49ers label "big uglies" as key to Super Bowl showdown

Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:09pm EST
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By Simon Evans

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh singled out his offensive line for praise, calling them a crucial 'weapon' for Sunday's Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens.

While Colin Kaepernick has received much of the credit for the 49ers' march to the National Football League's title game, Harbaugh said those protecting the second-year quarterback had been "phenomenal."

"I'd call them offensive weapons as well. They've all played well together. It's really been a strength and a center for our football team," he told reporters on Wednesday.

Harbaugh said left tackle Joe Staley had shown "tremendous leadership within the group" and singled out center Jonathan Goodwin's contribution.

"When he first arrived here, we were void at the center position. He has stepped in and started every game, been a great player for us," said Harbaugh, who also hailed Mike Iupati as one of the top guards in the league.

Staley said he liked the unit being referred to us a weapon.

"We are a physical weapon, a blunt-force object. It's one of our strengths, all five of us, and we're playing at a pretty high level this year," he said.

"We take a lot of pride in what we do, so I feel honored that he'd call the 'big uglies' up front a weapon."   Continued...

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh directs his players into position for their team picture during Media Day for the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana January 29, 2013. The 49ers will meet the Baltimore Ravens in the game on February 3. REUTERS/Joe Skipper