While the volume of criticism toward San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has risen as the 49ers have lost two straight games for the second time this season, coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t understand what those critics are looking at.
Harbaugh told the 49ers official website that he’s pleased with his quarterback’s performance this year.
“I think he’s doing a heck of a job,” Harbaugh said. “I guess I’d be puzzled to why people would think that. “What’s most important is what we see. I’m puzzled to why you or anybody else thinks that.”
Kaepernick took the NFL by storm last year, going 5-2 in seven regular-season starts while completing 62.5 percent of his throws for 1,608 yards, 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions. In those seven games, he also ran 42 times for 238 yards and two scores. His quarterback rating in those seven starts was a sterling 99.9
In the playoffs, he set a single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback when he ran over and around the Green Bay Packers for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-31 divisional playoff win and posted a 100.9 passer rating in three postseason games.
In 10 starts this season, the 49ers are 6-4 and Kaepernick’s rating has slipped to 81.8. He is completing just 56.2 percent of his passes for 1,802 yards and has 11 touchdowns with seven picks. He has run for4 335 yards on 56 carries and scored three times.
Harbaugh stood by Kaepernick last season and he is continuing to do so now. The coach has awarded his quarterback game balls for steady performance and has been complimentary of Kaepernick’s work ethic this year.
“[His focus] has been consistently good,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been like that every week he’s been backup or a starter.”
The 49ers are ranked last in the NFL in passing offense, but Kaepernick says his approach is the same now as it was 12 months ago.
“I was trying to be a perfectionist last year, the same way I am this year,” Kaepernick said.
In fairness to the young quarterback, his leading receiver from last year, Michael Crabtree, hasn’t played a down and his No. 2 receiver a year ago, Mario Manningham, has been active for just two games. Outside of veteran Anquan Boldin, the wide receiver corps has been more corpse-like than anything.
Maybe a date with the Washington Redskins’ 26th-ranked pass defense on Monday night can help cure some of those ills.