Remember how the Saint blitzed the living hell out of us during the preseason? Apparently that is not how a preseason game is supposed to go and probably did bc Harbaugh was being a bad ass from day 1.
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said he didn't know he might have a violated a "gentleman's agreement" when he bypassed a call to Saints coach Sean Payton before their teams' preseason opener on Aug. 12.
Then again, the first-year coach wouldn't have picked up the phone even if knew of some arrangement where NFL coaches speak before exhibition games to hash out the rules of engagement.
"I'm certainly not aware of any gentleman's agreement," said Harbaugh, who broached the topic with Ravens coach John Harbaugh. "I even asked my brother: 'Is there some sort of gentleman's agreement that you call a coach before a game, a preseason game?' He wasn't aware of any. And even if there was we wouldn't do it anyway. We ask no quarter. We give no quarter. That's how we approach things."
The subject was raised today, of course, because the Harbaugh and Payton will renew acquaintances Saturday at Candlestick Park. The game will be played five months after New Orleans violated NFL protocol by blitzing, and blitzing, and blitzing San Francisco in the preseason opener.
According to this story that surfaced after the game, Payton was miffed that Harbaugh didn't touch base before the game. He was so miffed, in fact, that he told defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to blitz the Niners until they couldn't see straight. It worked. New Orleans collected six first-half sacks and quarterback Alex Smith took a vicious pounding.
Today, Harbaugh said he took no offense to the Saints, a more established team, blitzing a team under a first-year coach in the first exhibition game after a lockout.
"That's what they do," Harbaugh said. "As evidence of a full season to see what they do. Whether that helped us, it was effective in the game. It made us address it."
A few players familiar with Williams' schemes – center Jonathan Goodwin and cornerback Carlos Rogers – said they weren't surprised to see Williams blitzing so much in the preseason. Goodwin previously played with the Saints and Williams was the Redskins' defensive coordinator during part of Rogers' tenure in Washington.
Left tackle Joe Staley, however, veered from the company line. Staley said he was upset by the Saints' tactics and he recalled the offensive line shaking it collective head on the sideline: "We kind of come to the sidelines and we're like 'They're blitzing every play. We have a week-and-a-half of the offense in right now.' So we weren't expecting that, no."