Jim Harbaugh discusses rivalry, Seahawks defensive backs and more

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media Friday afternoon and discussed Sunday's matchup with the Seahawks. We've got a transcript for your viewing pleasure.

T Joe Staley says he's probably going to play on Sunday. How's he looked these last couple practices?

"Good. So far so good. We'll see how he feels tomorrow. He had a good day of work today. It's always good to check back the next day."

What goes into a good NFL rivalry and what does this thing between you and the Seahawks have that maybe fits that?

"They all feel like a rivalry, every single week. That's why I always thought it was a sprint and not a marathon, because every game is like the high school rivalry you remember or the college rivalry you remember. All those games can come down to, you could be blown out, you could blow them out or most of the time it's a really tight ballgame that goes right down to the end. That's every week in the NFL. Both teams have the ability to be able to do that. That's the way I've always thought of it, like every week's Michigan-Ohio State. Every week is that kind of rivalry."

Are you glad it's not just about you and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll anymore, that it's about the players and the franchises?

"Was it ever? I never looked at it that way."

Outside maybe it was.

"It's about what it's supposed to be about, two good football teams. It should be a very exciting game. Our guys are ready. They've had a really good week of practice. I think that's where it starts, with the preparation and they're excited to play this game."

Does WR Quinton Patton look to be back to where he was before he was injured, in practice?

"Yeah. He's been doing a real nice job. I think each week he's been back, which has been two now, it's looking better and better."

What do you think QB Colin Kaepernick learned from his two starts against Seattle that will help him this time?

"I can't say specifically what he learned in those two starts."

Colin and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, two of the young, dynamic, growing quarterbacks in the league, both playing for premiere teams, both play in the NFC West, you guys could go against each other several times and twice a year for several years to come. How do you kind of characterize the competition between the two, how it's developing, the rivalry, per se, between quarterbacks?

"I really haven't talked much about it. I thought a rivalry or competition between those two hasn't, haven't thought of it, hasn't come up."

I think they've only allowed about 15 punt return yards all season. Why is that? What do they do on punts that make it so difficult to return?

"When the opposing team is punt returning?"

Yeah.

"They've got a role right now. I think you can say that in all three phases; offense, defense, special teams. That's why, I think, one of the things that has our guys excited, whether it's returning punts, or tackling their backs and quarterback and [Seahawks WR] Golden Tate, moving the ball against their defense, that's got our team excited for the challenge."

In this last game, both WR Anquan Boldin and WR Michael Crabtree were noticeably feisty against the Rams defensive backs. Is that a quality that a receiver has to have when they're facing the Seahawks and the type of physical game they're likely going to get from the Seattle defensive backs?

"Yeah. I think, just got to play good football. That goes for all positions. We've got to play really well as a team."

Would you say that the Seattle defensive backs like to challenge their opponents, get in their face and be feisty towards them?

"Well, they're very good at what they do. Very good at the system they play. Yeah, challenge is a good word. They challenge in man-to-man coverage at times. Our guys are up for that challenge. Excited about it."

Are you expecting the Seahawks to kind of have the same defense even with present or how do you think that they'll mix it up?

"You never know what mix up or changes there will be in scheme from week to week. The Seahawks have been pretty consistent with their scheme. They're having a lot of success with it. So, you wouldn't anticipate that there would be a dramatic change in their scheme because they've been very successful doing what they've been doing."

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said yesterday the quality of your defensive personnel allows you guys to blitz less than a lot of other teams. How does that serve you guys going against a guy like Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who has the ability to extend plays or make plays outside the pocket?

"Well, you've got to be good. It's going to take good pass-rush lanes, good contain and then being able to plaster on the receivers as he's extending plays, not to cut anybody free. Going to have to be good."

His numbers against the blitz are really good. Is he more advanced in that area than, for a second year guy, is he especially advanced in that area, reading blitzes?

"He's got, in reading blitzing? I don't know. Makes a lot of plays. Whether they're blitzing or not blitzing, he's a dynamic player that can throw from the pocket very effectively with timing. He can beat blitzes. He can also evade and escape and extend plays as good as anyone has ever played. Like I keep saying, good football, we're excited to play it, and understand the challenge and the task and guys are up for it."

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