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Did Harbuagh intentionally force Kap out of his comfort zone early in the season?

Hi there, I understand that perhaps this post is more appropriate on the Kaepernick thread, however I view this is a different subject.

The past few games it seems as though Kaepernick has been a lot more comfortable for variety of reasons. Probably the biggest reason is that he has Crabtree back. But there are other things that I noticed as well: the coaches appear to have Kaepernick rolling out of the pocket more, there seems to be more check down options, and it seems as though he has been given the green light to run when necessary. Our coaches are not stupid, they saw Kaepernick do these things well last year, they knew he could do those things.

I understand some of this may be simply the natural learning curve that is in place with a new quarterback. However, I do wonder whether or not the coaching staff intentionally reigned Kaepernick in for the first several games, thus "forcing him out of his comfort zone," and forcing him to work on his drop back passing skills. The only way to improve something is to practice it over and over again. The coaching staff knows what they have with Kaepernick when he's rolling outside of the pocket, and when he is running the football. Why not require the extra reps early in the season to improve the weakest part of his game? Especially after he tore Green Bay apart largely as a drop back passer.

What are your thoughts on that?
My gut tells me CK has issues in short yardage and the redzone...

Add in the team has big time WR injury issues it was to much for a guy with half a season of experience to overcome.

5 years from now people will say...yeah VD is awesome and an Old Quan is nice...but who where the other practice squad players?
Great perspective, and the 49er believer/homer in me wants to believe it 100%!

If you look at the first Chicago game, he was hitting multiple reads and doing stuff that supposedly we were hoping to eventually see this season, lol.

There's probably accuracy in your assessment coupled with sophomore slump at play as well.

BTW, I'm secretly enjoying the fact that around the league.....Kaep is not in talks of being a top 10 QB while people are warming up to the idea that Wilson is a legit MVP candidate.

Can't wait to see our boy surpass Wilson in the playoffs yet again.
Originally posted by Dshearn:
My gut tells me CK has issues in short yardage and the redzone...

Add in the team has big time WR injury issues it was to much for a guy with half a season of experience to overcome.

5 years from now people will say...yeah VD is awesome and an Old Quan is nice...but who where the other practice squad players?

I agree that other issues were at play, and a "sophomore slump" factored in as well. But Kaepernick my recollection was that he was really restricted to being a drop back passer the first few games...and he hasn't been lately.
  • cciowa
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the only problem ck had, other than to just adjust to what other teams were doing to him and dealing with no wide outs,,,,,, is roman in my opinion
It's Kaps' contract year.

Somebody told him not to scramble for three hundred yards so he can stay healthy getting big money next year.

With Kyle Williams and Baldwin type WR's, we really could've used Kap scrambling harder like it's 2012.
I think that Kap will go to the next level when he begins to consistently throw to his receivers prior to their break. He needs to trust his seasoned guys (Crab, Boldin, Davis and Manningham) to be where they are suppose to be when they break. We all know what Kap can do when the play breaks down. To get to that elite level, he has to throw and trust his guys before the break.
It struck me the same way, sticking him in the pocket to throw to not-open receivers was not working. He needed to run them open and the addition of Crabtree is not the only reason the passing game has picked up.

The question is whether he actually got the green light or if he just said "F*** it, I am going do what actually works best".
I think Roman is less potato now.

I saw slant routes and passes designed for backs last game. That crap needs to be called when a good defense puts 8+ in the box.

I hope they are just tinkering before playoffs and kept plays intentionally out
[ Edited by Tigerlaw on Dec 16, 2013 at 11:11 AM ]
  • cciowa
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Originally posted by Tigerlaw:
I think Roman is less potato now.

I saw slant routes and passes designed for backs last game. That crap needs to be called when a good defense puts 8+ in the box.

I hope they are just tinkering before playoffs and kept plays intentionally out
calling one good game or two or three good quarters , the way he should be calling plays all the time, does not excuse him. he is the reason we are fighting for our lives right now due to the fact he personally lost us the colts game and panthers game in my opinion.
I think some of tha problem is kaep is alway lookin for tha perfect play N perfect open pass ...itz just not always like that toss it up N trust ur WR ...
I hope that it was becasue of Harbaughs efforts to train him. Hopefully he will be better in the long run. The next thing I would like to see is Kaep go to a training academy to learn to put touch on the ball and to learn to hit screens. He seems to be learning how to get his progressions done and if he could add touch to his repetoire he would be a better QB even yet. Hope by the time he wins 4 super bowls he is the greatest of all time and time will answer all of our questions.
Originally posted by Wisconsin49erfan:
Hi there, I understand that perhaps this post is more appropriate on the Kaepernick thread, however I view this is a different subject.

The past few games it seems as though Kaepernick has been a lot more comfortable for variety of reasons. Probably the biggest reason is that he has Crabtree back. But there are other things that I noticed as well: the coaches appear to have Kaepernick rolling out of the pocket more, there seems to be more check down options, and it seems as though he has been given the green light to run when necessary. Our coaches are not stupid, they saw Kaepernick do these things well last year, they knew he could do those things.

I understand some of this may be simply the natural learning curve that is in place with a new quarterback. However, I do wonder whether or not the coaching staff intentionally reigned Kaepernick in for the first several games, thus "forcing him out of his comfort zone," and forcing him to work on his drop back passing skills. The only way to improve something is to practice it over and over again. The coaching staff knows what they have with Kaepernick when he's rolling outside of the pocket, and when he is running the football. Why not require the extra reps early in the season to improve the weakest part of his game? Especially after he tore Green Bay apart largely as a drop back passer.

What are your thoughts on that?

I don't think they are stupid enough to do that. That is what pre-season and camp ae for.
I believe that entering the season, Harbaugh wanted to see how far along Kap was as a passer. He had strung together quite a run in his first year, and looked like he might be ready.

I think they started him out throwing a career high 39 times against GB. He threw for 412 yds and 3 TD's. The next 2 weeks didnt go so well, and he completed under 50% of his passes for 150 yds or less in both games, with 4 total picks and 0 TD's, despite throwing the ball 55 times in those 2 games.

From there I think Harbaugh realized he wasnt ready to take on that much as a passer, and tried to get back to the roots of the 'Alex Smith' system by leaning on the running game, and limiting mistakes.

It might also have had to do with Harbaugh realizing that with Crabtree missing, Kap wasnt going to be the same guy he was in 2012. Since Crabtree came back, Kap has now throw it 28, 29, and 29 times in 3 games for 653 yds and 4 TD's. He had previously been throwing 23, 15, 21, 16, 22, etc. times in each game.
  • kem99
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No, the 49ers biggest concern is winning games and winning the SB. The easiest way to do that was to win the division and get home field advantage. The 49ers had to know that Seattle was going to put up a very good record, so to win the division, they would have to put up a record better than last year.

The 2 largest contributors to Kap's struggles were the loss of Crabtree and the league having time to study Kap and take him out of his comfort zone.

This would have been a very different season offensively if Crabtree had not gotten hurt. You only have to look at how Andrew Luck's numbers and consistency have taken a tumble since Reggie Wayne got hurt. Luck is talked about as being the best and most advanced young QB in the NFL now and perhaps ever. If he has struggled with the loss of Wayne, it makes sense that Kap would struggle more with the loss of Crabtree given that Kap is not as far along as Luck in terms of his overall development, reading defenses, etc.

The league adjusting to Kap has been the next largest contributor. The league, not Harbaugh, took Kap out of his comfort zone, caused him to lose some confidence and its taken a while to get back to where he was. It is worth noting that the same thing happened to Cam Newton last year. He had his record setting rookie year, struggled for much of last season and then came on the last 4-5 games, which led to him having a comeback type season this year. The league adjusted to Newton and it took him awhile to adjust back. The league adjusted to Kap and it took awhile to adjust back, made longer because of the loss of Crabtree.