Want respect? Beating Saints would earn it

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A reporter asked San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis whether or not his offense felt pressure to keep pace with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Saturday.

"No, I don't think it's about keeping up with them," Davis answered Wednesday, "because if you have a defense like the guys that we have, I don't think you have to really worry about anything. They are going to show up. I believe in them. There is a lot of talent over there."

This exchange was typical of several at 49ers headquarters this week. Reporters tend to frame questions in ways suggesting the Saints, playoff regulars with a recent Super Bowl as validation, are the more formidable team. San Francisco players tend to answer respectfully, but also with a clear message: they aren't too bad, either.

The subject came to mind Wednesday during a conversation I had with KNBR radio's Damon Bruce. He asked why the 49ers seemed to be getting less respect than their 13-3 record would warrant. I told him they would get more respect after winning a playoff game.

A victory over the Saints will change perceptions among the skeptical. Check out the KNBR audio for additional thoughts on this matter and the Saints-49ers matchup in general.