San Francisco 49ers: Silver Linings from Horrid Offseason

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Colin Kaepernick‘s first year under a new Offense

Aug 15, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) throws prior to the game against the Houston Texans in a preseason NFL football game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick was a spark of energy upon former quarterback Alex Smith‘s injury and eventual trade. Kaepernick stepped in and proved that he was much more than a backup though, and that he can actually control an offense.

In 2012, Kaepernick stepped onto the scene, starting seven games for the 49ers and throwing for 1,814 yards and ten touchdowns with only three interceptions. He followed that performance by starting all 16 games for the team in 2013 and throwing for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns with only eight interceptions.

It looked as if Kaepernick was on his way to stardom. But in 2014, he stumbled and while his yardage improved, throwing for 3,369 yards, his touchdowns dipped, only 19, and his interceptions rose — he threw ten. Questions of consistency came about, and people wondered if Kaepernick can be a true starting quarterback.

The team didn’t add any quarterbacks behind Kaepernick, so a lowly Blaine Gabbert sits behind him. And while Kaepernick’s role won’t change, the offensive coordinator did.

With former offensive coordinator Greg Roman now with the Bills, former quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst will step in as the new offensive coordinator.

Chryst was the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 1999 and 2000. In those years, the team finished 28th and 26th respectively. The game has changed immensely and Chryst will be given a clean sheet upon his OC debut in San Francisco.

It will be intriguing for fans to watch how Kaepernick handles the new offense for three main reasons.

One, can Chryst be a successful offensive coordinator? Yes the game has changed, but 28th and 26th in offense is horrendous. Chryst will likely be given more than one year, but if he wants to earn his keep in the NFL, he needs to prove he can coach.

Two, can Kaepernick be consistent? We have to give Kaepernick some slack, learning a new offense is never easy, but if he cannot handle it, maybe he isn’t elite. Kaepernick’s first year in a new offense will show us if he can truly be one of the better QBs in the league.

Three, is this the right offense for the 49ers? The team will most likely be on a downswing this year. Some may even consider getting to 8-8 an accomplishment. While that may hurt fans, it will give Kaepernick a good long look at the offense. When the team is ready to compete, he should have a complete understanding of the offensive system. He should know it inside and out. If he does not, either he is at fault, or the offense just isn’t for the 49ers.

Overall, Kaepernick’s production will be of extreme importance to 49ers fans. It may be a long year for 49ers faithful, but there are still silver linings to be found. You just have to look for them.

Next: Can the 49ers Replace Aldon Smith?