SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers do not plan on changing much as they prepare to head to Seattle to play Sunday night in one of the NFL’s loudest venues.
When asked about his week of preparation, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh described it as “very similar to how we prepare for all road games.”
Will the expected crowd noise force the 49ers to limit what they plan to do on offense?
“We strive hard not to,” Harbaugh said.
The 49ers practiced Wednesday with speakers blaring out music -- from bands such as The Black Keys and MGMT -- to make verbal communication nearly impossible. It sounded as if the music was cranked up louder than usual for the early season NFC West showdown.
The idea is to simulate the environment they will face against the Seahawks in the nationally televised game.
“It’s very loud,” Harbaugh said. “They do a very good job of bringing a lot of noise up there. And not to compare it to anywhere else, but it’s right up there.”
The 49ers’ offense had difficulty on five snaps in the opener on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers with getting the snap off in time. They called four timeouts with the play clock winding down and were penalized once for delay of game. And that was during a home game.
“We just have to be more efficient getting calls in and getting to the line of scrimmage,” 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “It’s not going to affect how we call plays. We just have to be faster.”
Said wide receiver Anquan Boldin, “I think it was a matter of it being the first game. In this league, there’s a huge improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, all across the league. I chalk it up to being the first game.”
Boldin, who is familiar with playing in Seattle from his time in the NFC West with the Arizona Cardinals, said the practices this week will be important in enabling the 49ers to cope with the crowd noise.
“At times it can be deafening, so you definitely have to make sure everybody’s on the same page,” Boldin said. “We just have to prepare as best we can throughout the week with noise. We’ll try communicating without words as much as possible, just try to simulate what we’re going to do in the game.”
On Monday, Harbaugh said the volume of the 49ers’ playbook was partially to blame for some of the team’s tardiness on offense. However, there are times, Harbaugh said, when the 49ers want to take the play clock to the final second before snapping the ball.
The 49ers do not want to become too predictable when it comes to the timing of the snap.
“I like to vary it,” Harbaugh said. “I wouldn’t like it to be just. ‘This is the time we’re going to be at the line of scrimmage.’ ‘This is the time we’re going to snap the ball on the play clock.’ I like that that varies for our offense, because defenses doesn’t know when the ball is going to be snapped.
“If we announce a time, it’s always going to be snapped at five seconds on the play clock or two seconds on the play clock or 12 seconds on the play clock, they’d know exactly when the ball was going to be snapped. So I like the variation.”
Harbaugh said he also wants the time to vary, as far as when the 49ers break the huddle and get to the line of scrimmage. The play call into the quarterback’s radio transmitter must come from the sideline. Typically, offensive coordinator Greg Roman sends the call to Harbaugh, who then relays the play directly to Kaepernick. The radio transmission from sideline to quarterback ends with 15 seconds remaining on the play clock.
“Sometimes I like to get up there quickly and just snap it and not do anything at the line,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes we have the snap count vary and the doing things vary.”