Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
In this Sept. 16, 2007 file photo, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, right, congratulates wide receiver Randy Moss (81) after his second touchdown catch in the third quarter of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers in Foxborough, Mass. Moss arrived at the Patriots five years ago thinking he knew a lot about football. Then, he began playing for Belichick. Moss' mindset regarding his own football knowledge changed in a hurry. Only then did he learn the intricacies of his sport from "A to Z," as the 49ers wide receiver now puts it. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)
In this Sept. 30, 2012 file photo, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss smiles on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. Moss arrived at the New England Patriots five years ago thinking he knew a lot about football. Then, he began playing for Bill Belichick. Moss' mindset regarding his own football knowledge changed in a hurry. Only then did he learn the intricacies of his sport from "A to Z," as the 49ers wide receiver now puts it. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
While Moss' respect for Brady goes unsaid, the veteran receiver also appreciates how second-year pro Colin Kaepernick has handled himself after being promoted to starter four games ago in place of Alex Smith.
"Most second-year quarterbacks are just waiting in the shadow and just waiting to get their shot. I think Kap's been able to come in and just lead us as a whole unit," Moss said. "Any time a guy can come in and lead like that, and I don't mean verbally, but leading by example, is what we as football players look for in a player. Especially in a quarterback. So I really just compliment his leadership and going out there and leading our offense up and down the field."
The Niners realize Sunday's game will probably be won or lost by their defense, and that they need to score, too.
"I think you've got to do a little bit of everything," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday. "Obviously when you're playing a team that scores the way this team does, you're going to have to score some points, too."
Aldon Smith, whose 19 ½ sacks leave him three from Michael Strahan's single-season record set in 2001 with the New York Giants, has one thought for anybody questioning whether San Francisco's defense can keep up Sunday.
"We can stop 'em, yeah, yeah!" Smith said. "We've played good offenses before. It's not the first offense we've played that has talent."
Yes, San Francisco won at Green Bay against an Aaron Rodgers-led offense in the season opener, then beat Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome on Nov. 25.
Yet fellow linebacker Ahmad Brooks isn't sugarcoating the challenge ahead of stopping Brady and Co.
"You got to," he said. "If you don't, then he'll tear you apart."
Notes: WR Mario Manningham, who missed last Sunday's win against the Dolphins, is still nursing an injured right shoulder. He caught balls during Thursday afternoon's practice. "I'm getting there," Manningham said, patches from an electric stimulation machine attached to the shoulder as he walked through the locker room. "Taking it day by day. We'll see." ... Aldon Smith announced Thursday he will donate $5,099 for each of his regular-season sacks to Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and The Peninsula. He said he has never spoken to nor met Strahan.