There’s protecting your quarterback, and then there’s prohibiting him from running.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the San Francisco 49ers “banned” Colin Kaepernick from running the ball during the preseason in order to “protect their quarterback and force him to take more reps in the pocket.”
Kaepernick did not run the ball during his 40 preseason snaps, and Rapoport reports that there was one scrambled that was “aborted.”
Besides forcing him to stay in the pocket more often, the 49ers really don’t want to risk injury to their budding superstar. Colt McCoy, their backup quarterback, did not impress during the preseason, so the 49ers have to count on Kaepernick to stay healthy.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has tried to advocate for the NFL to create rules protecting quarterbacks running the read option or handing the ball off, and is not happy about how things currently are.
“I believe that when a quarterback is handing a ball off or faking a ball, in the read-option case he’s reading on an option play, he’s as defenseless as a quarterback who’s in the act of throwing,” Harbaugh said, via CBSSports. “And I’m not advocating that they don’t hit the quarterback if he has the ball, but when he’s in the pocket I believe there should be a strike zone. The same strike zone that is given to the quarterback when he’s in the pocket and throwing the ball.”
With the season starting in less than five hours, the 49ers will unleash Kaepernick, and pray that he doesn’t get injured.