Tag Archive | "Colin Kaepernick"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.”

Comments Off on Ngata says Ravens treating Kaepernick preparation like RGIII

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.”

Comments Off on Kaepernick doesn’t think God playing favorites in Super Bowl

SB-Ravens-49ers-Arrival

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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!

Comments Off on Ravens Arrive in NOLA… on a Business Trip!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Comments Off on Most Important Individual Matchups in Super Bowl XLVII

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Kaepernick admires Ray Lewis’ passion, intensity

Posted on 28 January 2013 by WNST Staff

QUARTERBACK COLIN KAEPERNICK

(on the Ravens defensive line) “They are very physical, very big and take up a lot of space.”

(on if playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome earlier this year was beneficial in getting ready for the Super Bowl) “It is always good to be familiar with where you are playing. How beneficial is Sunday? It’s just being familiar with it, but you still have to go out and play.”

(on how playoff pressure is different from regular-season pressure) “I’ve said this before. Pressure, I feel like, comes from lack of preparation. This isn’t going to be a pressure situation, it is going to be a matter of going out there and performing physically.”

(on his routine during Super Bowl week) “The same routine we had when we were back in San Francisco.”

(on the difference of regular-season flights and this one to Super Bowl) “Just a bigger plane.”

(on the best advice Randy Moss has given him during the season) “Just go out and play like yourself. Randy has been in my ear about going out and playing like myself and making sure I am relaxed out there.”

(on if the possibility that the Super Bowl might be Moss’ last game is being overlooked) “Yeah. Randy is going to be a Hall-of-Fame player, and he is someone who deserves a Super Bowl ring. We want to send him out the right way.”

(on if the 49ers were told to ‘take it all in’ during their previous trip to New Orleans) “No one said anything about that. We were focused on that time at that moment.”

(on 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh facing his brother, John, in the Super Bowl) “That is a great thing for their family. I think it’s the first time in history, so that is something special for them.”

(on if he imagined himself starting at the Super Bowl at the start of the season) “At the start of the season, I was just hoping to get on the field some way, somehow.”

(on his progression to the starting job at quarterback) “When I first started starting, I was just trying to do well and make sure we were winning games. Things have gone right while we have been playing. We’re here.”

(on maintaining positive attitude when he was not playing) “That is just being focused on what you are trying to achieve. My dad was always in my ear, saying ‘Stay focused, and keep working hard.’ That is what I try to do.”

(on his relationship with Alex Smith before and after he became a starter) “It is the same. We are both trying to help this team get better and be the best team we can be. Anything we can do to make this team better, and help us win this game, we are going to do.”

(on when Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke came to see him at Nevada, and the throwing contest between him and Harbaugh) “We had a few competitions, different drills and different accuracy things. Just head up and see who could compete and win. We had different goal-post throws, who could throw a better spiral, things like that. I let him win the first one, and I won the rest.”

(on how beneficial it is to have a head coach who was a NFL quarterback) “It is very beneficial. He knows what you are looking at, and he knows what you are going through. It makes it easier for him to relate.”

(on how he would describe the locker room right now) “It is really like a family. We are around each other more than we are around anybody else. The time we spend together, and the hard work we put in together, it is going to build a close team.”

(on what his greatest Super Bowl memory as a fan was) “I don’t know. I can’t pick one out. I just remember growing up watching the Super Bowl and being a big fan of it.”

(on who was his favorite quarterback) “I was always a (Brett) Favre fan. I was born in Wisconsin, and my whole family was Packers fans, so I grew up watching him.”

(on his preparation for the Super Bowl) “It is just head-down, keep working. This isn’t a time to relax and get out of your routine or stop working hard. This is when you should be working your hardest.”

(on how much he sees of himself in head coach Jim Harbaugh) “I think both of us are very competitive. We want to do whatever it takes to win, so that is where the emotion and the excitement comes from.”

(on if too much is made of the quarterback play in the pistol and read-option) “I think people have put too much focus on me. I don’t think they realize the other weapons we have on this team. I don’t think they realize the great offensive line that we have. There are a lot of other parts on this team that do great things to make it easy for me to go out there.”

(on what he remembers about Ray Lewis as a player and person) “I have never met him, but his intensity that he brings to the game and the passion that he plays with is very admirable.”

(on why he liked Brett Favre growing up) “The passion he played with. He went out there and played like a kid. He was never afraid to take a chance making a throw. He was going to lay it on the line.”

(on risk-taking as a quarterback like Favre did) “I think it is being smart and taking calculated risks. You don’t want to just be throwing balls up, but there are also times where you have to take chances.”

(on what his biggest adjustment was during his rookie season) “The biggest thing in my rookie year was the terminology of the playbook was completely different from what I was used to. Just picking up on that was the biggest task.”

(on what his biggest memory of the 49ers was as a fan) “My biggest memory of the 49ers was when they beat the Packers in the playoffs (in 1999) with T.O. (Terrell Owens) down the middle.”

(on if there was a question if he was going to be the primary backup at the start of the season) “Yes, there was.”

(on what the competition was in training camp for the backup role) “It was hard work, and it was a competition. I was trying to do everything I could to prove that I needed to be at least No. 2, and that I could go out and play.”

(on if he thought that the college offense would work in the NFL) “I thought it would work to some extent. I didn’t think it was something you could run every play. There are too many good athletes on defense at this level. Not so much the speed, just the fact that everybody is good on defense. There are not really too many people you can just pick on in the NFL like there is in college.”

-SB XLVII-

Comments Off on Kaepernick admires Ray Lewis’ passion, intensity

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jim Harbaugh not sure Superdome experience benefits Kaepernick, 49ers

Posted on 27 January 2013 by WNST Staff

HEAD COACH JIM HARBAUGH

 

(on the benefits of having Colin Kaepernick making his first road start in the Superdome) “What are the benefits? He’s played in this stadium, just as all our team has. I don’t know how much of an advantage that is. I can’t really put an advantage quota on it.”

 

(on if he tried to keep the routine normal this week before coming to New Orleans) “Not to go into the plan of what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to accomplish, we got a good idea. It’s what we’ve done and it’s been successful so far. Our team has been really focused on winning, focused on the unity of the team. I think it’s really genuine. I think it’s the best focus on unity and winning that I’ve ever seen or been a part of. This week, we tried to make it like a normal week, being here on Sunday, in the city starting Monday like it’s a week leading up to a Sunday game is our plan.”

 

(on playing for Coach George Seifert and what he learned) “Quite a bit. It was a real pleasure to work with George Seifert, to get a chance to know him. I didn’t get on the field that year. One of the great things was being able to meet Greg Roman, who was an assistant offensive line coach at the time. I was just so impressed with his knowledge of football and the kind of guy he was. We struck up a very good friendship within the first couple weeks I was there. I made friends right off the bat. Later, getting a chance to work with him was a real great thing for us.”

 

(on if he has spoken to any other Super Bowl coaches to get any insight on how to prepare for Super Bowl week and what the special challenges are being a first time Super Bowl coach) “No real in depth types of things. I had a short conversation with Bill Cowher when he was out interviewing some of our players. I was on a radio show the other day and John Madden was on as well—a couple short comments as well. (The challenge is) that you haven’t done it before. Its uncharted waters for a rookie Super Bowl coach, but that’s exciting too. We have a great thrill and great desire to be in uncharted waters. Our coaches and our players have always relished that and strived in that type of environment.”

 

(on coaching a franchise that has never lost a Super Bowl and his plans for working with the team this week) “There is a great 49er history with our team and we’re proud of that. As far as working during the week, meetings, practices and that will be our focus each day. There will be weight lifting involved tomorrow and meetings and practices.”

 

(on Bill Walsh dressing up as a bell man before his first Super Bowl and if he sees any need to add some levity for his players and if they need anything to ease the pressure) “Dashon Goldson had a quote on our quote board about two and a half weeks ago that ‘We get fresher under pressure.’ That bodes well for us.”

 

(on what he recalls about the 49ers and their dominance in the 80s) “What I remember, I played against some of those teams. As you described, dominant. The organization has a tremendous history and we’re very proud of it. This is new business and our team is focused on winning a championship.”

 

(on how much of himself does he see in Colin Kaepernick in terms of his attitude and passion for the game) “I shared this with some of our beat writers a week and a half ago, but it’s true. It’s a true story. When Colin is running and the stride that he has, the gracefulness with his stride, the ground that he covers, how fast and quick he is reminds me of myself. Then I wake up. But when I dream and have visions of how I run personally, it’s the way Colin runs.”

 

(on how important Trent Baalke has been to the makeup of the team) “Very important. A key integral member. It’s a team effort. We’ve always said that. Everyone does a little and it adds up to be a lot. That’s been our approach.”

 

(on if he has been to a Super Bowl before and if so, what was his experience like) “Yes, I have attended Super Bowls in the past. For example, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers two years ago. I was at this Super Bowl in New Orleans when San Francisco played Denver and there might have been one other one along the way. There might have been a couple other ones.”

(on him being a gutsy quarterback when he played in the NFL) “Can you spread the word on that a little? Can you get that out? Try not to keep that to yourself. I appreciate it.”

 

(on whether he ever second-guessed himself after replacing Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick) “Alex had played a lot more than two good games. He had played 26, 28 really good games. I thought it was a unique situation. Viewed it that way when it happened. My experience had always been that when it comes to playing the best quarterback, or playing the quarterback with the hot hand, it was choosing between two guys that were struggling, at least in my own personal experience. That was far from the case that we were looking at at the time. Two quarterbacks that were playing extremely well. Made the decision that we thought was best for our team.”

 

(on whether he will allow Colin Kaepernick to make his own reads or if he will develop specific plays for him and the running game) “First of all, I wouldn’t categorize Colin as a read-option quarterback, for starters. Then, to answer your question, all of those things would be possibilities. We’d love for our opponent to consider them all. Colin is extremely talented at the read-option, he’s extremely talented throwing the football as well. There are a lot of options we could go.”

 

(on whether he considers this week as a distraction to the players) “I think it’s a good thing that we’ve done this, really the last two years. We’ve stayed in a hotel, had our meetings in a hotel and then go to a facility to practice and get ready for the game. Same approach as always, really. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the preparation. I think that’s what our team enjoys the most, the practice, the meetings and especially the competition. Gearing up for the competitive nature of a football game, a championship game. Very excited about it.”

 

(on what led him to decide to stick with most of the players that were there when he was named head coach) “Just watching the tape. One conversation at a time with the players, getting to know them. We realized that we had a lot of character and we had a lot of talent.”

 

(on whether he had talked to his brother about one day meeting in the Super Bowl) “No, not as kids. At Gettysburg, our conversations about facing each other were the November 25th game that we knew was on the schedule, the Thanksgiving game.”

 

(on how much credit he gives Colin Kaepernick for being the difference maker) “It’s been a team effort. Feel like there’s a lot of people that have a lot of fingerprints on this team’s success. Like I said, the team has been focused on the unity of the team and on winning better than any team I’ve ever seen or been around. Really credit that to the men in the locker room. They enjoy each other’s company. They like being around each other and they like competing. They hold themselves to a high standard in terms of that. Colin’s play has been outstanding. He deserves tremendous amount of credit for that. He, like the rest of the guys on the team, are focused on the opportunity to play and win a championship.”

 

(on whether he scheduled all the way up to the Super Bowl when planning in the offseason) “You definitely have a plan. You also have a feel, as well. Really, both of those things were at work.”

 

(on what Patrick Willis has meant to the team) “So much, Patrick Willis means to our team. He’s part of the fabric of the character of the defense and of the team. Very humble person. There are two kinds of people: the people that get the job done, and the people that want to take credit for getting the job done. It’s far less competitive in the second case. Patrick Willis is certainly a get-the-job-done type of guy. That just influences, and the rest of the team feed off of that.”

 

(on why he decided not to play it safe and start Colin Kaepernick) “I described it in my own personality, we did what we thought was best for the team. We did what we thought would give us the best chance to win games. That’s my personality.”

 

Comments Off on Jim Harbaugh not sure Superdome experience benefits Kaepernick, 49ers

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens not looking to “replace” Lewis — because they can’t

Posted on 22 January 2013 by Luke Jones

As the Ravens begin preparations to play in Super Bowl XLVII, the finality has set in about inside linebacker Ray Lewis playing his final game on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.

The 37-year-old will offer his final pre-game speech prior to the game and, presumably, dance for the final time in front of the entire world as the Ravens seek their second NFL championship and first since Jan. 28, 2001. However, questions and concerns continue to exist about the daunting task of replacing Lewis’ impeccable leadership.

In addition to being regarded as one of the best defensive players in NFL history, Lewis is considered one of the greatest and most emotional leaders the sport has ever seen. Regardless of what happens against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, how do the Ravens fill that enormous void?

“He’s a guy who is ‘The Raven,'” safety Bernard Pollard said. “We respect him. When he speaks, everybody stops, everybody hears him. He’s kept this team together. He’s kept this organization together in so many ways, and we are all in this together. We want to go win this thing.”

The reality is that the Ravens won’t do anything differently to replace Lewis, in terms of his play on the field or his leadership. The talk in recent drafts of needing to find an “heir apparent” such as Dont’a Hightower or Vontaze Burfict or Manti Te’o has always been amusing in the sense that you never knowingly find a Hall of Fame player. Yes, someone will assume his position next season, but the Ravens will use the same approach they use for any other position on the field in looking for the right player at the right price or value, whether it comes via free agency or the draft.

Even more interesting is the discussion over how Lewis’ leadership will be replaced in the locker room. Candidates certainly exist such as quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, or even linebacker Terrell Suggs, but the Ravens cannot and will not alter their approach or ask any one individual to change who they are.

Lewis’ absence will be felt throughout the organization, and no one will replace the immense impact he provides in the same way. The post-Lewis era needs to be cultivated organically in the sense that the Ravens have other players they feel can be leaders — even if that leadership won’t include the same demonstrative theatrics or impassioned speeches.

The reality is the Ravens already have other leaders in their locker room, including players who have been drafted over the years and even free-agent signings. Flacco and Rice are leaders in a different sense than Lewis despite only completing their fifth season. General manager Ozzie Newsome has also combed the market in recent seasons for free agents who have provided leadership qualities in different areas such as center Matt Birk, defensive end Cory Redding (now with the Indianapolis Colts), and Pollard.

The Ravens will never look or feel the same way following Super Bowl XLVII, but that doesn’t mean the organization is obsessing over what to do in a life without Lewis. The transformation must happen naturally, just like it did with Lewis over the years after he was initially a 21-year-old rookie who entered a locker room that included veteran leaders such as Rob Burnett, Pepper Johnson, Eric Turner, and Vinny Testaverde in the spring of 1996. He didn’t become the leader that he is now overnight, and Lewis would be the first to tell you that.

“Everybody knows what kind of a player he is and what he has meant to this team and this organization,” said Birk, who could also be playing his final NFL game in New Orleans. “There is probably not another leader like him. There’s no one like him, someone that means as much as he does to this team. Everything that he has been through, being here from Day One and the way he plays and the emotion and the passion that he plays with.”

There’s simply no replacing Lewis, and the Ravens will continue to do things the way they always have and they’ll be just fine in the long run — even if it will never look the exact same way.

Caldwell staying as coordinator

The announcement by coach John Harbaugh at the end of Monday’s press conference that he would be retaining his entire coaching staff and, more notably, Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator was hardly surprising as the Ravens won the AFC Championship.

The dramatic improvement of the Baltimore offense and quarterback Joe Flacco in the postseason made it easy to decide that Caldwell would be Harbaugh’s guy for the 2013 season.

The Ravens haven’t made any dramatic changes to what they do offensively, but Caldwell has offered a new voice, a calming presence, and an open line of communication with fellow assistants and offensive players. The former Indianapolis coach has taken very little credit, citing the execution and hard work of players and the tireless efforts of the rest of the offensive coaching staff as the explanation for the offense’s improved consistency.

Unlike former coordinator Cam Cameron who had a reputation for wanting things done his way and for not being receptive to suggestions from others, Caldwell has welcomed feedback from his players and other assistants, in part because of his lack of experience having never been an offensive coordinator prior to being elevated on Dec. 10.

He has identified the need to highlight Flacco’s strengths by being aggressive in the vertical passing game and moving the pocket to neutralize potent pass rushes. The Ravens have also used the middle of the field more effectively in the passing game, which was first evident when they scored 33 points against the New York Giants in Week 16.

If for no other reason, Caldwell deserved to remain as offensive coordinator because of the outstanding play of Flacco, who was the best quarterback in the AFC in the postseason and is on the cusp of joining a select group of NFL quarterbacks if the Ravens can topple San Francisco. It remains to be seen what type of stamp Caldwell will put on the offense with a full offseason of work, but his efforts are a significant reason why the Ravens are making plans for a trip to New Orleans.

McPhee finally making impact

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>

Comments (2)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Niners favorites but early Vegas money coming in on Ravens

Posted on 22 January 2013 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV). The big list of props will be sent out on Thursday.

 

Super Bowl XLVII Odds

Baltimore Ravens           +4

San Francisco 49ers       -4

 

“Looking back at this NFL season, it has been very strange for the book. We might have had our best start to an NFL season ever and then Week 9 was the worst NFL week for us that I have ever seen, so Baltimore winning twice as double digit underdogs against Manning and Brady does not surprise me.  However, Baltimore cost us on the weekend and are the only big loser for the book on our Super Bowl odds. Despite the bettors being enamored with Kaepernick over his last five starts, the Ravens covering all three playoff games easily has 60% of the bettors siding with Baltimore early on in the week.”

Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager, Bovada.lv

 

SUPER BOWL XLVII – Odds to Win MVP?         

Colin Kaepernick (SF) QB           7/4

Joe Flacco (BAL) QB                 5/2

Ray Lewis (BAL) LB                   6/1

Frank Gore (SF) RB                   17/2

Ray Rice (BAL) RB                    12/1

Michael Crabtree (SF) WR          16/1

Anquan Boldin (BAL) WR           18/1

Torrey Smith (BAL) WR              20/1

Vernon Davis (SF) TE                 22/1

Aldon Smith (SF) LB                  25/1

Dennis Pitta (BAL) TE                33/1

Ed Reed (BAL) FS                     33/1

Randy Moss (SF) WR                40/1

Terrell Suggs (BAL) LB               50/1

LaMichael James (SF) RB          50/1

Patrick Willis (SF) LB                 66/1

NaVorro Bowman (SF) LB           66/1

Dashon Goldson (SF) FS            66/1

David Akers (SF) K                    66/1

Bernard Pierce (BAL) RB            75/1

Justin Tucker (BAL) K                75/1

Delanie Walker (SF) TE              75/1

Ted Ginn Jr. (SF) WR                 75/1

Alex Smith (SF) QB                   100/1

Field                                         22/1

Comments Off on Niners favorites but early Vegas money coming in on Ravens

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Changes for the Ravens and 49ers Since the First Harbaugh Bowl

Posted on 21 January 2013 by jeffreygilley

New England and Denver fans were wrong. The Ray Lewis retirement party did not start on January 12 or January 20. Instead, the Ravens will be playing the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl!!!

This will not be the first time the Harbaugh brothers have coached against each other. They played in Baltimore week twelve of the 2011 season, on Thanksgiving night.

The game was dominated by the Ravens’ front seven as they registered nine sacks. Alex Smith is still having nightmares courtesy of Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Corey Redding.

Things have changed on both sides of the ball for the Ravens and 49ers. Most of which, are similar.

Similar Changes:
1.Regression on defense
Last year’s game was advertised as a defensive battle and did not disappoint. However, both defenses have regressed. The 49ers defense was impenetrable in 2011, especially against the run.

This year’s 49ers defense is still great, but not dominant like last season. They are giving up almost three more points per game, and are a top five defense in only one category, which is rushing yards allowed per game.

The Ravens on the other hand have suffered a serious regression on defense, at least until the past few weeks. Still, the defense is not up to par with last season’s.

In addition to the injuries the team has suffered, players like Pernell McPhee, Jimmy Smith (when he has played), Terrence Cody, and Courtney UpShaw have not lived up to expectations.

2.Significant changes on offense
Remember when the Ravens replaced Tony Banks with Trent Dilfer in 2000? Well the 49ers have made a similar change from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has only started nine games but is mature beyond his years. Not only is he a dynamic athlete, he can throw the ball with great velocity and accuracy.

Many Ravens fans rejoiced with the firing of Cam Cameron. After the Broncos game in week fifteen, the changes on offense did not look very promising. Flacco and Jim Caldwell responded the next week with one of the greatest games of Flacco’s career against the Giants.

Since Jim Caldwell took over, Flacco has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,142 yards, has thrown 10 touchdowns, and ZERO interceptions. (I did not count the Bengals game since Flacco did not play for a majority of the game).

What I like about Caldwell’s offense is his ability to find mismatches and attack them. With Cam Cameron, he seemed conservative at times and did not have a good relationship with Joe Flacco. In contrast, Caldwell makes tremendous adjustments to find mismatches. Once that has happened, the offense has been dominant.

If the Ravens keep it close through the first half, the offense will eventually find favorable match-ups against a defense that Flacco had success against last season.

3.Both offensive lines have improved
As I said multiple times, the Ravens defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage the last time these two teams played. Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and Corey Redding could do anything they wanted. Luckily for the 49ers, Redding is with the Colts, and Ngata and Suggs are not playing at 100 percent.

Despite the Ravens injuries, this should be a good battle with great individual matchups. Perhaps the best of which will be Mike Iupati against Haloti Ngata. Iupati is a young player but is already one of the best guards in the league. Despite Iupati’s talent, Ngata should win this battle more often than not.

Some question if the Ravens can handle the 49ers physical running attack. I guess they have forgotten the Ravens play in the AFC North. They will be able to handle this running game and should have success stopping Frank Gore.

Remember last year’s AFC Championship when Vince Wilfork dominated Matt Birk? Well the same can’t be said for last Sunday night. Birk played well but Kelechi Osemele played just as well.

He is bigger than Ben Grubbs, who left for New Orleans via free agency and also struggled against Wilfork. When Osemele was matched up with Wilfork, he more than held his own. Osemele should be matched up with Justin Smith for most of the game and will be able to hold his own physically.

Comments Off on Changes for the Ravens and 49ers Since the First Harbaugh Bowl