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Coach's Notebook: Dec. 12



Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Wednesday as his team prepared to take on the New England Patriots in Week 15.When you look at the Patriots on film, is it a daunting task when they're playing they way they are at this time of year?**

"Definitely a big challenge and a big task. That's what we're preparing for right now."

Patriots QB Tom Brady and the Patriots don't give up a lot of sacks. To what do you attribute that pass protection? Is he good at avoiding sacks himself?
"Yes, there are volumes of evidence on that. Getting the ball out of his hand, understands protections and blitzes as good as anybody there is in football."

You've said QB Colin Kaepernick has special skills which are unique and you've also said you haven't dramatically changed the offense. I'm just curious, why wouldn't you significantly alter the offense to accommodate his special skills?
"I wouldn't get too tied up with words, dramatic or significant. There are definitely things that we're doing that tailor the offense to his skillset."

Have you either recently or in the past talked to your brother about preparing for the Patriots?
"Yeah, we've talked a little bit."

What were his insights?
"Wasn't real extensive, but he's preparing for his own games."

The Patriots are kind of the gold standard and have been for the last decade. Have you looked a lot at what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has done or borrowed from him? How much have you looked at what he's done and the way he runs things as a coach?
"I think we have done some of that. And like a lot of people in the league, you look at things that have worked and there are certain things about his program, his team that you want to be about, you want to emulate."

Anything you could specify?
"Quite a number of things. On field, off field, some of their draft strategies."

On Monday you alluded to his ability or their ability to dramatically alter their schemes from week-to-week, you don't know really what to expect. How hard is that to do, if I was interpreting what you said correctly?
"It's a difficult challenge, it's a task. It's one that we're not unfamiliar to. There's quite a few teams in the league that do the same thing, have a high volume of defense or offense or special teams, and will give you a new look, something that you haven't seen. And you prepare for it the best you can."

Coach Belichick called WR Randy Moss the smartest receiver that he'd ever coached. I was just wondering, how much, having a guy like that, does that help both for you as a coach and for the other receivers on the team?
"We talked alot about it over the last nine, 10 months. He's very smart, one of the best to play the game at that position. He's a real joy to be around. Asks great questions. I think it shows up there most of all and then the things he shares with the other receivers and quarterbacks. You see him talking to running backs. It's pretty neat."

Do you see other receivers asking him a lot of questions too?
"Yeah, no question about it."

You guys suspended RB Brandon Jacobs on Monday. What was the reasoning behind suspending him?
"The league has a process when you suspend a player  that you go through. So you're really not in a position to be talking about that. We'll let that work its way through the system. In terms of why or how we felt, our actions can speak for themselves there."

Most times there's a reason, conduct detrimental to the team. Does it fall under that category?
"Let me stay away from categorizing anything, let it go through the process. It works, there's a process that you work through. Not really at liberty to talk about it."

Did you address the team about this, a matter of what you want out of your guys in the locker room and how to behave and act?
"That message is a daily one. How we do things, is we talk about it every single day in some form or fashion. There was no team meeting that took place this week."

The team oriented philosophy that you've always preached over the last couple of years, that's obviously something Belichick hammered in early in his career with the Patriots. Is that something that you learned from and borrowed as well, of how the Patriots embrace the team aspect?
"I don't know that. No, I haven't observed that or familiar with that part of their team."

With the suspension you have an open roster spot. Have you filled that yet?
"Yes, [LB] Eric Bakhtiari was added back to the team and we have not filled the 53rd spot."

Will you by the end of the week?
"We may or we may not."

How have you tailored the offense to Kaepernick's skill-set? Is that where the diamond formation comes in?
"It's one formation that was in before, when [QB] Alex [Smith] was playing as well. There have been some plays, just some plays, some scheme that they both do a good job with, but Kap in particular."

How have you seen the team embrace the switch to Kaepernick and how he's been supported?

Considering who you're playing, the top ranked offense, how much production do think you'll need more from your offense than a typical Sunday, if in fact, this game goes in that direction as an offensive shootout?
"What we'll need, we'll need more than what the Patriots score."

How hard is that Patriots WR Wes Welker – CB Carlos Rogers matchup?
"Tremendous receiver, but Carlos is up for it. He's equipped for it. Again, it's more of a team defense and how they play together, than just one guy versus one guy."

Will you potentially need to be rotating in your defensive linemen as possibly a response to the no-huddle? It seemed like the Texans got really gassed.
"Yeah that's a possibility. The Patriots do a real good job with their tempo. Could be no-huddle, could be huddle. They have different, varying speeds of their tempo and they do a great job with that."

Is that fairly unique, what they're doing with the no-huddle? Or do you see that a fair amount?
"It's very good. They've got a good system for it and they do a real good job with it. Can't think of another team that's better at it."

With TE/DT Demarcus Dobbs being down, is DT Pierre Garçon going to play more end than nose tackle than he has before?
"That's a possibility."

And will FB/DT Will Tukuafu play nose tackle? Has he played nose tackle in the past?
"Again, that's something that we could possibly do. Will could also play end."

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