Jim Harbaugh: 49ers will have a 'bigger target' next year

USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco's coach said teams "want to beat us" in 2013.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said it's time for his coaches and players to take a break after an exhausting 2012 season, but he also knows this offseason will be critical for his team.

Harbaugh said at his season-ending press conference that he expects an even bigger target on his team's back next year.

"The biggest issue is, going forward, we've had a lot of success here," he said. "We're going to have a bigger target. Teams in the division are going to draft and study us. They want to beat us. Continuing to improve. That's our formula."

But right now the team needs to reboot from a trying season.

"Next for our team is some R&R," Harbaugh said. "Our players, our coaches have spent everything they have at this point. Take a couple weeks to recharge the battery."

Harbaugh was, of course, questioned about his team's strategy in its final drive of Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. The 49ers passed on their last four plays of the game instead of trying to run the ball with speedy quarterback Colin Kaepernick or the game's leading rusher, running back Frank Gore.

"We came up five yards short. Certainly, knowing how it finished, I would have liked to try a different play call, a different scenario," Harbaugh said. "But you can't.

"We felt our best way was to throw it in."

The 49ers' second-year coach said he has not met individually with backup quarterback Alex Smith, who was the team's starter until he was replaced by Kaepernick. Harbaugh was asked what the next step will be in dealing with Smith, but all Harbaugh said was "we'll have a discussion at some point."

SB Nation's Niners Nation breaks down what the 49ers could do with Smith.

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