SANTA CLARA — Colin Kaepernick spoke in front of Garrett Celek’s locker Wedensday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
Do you like watching Panthers QB Cam Newton play and do you feel there’s similarities in your game and his?
“He’s a great player. He does a lot of things well. We do have some similarities.”
There’s so much that’s being made that Cam doesn’t have the playoff experience and you do. How much does that really play a part to you at all? How did you prepare for your first playoff game last season?
“I prepared like it was any other game. You have to go about your business the way you normally do and make sure you’re ready.”
You had to burn timeouts early in each half. Do you see that as a problem or is that just what you need to do sometimes? Were there some plays where you were getting the call a little bit late in the huddle?
“It’s not something you want to do, but sometimes it’s necessary. You want to have things right. You don’t want to blow a play.”
You and Cam were in the same draft, he went number one. Does that motivate you to prove that you deserved to be drafted as high as he did?
“It’s not something I’ll forget.”
That’s something you’ll forget?
“Not something I’ll forget.”
When you made that tackle on the interception, head coach Jim Harbaugh admitted he was holding his breath. When’s the last time you made a tackle and what’s your thought about that in terms of trying to get that done and yet maintaining your health?
“When I’m on the field, I’m not worried about my health. I’m worried about trying to win the game and trying to do what’s best for this team.”
So, when’s the last time you made a tackle?
“I’m not sure.”
It was pretty good. Did you like your form and how would you critique it?
“No, he snuck me a little bit. I thought he was going to try and hit the sidelines, so he got under me a little bit. Wish I could have that back.”
What did this team struggle with against that defensive front during the regular season? What does Carolina bring that maybe is unique that this team hasn’t seen from a front seven?
“They have a great front seven. They’re very athletic, very fast, very strong. It was something that the first game we didn’t play very well. We didn’t execute the way we should’ve.”
Jim calls WR Michael Crabtree the greatest catcher ever in the history of the game. Would you agree with that as far as your experience?
“There’s not too many people that can catch the football like him. He has very strong hands. His catch radius is huge.”
You had an up-close view of his rehab. Were you ever worried at any point that he wouldn’t be able to come back or wouldn’t come back as effective as he has?
“No, not at all.”
That first Panthers game, you were under a lot of pressure. Honestly, how much do you think that’s likely to change when you have more weapons on the field like Crabtree, like TE Vernon Davis for the whole game?
“It’s really going to depend on what their game plan is and what they’re trying to do.”
Nevada, obviously, played Texas Tech back in the day. Have you and WR Michael Crabtree, through the years, talked about that game?
“Yeah, we talk about it from time to time. Remember him making a lot of plays on us.”
The perception that in the playoffs you’ll take more chances with your legs, is that myth or fact?
“I guess it’s really week-to-week. It depends what teams are giving us.”
But, in terms of whether your choice is to take off on a scramble or maybe look for one last guy, is there a difference in the playoffs in that?
What are you expecting out of their defense?
“Expecting them to play hard. You really can’t expect too much other than they’re going to have a game plan for us and we have to try to beat it.”
Is Luke Kuechly the quickest linebacker that you’ve gone against?
“I wouldn’t say he’s the quickest, but he has great speed. He’s a very good linebacker. He has great instincts, which makes him play faster. He’s one of the best in the league.”
You feel like winning in the Wild Card weekend you have an advantage over a team who’s been sitting around and waiting to play?
“I don’t know if it’s an advantage or not, but ultimately you have to come out, you have to play your best football on Sunday.”
When you watch film of that first Panthers game, how do you feel about your performance?
“Didn’t perform well enough.”
And why was that?
“A variety of things. It really depends on the play, but we have to play better this week.”
Was it more you or was it what the Panthers defense was doing?
“It was me.”
Were guys giving you grief about the wristband thing?
Not one guy?
They’re intimidated by you then apparently.
“No, not at all.”
Well, how do you feel about that in retrospect?
“Well, I felt dumb for leaving it on the sideline.”
How’d it happen?
“I took it off during halftime and left it in my locker.”
There’s a theory that your arms were numb and you didn’t know whether you had it on or not.
What kind of lead blocker is RB Frank Gore for you when you take off? It seems like he’s routinely taking guys to the ground in front of you.
“He’s one of the best, whether it’s lead blocking on a scramble or pass protection. He’s one of the best in the league at what he does.”
Coming back to that defensive front, you guys have faced a lot of good defensive fronts this season, and Seattle has a good one as well. Is Carolina more that they can play you straight up or do they have some schemes that are unusual as well?
“They just play hard, they know what they’re doing and they know how they want to play you. And that’s something we have to be ready for.”