Montana says Kaepernick needs to handle pressure in the pocket


When 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick feels pressure, his natural inclination is to run. And it often works: Kaepernick set the all-time NFL record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback during last year’s playoffs, and through two games in this year’s playoffs he has 113 rushing yards.

But Joe Montana, the quarterback who won four Super Bowls with the 49ers, says that if Kaepernick really wants to be great, he’s going to need to learn how to respond to pressure by staying in the pocket and delivering an accurate pass.

“I like his mobility and that he’s getting the ball downfield,” Montana told USA Today. “But sometimes, he needs to be more accurate in the pocket with pressure. The game is changing. Nobody wants to throw with pressure anymore. But the guys who can win in this league are the ones who can make throws from the pocket.”

Montana may have a point, but it’s also true that the 49ers were in the Super Bowl last year and are in the NFC Championship Game this year. They’ve won plenty with Kaepernick playing the way he plays.

72 responses to “Montana says Kaepernick needs to handle pressure in the pocket

  1. I think maybe what Montana is saying, is that if CK wants to really take his game to the next level, he needs to become a better passer from the pocket. He doesn’t seem to be alone in that view, either.

  2. Montana is mostly correct…. But you can’t help but to see some bias in there. His hatred for Steve Young is pretty intense and Kaepernick is a lot like a younger Steve Young. More talented but still more raw.

  3. They were in the big game last year with the current style QB and got SPANKED. Who was the last poor pocket passing QB to win a super bowl title?

    I’d rather have Peyton, Tom, Drew, or even Phillip Rivers before I had Collin, Mike, Cam, Russell…it’s no offense to those guys, but lets be real, as great as it is that you can scramble, and scrambling is necessary, your pocket passing skills should supersede that of your running skills.

  4. The Superbowl will add some data to this theory. One of the QBs in the game will be a HoF pocket passer. And even though the ‘9ers made it to the SB last year, they came up short to a pocket passer.

    It’s “funny,” but this new exciting and dynamic run/pass QB ala Colin/Cam/Russel/RG3, actually harkens back to old-time football with 200 yards passing, 150 yards running, and a stout defense. It’s not quite 3 yards in a cloud of dust, but it’s not that far off. And without the defense, these “amazing” QBs would be pretty bad … would Cam, Colin, or Russel have done any better than RG3 this year with Washington’s horrible defense?

  5. “The game is changing. Nobody wants to throw with pressure anymore. But the guys who can win in this league are the ones who can make throws from the pocket.”

    It’s so true, real QB’s pass from the pocket, the rest are gimmicks.

  6. In Joe’s second year as a starter, the Niners won it all. However, he didn’t handle pocket pressure all that well throwing 4 picks in the NFCCG. But they won and he made the ultimate throw to Dwight Clark so he’s kinda BOSS on this

  7. A 3 point loss in the super bowl is spanked??? I’ll admit the first half was bad, but the 49ers were a couple bad play calls from the 7 yard line from taking that game away.

  8. Joe Montana in Super Bowls;
    11 TDs
    0 INTs

    You will never see any QB match that, ever.

    He also played basketball with Hakeem the Dream and the Mailman in that LA Gear commercial.

  9. Great QB, but this is the same guy that try to suffocate the career of Steve Young.

    If Young had been quarterback with the 49ers from the start he would be considered the greatest QB in NFL history with 4+ superbowl wins.

    Other than wearing his hat like a duffos and acting like a goof when he scores, CK looks like he is making the most of his abilities.

  10. So true. He needs to calm down and make more passes and to different people than his security blankets. Establishing the ability to make a throw under pressure to any of his players then poems the run even more because when pressure comes the defense can’t afford to bring a guy of coverage to chase kap.

  11. People keep forgetting how young Kaep is. Most guys his age are still carrying clipboards or struggling badly or out of the league as busts. If he continues to improve on his downfield reads, and also remember to check-down as a last resort before running, the improvement will be quick and massive. Kid can play.

  12. Right now he is paying with a stacked roster, as it Russell Wilson, helped that they make no money.

    Kap can get a new contract this offseason. If they win the Bowl how much will he want, especially when guys like Jay Cutler/Romo who have won nothing got 17-18 million a year.

    If he wins a bowl or even if he doesn’t I’m sure his agent is going to want a HUGE raise and then how does that effect the roster. Who do they lose, who can’t they resign.

    And then Kap will need to make more plays from the pocket, and grow receivers who make little money like Brady and other QBs have to do.

  13. Wasn’t a pocket passer in college, not one in the nfl, not going to be one in the nfl. He is not good enough. Mechanics are bad, delivery is slow, unable to read defenses, doesn’t go through reads. he has been in the league for 3 years, starting for half of it, been coached the whole time, if he hasn’t figured out the basics of playing qb yet chances are he never will. When it’s time for a big throw to win the game, this is not the guy to have under center. The niners will only go as far as the defense takes them, same goes for the Seahawks.

  14. I can’t think of a single “mobile” quarterback who has won a Superbowl. If the refs were paying better attention to the holdng on the last play in last year’s game, we might have had our first.

  15. Montana’s era represented a different game. I think the rationale for his comments are rooted in that fact.

    However, there is certainly some validity to that statement, but I think tomorrow’s game will be geared toward winning with an athletic-style QB who can throw from the pocket “good enough” – not necessarily throw “great” or “with excellence.”

  16. Just to add to that, it appears the 49ers have about 8 million of cap room next year and have these free agents plus Kap needing a new deal. Need about 3 mil for your rookies too


  17. Kap is ok: great wheels, a somewhat unorthodox passer but so far it’s working for him. That said, both he and R. Wilson are lucky to be on such good teams. They play with the two best defenses in football, on teams that also run the ball well, both of which make it a LOT easier to win games. R. Wilson could not elevate an otherwise ordinary team in the way that great QBs do. Kap perhaps could (based on his size and better running ability) but still needs some polish. On a neutral field SF would win this game by at least a touchdown–defense as good as seattle and a better offense. The noisy, bandbox home field is Seattle’s saving grace.

  18. It’s hard for any of us “couch coaches” to second guess Joe..But for two or three years Young was a look for primary reciever then pull it down and run QB…What we need to remember is Kap hasn’t
    played two seasons yet…He seems to be progressing every game….

  19. What do 2 of the greatest qb’s in this era have in common? They are pocket passers. They are not the most physical qb’s, but they are the most intelligent qb’s in the game.

  20. How about just handling life? Dude acts the punk every chance he gets.

    Wear a shirt your size, stay away from chambering mockery of your opponents at every possible chance, and just play some football. You are a pretty good football player, but guys like Russell Wilson are much better people to root for.

  21. Kap is Kap.

    Joe is retired.

    Period. Also Joes wife consorts with the enemy and Joe didn’t even attend the last game at Candlestick. Joe resents the 49ers organization for trading him just like I used to. But the past is the past and as far as I’m concerned Joe should shut up.

  22. The dude is completing 50% of his passes, but it getting away with it for 3 reasons:

    – His legs
    – Niners D
    – Opponents haven’t made him pay for his bad throws (both Carolina and GB missed pick 6 chances)

  23. Love ya Joe. The greatest big game qb in history. But the game has evolved. CK7 does need some refine his game. But he has nuclear potential. Plus speed and a cannon you never had.

  24. Joe is the man, but CK’s running ability is like no other. Greg Romans play calling has been ultra conservative and has not used enough of Kap’s running skills, and it has cost them. He runs like antelope eating up yards.

    Unleash the antelope this sunday!

  25. Or just run out of the pocket and get some yards on the ground, that works too. It adds some nice pressure to occasionally gash the opponent on the ground. Maybe those defenses should be careful about trying to even put him in a pressure situation, it could end up blowing up in their faces too.

  26. Kap can’t really read defenses but has a fast ball like no other. His legs get him out of trouble.

    Once he gets paid, the team will have to shed some of their other talent (just like Seattle) and things will equalize a bit away from their favor.

  27. Here’s a perfect example that just so happens to involve SF. I know he throws picks but look at the game Eli manning delivered against sf in the nfccg 2 years ago. Biggest play… 3rd and 17…. Eli stands tall in the pocket collapsing around him…. Rather than run or panic he delivers a td strike to his 3rd wr manningham. Kap in that situation takes off gains 8 and sf kicks. It’s those 4 points that separate good qbs from great ones. Montana knows what he’s talking about.

  28. If he doesnt improve his passing he wont have a very long career. Eventually he wont be able to run like he can now. There isnt alot of room for an immobile QB that completes 50% of his passes.

  29. “They’ve won plenty with Kaepernick playing the way he plays.”

    They have won despite the play at the position. The Niners D is what makes them winners, not Kaepernick’s arm. Kaepernick is a below average QB. He is a game manager type of player. He is a mistake away from being home watching the playoffs on TV.

    I don’t see the niners winning this week and the window is closing on their opportunity to win a Lombardi.

    Think Kaepernick is good? Trent Dilfer has a ring. He got his riding on the back of the teams D, just like Kaepernick is doing now. The D is getting older and the cap will hurt that D. Give SF the 20th ranked D that is 24th against the pass and see how many games Kaepernick wins them. That is the true measure. If not for that awesome D, th Niners would have finished 4-12 instead of 12-4.

    Joe knows football and Joe knows that the game is driven by play at the QB position. Joe also knows that being just good enough to help the D is not good enough to be a long term solution for any offensive unit. When the D weakens, the whole Niners team will tank. I am only basing that on history though.

  30. Sooner or later, a running QB is going to get crushed. Hard. Look at RGIII. It will make him skittish from now on. If a QB gets hammered a few times, it gets into his head and affects his play. Want to get a good QB off his game? Hit him.

  31. Anyone who truly believes that Kaepernick has what it takes to be great in this league, is delusional beyond repair. If he was the QB for, I dunno, lets say…..Detroit, the Lions would not have as many wins as they got this year. This is because Kaep isn’t very good, he’s just uber-athletic. That’s all.

  32. Those who don’t recognize the changes in the NFL are doomed to be left behind. Pocket passers will always do well, especially those who can make reads and get rid of the ball quickly like Rodgers, Manning, Brees, Brady. However, big and strong QBs who are mobile and accurate are the future. These are the QBs you’re seeing more and more in college. They can be taught to be patient with the reads, but the speed and and size cannot be taught. Smaller guys like Manziel, RG3, and Vick may have initial success, but they’re too small and will be creamed by linebackers. Cam, Russell, and Kap are the size of linebackers.

  33. Montana won those Super Bowl’s in the pre-cap days. The 49ers were stacked with guys he could easily dump off passes to with his weak arm. I think today, Montana wouldn’t be that great.

  34. “Smaller guys like Manziel, RG3, and Vick may have initial success, but they’re too small and will be creamed by linebackers. Cam, Russell, and Kap are the size of linebackers”

    Wilson is under 6ft and barely 200 lbs. What linebacker is that small? Kap it’s tall, but skinny, cam is the only one the size of lb’s out of those guys.

    And I disagree, it’s all about brains, understanding the defense and beating it, making good, and making smart throws. these guys look for the receiver the play is called for, if he is not open, scramble.

    Size has nothing to do with it. The smart, patient qb will beat the defense throughout the game, the mobile qb will break a run here and there, but not when it’s crunch time and your down a td on 3rd and long on the last drive, I’ll take the passing qb in that situation.

  35. Can anybody answer this, when’s the last time a QB won a Superbowl without a good team around him? From this board you would think other quarterbacks have won SB’s with nobody else competent around them. Yes, Kaep and Wilson have good teams around them, but so does every other SB winning QB. This is a team game, you need more than just a QB to win. Ask Dan Marino.

  36. Also Ronnie Lott and his defenses prolly get sick and tired of listening to everybody talk about Joe Montana and his 4 rings. SF had a pretty stout D back in the 80’s. Does anybody remember that?

  37. Remember the first of the big strong fast rocket arm QBs to explode?

    His name was Daunte Culpepper. He was like Randal Cunningham on steroids(and small hands : P)

    It was only a matter of time before one monster hit destroyed his game, Carolina gave him that hit and his career was never the same.

    RG3 took that hit and his career may never be the same.

    Sooner or later all these guys take that hit. Its not a matter of if, just when. Cam and Kap have that hit in their future unless they change their game. I don’t see how you can deny it.

  38. If the 49ers win the SB will they overpay him and run the risk of cycling down sooner than they should? People tend to oversimplify a QB’s value based on wins and losses.

  39. Montana IS THE MAN but he’s also kind of a jerk. He forgets that he got his back broke and got knocked out of the chance for a three peat. Meanwhile Kaep has been healthy all year…

  40. Joe is right but I do think Kap has shown improvement over the course of this season and he’s far from a finished product.

    People forget Steve Young didn’t just suit up and was one of the most accurate passers in NFL history but like Kap was very raw and liked to run around a lot before he refined himself into a pocket passer that ran when needed.

  41. Kaep 3-0 on the road in playoff games. If it’s about winning, what else does he need to do? There are many that post here that wouldn’t have a good thing to say about him if he was a pure pocket passer, haters are going to hate.

  42. Any fool who says that Montana is jealous of Steve Young has rocks in his head. Montana has won 4 Super Bowls. And while he was winning them, Young was on the bench bitching about Montana all the time. Young was ALWAYS the one jealous of Montana.

    Remember..Montana won 4 Super Bowls…Steve Young won one questionable Super Bowl (cheated the deadcows in the NFC championship game).

    Only Terry Bradshaw has won as many Super Bowls as Montana.

  43. Jim Harbaugh is a hell of a coach winning as much as he has with a run first Qb. Kaep may never even be an average passer but as long as they have that coach SF will be in the conversation.

    As a Lions fan I’m just glad handshake-gate is in the past. He tries getting emotional with Caldwell all he’s getting is that blank stare full of undisclosed feelings.

  44. ALL the great QBs share two traits –

    2) when they trot on the field with their team down and under 2 minutes to play their teammates take confidence from the QB that -“we can do this.”

    2) The defense sees him trotting on the field and gets a tad nervous and loses maybe a quarter of a step and that’s all he needs.

  45. 49erfan44 says:
    Jan 17, 2014 9:37 AM
    “A 3 point loss in the super bowl is spanked??? I’ll admit the first half was bad, but the 49ers were a couple bad play calls from the 7 yard line from taking that game away.”
    Niners were getting blown out before the lights went out.

    Rusty Flacco in the 2nd half – Niners got to draw up some new gimmicks for Kaep so they could make the game close.

  46. Kaep is a bit too classless to root for. At some point, if he gets into the endzone again, he’ll have to act as if he’s been there before. I mean, doesn’t he? Good lord, Gangsta, grow up.

  47. Lord Colin is 10 times better than Montana ever was, and will defeat the Hawks by a score of 45-21 and then on to Manning and the Broncos.

    Kaep 44 Broncos 11

  48. Kudos for Montana telling it like it is. Actually, he was rather nice about.
    Truth is, Colin Kaepernick is ‘like a box of chocolates’ – you never know what you’re going to get.
    Frankly, he may be the most overrated QB in the NFL. If not for Gore, his receiving corps, and his D he would probably viewed as just another ordinary QB.
    Look for Mr. Kaepernick to get flustered again in Seattle leading to a couple of turnovers and a loss for the 49ers.

  49. Kaepernick in the pocket is dangerous with his long, slow release. A slap fumble waiting to happen. He does his best work outside the pocket away from unseen defensive linemen and blitzers.

  50. No question Joe knows his craft, but he’s in the media, not in the trenches coaching in today’s game. With all due respect, the pass rushing schemes and speed of defenders is light years from when he played. QB’s in general are under tremendous pressure nowadays, and fewer QB’s coming out of college have time to sit in the pocket and hone their craft. Harbaugh was an old school QB, and he has adjusted to reality, and learned to live with CK’s shortcomings.

  51. First and foremost, Kaepernick needs to master making quick decisions in his progressions in the pocket and getting the getting the ball out QUICK. His couches and O-coordinator need to integrate this in to the game plan. Kap has proven speed, mobility, a rocket arm, a really good intermediate and deep ball, and his accuracy’s been great at times but inconsistent. He needs to improve his touch passes, but don’t try using them as much, his forte is his arm strength. If Elway’s receivers could handle it, so can his. Kap’s just turned 26, he’s shown flashes of brilliance. If he integrates quickness in the pocket with his current improving skillset, THE SKY’S THE LIMIT! GO KAP, GO NINERS!

  52. I can remember Joe Being in the pocket when Leonard Marshall lowered the boom on him. Maybe Kaepernick feels safer running away from that kind of pressure?

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