Through the last two seasons, Colin Kaepernick has been under constant scrutiny by fans and analysts. Some believe he is a franchise quarterback, while others have wanted him replaced since last season. He is an athletic freak who took the NFL by storm when he supplanted Alex Smith in 2012 after Smith’s concussion. He made everyone believe he is the prototype for future quarterbacks in the league. Since then the story has not exactly turned into what most thought it would, which is that Kap would become an elite quarterback.
Everyone can agree that good offensive line play usually translates to better quarterback play. Although, a great offensive line can’t help a quarterback’s anticipation or throw a receiver open. Niners Nation had an interesting interview a couple weeks ago with an assistant from the Harbaugh Era. The assistant stated that Harbaugh and his staff thought Kaepernick could get better after the 2012 Super Bowl, but the following two seasons caused them to change their minds. According to the Niners Nation interview, the assistant went on to say, “it wasn’t that Kaepernick couldn’t read or couldn’t make the throws, but he lacked the ability to trust his receivers to be there before he could see them.”
It doesn’t take a seasoned analyst to realize he doesn’t anticipate receiver’s routes. Even on his more impressive throws like the memorable touchdown to Anquan Boldin in the NFC Championship Game, or another touchdown pass to Boldin in the back of the end zone against the Rams last year in week 6.
Boldin was open and Kaepernick made nice throws, (which he can do) but it is always after the receiver is already open. It is like the ex-49er assistant said, Kaepernick does not trust his receivers and appears almost unable to at this point in his career.
Maybe this can be changed, maybe it cannot; but if the men who knew him best did not think he could change, maybe this is a sign. Maybe he is just another athletic quarterback who has been chewed up and spit out by the NFL. Defenses adapted quickly and Kaepernick has not been able to make the necessary adjustments to what defenses have given him. Granted poor wide receiver play accounted for shortcomings last year, but great quarterbacks help open things up for the receivers and know when to throw the ball away and avoid a sack. Colin Kapernick has gone through his whole career without developing this anticipation, which is a critical trait to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. It seems nearly impossible now (more than ever) to develop this trait; since the coaching staff that knew him best was ousted by the impudent management and ownership of the 49ers.
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