Tag Archive | "Colin Kaepernick"

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Newsome denies report of Bisciotti blocking Kaepernick signing

Posted on 02 August 2017 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome says no decision has been made on the status of Colin Kaepernick and that owner Steve Bisciotti has not blocked his potential signing.

Making his first public comment on the polarizing quarterback, Newsome responded to an ESPN report Wednesday morning saying the Baltimore owner was resisting Kaepernick’s addition. The report stated that Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh are on board for his signing.

“We are going through a process, and we have not made a decision,” Newsome said in a statement released by the team. “Steve Bisciotti has not told us we cannot sign Colin Kaepernick, nor has he blocked the move. Whoever is making those claims is wrong.”

Bisciotti spoke at length about Kaepernick during a fan forum at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday and expressed uncertainty about whether the former San Francisco 49er would help the Ravens win games. Admitting he didn’t agree with all of Kaepernick’s protest methods, Bisciotti said the organization has consulted with current and former players and received plenty of feedback from fans on the issue.

Starting quarterback Joe Flacco remains sidelined with a back issue while backup Ryan Mallett has struggled in the first week of training camp, leading many to clamor for Kaepernick’s signing. Harbaugh had no new information on Kaepernick after Wednesday’s practice.

“I do not have an update on Colin Kaepernick or our quarterback situation,” Harbaugh said. “Really, I’ll frame that this way: there are other positions we’re looking at too and I don’t have any updates on those, either. So, I think they’re all in the same category.”

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Bisciotti not sure Kaepernick would help Ravens win games

Posted on 30 July 2017 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Owner Steve Bisciotti says the Ravens are still weighing the possibility of signing Colin Kaepernick, but he isn’t sure whether the polarizing quarterback would help his team win games.

Speaking to fans at a special forum that included NFL commissioner Roger Goodell prior to Sunday’s practice at M&T Bank Stadium, Bisciotti said he is still discussing the matter with team president Dick Cass, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and head coach John Harbaugh while also surveying current and former players for their opinions. As Harbaugh indicated Friday, the status of starting quarterback Joe Flacco, who is currently sidelined with a bad back, remains the biggest variable in the decision-making process from a football standpoint.

Cass confirmed during the forum that the Ravens have had direct discussions with Kaepernick, who has expressed his desire to continue his football career.

“We do want to win games, and I’m not sure right now that he is going to help us do that,” Bisciotti said. “We’re monitoring Joe. We’ve talked to Joe about it. We’re monitoring [Ryan] Mallett. We’re keeping our door open. We’ve talked about [Robert Griffin III], bringing him in for a workout.”

Bisciotti admitted he wasn’t a fan of seeing Kaepernick sit during the national anthem last preseason, but he gained more respect for the former San Francisco 49er’s protest when he began kneeling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the 2016 preseason finale and continued that practice in the regular season.

The Ravens have said they’ve received plenty of fan feedback over the last few days and have carefully considered how Kaepernick’s signing would impact their brand.

“Colin’s made some assurances — I think through his intermediaries — that there would be no protesting, that he would be standing for the [national anthem],” Bisciotti said. “To quantify hurting the brand, I know that we’re going to upset some people and I know that we’re going to make people happy that we stood up for somebody that has the right to do what he did.

“Nonviolent protesting is something that we’ve all embraced.”

The Ravens had $6.956 million in salary cap space entering Sunday, but they then signed former New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell to a spot on their 90-man roster. Mallett, the current backup, was re-signed to a one-year, $2 million with a $1 million signing bonus in March.

Below is Bisciotti’s complete answer to a fan’s question about the potential impact a Kaepernick signing would have on the Ravens’ brand:

We are very sensitive to it. It’s been discussed between Dick and Ozzie and John, and we’ve talked to a lot of our current players and a lot of our former players. I was speaking to Ray Lewis this morning. I know Ozzie had a long conversation with Ben Watson. I wouldn’t divulge people’s opinions, but I think you’d be kind of shocked at some people that are against it and some people that are for it. It’s not racial lines. It’s not existing players versus former players. I care about the fan base, but I have to absorb the opinions of the players that have been there.

Colin’s made some assurances I think through his intermediaries that there would be no protesting, that he would be standing for the [national anthem]. To quantify hurting the brand, I know that we’re going to upset some people and I know that we’re going to make people happy that we stood up for somebody that has the right to do what he did. Nonviolent protesting is something that we’ve all embraced. I don’t like the way he did it. Personally, I kind of liked it a lot when he went from sitting to kneeling. I don’t know. I’m Catholic [and] we spend a lot of time kneeling. When I saw him develop last year and went from sitting to kneeling next to his teammates, I liked that. I just thought, ‘OK, if it’s still a silent protest, I don’t think that the level of disrespect is as strong that way.’

We do want to win games, and I’m not sure right now that he is going to help us do that. We’re monitoring Joe. We’ve talked to Joe about it. We’re monitoring Mallett. We’re keeping our door open. We’ve talked about [Robert Griffin III], bringing him in for a workout.

All I would ask is to just talk to your neighbors and your friends and your co-workers, too, because I think you’ll just get the same sense that I got. Wow, every time I hear something negative, I hear something positive and sometimes it shocks me who it’s coming from. I hope we do what is best for the team and balance that with what’s best for our fans. Your opinions matter to us, and you couldn’t get a consensus in here, either. Every time there’s a sensitive subject, we know.

When I fired [Brian] Billick nine years ago, it sounded like 90 percent of the people in Baltimore wanted me to fire him until I fired him and then I found out 80 percent thought I was an idiot. You’ve got to be careful about the vocal minority. They have the tendency to seem to be a bigger group than they are.

We’re very sensitive to it, and we’re monitoring it. We’re still, as Ozzie says, scrimmaging it, and we’re trying to figure out what’s the right tact. So, pray for us.

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Ravens remain in holding pattern with Flacco resting back

Posted on 28 July 2017 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are in a holding pattern with franchise quarterback Joe Flacco continuing to rest his ailing back.

The concern is hardly dire yet with the season opener still six weeks away, but that could change if the 32-year-old doesn’t respond favorably to the rest and treatment he’s receiving over the first week of training camp. Back injuries can be complicated and often linger if not handled carefully, making it wise for the Ravens to take their time with their most important player.

Of course, that hasn’t slowed the red-hot discussion about whether Baltimore should sign polarizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unemployed despite clearly possessing the talent to play in a league that lacks quality signal-callers. Over the last two days, head coach John Harbaugh has heaped plenty of praise on Kaepernick, who played for his brother and Ravens senior offensive assistant Greg Roman in San Francisco.

But it’s complicated.

“We’ll just see how it plays out. It has to do with our need,” Harbaugh said. “Joe is day to day. Do we really need to make that move or not? That’s the decision that really has to be made. There are a lot of layers to it, just from a football standpoint. I’ll focus on the football part.

“If there are other layers to it, then that’s taken into consideration at the appropriate level.”

Those other layers are very relevant from a business standpoint and primarily concern owner Steve Bisciotti and team president Dick Cass, but let’s focus on football, roster construction, and the salary cap. Your opinion on the non-football part of the discussion is unlikely to be swayed at this point anyway, whether you’re pounding the desk for him to be wearing purple or threatening to cancel your season tickets over his potential signing.

The newly-signed David Olson is irrelevant to this debate. Harbaugh said Thursday that the Ravens needed to add a camp “arm” immediately, and Olson merely assumed the reps that assistant coach Matt Weiss was forced to take because there were only two healthy quarterbacks on the field for Thursday’s full-squad practice involving a total of 85 players. The former arena quarterback isn’t replacing Flacco or backup Ryan Mallett and didn’t take a potential spot from Kaepernick, either.

That brings us to Mallett. In a vacuum, Kaepernick is the better quarterback who brings much more experience to the table. The incumbent backup possesses a similar skill set to Flacco that does make for an easy short-term transition from a schematic standpoint, but the Ravens also employed Tyrod Taylor as their backup for four years, making you think a difference in style shouldn’t be a major deterrent with all things being equal.

But Mallett was just signed to a one-year, $2 million contract with a $1 million signing bonus at the start of free agency back in March, which suggests they at least had a comfort level in him as a backup less than five months ago. You can fairly question the wisdom in re-signing him so quickly if they’re no longer enamored with his performance, which has been poor over the first couple days of camp.

According to the NFL Players Association, the Ravens currently have $6.881 million in salary cap space, a number that will shrink at the end of the preseason when the Rule of 51 no longer applies and teams must fit their entire 53-man roster, their players on injured reserve, and their 10-man practice squad under the cap. In other words, the Ravens do not have much flexibility right now and will still need a “rainy day” fund when other roster needs arise over the duration of the season.

Signing Kaepernick and cutting Mallett — assuming the Ravens would continue their current eight-year trend of entering a season with just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster — would leave $1 million of dead money on the cap. In other words, the Ravens would need to add that amount to whatever they would give Kaepernick, making his salary expectations quite relevant to this discussion. His ability suggests that he should be worth much more, but we know how his story has played out throughout the offseason and we don’t know if he would accept the veteran minimum or a little more than that.

As it stands, general manager Ozzie Newsome maybe has one moderate signing he can make without having to restructure veteran contracts and impacting future cap years. With so much concern along the offensive line as well as questions at other positions such as tight end and running back, should improving the backup quarterback spot really be a top priority? If there are questions about the offense with Flacco under center, would you rather have Kaepernick standing on the sideline as an insurance policy or add another offensive lineman that’s going to see the field and better protect a quarterback whose health is potentially in question?

Of course, that brings us back to the current holding pattern.

If the Ravens are more concerned about Flacco’s long-term availability going into the regular season than they’re currently indicating, Kaepernick makes plenty of sense. In a worst-case scenario, Roman could dust off some zone-read packages from his San Francisco days and allow Kaepernick to better utilize his athleticism in what would be viewed by some as a throwaway season anyway if the franchise quarterback were to be on the shelf.

If Flacco’s back is perfectly fine in a week or two, however, pumping more dollars into the quarterback position doesn’t seem like the best allocation of resources for a team desperate to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Yes, Kaepernick is good enough to play in this league, either as a starter or as a high-quality backup. He deserves to have that opportunity somewhere.

But the timing and conditions of a potential marriage with the Ravens will be on their terms.

And that’s not even considering those other layers currently being discussed by the powers that be.

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With Flacco sidelined, Ravens not ruling out signing Kaepernick

Posted on 27 July 2017 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After confirming Joe Flacco would receive a week of rest for his ailing back to begin training camp, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh brought up the name on many minds before he could even be asked the question.

Citing a good relationship that began when his brother, Jim, was still the head coach in San Francisco, Harbaugh acknowledged the possibility of the Ravens adding ex-49er Colin Kaepernick. The polarizing quarterback remains unsigned with many believing that the NFL has blackballed him for choosing not to stand during the national anthem as a form of protest during the 2016 season.

Kaepernick has said that he was making a statement about the oppression of non-white races and social inequality in the United States, but an ESPN report in March indicated that the 29-year-old plans to once again stand for the anthem this season after believing his message had been heard.

“He and I have been talking throughout the summer a number of times,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve had some great conversations on the phone. It’s really been a pleasure to talk to him and get to know him. I like history and politics and stuff, too, so we’ve had some debates. It’s been fun, and he’s a great guy. He’s a guy right now that’s being talked about, and we’ll just see what happens with that. I think that would all be speculation right now, but I think he’s a really good football player. As I said at the owners’ meetings, I do believe he’ll be playing in the National Football League this year.”

The Ravens currently have just two healthy quarterbacks on their 90-man roster as projected backup Ryan Mallett handled the starting reps and the little-known Dustin Vaughan struggled mightily during Thursday’s practice. With the shortage of signal-callers on the field, offensive assistant Matt Weiss was even handling some snaps during a few drills.

Harbaugh confirmed that the Ravens would definitely be adding another training camp “arm” to handle reps, but he emphasized that Kaepernick would be more than that, labeling him an “accomplished” player. Despite beginning the 2016 season as the backup to Blaine Gabbert, the Super Bowl XLVII quarterback threw for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions with a 90.7 passer rating in 12 games. Kaepernick visited with Seattle in late May, but no other teams with serious interest have been reported since he became a free agent in March.

Safety Eric Weddle, who rapidly became one of the team leaders upon arriving in Baltimore last year, took a pragmatic stance on the possibility of Kaepernick — or any other outsider — becoming a Raven.

“I don’t really care who they bring in, what they do,” Weddle said. “If it helps our team, bring them all in. That’s upstairs. That’s for the coaching staff and Ozzie [Newsome] and Eric [DeCosta] and [Steve] Bisciotti to figure out who they want to bring in. Whether he’s the right guy, I don’t really know, I don’t really care. We’re just trying to be the best team.”

The Ravens’ true level of interest likely depends on the health of Flacco, who only reported his back discomfort to the team Wednesday when he arrived at the training facility. Mallett was re-signed to a one-year, $2 million contract at the start of free agency, which leads one to believe that the organization is comfortable with him as the backup quarterback.

While much of the outside world salivates over the possibility of Kaepernick landing in Baltimore, Harbaugh is keeping his fingers crossed that Flacco will be back on the field sooner than later.

“It flared up a little bit, and he went and saw the back specialist,” said Harbaugh, who dismissed any concern that Flacco wouldn’t be ready for the start of the regular season. “They’re recommending about a week of rest. They say that should take care of it. I guess with a back, you can always say, ‘We’ll see.’ All indications from the back specialist, Dr. [John] Carbone, are that he should be fine in about a week, and that’s what we’ll be hoping for and praying for.”

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Flacco reportedly to miss start of training camp with back issue

Posted on 26 July 2017 by Luke Jones

The Ravens have already endured a litany of injuries since the start of spring workouts, but the eve of training camp brought an unsettling development for their most important player.

According to multiple outlets, quarterback Joe Flacco will miss the start of camp with a disc issue in his back. It remains uncertain how long the 10th-year signal-caller will be out, but an NFL Network report suggested he could miss as much as three to six weeks, which wouldn’t leave a great deal of time ahead of the Sept. 10 season opener.

The Ravens have yet to comment publicly on Flacco’s health or status, but head coach John Harbaugh is scheduled to speak with the media after the first full-squad practice of the summer on Thursday morning. A recent media advisory sent out by the team’s public relations staff had Flacco scheduled to meet with reporters Friday, but it’s unclear whether that session will still take place.

The Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player hadn’t missed a game in his career until tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee in the latter half of the 2015 season and missing the final six games. Flacco, 32, returned for the start of training camp last year and started all 16 games, but he missed some practice time with a tender shoulder ahead of the Week 7 loss to the New York Jets.

Though eclipsing the 4,000-yard mark for the first time in his career, Flacco is coming off a down season in which he threw only 20 touchdowns and averaged 6.4 yards per pass attempt, which ranked 27th out of 30 qualified quarterbacks. The Ravens are counting on a bounce-back campaign to help them return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“He is the guy that makes the whole offense go,” said wide receiver Mike Wallace on Wednesday before word of Flacco’s back discomfort surfaced. “Just getting more time with him and him being healthy the whole offseason and being able to work with him even more just puts us in a better position and a better place.

“Even though I think from Day 1 last year in training camp, he was ready to go, but just for him to be healthy and not have to worry about his knee at all and just get the time from Day 1 and [organized team activities] and everything, we all feel more confident.”

Of course, back problems can be volatile, so the Ravens will want to be cautious with their franchise quarterback at this early stage of the summer.

The injury leaves Baltimore with just two healthy quarterbacks — backup Ryan Mallett and the little-known Dustin Vaughan — for the start of camp. Even if Flacco were only to miss a week or two, the Ravens would likely prefer to add another quarterback to merely share practice reps.

A longer absence would bring a more compelling discussion as media and fans were already speculating Wednesday evening about the possibility of the Ravens adding veteran Colin Kaepernick, whose continued unemployment has led many to believe he’s been blackballed by the NFL after choosing not to stand for the national anthem as a form of protest during the 2016 season. In addition to playing for Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, Kaepernick was tutored by current Ravens senior offensive assistant Greg Roman, the 49ers’ offensive coordinator from 2011-2014.

The Flacco news came just a day after second-year running back Kenneth Dixon underwent season-ending knee surgery. Baltimore also lost cornerback Tavon Young (knee) and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) to season-ending injuries during spring OTAs. Tight end Darren Waller was also suspended for a year for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

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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

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

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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