Seattle Seahawks: Justin Smith

Harbaugh leads 49ers' praise of Wilson

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
8:00
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RENTON, Wash. -- San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh couldn’t say enough good things Wednesday about Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Wilson
“He’s a fantastic player, a wonderful, wonderful player and competitor.’’ Harbaugh said. “You see his arm talent, his mobility and his great field awareness. He understands the scrambling lanes and escape routes out of the pocket. And then he has that feel, that only so many quarterbacks have ever had, to really extend plays. So he has a lot of great qualities, a lot of wonderful qualities about him. He’s just a phenomenal player.”

Harbaugh was asked to compare Wilson and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“I think they’re both very talented quarterbacks,’’ Harbaugh said. “And they both throw really well from the pocket, too. They stand in there and deliver. Their timing and accuracy, they’re very good at that.”

San Francisco defensive tackle Justin Smith said Wilson’s speed is one thing that enables him to make plays.

"He’s running around backward, whirly-birding for 20 yards," Smith said. "I guess he’s a little bit quicker than most D-linemen, and I’m one of them."

Smith said Wilson’s versatility is what makes him difficult to stop.

“It’s all the different things he brings,’’ Smith said. “He’s not one-dimensional. He runs really well, but he also throws with great accuracy. He extends plays and moves the pocket. But he’s not trying to force anything and doesn’t make dumb plays. It’s an all-around challenge for us. He’s one of the big reasons they are where they are.”

#NFLRank: A full NFC West accounting

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
1:40
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Fifteen San Francisco 49ers and 13 Seattle Seahawks helped the NFC West account for a disproportionate number of players listed in the #NFLRank project from ESPN.

Sixty-three voters helped rank 100 top players on each side of the ball. NFC West teams accounted for 20 players on defense and 16 on offense. The 36-player total works out to 18 percent representation for the NFC West, above the 12.5 percent expectation for any division.

The chart shows where NFC West players ranked on each list. I shaded offensive players in gray to better distinguish the rankings.

The 49ers' Patrick Willis and the Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald have long been perceived as the best players in the division. They've got additional competition, but those two ranked higher than anyone else in the NFC West.

There were sure to be oversights in a project of this scope. Defensive end Calais Campbell of the Cardinals stands out to me as the most glaring one. I might have placed him between Patrick Peterson and Chris Long in defensive rankings as they stood for this project.

Three Seahawks cornerbacks earned spots on the list even though one of them, Antoine Winfield, reportedly could be released by the team Saturday in the reduction to 53 players Saturday.

A quick look at ranked players by team:

San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis (3), Aldon Smith (10), Justin Smith (11), Vernon Davis (18), NaVorro Bowman (18), Joe Staley (25), Mike Iupati (32), Frank Gore (37), Colin Kaepernick (42), Ahmad Brooks (56), Anthony Davis (60), Donte Whitner (64), Michael Crabtree (78), Anquan Boldin (83) and Jonathan Goodwin (92).

Seattle Seahawks: Richard Sherman (8), Earl Thomas (17), Percy Harvin (26), Marshawn Lynch (27), Brandon Browner (46), Russell Wilson (47), Russell Okung (49), Kam Chancellor (49), Max Unger (57), Bobby Wagner (67), Winfield (70), Cliff Avril (74) and Chris Clemons (85).

St. Louis Rams: Long (40), James Laurinaitis (57), Jake Long (61), Cortland Finnegan (63).

Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald (7), Patrick Peterson (19), Daryl Washington (59) and Darnell Dockett (79).

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