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Kaepernick Needs a Save, from Himself

Jesse Dumas
Oct 6, 2015 at 7:29 PM

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This isn't about throwing mechanics or making reads or knowing when to keep your eyes down field on a given play, this is about a young man's confidence and how none of the skills necessary to doing his job are available to him when that confidence is shaken. What we're seeing on game days out of the 49ers' quarterback position is an example of what happens when a talented individual over-thinks his role, presses too hard, and starts to work his way out of a job. What's worse, the individual in question, his drive, and his personality are making the situation much harder than it ought to be.

Let's be honest here, is there anyone outside of the 49ers organization that doesn't think Colin Kaepernick is having a mental breakdown right now? We know he has the physical gifts to do the job – he's shown us – but none of those are doing him any good so long as his brain is as convoluted as it is. The sacks he takes, the throws he misses, and his general panicky nature, like a deer in a six-lane freeway, are all clear indicators that he's trying too hard and he's mentally overmatched for the task right now.

Simply put, he's not doing himself or any of his teammates any favors by continuing to be trotted out as the starter and then frantically trying to make things happen for 60 minutes. He, and the team, would be better served for him to sit and get his mind right. It's obvious by his play and his demeanor on the sideline that he's desperately trying not to lose the game and in case you didn't get your assigned copy of Sports Clichés to Live By, playing not to lose isn't the mantra Bradshaw, Brady, and Montana built their resume's on.

Jim Tomsula, playing his best version of the character "Head Coach" for this soap opera, is carrying the predictable message of sticking with his quarterback and telling us he's never, ever, wavered in his support and belief in Colin Kaepernick, not even after that 4 interception dumpster-fire in Arizona. Thanks Jim, but I could care less about how much you or anybody else likes and supports Colin Kaepernick, the only question on my mind is could Blaine Gabbert really be much worse?

Sunday's game against Green Bay looked as if Colin Kaepernick no longer believes he belongs on the same field with the likes of the Aaron Rodgers's of the world (he certainly didn't on that day). He might not even think he belongs on the field with guys like Nick Foles either, but it's clear the expectations have proven too much for a man still pretty new to the spotlight. Of course, you'll never hear this from Kaepernick himself, and he has no other instinct but to keep pressing harder and adding more pressure, trying to work through and further worsening the situation.

All that being said, Kaepernick's talent is undeniable and his past results are hard to forget, but Colin is on his way to being the strangest of busts in recent quarterback history. He needs to sit, to learn from watching, help someone else prepare, and to have all the pressure that presently surrounds him gradually dissipate. Perhaps watching Gabbert succeed could drive him to be better, Kapernick is a fierce competitor and hard worker after all. Or maybe watching Gabbert fail would embolden him to re-tap in to those limitless talents of his and remind him of what made him almost-great in the first place.

One thing is for sure, they just can't keep doing the same things and hope it gets better. This version of Kaepernick and this version of the 49ers are going to lose plenty of games this season. Whether he does that from the bench or while getting his butt handed to him on the football field could make all the difference for what happens next, for both him and for the team.

Additionally, this situation right here is where we'll see if Tomsula really has any business being the head coach for an NFL team. The message he's selling right now, "We just have to work our way through this" isn't helping his case. The 49ers, still a talented team, need decisive and intuitive leadership right now, while staying the course in this situation exhibits neither. It would be one thing if Tomsula was an established quantity, a rock of proven success to latch on to when things get stormy, but his words of encouragement ring hollow because nobody's sure if this guy knows what he's doing or not. The talent that remains from the past several years is increasingly showing frustration and Tomsula risks losing them all if he doesn't exhibit some courage necessary to make a hard decision in attempts to turn a team back from the brink of absolute irrelevancy.

So, it's this writer's opinion that Kaepernick should sit. For how long? I don't know. A lot of this could be blamed on the gentleman ("gentle" being the operative word) manning the rightmost side of the offensive line, but no matter what the root cause of Kaepernick's failure, it definitely won't help him in his career by going out there without confidence. Right now he's reacting his way from one mistake to the next and shattering what is already a fractured psyche. If he stays this course and continues to fail, he's likely hitting the reset button on his career elsewhere, his contract would lead us to believe anyway. The best outcome for the 49ers is that he does that reset process with them and not another team considering the investment they've already put forth.

(P.S. I'm sparing my vitriol for Trent Baalke and Jed York in this column, but stay tuned for that in the near future. These men's egos have pretty much ruined my Sundays. I JUST GOT THE NFL SUNDAY TICKET FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER and now all I get the pleasure of seeing is Clay Matthews punking our quarterback and kissing his biceps at Levi's. Disgusting.)
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.


  • Can Kap
    The primary attribute for any QB is accuracy/touch. Kap was not accurate in college and after 4 years in the NFL he still struggles. Just ask Michael Crabtree. I submit that you cannot teach accuracy. It is something that comes almost natural with practice to all the great QBs. After watching Kap for 7 years, I have given up any hope for him as a passer. He just doesn't have it and he never will. I could not believe they drafted him knowing his poor completion rate at Nevada. The 49ers should admit what they already know and move on from Kap. It is ironic that Tomsula continues to support Kap because at the NFL level Kap is a "coach killer" as Tomsula will come to learn when he is replaced. I'm hoping that the plan is to continue to lose this season so the 49ers will get first crack at the best college QB in next years draft. However, the last time the 49ers drafted Alex Smith instead of Aaron Rogers with the first pick. Just imagine how many more Super Bowls for the 49ers with Rogers....
    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:46 AM
  • Cancer
    After all is said, the main reason for the 49ers current demise is Trent Baalke - period. He replaced a great coach (JH) and his staff with Tomsula - seriously?? There were other better head coaches available but they all declined after meeting with Baalke and York. I concluded that they could see the writing on the wall as did the former players that decided to leave or retire early. The offensive line is terrible because Baalke, as GM, failed to acquire the necessary talent via the draft or free agent signings. The only way the 49ers can bounce back is for the team to can Baalke and replace him with a great GM. A more experienced new head coach can then start the rebuilding process. Get rid of the cancer, fire Baalke....PLEASE!!!!
    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:07 AM
  • Edd
    Unfortunately, bad O-line or not, Kaep holds onto the ball too long. He seems incapable of surveying the field and throwing accurately in 3 seconds. I don't believe this can be coached, and now with a bad O-line it has become obvious. I like Kaep, but his skillset is unlikely to improve. Perhaps the guy posing as HC can bang on Kaep's shoulder pads before the game to instill confidence.
    Oct 8, 2015 at 6:55 AM
  • Mel
    Who is Tomsula kidding he's just a puppet master for the two crazies above him.
    Oct 8, 2015 at 6:02 AM
  • James Carson
    Kap with Harbs = go to Super Bowl, NFChampionship, finish at least 500 and that was a bad year. Kap was a rookie when Niner's went to Super Bowl. Kap with Tomsula = 1-3 record and already almost more interceptions than CK has ever thrown in an entire season. Its not Kap's fault, its not Tomsula's fault. There is not much more to discuss
    Oct 7, 2015 at 9:58 PM
  • The49er$fan
    Harbaugh and Ck are the people who've ruined his career. Period. Nobody else!! Go back and look @ Harbaugh's interview with Mike Mayock on NFL Network right after drafting Ck and in response to Mayock's question about changing Ck's throwing motion and mechanics' and you'll hear him say, " I'm NOT worried about his throwing motion, his mechanics. Our only concern is whether or not he can win football games @ this level! We're NOT going to touch that! We will work with him on his foot work, 3,5,7 foot drops, and his reads! CK should've taken control of his career right then and there..... just like Cam Newton did!!! He's gotten better every year he's been in the league because he works at it! During Cam's rookie off- season, right after getting drafted, he made a phone call to Warren Moon and asked him to be his mentor/QB's coach during the off-season. And he's been working with Moon EVERY off-season since! WHEN DOES IT BECOME THE PLAYERS' RESPONSIBILITY? It's THEIR CAREERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Oct 7, 2015 at 10:20 AM
    Response: I'd ask if you read the article, but I already know.
  • Fryet
    I think he should play one more game against the Giants (non-elite) to see if he can figure this out on his own. If not, I think he should sit for 3 games at least.
    Oct 7, 2015 at 9:42 AM
    Response: Sounds reasonable to me...
  • Nick
    Never a fan of CK7 but in a way I feel bad for him. As Steve Young said he doesn't have the it factor. He has never had the ability to go through his progressions, read a D, and continues to lock in on his target even though another may be wide open. The coaches tried to make him a drop back passer and not provide the protection on the Oline. All this does is expose his weaknesses and now he has no confidence in his game. Its really too bad he was given way too much hype which is hard to live up to as an athlete not a QB.
    Oct 7, 2015 at 6:41 AM
    Response: I totally feel for the kid. His heart seems to be in the right place but as a young guy, you're more prone to momentum and questioning whether you can ever get out of a slump. It's a hard place to be.
  • F. Rogers
    Great quarterbacks like Dan Marino, Johnny U and Brett Farve have had their fair share of multiple interception games. People asked for them to be replaced, but were given the opportunity to play their way back. Is pulling him out really the best solution for a player losing his confidence?
    Oct 6, 2015 at 10:51 PM
    Response: Those guys threw int's BECAUSE they were confident, Kap just has no idea what to do with the ball so he heaves it up there. And dont you EVER mention Favre in my comment section again.
  • F Munshi
    I agree. I know his OL sucks but he is even missing the easy throws. He is mentally shook right now and he somehow has to find it from within and calm down. GB defense was not playing good defense and even if completed the easy throws and cut out the ground balls, SF would have won this game.
    Oct 6, 2015 at 9:01 PM
    Response: O-line sucks, but so does Green Bay's and Rodgers still gets it done. Sometimes, you just have to.
  • T Mendoza
    and to think we haven't even played Seattle yet. I've decided I won't be watching that one. They need an ambulance on standby cause Kap is gonna get killed.
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:21 PM
  • Michael Roma
    Well said! Baalke messed up by not bringing anyone in to compete with kaep. I thought bringing in Mike Vick when he was available I believe last year would of been a smart move because of the similarities. Baalke is dragging this team down and Jed York is letting him.
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:14 PM
  • T Mendoza
    Spot on!
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:07 PM
  • AKfanster
    Oct 6, 2015 at 7:58 PM

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