Colin Kaepernick was supposed to be the next great quarterback in San Francisco 49ers history. All the experts said he was on his way to becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He was on every magazine cover and television commercial as the new media darling of the NFL.
Kaepernick started the season with a bang, making all the experts pat themselves on the back. He put up staggering numbers in week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, throwing for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, making the 49ers look unstoppable, destined for the Super Bowl. But after that elite performance, we haven’t seen that Colin Kaepernick all season.
He played poorly in the next two weeks against playoff-caliber teams, Seattle and Indianapolis, both losses. It looked like he turned his season around when the 49ers won their next five games, never putting up elite numbers but there was no need to panic because of the success of the team. Last Sunday, he had his worst game as a pro, throwing for only 91 yards, sacked 6 times and throwing a crucial interception that sealed a 10-9 loss to the surging Carolina Panthers, another playoff-caliber team.
Many have said Kaepernick is not having a great year because of his weapons in his receiving corps but 91 yards for any quarterback is an utter disgrace and so has the 49ers’ passing game as a whole. The 49ers are last in the NFL in passing yards this season and with Vernon Davis suffering a concussion in the loss on Sunday and Michael Crabtree not coming back in the near future, it doesn’t appear to be improving anytime soon.
If Kaepernick is an elite quarterback, shouldn’t he make his receivers better not the other way around? Elite quarterbacks make no-name receivers into stars. A perfect example is Tom Brady, where he has no household names in his receiving corps with the exception of tight end, Rob Gronkowski. He has averaged 250 yards per game with receivers Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman. What? You have never heard of these guys is exactly my point.
Kaepernick has Anquan Boldin and Davis, two elite receivers and he can only throw for under 200 yards per game. The 49ers passing attack is so bad that former 49er, Alex Smith, has thrown for more yards per game than Kaepernick and doesn’t have a receiver in the top 50 in yards in the NFL. The 49ers got rid of Smith because he did not have arm strength and speed that Kaepernick possesses, but now the 49ers are not using that arm strength and have turned their quarterback into basically Alex Smith, a quarterback that struggles to throw for 200 yards per game except Smith is more efficient.
I don’t know why this has happened with what occurred last season with Kaepernick leading this team to the Super Bowl but something has to change. It must happen quickly because the 49ers face a daunting task in New Orleans and they can’t be one-dimensional. Drew Brees is too good and the 49ers need the old Kaepernick to defeat the high-powered Saints.
The only question is: Will he be able to return to his old form or continue to struggle against elite competition?
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