SANTA CLARA — Linebacker Patrick Willis said Tuesday it's "not an issue, not a problem" if his playing time Saturday is limited because the 49ers' need more defensive backs on the field against the Green Bay Packers.
"The competitive side of me, of course I want be out there," Willis said. "At the same time, it doesn't hurt if you look beside you and the guy playing that position can play just as good."
NaVorro Bowman is the inside linebacker who typically stays on the field when the 49ers face pass-heavy teams, as should be the case in Saturday night's divisional-round game at Candlestick Park.
In the 49ers' season-opening win at Green Bay, Willis often was confined to the sideline while the 49ers brought in an extra defensive back, Perrish Cox, to cover the Packers' extra receiver, typically Randall Cobb.
Willis recently was selected to his sixth Pro Bowls in as many seasons. His 171 tackles this season ranked second on the 49ers' defense behind NaVorro Bowman's 183.
Willis produced double-digit tackle totals in each of the 49ers' playoff games last season: 10 against the Saints and 11 with a sack against the Giants.
"In the playoffs, you can't afford to have mental mistakes or a lot of errors," Willis said. "A football game is not going to be perfect but we have to make sure we don't make any if possible."
That goes for the offensive side, too, and Willis threw his support behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick,
"I have complete confidence in him, and you have to," Willis said. "There's no room to have any doubt he's not going to play his best football."