Ravens defense gearing up to handle multi-threat Kaepernick

Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:00pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees gets a kick out of watching Colin Kaepernick play, but would most enjoy keeping the San Francisco quarterback in check in Sunday's Super Bowl.

The multi-threat Kaepernick, who gained a record 181 yards rushing in his first NFL playoff game this postseason against Green Bay, runs a read-option package that has kept defenses guessing on whether a run or a pass is coming.

"Any time you play option football, somebody has to have the dive, somebody has to have the quarterback, somebody has to have the pitch," Pees said on Thursday.

Pees said communication between the defenders and the understanding of their assignments before the snap was critical given the success the strong-armed Kaepernick has had.

Veteran Ravens safety Ed Reed said the various options could lead to confusion.

"You have so much that can come off it," said Reed. "You got the pass off it, you got the option off it, you got the dive off it, you got the quarterback off it. They might deliver a pizza or two off it, you just don't know what they gonna come with."

Pees said he had faith in the Ravens' plans to contain the 25-year-old Kaepernick, but admired the skill and enthusiasm of the big, fast San Francisco signal caller, who will be making just the 10th start of his NFL career.

"I hate to say this, since I'm defending him, but he's actually fun to watch," the Ravens coach said. "He looks like a kid that just wants to pick up a ball and go out and play in the backyard in a pick-up game. He's done a great, great job and he looks like he's having fun doing what he's doing."   Continued...

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (R) hands off to running back Frank Gore (L) during practice for the Super Bowl in New Orleans, January 30, 2013. Super Bowl XLVII will be played between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens on February 3. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes