The Saints defense will face a much "different" challenge in San Francisco, as the 49ers are a ground-and-pound, read option team that runs plenty of misdirection.
"They present a lot of difficult runs that you have to fit up," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "And they're a smart team, they shift. They motion. So they try to mess with your eyes a little bit, you have to get lined up, and get ready to play some smashmouth football."
After taking the NFL by storm in 2012, quarterback Colin Kaepernick is enduring his share of growing pains in year two as a starter, coming off a dismal 91-yard passing game with an interception in the recent loss to the Panthers, but the potential is there for a breakout game.
"He's still a playmaker," quarterback Drew Brees said. "Certainly know what he's capable of, both running the football out the backfield. Throwing the football down the field. Let's not forget this is the guy that took them to a Super Bowl last year. So I know our guys are preparing for that type of guy, and I don't see why anything's changed."
And when the Saints hosted the 49ers last year, Kaepernick totaled 258 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While the Saints have a year's worth of film this time around, Kaepernick still presents a unique challenge, especially in practice.
"You know we don't have a quarterback on our roster that's Kaepernick, so it's hard to prepare for his athleticism and the things that he'll create just off his natural ability, but I think the biggest thing we have to do is just to stop this run," Jenkins said.
Coach Sean Payton added, "It's one thing if that position can run it just to keep you honest. It's another thing we he's a ball-carrier and he becomes like a running back. He's got that skillset. You know it's challenging, it's challenging to simulate in practice. To give the defense a realistic look at how it is on gameday, so it presents a ton of challenges."
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