There's a highly caffeinated championship parade planned in Seattle on Wednesday, though it's doubtful Jim Harbaugh, Trent Baalke and the rest of the 49ers franchise will be paying attention.

No surprise, I'm told the 49ers brass has been hunkered down the last few weeks, 100 percent mindful of what lies ahead.

Their bitterest rival took what the 49ers crave; the 49ers might be the only team good enough to topple the Seahawks any time soon; and Seattle's crushing Super Bowl victory over Denver on Sunday just loudly reaffirmed all that.

(I'm sure Harbaugh and Baalke knew this would happen once Richard Sherman tipped away Colin Kaepernick's last pass in the NFC title game.)

The 49ers were very good this season, but slightly less so than Seattle. If you're second-best, that means you're the most frustrated of all.

How do the 49ers attack the Seattle Problem? Here are five key points of emphasis this offseason . . .

1. Harbaugh probably will have even more input with the 49ers offense, which could mean amping up the passing game.

I've heard that Harbaugh took over additional parts of the 49ers offense toward the end of this season, especially on pass calls.

One NFL source noted that if offensive coordinator Greg Roman had landed a head-coaching job, Harbaugh planned to take over almost all the play-calling responsibilities.


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Roman ended up staying, but I think some of the 49ers' offensive struggles in 2013 have Harbaugh thinking about pushing the envelope a little more.

Practical point: The 49ers probably aren't going to beat Seattle strictly by running it; Kaepernick needs more options in the pass game, and it sounds like Harbaugh is determined to open up the playbook to see what the QB can do.

That also means Baalke probably has to figure out how to re-sign Anquan Boldin and add a new slot receiver to re-energize that pass attack.

2. The 49ers need injured 2013 draft picks Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore to produce significantly in 2014.

To this point, the 49ers have not gotten a lot from either their 2012 or 2013 draft classes, and eventually that will take its toll.

The 2012 class (led by A.J. Jenkins) is essentially a washout. But 2013 first-rounder Eric Reid was a big hit as a rookie, and other 2013 picks are still relevant, particularly Carradine, a top-talent defensive lineman, and Lattimore, a potential star tailback.

Practical point: To keep that window of opportunity open for the long-term and to match Seattle's depth and youth, the 49ers need Carradine, Lattimore and several others to become mainstays.

3. The long-term contract negotiations with Kaepernick could set the tone for the entire offseason.

A good start: Kaepernick told KNBR last week that he understands there needs to be a balance between what he wants to be paid and what the 49ers will offer within their payroll structure.

And watching Peyton Manning get demolished by Seattle's defense two weeks after Kaepernick gave the Seahawks some trouble certainly hasn't hurt Kaepernick's overall standing.

The 49ers might not be rushing to give him a long-term megadeal -- Kaepernick is still under contract for another season, and the 49ers could play that out and then franchise-tag him for multiple seasons.

I think there could there be a short-term compromise that gives Kaepernick some security but also reduces the 49ers' risk, something near three years, $45 million.

Practical point: There might not be another quarterback who threatens Seattle the way Kaepernick does.

4. This is up to medical science and the pace of All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman's MCL and ACL rehabilitation, but the 49ers sure could use him back at full speed at some point in 2014.

Bowman is only 25, and doctors say he probably should make a full recovery; but the Harbaugh-era 49ers haven't ever had a crucial piece of the defense so badly wounded.

Practical point: It's hard to see the 49ers knocking off Seattle in January if Bowman isn't a healthy, dominant force.

5. After three intense, near-perfect seasons, Harbaugh is going into fateful Year No. 4 with the 49ers.

We'll see whether CEO Jed York and Harbaugh come together on a rich contract extension; that's mostly about money, not longevity.

The larger practical issue: Harbaugh has never stayed in a coaching job longer than the four years he spent at Stanford, and maybe he's getting restless again.

But Harbaugh just saw Pete Carroll win a title, a year after the 49ers lost Super Bowl XLVII to John Harbaugh's Ravens.

Jim Harbaugh is in a very good spot here with the 49ers, if everything can be kept together, if this offseason works out right, and if the 49ers can just figure out how to beat Seattle when it counts.

Because if they don't, who will?

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.