Prior to the 2014 season, Kaepernick signed a six-year contract extension worth $110 million, with $61 million guaranteed. This set the bar high for the young, intriguing quarterback heading into the 2014 season.
However, Kaepernick fell short of expectations and failed to grow and mature as a quarterback in 2014. In addition, the 49ers failed to make the playoffs, which has placed more criticism and pressure on the quarterback to improve during the offseason.
This offseason, Kaepernick has been training at the EXOS facility in Arizona with other NFL veterans and prospects. In his time at EXOS, Kaepernick is being mentored by former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner.
Mark Purdy of the Bay Area News Group spoke with Warner on what he will focus on when working with Kaepernick:
“We’re early in the process,” Warner said of his time with Kaepernick. “We’ve only worked together a few days so far. But it’s a full process. To play quarterback, there’s a lot of different things.”
“Start with the physical part of it,” Warner said. “We’re trying to teach him . . . what ‘normal’ looks like for a quarterback. Not an athletic quarterback. Not a guy that you’ve thrown in there and allowed to live on his athletic ability. It’s about getting balanced and being in a situation where your technique is so good, that it drives how you throw the football. So we’re starting there.”
“Then the second part is going to be seeing how far we can push him from a mental standpoint, to understand the whole game,” Warner said. “And I’ve been very impressed so far with what he knows mentally. We’ve been on the (chalk)board and we’ve talked about it. Been very pleased with where he is at. But you know, the whole thing is, you have to be able to decipher what 22 guys are doing, or at least 11 guys on the other side, in three seconds, know where to go with the football, know how to get there and technique-wise, be able to get it there. So we’re going to push the envelope in all those areas and see how far we can get him.”
Warner then returned to a theme.
“But it still starts with technique,” Warner said. “Because if you don’t have technique, you’ll never have consistency. And then from there, we’ll go to the mental side of it and see how far we can push the envelope and how good he can be.”
Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group reported that ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer also spoke about Kaepernick’s work with Warner and the 49ers’ current search for an offensive coordinator in a recent interview on 95.7 The Game:
“I’ve talked to people around the league, and it’s not that people don’t want the job,” ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said on 95.7 The Game. “It’s a really attractive job to a lot of people.
“People want to work with Kaepernick,” Dilfer added, “especially with what they’re hearing of what he’s doing down here in Arizona with Dennis Gile and Kurt Warner, who are doing a great job with him. Colin is throwing the best he’s thrown in his life.”
Based on the specific areas in which Kaepernick struggled with last season, it appears as if Warner will address those and help him improve. Warner wants to address the mental side of the game with Kaepernick, but he also wants to focus on Kaepernick’s techniques and fundamentals. Once those are in place, Kaepernick will become more confident, which will allow him to think on his feet a little more quickly and effectively.
We’ll see if Warner’s help will directly translate into Kaepernick’s production in 2015.