“So that's why the storyline for this year's championship run has been the Pistol because defenses as a unit, they look foolish. It's appropriate that a team that has really embraced it as a wrinkle is in the Super Bowl, with a young quarterback. I think that young, mobile quarterbacks will be more valuable now rather than in the past and maybe becomes the prototype.”
Where Kaepernick stands apart are two traits: his athleticism and strength.
Now, Kaepernick is bracing for some new wrinkles from the Ravens' defense.
“Coordinators are always going to figure out different ways to stop different offenses,” Kaepernick said. “It’s just another offense that they are going to try and stop.”
Running with Kaepernick could be tough for Lewis, whose range has declined, and free safety Ed Reed.
Kaepernick had a 56-yard touchdown run against the Packers, the longest run by a 49ers quarterback in franchise history.
“It freezes them a little bit,” Kaepernick said of his running capabilities. “It gives you a little bit more time. If it’s just a split-second, that’s an advantage for the offense.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh is convinced that the Pistol offense, which originated at Nevada under coach Chris Ault, as well as dual-threat quarterbacks like Kaepernick are no passing fad.
“I think it will have staying power in the league, the Pistol read option,” Harbaugh said. “The beauty of it is and part of the genius of it is it’s such a simple idea. You can run your whole offense on it. You aren’t limited to an option type attack out of it. Not just the entire run game but the entire pass game as well.
“The backs get position to protect. You can run all your drop-back stuff, you can run power run game inside and outside, and you can run read-option, triple-option. So, it’s just a very versatile type offense and it forces you to defend a lot of different elements of the offensive attack.”
What the Ravens will attempt to do to bottle up Kaepernick is ensuring that every possible running angle is accounted for and that defenders maintain outside containment.
That involves defensive ends and outside linebackers remaining under control and in a sound football position whenever Kaepernick tries to scoot outside of the pocket.
“It starts up front trying to stop the run and make sure you have all the aspects of the option of zone-read down,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “It's really the quarterback because he is the guy who makes the decisions.
“You have to be fundamentally sound. You have to know what your assignment is and be on the same page.”
Will athletes like Kaepernick become the norm under center?
“I wouldn’t call it a new breed of quarterbacks,” Reed said. “We’ve seen guys like Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick. When Michael Vick came into the league, everyone said it was a new breed. He definitely is a problem on the field because he’s a good quarterback and a good athlete.”
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