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 opinions 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



Greg Cosell has thoughts on why the 49ers ran Trey Lance so often in his first start

By David Bonilla
Oct 14

San Francisco 49ers players aren't around their Santa Clara headquarters right now because the team is on its bye week. However, they will return next week to begin preparations for the Indianapolis Colts. The off time is a good opportunity to listen to analysts like Greg Cosell, who joined KNBR today and shared his thoughts on rookie quarterback Trey Lance's first start this past weekend, a 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. What did the respected long-time analyst think of the 21-year-old's starting debut? Lance ran the football 16 times for 89 yards, which was a bit unexpected considering head coach Kyle Shanahan had said that fans could expect the rookie looking more like a quarterback and less like a running back in the game,



49ers protect three from the practice squad ahead of Colts game

By Site Staff
Oct 19

The San Francisco 49ers protected three practice squad players this week, per today's NFL transaction list. The team is preparing to face the Indianapolis Colts at Levi's Stadium on Sunday night. Protected practice squad players LB Tyrell Adams WR River Cracraft OL Colton McKivitz NFL teams can protect up to four practice squad players per week from being signed by other teams. In addition, teams can elevate up to two practice squad players to the active roster before 1 p.m. PT the day before a game. Doing so will not require removing others from the active roster, and the players will revert back to the practice squad following the



49ers-Colts: How to watch, stream, and listen to the Week 7 matchup

By Site Staff
Oct 20

The San Francisco 49ers (2-3) are coming off their bye week and will host the Indianapolis Colts (2-4) on Sunday night. The Colts are making their first regular-season trip to Levi's Stadium. It's the first time the 49ers have hosted the Colts since September 22, 2013. San Francisco looks to snap a three-game losing streak. The Arizona Cardinals beat the 49ers 10-17 at State Farm Stadium during Week 5. San Francisco's offense rushed for a season-high 152 yards during the game, with quarterback Trey Lance rushing for a game-high 89 yards on 16 carries (5.6 average). That was the most rushing yards by a 49ers quarterback in a single game since Colin Kaepernick rushed for 113 yards on 10 carries against Miami on November 27, 2016. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel registered three



49ers-Bears: How to watch, stream, and listen to the Week 8 matchup

By Site Staff
Oct 27

The San Francisco 49ers head on the road this week to Chicago for a game against the Bears at Soldier Field. The Niners look to improve to 35-32-1 overall against Chicago. The 49ers and Bears have split each of the past four meetings, with each team earning a road victory in the previous two matchups. San Francisco is coming off a 30-18 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7. Offensively, the 49ers were led by running back Elijah Mitchell, who rushed for 107 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries (5.9 average), marking his second career 100-yard game. Also on offense, wide receiver Deebo Samuel finished the game with seven receptions for 100 yards and one touchdown, his third 100-yard game of the season. On defense, cornerback Josh Norman registered a team-high


Featured

More by Oscar Aparicio

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone