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On the Phone with Philbin and Wake

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 5, 2012 – 3:38 PM

Two of the league’s most high-profile young quarterbacks will collide at Candlestick Park on Sunday afternoon.

While the 49ers Faithful are already familiar with Colin Kaepernick, they will get their first up close look at Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill, who was drafted No. 8 overall by the Dolphins in April. In Wednesday’s call with the Bay Area media, Miami coach Joe Philbin discussed the benefits of having a mobile quarterback and the challenges presented by Kaepernick.

“He’s playing well,” Philbin said. “Not surprised, they have a good scheme there. He utilizes his athletic ability very, very well, he throws the ball well, he’s accurate – I believe he’s completed about 65 percent of his passes, if I’m not mistaken. The guy’s a good a football player. He’s very competitive and he’s off to a good start.”

Defensive end Cameron Wake will be responsible for trying to slow down Kaepernick this weekend. The fourth-year vet and his teammates have faced other mobile quarterbacks like Seattle’s Russell Wilson last week, Tennessee’s Jake Locker and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, but none of them have the raw speed of Kaepernick.

Wake said he’s been impressed with Kaepernick in his three starts for the 49ers and that he’ll be assigned to keep an extra eye on the quarterback.

“I’m always the spy,” Wake said with a laugh. “Every play I’m the spy. That’s my job title. Wherever the quarterback is, you’ve got to get there.”

On the other side of the ball, Tannehill will have to try and avoid the NFL’s current sack leader, 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith. Making matters more troublesome, Tannehill won’t have the services of his trusted Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long, who suffered a season-ending triceps tear in Week 13.

In Long’s place, rookie Jonathan Martin is expected to move from right tackle to left tackle. Wake has practiced against Martin all year long and said he’s been impressed with Martin’s maturity as first-year player.

“He plays like a veteran,” Wake said. “He’s a big man, he’s athletic … a Stanford guy, obviously a smart guy coming in.”

Jim Harbaugh knows Martin well having coached him in college, but the youngster won’t get a break against the 49ers. Martin will likely be lined up opposite of Smith, who currently has 17.5 quarterback takedowns this season.

“That’s quite a pace he’s on,” Philbin said of Smith. “He’s got a knack for getting to the quarterback, sniffing things out. … He’s around the quarterback a lot.”

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