Kaepernick can be salvaged, and here’s how to do it


In this age of overreactions and gleefully tearing down those we’ve built up, many have declared that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is done.

He’s not. At least not yet.

The guy has talent; it’s undeniable. But the 49ers need to use him in a way that maximizes those talents and minimizes his flaws.

Kaepernick bears some of the blame. His desire to change who he is by working on becoming a pocket passer and trying to consciously take some of the speed off of his fastball has made him too conscious at times of how forcefully he’s throwing the ball. Kaepernick needs to just deliver the pass and let the receivers figure out how to catch it; that’s their job.

The offensive linemen need to do their jobs better, too. All too often against the Steelers in Week Two, Kaepernick faced a swarm of defenders before he could even begin to figure out what to do. They need to give him enough time to make a decision on whether to throw or to run.

And he should be encouraged to run. But for a Sean-Taylor-on-Brian-Moorman-style hit that Kaepernick absorbed from Vikings safety Harrison Smith, Kaepernick has been able to protect himself, getting to the ground either by sliding or by an awkward-but-still-effective collapse to the ground.

Finally, the 49ers need to tell Kaepernick to never throw off his back foot. Too many of his throws in the pocket to the sidelines originate from that awkward position, resulting in balls that float and flutter and get picked off. He needs to drive the ball, like he does when he’s throwing it between the numbers.

So, yes, there are plenty of things Kaepernick does well. Coaching is about putting him in position to do the things he does well, and not requiring him to do the things he doesn’t do well.

47 responses to “Kaepernick can be salvaged, and here’s how to do it

  1. He was good in that year when running QBs dominated. Heck, RG3 was good that year. Defenses have caught up , evolved and these QBs with early success did not evolve with it.

    At least the Redskins were smart enough to make a change. The niners management has too much pride to admit their mistakes, even if it means losing for the next decade

  2. And he needs better receivers. Boldin is a possession receiver, and Simpson is suspended. And he wasn’t that good to start with. Who are the others? Who knows. None of them can stretch the field to take advantage of Kap’s arm.

  3. Remember in the offseason when he tweeted told ya’ll 7storm’s coming right during that Houston flooding that harmed lots of people? Really makes me not feel sorry for the guy looking terrible & like the fool that he is. 1st thing new head coach should have done is tell him to stop buying 8 3/8 inch hats that make him look like a clown.

  4. I don’t think any offensive line in the league can give him enough time to figure out what to do. That’s a huge part of his problems….not having the ability to go through his progressions.

  5. Those insensitive progressives in CA need to fix this team’s racist moniker. Just go back and look at some of the older 49er mascots, there’s one that’s a crazed white prospector shooting guns at people. No wonder their fans are so violent.

  6. Was way overhyped, bought in on his own self-love (bicep kissing?) and then tried to becone who he’s not. The kid’s got a chance to be decent/good but he’s got to turn it around and this Niners management team and players are a shell of what they were less than 2 years ago.

    Who’s got it better than you?? Green Bay, for one. But not the Vikings because you smoked them.

  7. The thing is, in the NFL, QBs have to read defenses and throw the ball well. Both of which he can’t do. So the niners can play to his strengths for now, but when his mobility is gone at age 30-32, he will be out of the league. The same thing happenned to McNabb. Great athlete, but inferior passer. When he lost a step, he was done.

  8. Size, running ability and arm strength are no substitute for reading a defense and throwing on time with accuracy. Until Kaep learns those things, he will be a middle-of-the-road QB at the best.

  9. Colin is an athlete – not an NFL quarterback. Harbaugh and Roman were able to hide him by adjusting to his strengths ie; seam passes to tight ends and 15-yard square ins by possesion receivers. It makes you wonder why Jeep Chryst just doesn’t go back to those plays.

    However! Jedediah York, Baalke and Wayne Fontes part deaux have all stated they want the Niners to be a power run team. That’s great when you’re defense is top 5 and can get stops like the Niners were in 2011-2013.

    With a Swiss cheese D like they appear to have now – you’re down 21 before the end of the first quarter. Ya can’t power run when you’re trailing by three TD’s! Doh!

    It’s going to get extremely ugly this fall at the Field of Jeans. Wonder if Jed can double book the venue?

    Puppet Show and…49ers game…Wah, wah, wah

  10. There’s some problems with this. The OL is not going to get better. Kaep has spent a ton of time taking instruction from the likes of Kurt Warner to learn these things… but he hasn’t learned them.

    I still remember hearing all about those Warner sessions and in the first or second practice he didn’t take enough off (or utilize the touch he was learning from Warner) and broke a rb’s fingers on a dump off pass.

    I said back then basically that when the game is being played it seems he loses what he learns, and that the rb injury might foretell what he’d do under pressure in a game. Now we’ve seen that he indeed regresses when it matters. Of course he won’t regress all the time, but he’s shown he is still absolutely liable to regress on a regular basis.

    The other thing we have to remember is that Harbaugh did a pretty good job of hiding Kaep’s deficiencies, and he’s gone, and replaced by a staff that looks like they are out of their league. Confused, slow to react, and without many answers.

    Not every player can be salvaged. That doesn’t mean Kaep can’t be, but I sure in the hell don’t think it’ll happen this year, with this niners team, and with these coaches. I also don’t think it’s likely to happen at all.

    Good teams have good QB’s which don’t have to be limited. The 49ers do so by shrinking half the field, and by overall reducing the playbook, running 13 times in a row, etc, etc.

    Other then when everything else is perfect, which is ultra rare in the NFL for any team, you’re not going to get away with this, and the problems Kaep has that necessitates this approach, is most likely not going to change, because it rarely changes with anyone else in a similar position. These are skills he simply doesn’t possess, and it’s awfully hard to teach an old dog to write Shakespeare.

    At least they got him to sign that contract, that will help out a lot when they decided to jettison him.

    Oh and he did look broken. I’m sure he’ll bounce back from this one… but what about the next one? Or the one after that?

  11. He used to tuck his ears underneath his hat, but hasn’t done that this season. Maybe someone is working on him already. Baby steps.

  12. I remember those headphone commercials where they were positioning him to be SB champ.

    “And you can tell everybody, and you can tell everybody”

    Why is everyone so quick to anoint? Desperation for someone to supplant Brady/Manning etc is tangible.

    When will pink hats understand what real football minds already know, these runaround guys don’t last. Rare exceptions being Tarkenton and a precious few others but you never see them with a Lombardi.

    Colin was maneuvered by his peeps to believe he had arrived at Canton before he even left his driveway. The bicep kissing is the most narcissistic move ever. Inked up, Hip Hop style. Never a serious contender.

  13. I don’t see why people are crying about Kaepernick, I think he’s doing great.

    When he’s throwing to opposing defenses, he barely ever misses. In fact, I think his QB to defense completion percent is through the roof.

  14. If the Niners want to base their offense on schoolyard tactics. That’s what he can do, run around and try to find someone open. He can’t do timing patterns, he can’t sit in the pocket and scan the field, and he even has problems sliding feet first, like his body can’t make up its mind which end is going first. Its just his mentality, and they can’t change that.

    Just stick Gabbert in there and see what happens. If the offense starts clicking, its all Kap.

  15. For this guy to win a Super Bowl you would need an incredible team built around him. The 49ers aren’t close. He’s not a good quarterback and will never be more than just a serviceable running QB but he’s far from the only reason they’re a bad team right now.

    For those who haven’t been paying attention, the league is designed for pocket passers.

  16. What the hell has Yorky and his puppetboy have to say about the last two weeks? “Not rebuilding it’s reloading” remember?! If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck ……

  17. Makes it easier to beat good teams like Green Bay consistently when you’ve had Top 5 defenses like SF and and Seattle have had in their runs to the Super Bowl the past few years.

    Like Seattle found out W2, it’s not so easy to beat Green Bay when your defense takes a step back and you actually have to rely on your offense to step up and score points.

    SF is nowhere near as good as it was in ’12-’13 and that defense is a shell of it’s former self. It helps that SF is catching GB coming off MNF and will have to travel for this one, but the 49ers have faced two good teams back to back and have been shelled both times. If the Packers D even does a halfway decent job of containing the 49ers running game like they did against Skittles and Charles the last two weeks, SF is going to be in for a long day on Sunday.

  18. “In this age of overreactions”, lol, gotta love the media. maybe the article should read In this day and age of OVERHYPE. The media has OVERHYPED kaep, because they thrive on negativity. kaep has never been a good QB, and now that hes failing, they write articles like this. kaep fails, good media, kaep succeeds, good media, no in between, too boring…keep up the bad work

  19. Yes, I agree on lets not get to excited. It took Steve Young 8yrs to stop running at the drop of a hat and to throw touch passes and he end up not being to bad at all.

    The kid is going to be alright.

  20. He was never good. Harbaugh was a good coach and utilized him in the scheme. On his own he is exposed, he has mechanical flaws but since he is not tebow he won’t get pushed out of the nfl for that. The zone/read option was figured out after the 2012 season – Krapernick is a toucan nosed one-trick pony who thinks of himself a little to highly. I am sure after this year tomusula will be gone, they will draft a real QB early in the draft and try to pick up the pieces.

  21. He was tutored by a former all-star QB and it doesn’t appear to have done him any good. Maybe the tutor was overrated too.

  22. Kaepernick is Tebow with more speed and less size. The issues around accuracy and release time will be very hard to overcome. People will dare him to beat them with his arm. They aren’t going to let him beat them with his legs.

  23. Kap has regressed but how much of that is on the terrible OC we have and him getting pressured 43% of his drop backs, by far worst in the league. Our C, RG and RT are awful so far. Need to replace all of them. Their blocking has been pathetic and needs to be changed. I don’t care who else we put in there whether it’s Brown, Thomas, Tiller, etc the coaching staff needs to make a change. Also, I heard all this BS in the offseason about utilizing screen passes and swing passes to RB’s. Where’s that been? Those are high percentage throws to get a QB in rhythm and it’s nowhere to be found. Plus we signed Torrey Smith and we don’t even use him! Except the Steelers game when they targeted him after the game was out of reach he doesn’t even get thrown to! Scheming on both sides of the ball has been garbage! We had cap room to go sign Evan Mathis and nope. Our owner is a jackass and Baalke is proving how bad he is at drafting

  24. The problem is possessions. The niners used to have a top defense. They kept the opposition from scoring many points. This kept Kaepernick and the offense in the game long enough to come out with victories. Kaepernick can’t play from behind and can’t play a shootout game. If the nners only need a score or two to win, Kaepernick is good enough. He was never good, and as I predicted, he struggles now that the defense doesn’t control the game. Watch for the same result with Wilson in the near future.

  25. The main flaw in this analysis is that the author assumes the 49ers have a coaching staff that is capable of recognizing these flaws and adapting the playbook and/or coaching up Kaepernick. The current head coach and offensive coordinator have no clue what they are doing. Whether or not it is even possible to “salvage” Kaepernick at this point is kind of irrelevant. We all know that the coaches are not capable of it.

  26. I think people are being too hard on him. I do agree that when he throws off his back foot, good things don’t happen, these are coachable. In the game against the vikings he was checking his reads and he did great. When ever he is rushed, anytime, he just loses composure. That’s why if I was a DC, I’d rush him. This is where the OL needs to do it’s job. someone said he isn’t likable. Maybe he could lighten up a bit, he does seem standoffish at times. Steve Young was almost like him, running too quick. Kaepernick can be salvaged. I do agree this is his make it year. He has show potential, but he has to be consistent, that’s his issue. But get ready for blitzes against him, he needs to release that ball faster. Rodgers has one of the quickest releases and he is poised. Kaepernick will do better, Go Niners

  27. About a year or more ago all you ever heard on these types of forums were how great Kap was, you know, he could throw a baseball 92 mph, he could do this and that,he was the best thing to ever come to SF.

    Where are all you experts now, really, please man up and come to his aid like you did a year ago, you know who you are, heard comments like……we have Kap, and he’s our future…..and gloating all over him, where’s the Kap lovefest now.

  28. who has the 49ers lost this season…Yep its Norman their O caller coach and one of their best and he played him to his strengths however that was not that great last season.
    Let us remind us of the two teams they have lost too as they are very good teams with both having a chance of at least making a conference shout this season if not SB. Now the packers another very good team they have to face, however Kaepernick is i fear one of the read option QB’s and now it has been snuffed out by defenses has struggled to be fair.
    Another season will tell but if i were the GM’s i would scout for potential QB picks next year as with their schedule and the division they are in they might just get a top 10 pick next season.

  29. Quit blaming the line. Last year Kaepernick had the 3rd most time to throw of all NFL QBs and still managed to parlay it into one of the highest sack rates in the NFL.

    And, despite all this time, he still couldn’t run through his progressions.

  30. seanpscott says:
    Oct 1, 2015 7:31 PM
    Kap has regressed but how much of that is on the terrible OC we have and him getting pressured 43% of his drop backs, by far worst in the league. Our C, RG and RT are awful so far. Need to replace all of them.

    Russell Wilson was pressured 44.7% last season. I don’t see people whining about his failures.

    Oh, wait, he didn’t fail under pressure on a routine basis like Kaepernick does. Because, of course, good QBs can play under pressure. Bad ones can’t.

  31. flushjackson says:
    Oct 1, 2015 9:38 PM
    The main flaw in this analysis is that the author assumes the 49ers have a coaching staff that is capable of recognizing these flaws and adapting the playbook and/or coaching up Kaepernick. The current head coach and offensive coordinator have no clue what they are doing. Whether or not it is even possible to “salvage” Kaepernick at this point is kind of irrelevant. We all know that the coaches are not capable of it.


    I don’t think Walsh could do it. And he made Jeff Kemp look good.

  32. Our D sets the tone! Fix this and confidence across the team will flourish. Magnini and the Defense are the leaders of his team. Throw in Vernon on offense as a leader too!! Get him he ball!!!!

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