The 49ers are a field-goal underdog saturday against the New Orleans Saints, not too surprising because the 49ers kick a lot of field goals (44, a NFL record) and the Saints have a penchant for touchdowns. But coach Jim Harbaugh isn't publicly using the oddsmakers' line as a rallying cry.
"I don't think it's relevant," Harbaugh said Monday. "I don't pay too much attention to it. I don't have any idea what the line is."
Told that some national media think the 49ers have "no chance" in their first playoff game in nine years, Harbaugh's clipped response: "Oh."
The Saints were peppered with flattery from Harbaugh: "I look at them as a great team and they have an ability to win a lot of different ways."
The Saints and 49ers met in the exhibition opener, and after New Orleans' 24-3 home rout, a report out of New Orleans said the Saints blitzed so much because Harbaugh didn't exchange phone calls with Sean Payton to go over strategy. Harbaugh initially said he was unaware of that report. But then he clarified: "I'm certainly not aware of any gentleman's agreement. I even asked my brother (Ravens coach John Harbaugh) if there is a gentleman's agreement to call before games. Even if there was, we wouldn't do it anyway."
Harbaugh went on to say he has "great respect" for Payton and has had good visits every time he's been around him professionally.
As for how he wants his team's mindset this week: "It's special being in the playoffs. I want them to feel that. They get one shot. They earned the right to be here. We're focused on what we need to do and that's prepare for the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. ... But not overcook it."
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Tight end Delanie Walker won't be put on injured reserve because of a fractured jaw he sustained Dec. 24 in Seattle, Harbaugh said. "We're going to keep the (roster) spot open. We got great news Wednesday on Delanie," Harbaugh said. "He's not the average Joe walking on the street. He's young and has got great healing powers. ... I'm not ruling him out."
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After Frank Gore was kept out of the second half of the regular-season finale at St. Louis, Harbaugh said Gore was working through something. Gore said he was fine. Harbaugh's take Monday on Gore: "It was our way of telling you what it is, what is bothering him. ... I think Frank's good. He's benefitted from (the wild-card bye)."
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Asked how he felt after watching the Saints' prolific offense in Saturday's 45-28 win over Detroit, Harbaugh said: "It makes me go to bed and sleep like a baby. I wake up every hour crying."