Three Things to Watch For in Kaepernick’s First Start

Nov 19, 2012 at 10:23 AM


49ers fans were shocked this morning to read that Alex Smith has been ruled out of tonight's game against the Bears. Make no mistake: This is a HUGE game because of its playoff seeding implications. If we win the game the 49ers hop right into the driver's seat of the First Round Bye Express with the NFC's second best record. Oh, and did I mention we're talking about Monday Night Football here? Yeah, the pressure is definitely on Kaepernick.

If you listen to my podcast or follow me on Twitter (@49WZ_Oscar) you know I'm not sold on Kaepernick being the savior right now. Quite simply he is not as polished as he needs to be, which is entirely expected. He has some lows, which he needs to correct. But he also has some unquestionable highs that excite anyone with a heartbeat. Those highs and lows are due to a few keys specific to Kaepernick's play-style.

1. When pressured, Kaepernick sometimes reverts to a "one-read-and-run" mentality.

The biggest transition for any quarterback to make is the speed of the game. Kapernick is a talented runner no doubt, but he can sometimes take off too soon. If I were Chicago I might even play with a QB spy to limit Kaepernick's damage in the run game. If Kaepernick is constantly pressured he's going to feel the need to pull the ball down and run, sometimes unnecessarily. If Kaepernick can't move through his progressions effectively he makes it really easy for an elite Bears defense to play dictate terms to the offense.

2. Kaepernick doesn't protect the ball well when he runs or scrambles.

Take a look at the first picture above. As a runner he holds the ball like tucking it causes him physical pain. He's already fumbled once on a QB run against the Bills and with experienced strippers like Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, and Charles Tillman bearing down on him, tucking the ball becomes even more important. (There's a sentence that sounds off out of context).

In the pocket, Kaepernick doesn't keep two hands on the ball when he moves. He holds the ball low, exposing it to potential tacklers. Look at Peyton Manning when he moves in the pocket. He has two hands on the ball and holds it high to protect against fumble-inducing swats. Looking at the second picture you can see the problem clear as day. On the play pictured Kapernick was sacked and he fumbled the ball. Had Bruce Miller not jumped on the ball the Rams game ends very differently.

3. Kaepernick can sling the ball downfield despite a messy pocket.

This is the most exciting aspect of Kaep's game. In the third picture you can see Kaepernick's first completion of the 4th quarter against the Rams. Kaepernick has players falling all around him, but he climbs the pocket and slings the ball on an out route right before getting hit. I added a line to show you how far the ball travels. He releases the ball at the 18-yard line and Manningham catches it on the 38-yard line. That's a 20-yard out route thrown with precision. Earlier in the game The Kaepper threw a dart to Vernon Davis with Kendal Langford draped around his midsection.

These are the kinds of plays we rarely see Alex Smith take. Smith is adept at minimizing risk where as it seems like Kaepernick has a little more of a gambler's streak. Thanks to fellow Webzone contributor Diego Del Barco (@DiegoDelBarco) we know that 6 of the 49ers 7 turnovers have come in their 2 losses. If the Kaepernick is able to protect the ball and continue to sling the ball the 49ers will not only be on their way to a high playoff seed, but they may also be on their way into a quarterback controversy a little earlier than anticipated.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


4 Comments

  • EVBeezee
    Let's hope they play like stippers and not pro ball players...I'd rather see them climbing a pole than climbing in the playoff seedings. Nice write up, Oscar.
    Nov 19, 2012 at 3:20 PM
    0
    Response: Now I have a mental image of Brian Urlacher climbing a stripper pole. Gross.
  • Enzo
    Please could someone explain to me why they've given A.S. the most reps in practice over Kap. Were they certain he'll be able to start today? It's like putting all your eggs in one basket. And now we wonder how Kap we'll perform against the Bears' D. That's another disaster waiting to happen. I hope I'm so wrong with this one; and wish Kap the best!
    Nov 19, 2012 at 2:44 PM
    0
    Response: I think they were really expecting Smith to be cleared for the game. It was a risk, but one the team felt confident about. Looks like they were wrong.
  • Edd
    Oscar, your assessment is fair and accurate. What you fail to mention is that Kaep has an incredible support system behind him with a solid running game and very good front line. I dont think they need that much from him, and I expect a conservative offensive tonight.
    Nov 19, 2012 at 1:57 PM
    0
    Response: He does have a great running game, and that will help him a ton. You're right on that. But this isn't Air Force here, they are going to have to throw the ball. And the line has been leaky against teams with above average pass rushers, which the Bears have. I hope, despots his deficiencies, that he does enough to win the game.
  • The One
    "experienced strippers like Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, and Charles Tillman bearing down on him". I'm sorry that is just too funny lmao!
    Nov 19, 2012 at 12:55 PM
    0
    Response: I wrote it. Laughed out loud by myself. And decided it needed to stay.

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers' Fred Warner shares 3 things he's most looking forward to in 2021

By David Bonilla
Jan 1, 2021

Most are probably excited to see 2020 in the rearview mirror. That's likely the case for many San Francisco 49ers players and coaches. This past offseason was filled with so much hope and anticipation as the team looked to make amends for last season's heartbreaking Super Bowl loss. Injuries destroyed those hopes pretty early in the season. The 49ers were ravaged by injuries during Week 2 and could never really recover after that. As if the injuries throughout the year weren't enough, the team has been stuck in Arizona for the past month due to COVID-19 restrictions banning contact sports in Santa Clara County. "We were six minutes away from being champions," head

Read the Full Article


'Watch out for this team next year': Where the 49ers fall in final 2020 season power rankings

By David Bonilla
Jan 6, 2021

The 2020 season didn't go as planned for the San Francisco 49ers. After coming off a disappointing Super Bowl loss, the team had lofty hopes and looked to make amends for the heartbreaking defeat by once again competing for a championship. An insurmountable number of injuries quickly transformed the roster, and the 49ers were unable to recover, finishing with a 6-10 record and missing the playoffs. The 49ers are expected to bounce back next season, assuming they can safely navigate an uncertain offseason. The team had nearly 40 players playing on the final year of their contracts and have to deal with what is sure to be a greatly reduced salary cap. "We just finished a 6-10 season, and we understand there's a lot of reasons that led to that, but

Read the Full Article


Officially 'All-Pro Fred': 49ers LB Fred Warner named a first-team All-Pro

By David Bonilla
Jan 8, 2021

San Francisco 49ers teammates have been calling the young star linebacker "All-Pro Fred" for some time. Now, it is official. Fred Warner has finally been named a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. Warner, 24, also earned his first Pro Bowl selection this past season. Additionally, he earned the 49ers' top team-issued awards for his contributions this past season — the Len Eshmont Award and the Bill Walsh Award. "It's a huge honor," Warner said last month of his Pro Bowl selection. "That's one of those

Read the Full Article

Featured

More Featured Stories

More by Oscar Aparicio

All Articles by Oscar Aparicio

More Articles

All Articles
Share 49erswebzone