Ryan, Falcons look to keep Kaepernick off the field

Ryan, Falcons look to keep Kaepernick off the field
January 16, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Matt Ryan and the Falcons have shown an aptitude for the no-huddle offense. (AP)

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Yes, the job of getting 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick off the field in Sunday's NFC title game rests solely with Atlanta's defense.

But what about keeping the dual-threat quarterback who rushed for a record-for-a-QB 181 yards last week off  the field? Paging the Falcons offense, which would do that by maintaining long, clock-eating drives that result in scores.

"That's something (that) every game will take on its own life," Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter admitted to Atlanta reporters on Tuesday. "We sometimes have that as one of our goals, to possess the ball. But right now, as we're standing here…early in the week, we're just trying to figure out how to make a field goal against these guys. How can we score any points?

"So possessing the ball is down my list right now, but obviously (with) the game he had last week, (that) would be important."

As Koetter noted, Atlanta's offense has to find a way to crack the 49ers "very physical" defense.

"Their safeties are very physical, good tacklers," Koetter said, when asked specifically about San Francisco's secondary. "And they have taken some shots on some wide receivers, but I think that will be something our guys will actually get up for, the challenge of that. Our guys usually like that kind of a challenge."

The Falcons protected quarterback Matt Ryan with aplomb against Seattle, the Seahawks getting credited for just one quarterback hit on Sunday.

"Every quarterback in the league plays better when they're not getting hit," Koetter said, "and Matt's no exception to that."

Atlanta has also shown an aptitude for the no-huddle offense. But again, Koetter was keeping his cards close.

"We will have a plan…it will all be based specifically on how we think we can attack San Francisco," he said. "It will have nothing to do with last week or any other week. I mean, we're playing this game this week.

"We're prepared to go the whole game no-huddle if we have to, and we're prepared to play no plays of no-huddle if we want to. You just don't know how the game's going to go but we'll be ready either way."