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49ers Jet Set to Atlanta

Posted Jan 18, 2013

Jim Harbaugh was in a hurry to finish up his press conference on Friday afternoon.

A couple of hours before the 49ers coach and his team were set to board a plane to Atlanta for the NFC Championship game, Harbaugh addressed his team’s mindset as it tries to earn the sixth Super Bowl bid in franchise history.

San Francisco has been shining in the spotlight this week with Colin Kaepernick gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated and pundits nationwide picking the team as a Super Bowl favorite, but Harbaugh said the extra attention hasn’t affected his team’s work ethic.

“People have said some nice things about us, that’s nice,” Harbaugh said. “Cover of Sports Illustrated, very nice thing. Says a very nice thing about our team; put it in a frame, put it up on our walls. Says something nice about you, but doesn’t change anything about what our job is.”

The 49ers certainly have a big job ahead. The top-seeded Falcons went 13-3 in the postseason and feature an explosive offense and a playmaking defense. Not to mention it’s the first NFC Championship game to ever be played in Atlanta.

If this weekend is anything like last weekend, the 49ers Faithful should expect a big day from Colin Kaepernick through the air and on the ground. Like his coach, Kaepernick’s press conference was short and sweet as he wrapped up the week’s preparations.

“I don’t have time to stop and think right now,” Kaepernick said. “There’s too much work to be done.”

Kaepernick might be the leader of the offense, but he isn’t alone. The second-year signal-caller has benefitted from a savvy group of veterans that includes 49ers rushing king Frank Gore. Last week, Kaepernick rushed for an NFL quarterback record of 181 yards while Gore added 119, helping the 49ers set a new franchise playoff record with 323 yards on the ground.

Gore rushed for 1,214 yards this season, giving him the second-highest total of his career and sixth 1,000-yard effort of his career. He also earned the fourth Pro Bowl invite of his eight-year career and some lofty praise from his quarterback.

“He’s going to be a Hall of Fame running back,” Kaepernick said. “He knows what he’s doing.”

There’s another member of the 49ers office with Canton-bound credentials and his name is Randy Moss. The veteran wideout has been an instrumental presence in the tight-knit 49ers locker room throughout the year, while adding 28 catches for 434 yards and three touchdowns.

After spending a full season with the future Hall of Famer, Harbaugh said he hopes the 49ers will re-sign Moss to another contract for 2013.

“For official publication, I, for one, definitely want Randy to come back,” Harbaugh said. “Hope he feels the same way.”

It will be interesting to see what type of gameplan the offense rolls out on Sunday. With the emergence of Kaepernick, zone-read plays have been a big addition to the playbook in recent weeks and it’s clearly paying big dividends.

The shift in philosophy can be traced to offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who has been with Harbaugh since their days at Stanford and shown a great ability to evolve in their time together.

“The job that Greg has done this year, in so many ways, been one of the best that I’ve ever seen,” Harbaugh said. “I could talk more about that later, we’ve got a job to do right now. But he’s the shining star in my book.”

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