That’s the word that best describes the Ravens’ defense as the team prepares to face a young and explosive 49ers quarterback that has more than proven he can beat a team in the air or with his legs.
In his first playoff game Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards, and by doing so, he broke an NFL record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game. In the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons, he proved his arm can get the job done as he led his team in a come-from-behind win. He passed for 233 yards on the Falcons and completed 16 of 21 passing attempts.
He has intrigued Ravens fans, many who arrived at media day early Tuesday just to see what Kaepernick is all about. You could see the worry on their faces as Kaepernick fielded questions from a media horde rivaling that of Ray Lewis.
But for those lucky enough to attend media day, their minds were put at ease. While Kaepernick has solidified himself as a “real deal” NFL quarterback and a dual threat, defensive stars for the Ravens reminded everyone that Kaepernick’s run-and-gun style of play is not much different than other quarterbacks the Ravens’ veteran-loaded defense has faced.
They know that with the right calls and everyone working together, Kaepernick can be contained. They’ve done it before…
“We’ve seen guys like Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick. When Michael Vick came into the league, everyone said it was a new breed. Guys have been scrambling, running quarterbacks before, and I’m sure Kaepernick is saying the same thing,” said Ravens safety and New Orleans native Ed Reed.
Reed hit the nail on the head. Kaepernick seemed wise beyond his years in the league Tuesday as he said it’s expected the Ravens will stop something.
“Coordinators are always going to figure out different ways to stop different offenses,” Kaepernick said. “It’s just another offense that they are going to try and stop.”
When asked if he would stay in the pocket more against the Ravens to avoid injury he said, “If I was worried about my health, I wouldn’t be playing football.”
Ravens defensive end Haloti Ngata says the key is being careful with coverage. He compared containing Kaepernick to containing the Redskins’ RGIII (Robert Griffin III).
“When we rush him on passing downs, we can’t just rush up the field. Because, then he can find a lane and run. With him, you’ve just got to be careful with a lot of the things you do,” Ngata said.
So what will the Ravens take away?
Alex Smith, the man Kaepernick replaced for the starting job this season expects to see big things out of Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard that could making throwing the ball difficult for the younger Kaepernick.
“They know offenses well,” Smith said of Pollard and Reed. “They know what quarterbacks try to do. Pollard is a very physical guy. You see it on the tape. Some of the hits he makes, his physical presence. With Ed, he’s unique in his own right.”
Smith said Reed’s “unorthodox” style of coverage can often be difficult to read and judge.
“He plays the middle of the field different than anybody, and he obviously has exceptional range and great instincts. …He’s a unique guy to go against. It definitely requires a lot of film study, because he doesn’t play safety like anybody else.”
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