Matt Maiocco

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The 49ers went straight from their walk-through practice today, which is not required to be open to the media, into their "team" work portion of practice, which can also be closed -- and it was on Thursday.

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Return men Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams were cleared to play Saturday, but the injury report Wednesday didn't bode well for Delanie Walker. More: Kaepernick's playoff plan 'Stretcher game'

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After eight seasons with no postseason appearances, the 49ers confirmed Thursday that the end zones at Candlestick Park will be painted red for the team's playoff game vs. the New Orleans Saints.

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Ray McDonald made his return from a hamstring injury Wednesday, but the Saints injury update isn't so positive, and it involves a defensive leader.

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Greg Roman is preparing a detailed scheme to handle the Saints' blitz-happy defense. Quarterback Alex Smith received significant praise when Roman said he's the man for the task.

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The 49ers remain one hit away from playing a rookie under center in the playoffs, but Colin Kaepernick insisted in his Q&A with CSNBayArea.com, he wouldn't change the 49ers' offense a bit.

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A phantom phone call from the 49ers and Saints preseason matchup has led to speculation about the relationship between Jim Harbaugh and Sean Payton. Payton isn't having it.

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Gregg Williams and the Saints live by the blitz. Vic Fangio and the 49ers do not. But when you look at the defensive results, you have to wonder whose approach is best.

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The good news is that the 49ers return to full strength at wide receiver, as Ted Ginn ankle and Kyle Williams concussion have been cleared to play. Delanie Walker is a different matter, however.

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Carlos Rogers spent four seasons in Washington with Gregg Williams, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Saints. When asked to compare Williams with Vic Fangio, Rogers said they are 'similar.'

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The Saints blitzed the 49ers an inordinate amount in their preseason meeting because Jim Harbaugh didn't call Sean Payton to establish a 'gentleman's agreement.' Harbaugh wasn't aware he was supposed to.

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Bruce Miller wasn't the only 49ers rookie the club asked to change from defense to offense. Colin Jones, a safety from Texas Christian, has primarily been used on special teams, but what about wide receiver?

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The 49ers are sharpening themselves in preparation for the New Orleans Saints by playing against themselves in practice. Dashon Goldson: "It's like a game-type of environment on the practice field."

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The Saints scored 45 points in each of their past three games. However, they were all at home, and New Orleans isn't nearly as prolific on the road. Matt Maiocco tells you what the 49ers need to do to beat the Saints.

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The 49ers will play their first playoff game since the 2002 postseason on Saturday. The second-seeded 49ers will face the No. 3 New Orleans Saints on Saturday at Candlestick Park withkickoff set for 1:30 p.m.

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