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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Niners ponder coping strategy

Seattle's stadium noise difficult to solve

Posted: 01/16/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jim Harbaugh will turn to lip reading, motioning and even sign language if he has to in order to communicate with Colin Kaepernick to keep things running smoothly in the deafening noise of Seattle's home stadium.

Kaepernick plans to repeat his calls as many times as necessary in the huddle during the NFC championship game Sunday to make sure his teammates hear him.

"He just has to be louder," centre Jonathan Goodwin said. "There's really no special tricks. You've just got to be as loud as possible and hope everybody hears it."

'You've got to be able to communicate without being able to hear very well... Signals, hand signals, verbal signals, body language, reading lips, different ways'

-- 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh

Solid communication through the chaos at CenturyLink Field will be paramount for Kaepernick, who had one of his worst performances as a pro in a 29-3 Week 2 loss to the Seahawks.

In preparation, music blared across San Francisco's practice field Wednesday. The 49ers regularly practise with the sound system at full blast, but it is that much more important this week as they head to what is considered the NFL's loudest venue.

"Other teams may approach it differently," Harbaugh said. "You've got to be able to communicate without being able to hear very well. You can simulate that somewhat in practice. Signals, hand signals, verbal signals, body language, reading lips, different ways. But, we'll practise that. We've been in some of those environments."

While Kaepernick blames poor execution, and not noise issues, for two disappointing defeats in Seattle over the past 13 months, he realizes he will have to holler at the top of his lungs to avoid further problems getting the snap off in time.

"You stick to the basics," wideout Anquan Boldin said Wednesday.

The 49ers (14-4) had the second-most delay of game penalties in the NFL during the regular season with eight and have frequently struggled to get plays off on time, forcing them to waste timeouts.

And that's in the best of circumstances, not in the Seattle noise. In the first meeting with the Seahawks, the Niners committed two false starts, one delay of game and needed to use two timeouts on one third-quarter drive as they fought the play clock. Last year, they had two delays and were again forced to use two timeouts on offence when they couldn't get the play off.

San Francisco had similar problems in its wild-card win at Green Bay two weeks ago.

In all, the 49ers have committed seven turnovers and been outscored 71-16 in their last two trips to Seattle.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2014 D3

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