GREEN BAY – The 49ers won’t lack for preparation to combat Aaron Rodgers’ attempts to catch the 49ers offside.
“There’s been an added emphasis every time I’ve coached against this guy,” first-year 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula said on Wednesday. “I’ve got a tape. I’ve got a tape that’s probably equal to a game tape long of him getting people offsides and whipping that ball down the field.”
Rodgers caught the Chiefs in a free play on Monday night, and then pitched a 27-yard touchdown pass to James Jones. Rodgers also caught the Chiefs in an offsides free play later in the game, and used that opportunity to complete a 52-yard pass to Jones.
Tomsula was previously the 49ers’ defensive line coach. He was a popular hire to replace Jim Harbaugh when the latter left for Michigan. Tomsula has first-person experience from games against Rodgers and the Packers which, in recent years, the 49ers have won.
“That offense is expansive. They can go anywhere they need to go. They play to their strengths and the other team’s weaknesses. They’ve got passing game, they’ve got running game. This is a great team,” Tomsula said.
The Packers are 3-0; the 49ers are 1-2. They’ll meet in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday. It’s a game that’ll feature the game’s best quarterback against a quarterback that’s tortured the Packers. It’s also a game that’ll feature two coaches from similar roots. Tomsula and Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy grew up across the river from each other in neighboring Pittsburgh communities, and they share the region’s accent and personality.
“Not only was he a terrific football player, but he was a heckuva basketball player. He’s a Greenfield boy. Those guys play the hoops. He always had the reputation of a hard-nosed person but a really good person,” Tomsula said of McCarthy.
“It’s just the way people are there. I’m very proud to be from there, too. You don’t go to Pittsburgh for the weather. You’re not loving living there for the beach or for the weather. You love living there because of the people.”
McCarthy is at the top of his profession. Tomsula has worked long and hard to get to where he is. A win over the Packers would do a lot for Tomsula’s coaching esteem.
“You take a guy like Aaron Rodgers, who’s put himself right into Mike, and they work together, and now you add Coach Clements in there, another Pittsburgh cat … they’ve done something very special there,” Tomsula said.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick burst onto the scene in a playoff win over the Packers. Kaepernick was the league’s newest star. Most recently, Kaepernick has needed a vote of confidence from his coach.
“We’ve had a couple of weeks of big challenges. We haven’t started off games the right way. We’ve put ourselves into position to not be able to get into anything,” Tomsula said of lopsided losses in Pittsburgh and Arizona.
Kaepernick had an especially rough outing against the Cardinals this past Sunday.
“A bad game is a bad game, but it’s not a pattern. The first two weeks, we’re very pleased in how he was handling the offense and what he was doing. This past week, tough game. Turnovers are turnovers. You can’t have them and you can’t accept them. He doesn’t want them. That’s obvious. I have all the confidence in the world in Colin Kaepernick. I have all the confidence in the world in his abilities, in his person. We’re going to move on. We have the Green Bay Packers coming in. We’ll take a look at what we do, own it, fix it and move on,” Tomsula said.
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