Despite never facing the Seattle Seahawks in his 14 career starts, Blaine Gabbert is familiar with the team's 4-3 defensive scheme.
Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley (2009-12) moved on to be the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach in 2013 - Gabbert's third season in the NFL.
Gabbert practiced extensively against Bradley's system, which is very similar to what the Seahawks utilize under first-year coordinator Kris Richard.
Furthermore, Bradley's replacement as Seattle's DC for two seasons (2013-14), Dan Quinn, is the first-year head coach of the Atlanta Falcons - the team Gabbert beat, 17-16, in his first start with the San Francisco 49ers in Week 9.
"The thing that we do is we look at the defense as a whole," Gabbert said of his next opponent. "You can't focus on a certain guy. You know who their personnel is, and you know what you have to do to execute versus that personnel. But, at the same time, you can't let one guy kind of deter or knock your focus off of the big scheme of things."
And while Gabbert has knowledge of what to expect from the Seahawks second-ranked defense, facing that unit on its home turf is a whole different beast.
"It's going to be loud," Gabbert told reporters on Wednesday. "We know that. But at the same time, we have a job to do. We have to work around that and just really focus on that task at hand. In these kinds of stadiums where it is extremely loud, you really have to focus one play at a time because if you don't hear a call, you don't hear the play, one or two guys aren't going to be on the same page and that's the difference between winning and losing games."
Jim Tomsula said that the 49ers have prepared for playing in the challenging road environment by playing loud practice music throughout practice at team headquarters.
San Francisco's first-year head coach also said that the team has worked extensively on silent snap counts in preparation for Seattle's raucous home crowd.
Tomsula cautioned too that much can be made about the distraction in the stands.
"Once you get into the field," the coach began, "once you're between the white lines, really all that chaos that everybody talks about is the noise. Really, I mean there's no fans that can put their hands on you or none of that. It's within the context of a football game in a very loud environment."
Gabbert said he took a lot away from watching the Cardinals orchestrate a pair of 80-yard scoring drives to come from behind and beat Seattle on Sunday night.
"That was a hard-fought game," Gabbert said. "It was back and forth and those are the type of games you see in this conference, especially between two teams in Arizona and Seattle. So we're expecting that physical type of game this week, and we're going to be ready for it."
The 49ers were held in check offensively when they hosted the Seahawks in Week 7. Seattle won comfortably, 20-3, while holding San Francisco to 142 yards of total offense. With Gabbert under center, the 49ers will look to build on a 17-point first half against the Falcons. Gabbert threw for 185 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a victory that earned him another start this week.
Coming off a bye week, Gabbert said the 49ers got a "jump start" on their Seahawks preparations last week. This week, Gabbert could be aided by the returns of running back Pierre Garçon (foot) and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (hamstring). Both starters have been out of action the last two weeks, but will now return to practice this week on a limited basis, according to Tomsula.
For Gabbert, the focus is to build on what he accomplished in his last start. Gabbert spent two years watching the game from the sideline, so that's why he's living in the moment and relishing the opportunity.
"You really can't get too far ahead of yourself, especially in the situation that we're in," Gabbert said. "I'm focused on going out to practice today and having a good day and then really focus on the game this Sunday. Whatever happens after that will happen. But, at this point in time, I'm worried about Seattle and that's it."