Warner had some complimentary things to say about Kaepernick’s game, but acknowledged that one offseason might not be enough to make the necessary changes to “what you’ve been doing your entire career.” Warner also wondered what would happen “when bullets are flying and people are attacking you.”
The first four weeks of this season have provided some answers and they haven’t been good for Kaepernick. He’s not completing passes downfield and struggling to make quick reads against opposing pass rushes while doing less of the playmaking with his legs that made him successful earlier in his career. Warner said Kaepernick deserves a “chance to grow,” but admitted that he doesn’t know if that growth is ever going to come.
“Now that they’re not running as much and they don’t want to subject him to those kind of hits, now he’s playing more dropback quarterback,” Warner said, via ESPN.com. “Teams are playing more zone against him, and he’s having to make more decisions, see more on the fly and be able to anticipate and make some of those throws that he hasn’t really had to make in the past. I don’t know if it’s regression or it’s just a young man that’s trying to learn. As I always say, it’s hard to learn at the best level. It’s hard to learn against the best players in the world, and that’s what we’re asking some of these spread quarterbacks to do once they move into the NFL.”
It’s possible that Kaepernick has regressed while trying to learn how to play a different style of quarterback. The teardown process has certainly been successful, now the 49ers have to show they can build him back up or they’ll have to look at other possibilities in the future.