49ers notes: Ravens backup QB a Kaepernick imitator

avoisin@sacbee.comJanuary 31, 2013 

NEW ORLEANS – Former Oregon and San Leandro High School standout Dennis Dixon spent considerable time on the Baltimore Ravens' scout team the past several days imitating 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Dixon, 28, said he thinks of himself primarily as a passer, but he acknowledged the recent NFL intrigue with the read-option offense and said he is not averse to expanding his individual playbook.

"I don't want to be known as a running quarterback," Dixon said. "I grew up a Raiders fan, a big fan of Rich Gannon. But the more variations you can bring, the better. The read-option, the pistol, whatever you want to call it. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense."

Dixon, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008, sees some similarities with his 49ers counterpart. Both are rangy and athletic, he noted, and capable of improvising.

"I hear he runs the 40 in 4.5," said Dixon, who was waived and then re-signed by the Ravens several weeks ago. "That's what I run in the 40."

Asked if flexing and kissing his biceps is part of his practice routine, Dixon laughed.

"I have never Kaepernicked," he said. "That's something that he is accustomed to doing. I have never done it."

Moss sticks to guns – Randy Moss said he didn't mean to disrespect Jerry Rice on Tuesday when he said he was the best wide receiver to have played the game. But Moss wasn't taking back his claim, either.

"There's no animosity, there's no tension with Jerry Rice," Moss said. "He started the thing. He came from a smaller school than (I did at) Marshall. You know what I'm saying? And I followed his whole career and I've seen the plays that he's had.

"But I'm not going to sit here and degrade this man and disrespect this man for everything he's accomplished. Because he has accomplished more than me. He has the championships. He has the numbers.

"But what I said (Tuesday) as far as the impact that I'm able to make on this game of football – I believe that I did change the game of football. And I don't mean that being cocky or anything like that. I'm confident in what I'm able to do."

Rice, who played 20 years in the NFL, is an analyst for ESPN. On Tuesday, he said he was surprised Moss referred to himself as the greatest.

"You'd never hear me say I'm the greatest football player to ever play the game," Rice said. "I let my body of work speak for itself, and I think I was able to be very productive on the football field."

Moss' only other trip to the Super Bowl came in the 2007 season. He and the New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants.

A Fangio fan – Coach Jim Harbaugh said he tried for two years to get 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to leave the Ravens' staff and join him at Stanford.

The issue? Fangio had settled into the Baltimore area and was reluctant to uproot his family.

He didn't have to.

His son and daughter remain in Baltimore. Christian is a junior at Towson. His daughter, Cassie, is a sophomore in high school. Fangio said both are wearing 49ers colors proudly this week.

"My kids are very passionate and tough about the 49ers," he said. "But they're kind of the lone rangers back there right now. We've got to win."

Fangio, of course, left Baltimore in 2010 and became Stanford's defensive coordinator. When Harbaugh took over in San Francisco, he brought Fangio with him.

What made him change his mind?

"Jim," Fangio said. "He was persuasive."

Et cetera – High winds and rain forced the 49ers to practice in the Saints' indoor facility in Metairie, La. Harbaugh said he didn't want to expose the team's film crew, who are stationed atop cranes above the practice field, to winds of 20 to 25 mph.

• Both starting outside linebackers, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith, were listed as limited because of shoulder injuries.

• While at the Saints' facility, the 49ers are practicing under a large poster of New Orleans coach Sean Payton saying "Do Your Job." There's also a picture of the Saints' 2009 world championship squad. Harbaugh said he had no problem with either.

"We're in their house," he said. "We try to respect their hospitality."

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