“You're hearing a lot of tough talk right now,” the 49ers coach said. “You’re hearing some intimidating type of talk… same thing we were hearing a couple years ago.”
If the Green Bay Packers choose to hit him after he gets rid of the football on zone-read plays from San Francisco’s pistol offense, the 49ers quarterback is ready for the outcome.
“I'm not worried about that,” Kaepernick said.
Kaepernick is used to defenses trying to slow down his running ability by trying to be physical with him at the line of scrimmage.
“It’s football,” he said. “You’re going to get hit.”
Kaepernick said he’s been defended that way ever since he starred in college for the University of Nevada.
“They tried just about everything,” he said.
All the talk on Green Bay’s intent on hitting Kaepernick picked up this week when Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews appeared on ESPN radio. The Packers linebacker said the plan for Sunday’s Week 1 matchup was to hit Kaepernick as much as possible.
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Jim Harbaugh alluded to the comments in his press conference with the media.
All the talk of hitting Kaepernick doesn’t sit quite well with Harbaugh.
“Sounds a lot like targeting a specific player,” Harbaugh said. “You definitely start to wonder. A man usually doesn't tell you his bad intentions.”
The 49ers coach went on to say, “I hope their intent is not going to be anything that’s not within the rules.”
As for the rules on hitting quarterbacks outside of the pocket, Harbaugh said he’s been in discussions with the NFL to get clarification on what he believes is a gray area in the rulebook.
“Before he's declared to being a runner,” Harbaugh began, “he should be afforded the protection that all quarterbacks are afforded until he declares and gets out of the pocket and starts running with the ball or running an option or carrying out a bootleg and attempting to run or pass when he's outside of the pocket.
“But while he's in the pocket, I believe he's a quarterback until he declares that he’s a runner.”
READ: PROTECTING KAEPERNICK
Earlier in the day, Matthews shared his thoughts on the rule.
“It looks as long as that quarterback is carrying out that fake, he loses his right as a pocket passer,” the Packers defensive standout said. “We’ll see the hits that are legal and what’s not legal, but we think our game plan fits within the scheme of the officials and what we want to do.”
Kaepernick maintained his focus is only on this week’s game and how he needs to perform. Looking back at last year’s playoff win won’t help the 49ers win on Sunday.
“We’re just worried about this game right now,” he said. “We’re not worried about what happened last year.”
Green Bay, on the other hand, has spent a great deal of time reacquainting themselves with the film of their postseason defeat.
Kaepernick said the 49ers have to be ready for the talent on the Packers defense. He also feels prepared for the schemes Green Bay might show on Sunday.
“You can only line 11 people up so many ways,” Kaepernick said. “We’ve seen a lot of different looks.”