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Colin Kaepernick to Face NFL’s INT Leader

Posted Dec 12, 2013

Colin Kaepernick is set to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lead the NFL with 21 interceptions on the year.

Colin Kaepernick has been smarter with the football in recent weeks.

After throwing five interceptions in the first six games of the 2013 season, the 49ers quarterback has thrown three interceptions in his last seven contests.

Kaepernick, who threw an interception on a red zone pass intended for Michael Crabtree in last week’s win over Seattle, will need to be on guard against this week’s opponent.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead the NFL with 21 interceptions.

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The Bucs recorded four interceptions in last week’s home win over the Buffalo Bills and have 13 interceptions in their last five games, four of which were victories.

“They’re playing at a really high level lately,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said on Thursday. “When you turn on the film, these guys are talented and well coached.”

Tampa Bay’s pass defense ranks No. 17 in the NFL, allowing 238.4 yards per game.

The emerging defense also features former 49ers two-time Pro Bowl free safety Dashon Goldson.

Kaepernick knows what to expect from No. 38.

“Dashon’s a great player, does a lot of great things,” Kaepernick said earlier this week. “Has a lot of range on the back end.”

Besides range, the Bucs play aggressive on defense. Veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis’ man-to-man cover skills lends itself to other defensive backs taking chances elsewhere on the field.

“Lot of tipped balls,” Kaepernick said of how Tampa Bay has been picking off so many passes. “A lot of them just making plays. They have a great secondary. A lot of talent back there.”

Roman added that the Bucs pass rush has played a big role in the amount of turnovers.

“I would just say that they’re a high-pressure team, high-volume pressure,” San Francisco’s play-caller said of a defense ranks tied for 18th in the league with 31 sacks. “Probably more pressure than we’ve seen all year. There’s times when they won’t pressure, but they create a lot of unrest, get the quarterback off his spot, kind of get him under duress, that kind of thing. And their secondary’s playing very well.”

With Tampa Bay showing its ability to force turnovers, Kaepernick’s ball security and decision-making will be under the media microscope once again.

Roman had no problem with Kaepernick taking a shot to Crabtree last week near the end zone and supported his quarterback’s ongoing development once again this week.

“I think he’s playing extremely well this year,” the offensive coordinator said. “I think he’s playing real well in a lot of aspects and I think he’s a star on the rise.”

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