Kurt Warner on Kaepernick: Don’t know if it’s regression or learning

Getty Images

During the offseason, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick worked out with Kurt Warner as he tried to make improvements to his ability to throw downfield out of the pocket.

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.

49 responses to “Kurt Warner on Kaepernick: Don’t know if it’s regression or learning

  1. Happens all the time. Teams take a qb in the draft because of what he was in college: An athlete who makes plays with his legs. When he gets to the NFL, he has a great rookie season but someone tells him he needs to try to become Peyton Manning, standing still in the pocket. SMH

  2. The 49ers would never admit to this but maybe Jim Harbaugh had a lot to do with Kaepernick’s success and now that Harbaugh is gone Kaepernick will never be the quarterback he once was.

  3. As a Niners fan I think Kurt did what he did on purpose to sabotage the greatest sports franchise as he played for the Rams and Cards. As a business fan Kurt is trying to save face for other potential clients.

  4. There’s only so much of this stuff you can teach, especially in the offseason.
    You either have the ability to quickly process where to throw the ball (like Brady or Rodgers), or you don’t.
    Kap can’t consistently do it, and never will be able to.
    Few do, which is why nobody gets excited about 90 percent of the college QBs who are draftable every year because teams know they will never be starters, and the search never ends.
    Guys like Brady/Rodgers come around like every 5-10 years.
    Luck is one of the very few young QBs that possess that rare skill set but is already getting beat up because his line sucks, and the Colts haven’t adequately built a roster around him.
    Kap was a hot ticket early on because of the Pistol, his offense at Reno, which Harbaugh wisely started him off with. But defenses adjusted, and not even Harbaugh could make Kap a pocket passer.
    Kap’s a freelancer and needs to be in a moving pocket, which most teams won’t use as a base offense because your QB will get hit a lot and won’t last the season.
    He’ll probably just end up being a QB that bounces from team to team over the next 10 years like Vick.

  5. The era of the running QB is officially dead. Between rg3, Kap and the adequate game managing Wilson, front offices around the league have finally gotten the message.

  6. If he didn’t worry about his Phresh look on the sidelines so much maybe he’d be better. Instead of that super straight bill on his hat, he could be perfecting a super straight spiral down the field.

    R.I.P. Mobile QB Fad 2010 – 2015

  7. Kurt Warner is going to toe the political line, but most people know that it is regression, or at the bare minimum, the league has caught up to this type of player and he isn’t adjusting.

    He is Vick 2.0, but with slightly less athletic skill.

  8. Not sure the best role model for Kaep is Kurt Whiner, but at least it gives Kurt something to do when not wasting our time on tv. A better model/style for Kaep would be an ex-QB who could pocket and scramble successfully long-term, like Favre.

  9. I’m not an expert or even an extremely knowledgeable fan, but why draft a guy that you intend to try to change what he is successful at? Maybe these teams should draft 3 read option QBs and hope that one of them makes it through the season because trying to change them into drop back QBs isn’t working very well.

  10. And yet, next year’s draft will feature 2-3 QBs, who come from spread programs, being drafted in the top 10. And, the rat race starts a new.

  11. I’m sorry but when did Warner become such a genius?….Kaepernick certainly has his issues but lets be realistic…The O line also needs to accept some of the blame…The coaching staff needs to accept some of the blame….The GM and owner are just fools, so will leave those two at that.

  12. I would think that most QBs would “regress” if their OL sucked. How does the OL get a pass with this article? Give him time in the pocket and he will get it done.

    The reality though is that Kaep needs to give up the idea that the OL will improve this year, and thus ditch the drop back pocket passing QB thing this year.

    Time to run.

  13. Even though he has frustrated my favorite GB team many times, I still enjoy watching Kap play the game. He is a very exciting player because I never know what’s going to happen next! That little touch pass in the backfield on Sunday that went for 40+ yards is a great example as well as a few runs he had in the first half. I hope he rediscovers his mojo and returns to what he used to be in years past, not only for the good of the 49ers but for the NFL as well.

  14. Okay, Kaepernick was not part of the 2011 draft class not the 2012 draft class, but what has happened to that 2012 draft class for QBs. That was supposed to be a great class…

    Luck, RG III, Tannehill, Wilson, Foles, Cousins…

    Luck, Tannehill and Wilson have not dazzled anyone with their offensive leadership this season. RG III obviously needs a new start. Will Foles and Cousins turn out to be the best of this bunch?

    Still early in their careers but stay tuned.

  15. Funny, the Niners own Torrey Smith said that Green Bay played almost exclusively man coverage and the Niners still couldn’t pass. It’s the O-line that has Kap spooked and doing his best Jim Everet imitation. The right side of the O-line is an embarrassment to the entire profession. They need to bench Devey and Pears and play the youngsters. Even if they are as bad, at least they will be benefitting from getting some playing time.

  16. Warner is correct in saying that the NFL needs a development league.

    he got to learn in NFL Europe. also arena league.

  17. Harbaugh would have fixed. Do the doofus owners of the 49ers realize they reduced the value of their holdings by $200-400M by letting one of the top 3 NFL head coaches get away? Idiocy.

  18. Kap has the RG-Me syndrome… Already thinks he has ‘arrived’ and is one of the best QBs in the game lol

  19. As a 49er fan I’ve grown tired of hearing about how “high his ceiling is” or “he has all the tools he just needs to use them” or he’s an incredible athlete.

    What I’ve seen over the last 2 games and actually 4 but most glaringly the last two is a QB who has no pocket awareness, holds the ball too long, doesn’t know when to throw the ball away, doesn’t know how to maneuver in the pocket (compared to say Rodgers or Wilson who are very adept), is “supposedly” a professional grade QB who has to be mentored how to loft a ball and is beyond a ‘pitcher playing QB’. Brandon Weeden, Russell Wilson and that kid that played for the Cowboys (and had been a pitcher for the Yankees) all are/were pitchers yet none of them have nearly the mechanical flaws as Kaepernick. It’s as if he learned how to throw “things” from a neighborhood vagrant penguin and nobody corrected him.

    Kap may be a very hard worker and he “may” possess all the talent in the world but there’s nothing to speak of that says that talent is going to take a quantum leap forward and be expressed in a meaningful way according to the last 4 years. BTW…folks stops saying “he’s a young guy..he’s *only* 28 years old….” ____it should be “HE’S 28 YEARS OLD…HOW IS HE THIS BAD STILL?!!”

  20. The problem these days with quarterbacks is that the get drafted and thrown right into the fire. Gone are the days of sitting on the bench a few years, playing here and there, and getting to adapt and learn.
    Sone of these QBs have short term success as there is no tape and they have such a radical style. As soon as there is tape on them, and/or they are forced to change their style due to injury or being figured out, they fail hard. Why? Because of to many years of bad habits and/or habits that succeed elsewhere but not the NFL.
    No one wants to actually develop a QB. So expect a ton of headlines like this for years to come.

  21. It’s clear that Kap cannot carry a team on his back like the elite QB’s can.

    When the team around him is good he can utilize his athleticism to complement his role as a game manager, but when that evaporated thanks to York and Baalke you get what you see now.

    I also want the right side of that O-line to shoulder the blame as well, it’s beyond porous or turnstile. It’s a friggin hologram. In any event it seems the Niners brain trust has two “fall guys” in Kaepernick and Tomsula, paving the way for what we endured from 2002-2010 under the Yorks stellar ownership.

  22. Kaep got into the Super Bowl running around like a maniac. In another playoff game against Seattle he almost beat them by himself running.

    In Seattle, even though they are paying Russell 20+ million a year there has been absolutely no talk of turning him into a drop-back QB only.

    I think with Kaep you got to follow the Wilson model. Have the drop back skill but don’t be ashamed to use your feet. Otherwise it’s going to be a long day. Even Aaron Rodgers was a runner in his career.

  23. The problem starts in college. These coaches don’t bother to teach these kids how to play the game. You can run! so let’s just make you run and occasionally throw the ball. You can’t read a defense, no problem just run. In the NFL no offense like that can last longer then maybe a season. RG3, Crapernick, Tebow and Vick proved that.

  24. They paid him around 100 million….run him into the ground and utilize him while he is young…don’t try and make him something he is not…I would rather get 4 or 5 succesful years out of a dual threat QB rather than a decade of mediocre QB play

  25. He’s become Tebow and RG3.

    It’s time the 49ers started to finally look across the Bay to a college which has put some of the best offensive players in the league and has a hotshot QB. (Hint: it’s the same school that produced Aaron Rodgers). For some inexplicable reason the 49ers won’t draft/sign players from the school.

    Miss the Playoffs for Goff!

  26. In Seattle, even though they are paying Russell 20+ million a year there has been absolutely no talk of turning him into a drop-back QB only.

    I think with Kaep you got to follow the Wilson model. Have the drop back skill but don’t be ashamed to use your feet. Otherwise it’s going to be a long day. Even Aaron Rodgers was a runner in his career.

    Kaep isn’t a “drop back QB” he hasn’t even learned the skill set. Wilson is a drop back QB difference is he is a scrambler not a runner.

    So many calling for Kaep to run, thing is his gimmick is up. Defenses know hes not a dropback passer, so they stack the box daring him to throw under pressure. Which he goes to running but with defenders playing the run he’s sacked.

    Wilson scrambles and keeps his eyes up to make plays. Theres a reason Harbaugh wanted to make Kaep a pocket passer but all these dolts think its as simple as making him run, guess what Tomsula/Baalke/York were on the same bus and look at how that’s going.

  27. Not a niner fan, but a niner supporter. And in my honest opinion Harbaugh was the best thing that happened to Kaep. He played to his strengths and designed an offense tailer made for him. He’s having trouble adjusting without Harbaugh and it’s clearly showing on the field..

  28. Kaepernick always had all the PHYSICAL tools in the tool shed. Nobody ever doubted that ability.

    The question was always, what happens when Kaep loses a step and is forced to throw the ball more than run.

    This is the end result. He looks like a college QB still not ready to learn the pro game.

    Tebow showed, RG3 showed, Kaep showed, Vick showed…. all these guys could prove you could win with a running quarterback up until the Superbowl. You can win a lot of games and be a successful team, but if you don’t have a QB who can throw darts, you probably wont ever win it all.

  29. exhelodrvr says:
    Oct 6, 2015 12:09 PM

    The league adjusted to him, while Harbaugh was still the coach. Harbaugh staying would not have made Kaepernick better.

    I agree, but more of an indictment on Kaep than Harbs. Harbaugh was trying to work his mechanics last season, while not putting to much weight on his shoulders.

    Now we see a full regression because the new coaching staff is putting it all on him because like the fanbase they thought playcalling was what was holding them back and Kaep didn’t need to be a “pocket QB”. Now hes crumbling with the burden of being expected to carry the team.

  30. Learning to play QB is a process, right, Alex Smith backers?

    Even with his flaws, YOUNG Kaep brought his team from behind on the road to get to a SB his TEAM would have won if they played any defense that day.

    Press dislike if your team’s QB has gone to the SB.

    Press dislike if your team’s QB has won the SB.

    Everybody else..shaddup.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.