View Count: 154 |  Publish Date: February 03, 2013
KNBR Conversation: Ex-49er Steve Young

An edited transcript of the conversation between former 49ers quarterback Steve Young, who played on three Super Bowl winning teams and was MVP of one Super Bowl, and KNBRs Tom Tolbert.
Tolbert: Im guessing that even after his performance in Atlanta, the Ravens will sell out to take away the run from Colin Kaepernick and force him to beat them with his arm.
Young: We talked about this last week when I interviewed him, and I said, Colin, have you been hit hard? He was like, No. So I asked, Have you even really had anything go wrong? and he said, Well, I had that one pitch in St. Louis, but yeah, its gone pretty well. I think the Ravens are going to try to change that narrative - theyve got to. If he is able to just be untouched, whatever he does - its just incredible - you cant let a young quarterback make it that easy. That exposes them, because theyre going to have to take chances and try to get to him and rattle him. In the run game, in the pass game - prevent him from just making his pistol fake and then raising up and throwing an easy slant to (Michael) Crabtree or the wide open corner to Vernon (Davis). Theyve got to not allow that to happen. Now, again, thats easy to say; but to me, with a young quarterback in the Super Bowl - this offensive line is too good, its the best since the 2000 Rams or the 1992 Cowboys, so no matter what your plan is its not going to go tremendously well just because that offensive line is not going to allow it. But at some point, you cannot let a young quarterback just go untouched. You just cant. To not have that happen, its going to be risky - and risks mean big openings. Colin could make three throws and the game could be over if theyre not careful.
Tolbert: Taking away both quarterbacks, in your estimation who are the most important players on these two teams?
Young: I maintain its Justin Smith. I think the 49ers have not been nearly as ferocious defensively. Justin was so dominant in how he handled the line of scrimmage. People used to say Justin Smith held two guys, three guys, to let the linebackers and Aldon Smith scrape around for the pass rush. ... So to me, Justin Smith being able to do more would be key. If he cant, you still have a great defense, but he makes it No. 1 or 2 in the league with what he does. He protects a lot of people, and makes a lot of people great.
Tolbert: And for the Ravens?
Young: I think Ray Rice. If they can effectively run, create that sense of doubt that they might put 100 or 150 up in the running game, now Joe Flacco is a great play-action guy. When the play-action is working, and its making people bite, it gets tough. With Anquan Boldin roaming around - Ive always wondered, whenever I watch the Ravens play in the last two years, Im like, Wheres Anquan Boldin? Where are all these guys? All of a sudden theyre showing up. So if Ray Rice is gaining some yards, and they start the play-action game, that would be big for the Ravens.
Tolbert: Randy Moss said this week he is the greatest receiver of all time. Do you think hes just trying to take all the heat off of the rest of the team, or does he really believe it?
Young: I think he believes it. I think hed probably say what I hear a lot of people say - he didnt have the quarterbacks, but if he did. ... Look what he did with Tom Brady, he could have done what Jerry Rice did. But Jerry Rice did so much more than anyone whos ever stepped on the field. Its not like someone is getting close to the yards, or the touchdowns, or the catches - nobodys close! I feel like its a mistake for Randy personally, because you dont declare yourself the greatest. Its like leadership, nobody says, Im the leader! Youre a leader because people follow you, people will fight for you. People following you makes you the leader. So if youre the greatest, people are telling you youre the greatest. You dont need to be the one who declares it.
Tolbert: What are the keys in your mind? Give me a headline if the 49ers win, and a headline if the 49ers lose ...
Young: The headline if they win is that this is one of the great teams. Its the fulfillment of what the previous teams have been like - these dominant football teams. Like I said, coming off of the bus this is not a team where you wonder, Ooh, I wonder if they can actually do this. Theres no question of they can do it. So thats what I think the headline would be, just the fulfillment of another great, typical 49er championship team. If they lose, it would be just the opposite - this is the first 49er loss, and I think that would be the story. The 49ers have never done that before. Like any Super Bowl loss, its the memorable loss, the one that stings and sticks. I think everyone suspects that this is the better team, so if the better team doesnt win it creates more drama.

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Time: 5:18  |  News Code: 109613  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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