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Harbaugh, 49ers Heap Praise upon Russell Wilson

Posted Dec 4, 2013

San Francisco's defense will be challenged on Sunday to keep up with Seattle's quarterback, who ranks second in the NFL in passer rating.


In the span of a minute, Jim Harbaugh employed the following words to describe Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson: fantastic, wonderful and phenomenal.

The 49ers coach called Wilson a “competitor” with “arm talent” whose “mobility” and “field awareness” help the “scrambling” signal-caller find “escape routes” and “extend plays.”

It’s clear that Harbaugh would rather the praise be heaped upon the opposition than himself or his own team.

“A lot of great qualities,” he said of Wilson.

When the 11-1 Seahawks come into town, they’ll bring Wilson with them. In fact, he might get a front-row seat on the bus to Candlestick Park.

Wilson is completing 65 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns against six interceptions, and he ranks second in the NFC with a 108.5 passer rating.

Aside from his avoidance of the kind of silly plays second-year quarterbacks can be excused for, Wilson is noted for his confidence inside – and outside – the pocket.

“Knows his route trees really well. If his options aren’t there, he knows where to go,” 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith said.

Of course, Wilson is as dangerous – as his Twitter name, "@DangeRussWilson" indicates – when his legs allow him to throw on the run.

“You see it all the time,” Smith said, “guys get close to him, he’s running backward, birding it 15-20 yards, so he’s a little bit quicker than ‘d-lineman,’ I guess – I’m one of ‘em.”

When he’s not throwing off one foot, Wilson is moving the chains with his feet. He has rushed for 456 yards this season; he gained 489 on the ground during his 16-start rookie campaign.

So, yeah, maybe he deserves Harbaugh’s kind words.

And maybe they carry a little extra meaning. Consider that a dozen days after his 49ers fell to Wilson’s Seahawks in Week 2, the coach shared a philosophy with reporters.

“As long as all that’s written is said against us then you feel a certain assurance of success,” Harbaugh said then. “People are heaping flowery words of praise upon you, then you feel exposed before your enemies.”

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