Harrison: 'You never rush conservatively'

Mike Vick can appreciate 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's game as well as anyone, the ability to escape pressure and turn potential sacks into high-speed scrambles that move the chains and potentially change games.

Vick's been there and done that and he understands the process and what the Steelers' defense will be dealing with on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.

"I think it's probably his natural instincts," Vick suggested. "It's probably not premeditated. He probably just lets it happen naturally whenever he gets a lane or a crease.

"As quarterbacks we all work off feel. Whenever there's a crease you don't see it, you just feel it. It's hard to kind of just drop back and say, 'I'm going to take off and run.' You have to let it happen off natural instinct."

Kaepernick officially carried the ball seven times for 41 yards in San Francisco's season-opening, 20-3 victory over Minnesota.

But two of those carries were kneel-downs for 2 yards in losses to close out the game.

Kaepernick gained 43 yards on his first five attempts, including a 7-yard gain on third-and-6, a 12-yard pickup on third-and-7 and a 12-yard bolt on third-and-4.

It's what he does.

But Steelers linebacker James Harrison maintained the Steelers will still have to do what they do, even when rushing a passer that's capable of becoming a runner.

"You never rush conservatively," Harrison maintained. "You just rush in your lanes. Stay lane-conscious, don't take any unnecessary risks and if you do make sure somebody's covering you, that's it.

"It's not hard. All you do is rush in your lane. It's like running down the field in your lane, it's not hard."

Not in theory, perhaps.

But Kaepernick's 181 rushing yards on Jan. 12, 2013 in the playoffs against Green Bay stand as an example of what can happen when a defense isn't on its details.

That effort set an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a regular-season or postseason game, surpassing the 173 yards Vick had gained on Dec. 1, 2002 at Minnesota.

So the Steelers need to approach Kaepernick carefully if not conservatively.

"Keep eyes on him," Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward suggested.

"You don't want to get washed out of your lanes and create a big seam in the middle. Sometimes, when you get too wide it parts like the Red Sea. Guys really have to be aware.

"You don't want to get pushed back past the quarterback because then it opens up another gap. We really have to be sound."

Added linebacker Jarvis Jones: "He's a guy that can do a lot of things getting outside the pocket. We gotta be honed in and respect the pass lanes so we won't have gaps everywhere and things opened up for him. We really have to get off the ball, push the pocket and try to make him make decisions from being in the pocket.

"If you give it to him he's going to take off."

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