass game as well. The backs get position to protect. You can run all your drop back stuff, you can run power run game inside and outside, and you can run read option, triple option. So it’s just a very versatile-type offense and it forces you to defend a lot of different elements of the offensive attack.”

The Ravens struggled against the Redskins’ version of the pistol formation, which featured Robert Griffin III, a shiftier runner than the bigger Kaepernick who relies more on his impressive straight-line speed. In the 31-28 overtime loss on Dec. 9, the Ravens allowed 179 rushing yards on 35 carries but were playing without linebackers Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Dannell Ellerbe.

San Francisco’s preference for getting Kaepernick to the edge will provide a challenge to Lewis, who struggles when trying to play outside the tackles, but the 37-year-old’s cerebral presence should offer a boost in trying to accomplish what opposing defenses have failed to do against Kaepernick since he took over for former Alex Smith in the middle of the season.

“A lot of people who played against them just never communicated at all,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “I believe that’s one of the advantages of what we have as a defense. We do a job of communicating real very well, whether you have the dive, whether you have the quarterback. It’s really hard to play that type of package as individuals. You have to play it as a group. The only way to slow it down is to play it as a group. Make sure before the ball is snapped, everybody is on the same page.”

A major key echoed by numerous defensive players has been patience in believing in individual assignments and carrying out jobs within the defense. Against Washington, the Ravens used unblocked defenders largely to attack the backfield, but staying under control and reacting to Kaepernick by forcing him to either hand off to the back or to keep the ball himself inside will be the wisest choice.

It’s a fine balance between being too aggressive and getting caught on your heels against a physical offensive line and talented running backs Gore and LaMichael James. The blocking angles and hand-offs from the pistol formation simply provide looks defenders aren’t familiar in dealing with on a weekly basis. Of course, an extra week of preparation will be beneficial to a Baltimore defense that was on the field extensively in its three playoff wins prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“You can’t force it. You’ve got to be patient,” linebacker Albert McClellan said. “You can’t be too patient though, so you have to kind of be on the edge. You’ve just got to have good eyes. Do your job — don’t try to do somebody else’s job. Once you miss your assignment, that’s when the triple-option and the pistol pretty much take advantage of you. You do your job and everybody’s assigned a man, things will work out.”

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will rely on rush linebacker Terrell Suggs and the combination of Courtney Upshaw, Paul Kruger, and Albert McClellan at the strongside linebacker position to maintain the edges, coaxing Kaepernick to settle for inside hand-offs to Gore and preventing the mobile quarterback from getting free into open space to utilize his great speed. The 49ers prefer to run behind left tackle Joe Staley when they aren’t rushing up the middle, which will put pressure on Suggs to make plays against the run like he did in the Denver game when he finished with 10 solo tackles.

Forcing Kaepernick to settle for the inside hand-off will put plenty of responsibility on the Baltimore defensive line, a unit that struggled much of the season due to injuries but has played well in the postseason. The Ravens contained a strong Denver running game and put pressure on Peyton Manning in the divisional round and hounded Tom Brady in the second half of the AFC Championship.

The combination of Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Terrence Cody at the nose tackle position will have a major chore in controlling the line of scrimmage and allowing Lewis and Ellerbe to clean up against Gore’s inside runs.

“Assignment football. Being where you are supposed to be without failure,” defensive line coach Clarence Brooks said. “Right gap, right responsibility on the run, right foot on the blocking schemes, disciplined pass-rushing lanes. Assignment football, being where you’re supposed to be and doing your job. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”

Even if the Ravens play their assignments to perfection, Kaepernick’s big-play ability may not be completely avoidable as he has proven to be a prolific passer, utilizing tight end Vernon Davis and wide receiver Michael Crabtree with great effectiveness. Still, the second-year signal-caller’s legs are the biggest concern after the Ravens were able to handle two top — but also one-dimensional — passers in their last two wins.

“You get through it and everybody knows what to do, and then all of a sudden, the guy pulls the ball and is gone,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “You can’t really replicate that in practice as much as you would like to. That’s always a concern.”

As confident as the Baltimore defense is, the unit is preparing for an unfamiliar look. The similarities are there with Washington’s offensive attack, but the 49ers have a dangerous set of receivers in the passing game and a quarterback reaching an unparalleled level of success with only a half-season of starts under his belt.

The San Francisco offense may not strike fear into opponents’ hearts in the same way the Patriots and Broncos did this season, but the sight of Kaepernick escaping to the outside, looking to run or throw is a scary proposition standing in the way of the Ravens’ second Super Bowl title.

“If he runs, you’ve got to hit him,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “He’s basically a running back who can throw the ball very well. He’s showing people that he’s capable of playing in this league. He’s able to win.”

 

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Kaepernick says Jim Harbaugh vital in preparing him for Super Bowl

Posted on 30 January 2013 by WNST Staff

QUARTERBACK COLIN KAEPERNICK

(on how it will feel to be back out at practice today) “It will be good to get back out there. That’s where we need to be in order to get ready for Sunday.”

 

(on how much head coach Jim Harbaugh has helped him since he is a former quarterback) “He’s been a great coach. He’s done a lot for me – making sure that this team is going, this offense is going, and making sure all of the quarterbacks are ready.”

 

(on what he has done to better himself since getting into the NFL) “I think there is a lot of experience under my belt now. [I’ve had] a lot more time in the offense and on the game field. I think that’s the biggest difference between now and then.”

 

(on the development of WR Michael Crabtree and Kaepernick’s relationship with him) “Crab is a great player. He does a lot of things well and he’s a very physical receiver. He wants to get in the end zone every time he touches the ball. As a quarterback, that’s something you love.”

 

(on whether the coaches and receivers have talked to him about when to throw his ‘fast ball’) “In practice, they do. Come game time though, nobody says anything. Any way that we can get the ball in their hands, they’re going to be happy.”

 

(on distributing his allotment tickets) “I have all of my 15 tickets and I gave them all to my parents to distribute to the rest of the family. That’s not my business.”

 

(on how the 49ers offensive line makes his job easier) “They have been doing a phenomenal job blocking people. In pass protection, I’ve barely been touched. In the run game, they’re opening up huge holes for our running backs. They open up the edges for me when I’ve been running. As an offensive line, they’ve been playing lights out.”

 

(on the transition from not playing to becoming the starting quarterback of a Super Bowl team) “It was tough watching this team do well and not being able to contribute. For me, what kept me going was the fact that I might get an opportunity to get out there. When I did, I need to take advantage of it. I think that is the biggest thing.”

 

(on whether his relationship with QB Alex Smith has gone as well as it could) “I think it has gone about as well as it could. Alex has been phenomenal and he’s done nothing but things to help this team. He’s done nothing but help me. I mean he’s been great through it. To me, I’ve just been keeping my head down and trying to keep working.”

 

(on how crazy the week has been for him) “It’s a little bit weird for me. It’s not necessarily crazy, but it’s something different.”

 

(on his experience being recruited to go to college out of Pittman High School) “My recruitment was very minimal. I had one scholarship offer and that came one week before National Signing Day. To me, it’s something where you just have to hope for an opportunity and do anything you can to get one coach to like you.”

 

(on the challenge of losing WR Mario Manningham and LB Kyle Williams to injury) “It has been tough. I think (RB) Kendall Hunter has been another play that we’ve lost and he was a big contributor to our offense. I think all three of them played major roles and were tough losses. This offense and this team has to adapt to it.”

 

(on what pushed him to pursue a football career over baseball) “I was a better baseball player in high school and a lot more heavily recruited. To me, football is what I love and it’s what I wanted to do.”

 

(on how important it is to have an additional week to get ready for an opponent) “It gives us another week to really scheme up their defense – get extra looks at what they’re doing. We’re really trying to detail them out. Any extra time you can get looking at something, the more comfortable you’re going to be with it, and hopefully, the more prepared you are.”

 

(on working at the Manning Passing Academy and his connection with TE Vernon Davis last week) “I was at the Manning Passing Academy. It was a great experience. I got to meet Peyton and Eli, and get some tips and pointers from them. In terms of Vernon coming alive last week, he’s a matchup nightmare. When he’s against a linebacker or safety, we expect him to win every time. He is really gifted out there.”

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Ngata says Ravens treating Kaepernick preparation like RGIII

Posted on 29 January 2013 by WNST Staff

DEFENSIVE TACKLE HALOTI NGATA

 

(on relationship with Ray Lewis) “Ever since I’ve been here, the communication level has been great.  Now, we don’t really need to say much to each other (on the field).  We know where each other is going to be on the field, and we know what we need to get done.  It comes with experience with each other and a lot of playing together. It’ll be totally different without him here next year.”

 

(on comfort level of having Ray Lewis playing behind him) “It’s huge. His leadership definitely changes the game and changes the way you play.  It’s just great to play with someone like that.  When he retires, it won’t just be weird for our defense but for our whole team.  He does a lot of things to help us.  He’s a great leader.  It’s definitely going to be different next year.”

 

(on what it’s like being in New Orleans) “I haven’t really had a chance yet to check the place out.  I’ll walk around today, look around and check out some of the sights.  It’ll be pretty cool. I’m excited to walk around here.”

 

(on what kind of defensive problems that 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick presents) “You kind of think of him as an RG III (Washington’s Robert Griffin III) type of player.  He can run the ball and he can pass it as well.  We’ve definitely got to do a good job of trying to contain him.  We need to get pressure on him.  It’s going to be a great task for our defense but we’re definitely up for it.  He can hurt you in so many ways passing and running the ball.  When we rush him on passing downs, we can’t just rush up the field because then he can find a lane and run.  With him, you’ve just got to be careful with a lot of the things that you do.”

 

(on strength of Ravens’ defense) “I think it’s definitely our coverage.  Our coverage has done a great job doing what they need to do, and it’s definitely helped us out as a defense.”

 

(on if he considers 49ers offense to be unorthodox) “No, they just really have a multiple offense with a power running game and they also have the option pass.  We kind of think about it as like the Redskins game.  Of course, the 49ers’ running backs are different and they have different type of athletes at wide receiver.  We definitely have to just play our style of ball and not try to do too much.”

 

(on his hit on Robert Griffin III in game against Washington) “I didn’t think I even hit him that hard.  His body just kind of fell underneath me.  Again, I didn’t think I hit him that hard, but when you see the replay, you can see that his leg kind of whipped around.  It kind of blew my mind that he actually got up and started limping off the field.  For him to actually come back in the game and play was unbelievable.”

 

(on having all members of Ravens defense healthy again) “We hadn’t really played much together all season, but now that we’re all healthy with me and Ray (Lewis) and Terrell (Suggs), and we’ve been playing together through the playoffs, it’s been great.”

 

(on if he think this is going to be the Ravens’ year) “I think that three-game losing streak we were on made us think about what we really wanted to do.  We just had to turn it around from there and I think we were able to get back on track.  I don’t think we ever gave up, and we didn’t lose sight of what we wanted to accomplish.”

 

(on the qualities of a good NFL defensive tackle) “Strength and quickness definitely helps, especially being in the middle when there’s so much going on.”

 

(on how he and his teammates are responding to being at the Super Bowl) “A lot of us are taking pictures and trying to record the moment of us flying here.  When our plane touched down, I think a lot of us realized we were here to do a lot of work and also to have some fun.”

 

-more-

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Sunday, January 27, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM BALTIMORE RAVENS MEDIA SESSION

 

MORE DEFENSIVE TACKLE HALOTI NGATA

 

 

(on the most “high maintenance” member of Ravens) “I don’t know about high maintenance but (Bernard) Pollard is kind of an OCD type of guy. He gets worried and kind of freaks out.  You’ve got to make sure that you’re doing the right things or he’ll freak out on you.”

 

(on the toughest guy on the Ravens) “You’re probably looking at him (laughs).  There’s a lot of guys on our team who are really quiet so you have to be careful around them.”

 

(on Coach John Harbaugh) “Coach Harbaugh has done so many things for this team by the way he wanted this team to be and the way he wanted to run it.  The first year or two, we definitely had some disagreements with him, but he definitely listened to some things that the players wanted.  He was able to put his feelings down and let some things happen.  This year has been totally where we’ve been able to communicate with Coach, and Coach has been able to communicate with the players.  He’s done a phenomenal job this whole year of communicating with us, and I think that’s been the biggest change.”

 

(on Coach Harbaugh competing against his brother in the Super Bowl) “We’ve played against them (49ers) before but I definitely think it is kind of weird and different (to compete against your brother).  But you’ve got to be proud of both guys for what they have accomplished. “

 

(on  the food on New Orleans) “I’m looking forward to it.  The Cajun food, the gumbo and all of that.  It’ll be pretty cool to try some of the food around here.”

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Kaepernick doesn’t think God playing favorites in Super Bowl

Posted on 29 January 2013 by WNST Staff

QUARTERBACK COLIN KAEPERNICK

(on his faith) “It’s played a huge role. My faith is something that I lean on every day just to make sure I’m doing the right thing.”

 

(on whether he reads different Bible verses before every game) “I always pray before every game, just thanking the Lord that he woke me up this morning and gave me this opportunity to step on the field.”

 

(on Coach Harbaugh) “He’s been great. He led his team to the Super Bowl. You can’t say enough about him.”

 

(on if he were facing his brother in the Super Bowl) “I would play to win.”

 

(on whether he would use any trickery to beat his brother) “No, I would blow him out.”

 

(on the Ravens game plan to stop the 49ers offense) “Coordinators are always going to figure out different ways to stop different offenses, It’s just another offense that they are going to try and stop.”

 

(on whether he will stay in the pocket more against the Ravens to avoid injury) “If I was worried about my health I wouldn’t be playing football.”

 

(on what makes the read-option so effective) “It makes it 11-on-11 football. You’re actually blocking the defender by reading him.”

 

(on how his faith helps him stay calm during games) “He is always someone I lean on. My faith is something that always keeps my feet on the ground and makes me level-headed.”

 

(on what is necessary for a quarterback to be effective in a read-option) “You need to be able to run and you need to be able to read the defense.”

 

(on how he sees the recent health issues of former players affecting the future of the game) “I’m not sure. That’s really not for me to have a perspective on. I’m just playing today.”

 

(on how his ability to run affects the passing game) “It freezes them a little bit. It gives you a little bit more time. If it’s just a split second, that’s an advantage for the offense.”

 

(on his first NFL start) “It’s always great to get a win, especially in your first start. It was a big stage and that always helps.”

 

(on how he dealt with his first NFL start) “I was very confident.”

 

(on whether he has any new tattoos) “No, I haven’t gotten any new ones. The first one I got was Psalm 18:39, a scroll on my right shoulder.”

 

(on Psalm 18:39) “The verse says, ‘You arm me with strength for battle. You make my adversaries bow at my feet.’ Basically it’s saying that the Lord has given me all the tools to be successful, I just have to go out there and do my part to uphold that.”

 

(on whether he will get any new tattoos) “I have some in the works.”

 

(on the opportunity for an increase in non-traditional quarterbacks) “It just opens the door for athletic quarterbacks to come in and try to make plays.”

 

(on how he stays so calm) “For me, it’s just staying focused on what we’re trying to get done. It’s great to have all these cameras and people here, but we’re here to win a game.”

 

(on whether he thought he would ever play in a Super Bowl) “I dreamed about it.”

 

(on Alex Smith) “Alex (Smith) has been great. He has done everything he can to help me and help this team. To have a veteran quarterback like that on your side, making sure you’re seeing the field well, is always great.”

 

(on the success of the team) “I don’t think it comes easily, but it’s been a lot of hard work, by a lot of my teammates and coaches. Everything has been going well for us.”

 

(on whether he feels pressure playing in the Super Bowl for the first time) “Just because you’re in a situation you haven’t been in before doesn’t mean you have to feel pressure from it.”

 

(on how the read-option now differs from when he ran it in college) “We ran it exclusively in college and here, it’s just bits and pieces of our offense.”

 

(on the Ravens defense) “They’re very physical. They’re a veteran group and have a lot of experience. They do a lot of great things on that side of the ball.”

 

(on some players that have inspired him) “Growing up, Reggie White was someone I always watched, being a Packers fan. Just the way he played the game and handled himself. He was phenomenal.”

 

(on how he is handling his new popularity) “Three months ago I could go anywhere, now it’s a little bit harder.”

 

(on the team’s preparation for the Super Bowl) “Our team is very confident. We put in a lot of hard work. We want to make sure we’re ready for it.”

 

(on whether he is a fan of Ray Lewis) “(I’m a) big fan of Ray Lewis. The intensity he plays the game with and the passion he passion he plays with, I think it’s something every football player likes.”

 

(on Head Coach Jim Harbaugh) “Coach Harbaugh is a great guy. He has done a great job with this team and hopefully we can get this win for him.”

 

(on the effect reading his bible has on him) “It helps me every day.”

 

(on who God is rooting for) “I think God watches over everybody. I don’t think he’s cheering for one team or another. I think he’s helping everybody, just trying to keep everybody safe. He has a plan for everyone.”

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Ravens Arrive in NOLA… on a Business Trip!

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Gary Quill


Nuff Said! GO RAVENS!!! OH-OH OH OH OH OH OH OH-OH!

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49ers Offense is S.O.F.T.

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49ers Offense is S.O.F.T.

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

One of the things that has made this Ravens playoff run especially satisfying for fans of the team has been their ability time and again to prove the national media and the national consensus wrong. The Ravens have been written off at seemingly every turn of their playoff run, and just as quickly as they can prove the doubters and their perceptions wrong, along comes a new opponent with a fresh set of reasons to write off a team whose accomplishments have been diminished far too easily and often as emotion and destiny.


The sad fact, for football fans in general, is that the more you that watch games and then compare what you’ve seen to what the pundits are spewing, the quicker you come to realize that those who are paid to opine and comment on football games can’t seem to be bothered to actually watch much football. Instead it seems that many have defaulted into the habit of watching whatever games are of local interest to them or are being served up in their areas, along with the prime time games, and then forming their opinions on the rest of the field based on what they’ve seen in highlight packages or heard from someone else.

That being the case, this seems to be a Super Bowl match-up served specifically into the collective wheelhouse of the lazy media, as there’s little useful film on either of these teams outside of their playoff games. The Ravens changed offensive coordinators near the end of their season and took a couple of weeks to find a rhythm as an offense. Also, the national media seems to have been mesmerized by the Ray Lewis story to such an extent that they’ve missed the biggest single reason for the Ravens improved results, the inclusion of Bryant McKinnie on the offensive line. McKinnie’s presence has not only improved the Ravens at left tackle, but by casting Michael Oher back to right tackle has improved the team there too, and that move having pushed Kelechi Osemele to left guard has improved a 3rd offensive line position making the impact of McKinnie exponential.

The results have been undeniable, quarterback Joe Flacco, now better protected seems to have more time and confidence in the pocket allowing him to focus downfield and utilize his greatest strength, his strong and accurate arm. In the lead-up to the Broncos game, no one was suggesting that Denver had an issue in their secondary, because they hadn’t shown one all year. Hindsight now shows that perhaps the edge rush capabilities of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil was a big part of the secondary’s success. When that pass rush was neutralized by the Ravens new look offensive line, the secondary couldn’t find an answer and the rest was academic.

Hindsight as well would suggest that the “finesse” offenses of the Broncos and Patriots weren’t ready to respond to the physical style of play that the Ravens defense brings regularly. The evidence, on the Patriots side of the equation was there based on their previous meetings with the Ravens, as well as their inability to deal with the physical defensive stylings of the 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals. The NFC West, it seems, is becoming very AFC North-like when it comes to defensive prowess.

As the Ravens and 49ers prepare to meet for a title, the read option offense run by the Niners and the bold decision by coach Jim Harbaugh to change quarterbacks mid-season are the talk of the football world. What’s being overlooked however, probably because of the physical nature of San Francisco’s defense, is that their offense hasn’t exactly responded well to the physical style of play the Ravens defense projects to bring to the table against them. The Niners are bullies on defense but may be prone to getting bullied on offense.

The 49ers are a Slick Offensive Football Team. Their current brand of offense is geared more toward getting defenses off balance and tricking them than it is to simply lining up and beating teams physically. There’s nothing wrong with that, as league-wide there are plenty of teams finding success with that formula; unfortunately for San Francisco, they haven’t been finding success against defenses like the Ravens.

Slick Offensive Football Team = S.O.F.T.

While Colin Kaepernick seems to be the wildcard in the assessment of the 49ers offense, the team’s handling of Kaepernick makes it even wilder. Not only did the Niners change QBs mid-season, but even after making the change they seemed to try making him fit into a pro-style offense and force him to be a pocket QB. Once the playoffs came around though, the Niners have gone much more read option heavy and as a result, much like the Ravens, it becomes difficult to draw many conclusions about the 49ers based on anything other than their playoff games based on a glaring and dramatic change in strategy.

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Most Important Individual Matchups in Super Bowl XLVII

Posted on 28 January 2013 by jeffreygilley

Super Bowl 47 is filled with many fantastic individual matchups. In this article, I will list what I consider to be the most important matchups as well as who has the edge in that matchup.

Ed Reed VS Colin Kaepernick

Ed Reed’s legacy is on the line in this game. Even without a Super Bowl ring, you could make an argument that Reed is the best safety to ever play the game. So, with a ring, would that even become an argument? That will be discussed no matter the outcome of the Super Bowl.

Kaepernick is not a one trick pony. He can make any throw and loves to throw the ball deep to Vernon Davis. Therefore, Ed Reed should have plenty of opportunities to make plays against a young quarterback.

Ed Reed has two weeks to prepare for this offense. Therefore, I give the advantage to Reed.

Edge: Ed Reed

Ray Lewis VS Frank Gore

Ray Lewis did not play against the 49ers last season. Because of his absence, the 49ers have not played against a linebacker with Ray’s instincts and intensity. While Ray has lost a step, Gore is not the type of player that can consistently break long runs. Therefore, Ray will be able to keep up with Gore.

These two players are simply too good to give the advantage to one player or another. Frank Gore has played against the Ravens twice, once in 2007 and the other in 2011. In those games, Gore has averaged only 45.5 yards rushing. But in those games, Gore’s offensive line was not as talented as it is this season.

Edge: Even

Justin Smith VS Kelechi Osemele

From watching the 49ers postseason games with an injured Justin Smith, it’s no secret that they have struggled to apply pressure. Aldon Smith has struggled mightily since Justin Smith’s injury but when the two are healthy, the two are a terrifying combination.

Justin Smith will be moved around but for the most part, will be matched up with Kelechi Osemele. Osemele played well at tackle but at this point in his career, is better at guard. Osemele is one of the bigger guards in the league and that should help him against Smith.

Osemele will also have to watch out for Aldon Smith, who runs a lot of stunts to the interior of the offensive line.

Despite Osemele’s talent, Smith is a veteran and giving him the edge is a no-brainer.

Edge: Justin Smith.

Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher VS Aldon Smith

On August 25, the 49ers traveled to New Orleans to play the Saints. In that game, Aldon Smith recorded 1.5 sacks, which gave him 30.5 sacks for his career. This, in turn made him the fastest player to reach 30 sacks. Who did he pass on his way to that record you ask? Reggie White.

Obviously, Smith is doing something right. The supremely athletic linebacker/defensive end seems to play better on big stages and none is bigger than the Super Bowl. Oher should be able to hold his own but the much older McKinnie will have his hands full. On passing downs, expect to see Ray Rice or Vonta Leach in pass protection to help slow down Smith. Running some screens where Rice blocks and then releases on a pass route will also help slow down Smith.

Edge when against McKinnie: Aldon Smith
Edge when against Oher: even

Vonta Leach VS Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman

Of all the matchups in the Super Bowl, this might be the best. In 2011, Leach and Willis exchanged blows and Leach embarrassed Willis on one particular play.

Willis is widely considered the best linebacker in the NFL and Bowman is not far behind him. Expect this to be a back and forth battle for the entire game.

Edge: Even

Conclusion
There are many matchups that are evenly matched. Therefore, this game will come down to lesser-known players making big plays. For the 49ers, the two most likely players to play that role are LaMichael James and Delanie Walker. For the Ravens, Jimmy Smith and Tandon Doss are the most likely candidates.

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