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Harbaugh Previews Packers Matchup

Posted Sep 3, 2013

Jim Harbaugh discussed the 49ers acquisition of wide receiver Chris Harper.

Jim Harbaugh shared his early thoughts on the 49ers Week 1 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. He also discussed the acquisition of wide receiver Chris Harper in a morning appearance on the "KNBR Morning Show."

“That’s a football fight that we know is coming,” Harbaugh said of the Sept. 8 contest against Green Bay, a rematch of last year's NFC Divisional Playoff win.

Harbaugh discussed the Opening Day challenge in great detail, but before he got into the challenge, the 49ers coach had a lot of positive things to say about Harper, the No. 123 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. The former Kansas State wideout (32 starts, 132 receptions, 1,856 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in college) brings a lot of ability to the 49ers receiving corps, now six players deep at the position.

Harbaugh said the 49ers liked Harper coming out of college, but had fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton pegged slightly ahead of Harper on San Francisco's draft board.

“We liked Chris Harper right in that same ballpark,” Harbaugh said. “It’s an exciting move for us.”

READ:
 
49ERS SIGN CHRIS HARPER

Harbaugh spent time with Harper over the weekend. The head coach was eager to get to know the player claimed by the 49ers off the Seattle Seahawks roster.

“We’re excited to work with him.”

Harbaugh also reiterated the personal side of releasing Brian Jennings over the weekend.

“I’d like to think our paths will cross again and I have a feeling they will in some form or fashion,” the 49ers coach said of the 13-year veteran who was among the 21 players released on Saturday.

Harbaugh went on to speak highly of the rookie long snapper who beat out Jennings, Kevin McDermott.

“I would call him a young Brian Jennings, that’s our hope, that he’ll fill those shoes and will have a career just as good as Brian Jennings,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the hope. He’s a young man that’s had a lot of competition this offseason.”

Harbaugh said “it was no small task” to dethrone a two-time Pro Bowl veteran like Jennings.

Following the roster talk, the 49ers coach explained the process of the preseason and how it helped the team forge towards a new season and the challenge of facing the Packers this Sunday.

The 49ers will carry several rookies into the regular season, the newcomers also contributed heavily in the preseason. The same can be expected in the regular season which begins against Green Bay.

“Very pleased with the young men right now, the youngsters, the rookies on our ball club,” Harbaugh said. “You feel good that they’re going to handle it and contribute based on what they’ve done so far.”

“They can’t be satisfied with making the team,” Harbaugh added. “They have to continue. The stakes go up.”

The same mindset applies to veterans on the team. Harbaugh elaborated on Colin Kaepernick’s development heading into his first start in a regular season opener.

“That is a wonderful thing that we have a young, ascending, improving, dynamic player that is Colin Kaepernick,” Harbaugh said. “The way he leads, just by example… The continuous effort that he displays is a great leading factor. He has great leadership qualities.”

READ: KAEPERNICK ON SI COVER

The 49ers will lean on that leadership this Sunday against Green Bay.

“You wish you had more evidence of how they’re going to play and how they’re going to attack your team, but that’s the nature of football,” Harbaugh said. “It’s what makes the opener more dramatic.”

Harbaugh went on to call the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, “spectacular.”

The 49ers will begin on-field preparations with an afternoon practice.

“We’re in preparation and getting ready for the ball game,” Harbaugh said.

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