SANTA CLARA — First Aaron Rodgers. Then Russell Wilson. Now the 49ers' defense must deal with yet another top quarterback, Indianapolis Colts' second-year signal-caller Andrew Luck, who presents a new set of challenges.

Not a problem, said linebacker NaVorro Bowman. He actually sees an advantage to the 49ers facing some of the league's top quarterbacks right out of the chute.

"If you face the best early in the season, that leaves room for you to improve later on in the season," Bowman said. "I'm excited to face a great quarterback and one of coach (Jim) Harbaugh's protégés."

Bowman said that as he watched film of the Colts, nothing much stood out to him besides the quarterback.

"It's really just No. 12, man," he said. "I feel like they feed off of him and he runs pretty much every phase. We know that he likes to get our looks early before the ball is snapped. So we're going to have to do a good job holding our coverages and holding our disguises. That's pretty much the challenge for us, making sure Andrew doesn't know what we're in."

Bowman is impressed that Luck has already developed a veteran presence despite having played just one season in the NFL.

"He's smart," Bowman said. "You don't really get too many guys that are able to do what he is able to do at the line as a young guy. So they benefit from that. They 49ers veterans, we understand that. So we have to do a good job with the snap."


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Bowman added that Luck is an altogether different challenge than Seattle's Russell Wilson, who he felt the defense stifled reasonably well despite the 29-3 defeat to the Seahawks.

"Yeah, I think we did a good job," he said. "It's just one of those games, where both phases of the team aren't working at the same time. I thought we were playing well early in the game and in the second half our offense came along. But that's what you have to do. You have to start off fast and play together and be on the same page. We'll try to get that done this week."

Bowman said it was difficult to lose nose tackle Ian Williams for the season, but believes the 49ers have enough to fill the void in Glenn Dorsey and Tony Jerod-Eddie.

"Glenn played well -- he's a savvy veteran," Bowman said. "For him to come in when we needed him, he did a great job."

Bowman added he was looking forward to seeing longtime 49ers defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, who now plays for the Colts.

"He was a great teammate of mine," he said. "He was here since I got there, so I'm looking forward to seeing him."