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Kaepernick’s Offseason Dedication Reinforces Young Quarterback’s Maturity, Competitiveness

Feb 19, 2013 at 12:20 PM

While some 49ers are (justifiably) spending time with their families and recuperating from the rigors of a 2012 campaign that fell just short, others are already back to work. That list includes quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is training alongside 49er wideouts Chad Hall and Ricardo Lockette at CES Performance outside Atlanta.

When Kaepernick burst onto the scene midway through 2012, observers marveled at his physical gifts. More importantly, they were awe-struck by the young quarterback's verteran-esque leadership and poise in the spotlight. Yes, Kaepernick took two quarters to settle in at the Super Bowl, but that can hold true for any quarterback, at any age.

As a budding superstar playing the NFL's most glamorous position, Kaepernick has to deal with the pressures of becoming an overnight celebrity—television spots, "Kaepernicking", book deals, a plethora of public appearances, the list goes on and on. With so much pressure and so many distractions piled up on his plate in such a short span of time, it would be easy to understand if things "got too big" for Kaepernick. It would also be understandable if he was at least mildly content with reaching the Super Bowl in his first season (and merely his tenth game) as a starter...

But Kaepernick's not content. Nor is he complacent. Nor is he distracted. Nor is he dwelling on 2012's shortcoming.

Instead, he's back to work in Georgia—getting stronger and faster, and forging chemistry with his young wide receivers. News like this should thrill 49ers brass and fans alike. All too often, athletes of Kaepernick's stature/caliber fall victim to the pitfalls of stardom and rely solely on their physical abilities to get by.

Kaepernick, on the other hand, is declining invitations to the Grammy's and Oscar's in favor of doing what it takes to improve upon last season. His work ethic and unflappable focus represent a razor-sharp competitive edge and maturity beyond his years. They also signal that he has the ever-important "it" factor—the unyielding desire to win, to be great—a quality that is palpably contagious to teammates. This was apparent last season when a veteran team swiftly rallied behind Kaepernick in his new role as commander-in-chief, catapulting an explosive offense to the league's biggest game. And while it's easy to rest on one's laurels, it takes a special person to strive for further greatness...for the great ones are never satisfied.

Following Super Bowl XLVII, the young quarterback was asked how he'll remember the 2012 season. His response? "As not being good enough." But as the old adage goes, "actions speak louder than words."

Right now, few are speaking as loudly as Kaepernick.
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.


  • Jesse
    The only reason the 9ers were even close to winning the superbowl was due to the very extended power outage that allowed the 9ers to reset themselves and the coaches to adjust their game plan so they could get back into the game. If the power hadn't gone out the game wouldn't have even been close. Power outage caused momentum swing in 9ers favor.
    Jul 17, 2013 at 10:47 AM
    Response: It is what it is. Something tells me, however, that this is coming from a Ravens or Seahawks fan; just a hunch.
  • Kris
    I'm still laughing at dude calling Kaep a "tatted up chollo" with 2 Ls lol.....ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. I applaud Kaepernick for recognizing that regardless of how much gas he's being fed he knows that last year was an appetizer...he's out there working for the whole meal. Let's hope the team follows him down that path of hard work. Great article man....glad i stumbled across it.
    Jul 8, 2013 at 10:35 AM
  • mrg
    As a Bay Area transplant to Seattle, my allegiance is split--but that gives me 2 to 1 odds that "my" team wins it all. That out of the way, I would like to compliment all of you for very decent commentary on a solid article--not much in the way of flames. Keep it that way--it reminds why I like the Bay Area so much. Stay smart!
    Jun 8, 2013 at 11:03 PM
  • Martin Pickup
    I was going to read the Kaepernick article when I stumbled across your article at the bottom, Top 20 Greatest SportsCenter Anchors Ever - with a picture of Linda Cohn on it. After glancing that I decided my time would be better spent elsewhere.
    May 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM
    Response: I assure you that Linda Cohn blurb is part of an advertisement of which I have no affiliation.
  • Brad
    I think it's hilarious that everyone is so hyped on this guy... Say what you want about his inexperience, and that being the reason why they couldn't get 7 YARDS IN 4 TRIES AT THE FRICKIN SUPERBOWL!!!! That final drive will haunt this tatted up chollo for his whole career. As a Ravens fan, you will not win a Superbowl, as long as Russell Wilson is the QB of the Seattle Seahawks. They are a complete team from top to bottom; no weaknesses. The 49ERS sport the highest paid defense in the league, and they're aging quickly. Questions are at CB, Safety, a true number 1 & 2 reciever, DE when Justin Smith retires after this year, along with an aging offensive line. . I understand optimism, but good lord people; be realistic.
    May 9, 2013 at 10:30 AM
    Response: 1. It took Joe Flacco five years to reach the Super Bowl, it took Kaepernick ten games. If the 49ers' two best defensive players weren't nursing a torn labrum and torn tricep, and if the refs called holding on that Jacoby Jones TD like they should have, Flacco would still be on the short end of the stick. 2. If Seattle is without weakness, why did they lose to Atlanta? Heck, they'd have lost to Washington if RGIII didn't go down (and arguably would have still lost if Shanahan put in Cousins when he should have) 3. The 49ers defense is actually pretty young, so you're wrong there. The few players that are up in years (Justin Smith, Carlos Rogers) already have replacements waiting in the wings (Tank Carradine, Chris Culliver) 4. I don't know what "questions" are at Cornerback. An already solid trio of Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, and Chris Culliver welcome Nnamdi Asomugha as added competition/insurance. 1st round draft pick Eric Reid should fit right in at free safety alongside PRO BOWL strong safety Donte Whiter, so I'm not sure how much of a dropoff or question there is at that position group either. 5. Michael Crabtree really started to take the league by storm once Kaepernick was elevated to starter, so he should only get better with added chemistry in year 2. Without Anquan Boldin, the Ravens don't even get a ring. I'd say he's a pretty damn good number 2; he was good enough to be your team's number 1. 6. As mentioned earlier, Tank Carradine is poised to take over for Justin Smith. I don't know where you're getting that he'll retire after this year. That's gross speculation on your part. Will Carradine be as good? Who knows? That's a tough act to follow. But if he's half as good, they'll be just fine. I think that 49ers fans, for the most part, have been very realistic. No one is saying Kaepernick is the prodigal son. All I was saying is that the early returns and his work ethic are very promising. I think that wraps up my precise, support-based dismantling of nearly every single point of your argument. Enjoy the Ravens .500 season this year.
  • jim
    Hi I have been whatching kap when he was in high school he is a grate kid when all his freind were out partying after there games he was at home are geting ready for next week when he went to nevada i said wow i would of play baseball if i was him but he has proved me wrong so anything he dos dont surprise me keep it up bud
    May 4, 2013 at 10:04 AM
  • Jeff
    Good article. Hope next year is even better for the Niners. And, JC, "Our future's so bright..." was written and recorded by Timbuk3, not the Cowboy Junkies. One of my favorite songs, so I have to make sure it gets proper credit ;)
    May 1, 2013 at 1:36 PM
    Response: Thanks for reading!
  • JC
    Nice story. To paraphrase the Cowboy Junkies, 'Our future's so bright, we have to wear shades.' This guy is incredible. While there's no question Alex came into a mess and made the most of a bad situation (and Niner fans everywhere owe him for that) fact is, he's way too talented to back up here or anywhere, so good for him to move on.
    Apr 5, 2013 at 3:38 PM
    Response: Agreed.
  • Ted
    It's refreshing that this young man hasn't followed the footsteps of some of his peers around the league who after experiencing some success just seem to immerse themselves in their "greatness" and forget how difficult it is to sustain. He (Kaep) doesn't have much choice though, fair or not the bar for a San Francisco QB is set high and the spotlight is just gonna get brighter. The coaching staff needs to temper their enthusiasm for the passing game and maintain a balance with the run not just for Kaeps sake, but for the D as well. As great as our D was, I could tie the struggles as well as the injuries to the increased time the D was on the field when Kaep took the starting job.
    Feb 22, 2013 at 6:22 AM
    Response: The quick strike offense lends itself to the Niners defense being on the field for longer. But you can't argue with an offense that scores quickly. So the answer is in finding adequate players to sub in throughout the game/season.
  • R Guerrero
    The 49ers really need a couple of situational pass rushers who can spell Brooks and McDonald at different times during the game in the same way A. Smith did last year. During the 49er's Super Bowl wins, they always had 8 or 9 D-Linemen that would rotate in and out and always stay fresh. The D-Line of Smith, Smith, Brooks, and McDonald are great when they're fresh. It was clear that they were gassed at the end of the year and that showed up in the lack of pass rush in the playoffs. If you give them 15-20 plays off during the course of every game, you'll see a huge benefit at the end of games and in the playoffs.
    Feb 22, 2013 at 2:10 AM
  • Monsterniner
    Nice read and yes, in the Niner Empire there's a lot of hope i this kid but we all know that Alex Smith will go to somewhere else wich means that we'll need a new backup QB and he needs to be similar to Kaep but with can be that guy?
    Feb 21, 2013 at 5:52 PM
    Response: That's a great point. That's a position where the Niners would definitely look to sign a veteran free agent versus an unproven rookie. Let's also not forget about Tolzien, who may bump up to 2nd string if they feel strongly about him.
  • Baaron
    Nice article Steve like yourself I am thouroughly impreesed with Kaeps drive. Jason and Paul A, I'm not sure why you all have doubts about Kaepernick. Also to say that Alex Smiths game is even comparable to Kaep has me question if you were actually following the 2012 season closely. in only 10 games Kaepernick turned a run first offense into an aerial force to be reckon with. Although I'm still a true believer of the "run down your throat" method, KAEPS NUMBERS DON'T LIE. The kid is the truth! Once he is able improve his ability to scramble inside the pocket (like Russell Wilson) instead of rolling out to one side you all will see. Funny hearing fans speak on how Alex is a better QB then Kaep.....smh. Remember one knows how to keep a lead (Alex) the other knows how to make a comeback (Kaep). No defense fears Alex Smith when their team is up 2 touchdowns. I can't say the same about Kaepernick (aka Randal Cunningham reborn).
    Feb 21, 2013 at 1:10 PM
  • jason
    People slow down. Kaepernick is not a world beater and he still not an elite Qb as yet. Too early to speculate that his better then most of the great Qb out there. Most of the games the 9er's win last season was beacuse of the 9er's defense. Alex Smith would have probably done better in the Sb with his years of experienced.
    Feb 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM
    Response: I don't get all the "slow down" language. This article is merely citing his work ethic and attitude as being great early indicators. I think everyone is well aware that Kaepernick has much ground to left to cover, including the quarterback himself. On to your second point, the Niners defense may have had a heavy hand in victories during the first half of the season (and the 2nd half of the Atlanta game) but beyond that, victories were mainly had as a result of the offense. The defense almost allowed the Patriots to have a record-setting 28 point comeback and gave up an average of 30 points to opponents in the postseason. And while there's no way to quantify this next point, I highly doubt Alex Smith would have got the Niners back into the game, down 22 points in the Super Bowl, the way Kaepernick did.
  • Paul A
    Steve, I don't know if Kaepernick is a great QB or not . The Jury is still out on that one. But any way you look at it, the 300 yds and 29 points were not enough to win. Any thing else is wishful thinking.
    Feb 20, 2013 at 4:31 PM
    Response: Just going to have to "agree to disagree" here. I feel the defense, coaching staff, and other factors were largely to blame for the loss but you seem to be holding Kaepernick over the fire for letting this one get away.
  • Paul A
    Sports is about the defining moment. That is what sets apart winners from losers. When the moment arrives, winners grab hold of the opponents throat and end the game. I have watched the SB more times than I want to admit and every time I watch, the moment arrives and the 9ers lose. You can blame the defense or special teams or even the coaches, but Kaepernick was on the field, all he had to do was grab and he missed. So please stop with the reframe that he did not lose the game because neither did he win the game. He missed the moment!
    Feb 20, 2013 at 3:46 PM
    Response: That's a sweeeeeping generalization and in no way applies across the board. Tom Brady hasn't "seized" the moment in several instances and has lost 2 Super Bowls. Would you say he isn't a great quarterback? Losing is a team effort and there are several to blame, but if you're looking to point the finger at Kaepernick you're really reaching. The defense and coaching had far more to do with the loss. He threw for over 300 yards and led the offense to 29 points. That should be enough to win the game.
  • Erocks49ers
    Slow down people. Your talking as if Kaepernick is the next Joe Montana or an American Idol winner. Before you all commit to seeing him part water, lets see if this continues next season. And lets see if/when the 9er make the Superbowl and win. Everyone seems to blame the defense for the Superbowl loss, but I clearly remember everyone blaming Smith for not scoring enough points in last years Giants loss. Why does that same standard not apply for Kap? A hint, the media is so in love with Kap he can do no wrong.
    Feb 20, 2013 at 8:22 AM
    Response: I'm in no way anointing Kaepernick as the next Joe Montana...I don't think anybody is. I simply said the early signs of his work ethic, attitude, and physical upside are very encouraging. As for your second point, there is no correlation between Smith's performance against the Giants and Kaepernick's outing against the Ravens. Why aren't people blaming Kaepernick for not scoring enough points against Baltimore? Maybe because the offense scored 29 points against them, as opposed to the 17 points the Niners notched against the Giants with Smith. Furthermore, Kaepernick threw for over 300 yards in the Super Bowl, tacked on 62 rushing yards, and scored twice. Smith scored 2 TDs but could only muster 179 yards passing. You can't logically pin the loss in the Super Bowl on Kaepernick. That loss is on the coaching staff, the defense, LaMichael James, and the Special Teams coverage unit.
  • Ladale
    Lack of pressure was definitely telling during the playoffs for the 9ers. As good as Ahmad Brooks is at containing the edge, he's just as less impressive as turning the corner. They need a speed rusher off the edge. Also, the 9ers could use Henry Melton or Randy Starks to bring pressure up the middle.
    Feb 19, 2013 at 7:09 PM
    Response: Agreed. The more I think about it, the Niners would be wise to pick up a versatile, situational pass-rush specialist. Perhaps a guy that can line up at defensive end or linebacker. This would keep players fresh and maximize pass rush effectiveness. Nose tackle will definitely be addressed one way or another. I personally see them letting Sopoaga walk and signing Ricky Jean-Francois for the starting role. But they'll definitely bolster the position with either a draft pick or free agent acquisition, but I doubt they'll go after a high priced free agent. The Niners simply have too many other areas to commit cap money to.
  • mbniner
    Kaep didn't play his best in the 1st half of the SB, but he didn't play that badly either. In the 2nd half he was great. The game was really lost by our Defense giving up 34 points. We won all our other SBs with stingy defenses which shut down some excellent QBs (Anderson, Marino Elway). What should have been our strength in SB 47 was a glaring weakness and must be addressed in the off season.
    Feb 19, 2013 at 2:35 PM
    Response: Kaepernick definitely played well enough to win the game. As far as the defense goes, I don't think anybody would argue with you there. Baalke, Harbaugh, and co. will definitely address the defensive line etc. in free agency and the draft.
    When did AJ Jenkins arrive?
    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:56 PM
    Response: Correction: A.J. Jenkins has not yet arrived but has indicated he will join them soon.

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