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49ers coach Jim Harbaugh flummoxed by Patriots offense

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  December 12, 2012 03:42 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has looked at the Patriots on film and is searching for answers to try to contain the league's No. 1 offense.

"Very impressed in all phases," Harbaugh said via conference call Wednesday afternoon. "Kicking game, return game, offensively, defensively, [they're] playing at a very high level. Very impressive."

Asked about how his second-ranked defense can do what the Texans failed to do, disrupt the Tom Brady-led offense, Harbaugh was stumped.

"Well we'd sure like to find the answer to that," he said. "And then implement it. But it's really difficult. They're tough to do that against."

He pointed to the Patriots strengths, which he said were numerous.

"[The have a] really good scheme, really good play-calling and then great individual effort at each position," Harbaugh said. "[And] great ability they have to play as a team. So, you could talk for hours about how good they are."

Other comments from Harbaugh:

On Randy Moss
"He's done a nice job. He's been a contributor. He's produced and he's been a great teammate."

On his defensive end Aldon Smith
"He's got a very high motor. He really likes football and he's got a lot of physical attributes, speed and power. And he's a very smart guy."

On all-pro defensive lineman Justin Smith
"Well I really thought this for a long time that everybody should have a Justin Smith. He is a football player in every sense of the word, which encompasses all the good qualities. Great teammate, great worker, talented, [and] smart, has it all. He makes it a joy to come out here and coach when you got guys like that."

On how the Patriots' defense has changed with the acquisition of Aqib Talib
"I think it's allowed them to do some things they weren't doing before, definitely. Moving a corner to safety, a lot of man coverage as you saw the other night against Houston, and probably a number of things that are there."

On the options available in his team's full-house pistol formation
"That's the idea, trying to have a formation that we can do different things out of; run, pass, etc."

On the similarities between the Patriots' Jerod Mayo and the 49ers' Patrick Willis
"Definitely. They both stand on their own, but they're both really good players. Jerod has all the skills that you want a linebacker to have, physical, good tackler, can cover side to side. He's just a really good football player."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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