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November 21, 2012
Roman Harper: Saints unaffected by 49ers QB flap

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Saints safety Roman Harper is one of the few people in America who doesn't have a strong opinion on whether Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick is the starting quarterback for the 49ers. Asked about the difficulty of preparing for either Smith or Kaepernick this week, the Saints safety essentially said, "Eh - it's all the same to us."

"They're two different bodies," Harper acknowledged. "But they're still both very athletic quarterbacks. Alex Smith, I think he ran one in on us last year from 23 yards. They'll run a quarterback sweep, and you don't see that in the NFL too often. They'll do it with both guys."

"They're both right handed," Harper continued. "They've both got a very nice, strong right arm. Alex may know the offense more because he's been here a little bit longer. Both of these guys have had success the last few weeks in this offense, so you don't really prepare differently for either one."

When we last saw Harper, he was lying on his stomach in the south end zone of Candlestick Park having collided with tight end Vernon Davis. Davis was holding the football and the Saints were seconds away from a loss in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Harper said the 49ers' passing game - whether it's Smith or Kaepernick - is even stronger than it was 10 months ago because the team has more and better receivers, including Randy Moss. "He's bought in completely," Harper said. "He's even blocking better this year. And there's different things you can point to that show (Jim) Harbaugh has these guys motivated. You see it on tape, and that's the reason why they're such a good team."

The 49ers also have the league's top rushing offense. The Saints rush defense? Well, er, um ...

"You can say it, bro," Harper said. "We're dead last."

- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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