(WFRV-TV) - Whether it's stifling the run or disrupting the pass, the Packers defense knows stopping San Francisco starts with containing QB Colin Kaepernick.
"You saw it,” rookie DE Datone Jones says referring to January’s playoff game. “He's great. He's good on his feet and he can create his own plays. That's what makes him special."
Green Bay is hoping their 2013 first round draft pick is one player that can help prevent a repeat of what happened in the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs when Kaepernick set a new single-game rushing record for quarterback with 181yards and the 49ers won 45-31.
"This guy is all around tough to defend,” said veteran defensive tackle Ryan Pickett. “He will run the read-option then he drops back on 3rd and long and runs for 20 yards, so it's tough. We have to be real disciplined in this game. We have to stay in our rush lanes and let the game come to us."
Clay Matthews says the Packers defense is “absolutely” more prepared this time around for the offense that carried the Niners to the Super Bowl.
"Schematically we are much more sound,” Matthews said Thursday. “We understand what they're capable of doing, the capabilities of not only their scheme, but their players as well and what they possess. I think we are more than ready to handle the read-option, and it's just about executing now."
Matthews made headlines recently talking about the importance of hitting a mobile quarterback even if he doesn’t have the ball when he’s running the option. San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh took offense to some of the comments and seems to differ on how the rules should be applied to hitting quarterbacks like Kaepernick when they fake a hand-off.
The Packers intentions seem clear.
"The reality is, the quarterback is part of the option," Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday. "There's three options obviously: the quarterback, the dive, and the pitch. The ability to tackle that player is obviously within the rules."
"If he's going to carry the ball of course, we go to hit him,” said Pickett. “Whoever it is back there running the read-option, you got to hit the quarterback."
Of course there’s always the chance the 49ers don’t run any read-option, or break out something completely new in week 1.
"What you can expect is that you're going to see a lot of un-scouted looks,” said CB Tramon Williams. “That's what we have to be prepared for.”