SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh insisted Friday that a rule allowing defenders to hit quarterbacks after fake handoffs is "flawed and a bit biased."

After expressing similar sentiments Wednesday, Harbaugh reiterated his concerns Friday and claimed the league has no "appetite" to delve further into the issue.

Harbaugh wants quarterbacks carrying out read-option fakes in the pocket to receive the same protection as would-be passers regarding where defenders can hit them -- a strike zone that runs from the knees to the chin.

"When a quarterback is handing a ball off or faking a ball -- in the read-option case, he's reading on an option play -- he's as defenseless as a quarterback who's in the act of throwing," Harbaugh said.

"I'm not advocating that they don't hit the quarterback, if he has the ball. But when he's in the pocket, I believe there should be a strike zone, same strike zone that is given to the quarterback when he's in the pocket and throwing the ball."

The 49ers open their season Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, whose star defender, Clay Matthews, said earlier this week that their strategy is to hit mobile quarterbacks such as the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick.

"I feel like you give a license now to players to hit quarterbacks at the knee or in the head," Harbaugh said. "It just seems to be a flip-flop of what the league is trying to get accomplished, player safety."


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  • Anquan Boldin defended the 49ers' suspect receiving corps, stating: "They're talented. You'll see for yourself come Sunday and each game after. They'll definitely make plays, and they're ready to make their mark on this league. I'm not worried about them at all."

    Boldin, acquired in an offseason trade with the Baltimore Ravens, is slated to start alongside Kyle Williams, the only returning wideout from last year's team who's on the active roster. Backing them up are Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton, Jon Baldwin and Chris Harper.

    Boldin likes what he's seen from Patton, a fourth-round draft pick. "We're excited and look forward to his growth, because we definitely could use him," Boldin added.

    It looked as though the Ravens could have used Boldin and many of their other former players Thursday night when they opened their title defense with a 49-27 loss at Denver. Asked if that loss should resonate with the NFC champion 49ers, Boldin replied: "That message is always preached around here. No one is going to lay down because you were in the Super Bowl last year. It's the opposite."

  • Harbaugh said of 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who has recovered well from offseason shoulder surgery: "He has a great chance to be one of the real premier edge setters and pass rushers in the game."

    Brooks said he encouraged teammate Aldon Smith's pursuit last season of the NFL sack record, when Smith's 19½ sacks left him two shy of Michael Strahan's mark. "Hopefully I can be the one to go for the sack record this year," Brooks said smiling.

  • Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (collarbone) officially is listed as questionable for his 49ers debut, but he expects to see a lot of action. "This week they'll throw 99 percent of the time, so the ball will be in the air a lot," Asomugha said. "We'll have DBs on the field and a lot of opportunities."

    Asomugha will learn Saturday if he needs to wear any support for his two-week-old injury.

  • Running back/returner LaMichael James (knee) is questionable even though he did not practice all week.

  • The Packers' Randall Cobb is the only player in NFL history to open his first two seasons by returning a Week 1 kickoff or punt for a touchdown. He had a 108-yard kickoff return in 2011 against the New Orleans Saints and a 75-yard, fourth-quarter punt return last year against the 49ers. Cobb also had a team-high nine catches for 77 yards and in that 30-22 win by the 49ers.

    "He's probably their most dynamic player on offense, because they can put him anywhere and allow him to make plays," Asomugha said.

  • Rookie Eddie Lacy, who rushed for an Alabama-record 17 touchdowns last season, is expected to start in the Packers' backfield. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's scouting report on Lacy: "Big back. Strong back. He's got some shiftiness. He's a spinner. He's got some good cutting ability."

  • Harbaugh could become the first 49ers coach to win his first three season openers.

  • The 49ers own a 9-4 record in season openers at Candlestick Park, their home for a 43rd and final season.

  • Frank Gore's average of 6.6 yards per carry is the best all-time against Green Bay among running backs with at least 50 carries.

  • Former 49ers safety Carlton Williamson will serve as the honorary captain.

  • This is just the 12th time since 1970 that the Packers have opened on the road.