SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh continues to insist that a rule allowing defenders to hit quarterbacks on ball fakes is "flawed and a bit biased."
After expressing similar sentiments on Wednesday, Harbaugh reiterated his concerns Friday and noted that 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 pocket passers regarding where defenders can hit them — a strike zone that runs from the knees to the chin.
The 49ers open their regular season Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, whose star defender, Clay Matthews, said earlier this week that their strategy will be to hit mobile quarterbacks such as the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick.
Here is Harbaugh's dissertation on the matter:
"I think it's flawed and a bit biased. So I think it's flawed and biased
"I believe that when a quarterback is handing a ball off or faking a ball -- in the read-option case, he's reading on an option play and he's as defenseless as a quarterback who's in the act of throwing.
"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.
"I feel like you give a license now to players to hit quarterbacks at the knee or in the head. It just seems to be a flip-flop of what the league is trying to get accomplished, player safety.
"I've even heard Rich McKay of the competition committee look into ways to reduce chop blocks or players getting hit at the knee. Now you're really opening up a door and giving a license to defensive players, to say, 'I couldn't tell if he clearly had the ball or not, so now we can hit him in the knee or the head.'
"Now once a quarterback has indicated he's going to be a runner, then I believe he is a runner and should be treated like a runner. But when he's in the pocket in that vulnerable position, in that leading position, then I believe he should have the same protection as a 'throwing quarterback.'
"Then how do you decide? Who makes that determination a quarterback is making a fake, whether he's under center faking it to the tailback, or he's in shotgun faking a running play. By definition, a fake is a deception, it is a deceptive maneuver. The quarterback that makes a fake and then waggles out on a bootleg — he's a runner or a thrower. Are they being opened up to being hit in the head or the knees, treated like a running back?
"That's how I feel about it. It seems simple. It seems they would have more of an appetite to look at that, and they've said they don't have an appetite to look at it any further."