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.