Bay Packers' Clay Matthews sacks Seattle Seahawks
quarterback Russell Wilson during the first half of an NFL
preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, in Green Bay,
GREEN BAY — The
Packers' defense has a simple plan to stop an opposing ball
carrier, regardless of whether that guy is a quarterback, tailback
This applies to
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as well.
Read option or
not, Green Bay's defense hopes it plays much better Sunday in San
Francisco than in the last game it played that counted, run out of
town and out of the playoffs in January by Kaepernick and the
anytime a runner — if you're playing defense — is running the
ball, the goal is to hit him as soon as possible," McCarthy
said when asked if Kaepernick would have to "earn" his
yards in the season opener at Candlestick Park. "I think that
would hold true for any offensive player."
enough. The Packers just need to do a much better job of it this
breakout game came in his first career playoff start only two
months after winning the 49ers' starting job. San Francisco beat
Green Bay 45-31, with Kaepernick running for a pair of touchdowns
and throwing for two more. He set a quarterback playoff record in
the process with 181 yards rushing.
Since then, the
likes of mobile quarterbacks including Kaepernick, the Redskins'
Robert Griffin III and the Seahawks' Russell Wilson have stirred
more discussion of the dos and don'ts of hitting a quarterback
outside the pocket.
coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday said he had been hearing a
"lot of tough talk right now, you're hearing some
Added Harbaugh at
the 49ers' facilities in Santa Clara: "It sounds a lot like
targeting a specific player. You definitely start to wonder. A man
will usually tell you his bad intentions if you just listen. You
know what's being said publicly, not what's being said privately.
You hope that their intent isn't going to be anything that's not
within the rules."
earlier this week in separate interviews from Packers linebacker
Clay Matthews, about hitting the quarterback, got Harbaugh's
attention. Matthews steered clear when asked Thursday if he was
surprised by Harbaugh's comments.
focused on what this locker room has to say as well as the men in
here," Matthews said. "I think we're just ready to play
But there might
still be questions in knowing when it is and isn't OK to hit. On
Thursday, an NFL officiating video to media covered read option
premise: if a quarterback is running, or in a "running
posture," then he's subject to normal unnecessary roughness
rules, but not roughing the passer.
the NFL vice president of officiating, said on the video that
"the quarterback position is not defenseless throughout the
down ... it's the posture he presents that will dictate his
the NFL for keeping teams educated and updated on rules, including
visits from referees.
out," Matthews said when asked about a "gray area"
in how it might be called. "The natural progression of the
game with quarterbacks who continue the play-fake, we'll see. But
we feel good about our scheme and what we're going to try to
McCarthy broke it
down simply again when asked if it was OK to hit the quarterback
if the quarterback was carrying out a fake.
is, the quarterback is part of the option," he said.
"There (are) three options obviously: the quarterback, the
dive and the pitch. The ability to go tackle that player is
obviously within the rules."
The Packers will
be without cornerback Casey Hayward, who re-aggravated a hamstring
injury two weeks ago during the preseason. Another defensive back,
special teams ace Jarrett Bush, was limited in practice Thursday
with an ankle injury.
optimism in Green Bay about the pass rush, especially with
Matthews leading the charge. The defensive line has added Johnny
Jolly, following three years away for off-field issues, and
first-round draft pick Datone Jones.
B.J. Raji feels things will be different Sunday, though he plans
to put more stock in the results.
matter what I think, it's how I play and how we play. I believe
we'll play better," Raji said. "That'll be the