Colin Kaepernick’s Preseason Performance Reason For Concern?


Colin Kaepernick finished a down 2014 season with questions about his future with the San Francisco 49ers swirling and rumors running rampant. It seems then, like a good bit of fortune for Kaepernick that the shockingly horrible offseason that the 49ers have endured have taken much of the focus off of him and put the spotlight on the team’s other woes – namely a roster depleted by retirements and free agent defections.

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But with most of the focus on those other woes, it seems that a preseason in which Kaepernick has been less than stellar has gone largely unnoticed.

Kaepernick got a lot of attention this offseason for working with former NFL great Kurt Warner to refine his mechanics and learn how to be a more efficient, effective quarterback. He was widely praised by many for taking the initiative and working to improve his craft. After some offseason work, people within the 49ers’ organization have raved about how his mechanics have improved, and how much more of a polished passer he is.

Through three games of the preseason, it’s hard to know exactly what some of those people were seeing.

Through San Francisco’s first three preseason games, Kaepernick has gone five of thirteen for 40 yards. He’s thrown zero interceptions – which is good – but he’s also thrown zero touchdowns – which is not so good.

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Perhaps an even more ominous indicator that the 49ers’ offense might be in trouble though, is that Kaepernick has led the 49ers on just two scoring drives this preseason – and both of those were field goals. In fact, he only quarterback on the San Francisco roster to throw a touchdown this preseason has been Blaine Gabbert – who is 23 of 28 for 203 yards and a touchdown with zero interceptions, incidentally.

Against what is admittedly a good Broncos defense, Kaepernick went a very pedestrian two of five for 13 yards. He did chip in 53 yards on three rushing attempts – but the whole idea of working with Warner was to be a better pocket passer and less of a run and gunner.

Perhaps an even more ominous sight for the 49ers’ offense though, is that Kaepernick was sacked twice for a 13 total yard loss – which makes a total of three sacks for 27 total yards lost during the exhibition season – and even worse, one of those two sacks was for a safety.

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  • It is a small sample size of work to be sure, but after seeing very limited reps in the first two games, Kaepernick played the entire first half against the Denver Broncos and he did little to inspire a whole lot of confidence in his ability to lead San Francisco back to glory.

    The numbers Kaepernick has put up this exhibition season don’t speak to a quarterback who has improved his mechanical issues, but instead, one who doesn’t appear close to being ready for prime time.

    While some might be tempted to blame all of Kaepernick’s offseason struggles on an offensive line that isn’t performing particularly well so far, that would be something of a cop out. It would be a pretty big cop out, actually. While yes, the line has been something of a train wreck thus far this season, the truth of the matter is that even when he’s had time, Kaepernick hasn’t looked any better than he did last season.

    Yes, it’s only the preseason. Yes, he’s had limited action over the course of the preseason – most all NFL quarterbacks have. But in many of those other quarterbacks, you can see a steady improvement as the team nears the regular season. In Kaepernick, there has been no improvement over the course of the preseason.

    If anything, it can be argued that he has actually seemed to regress even more this season than last. Coming off a season in which he didn’t look partu, Kaepernick – who is a Jim Harbaugh loyalist – was arguably put on a short leash. Perform, and he’ll likely be fine. Don’t perform and he’ll likely be finding work in a different uniform as his contract allows for San Francisco to jettison him pretty easily and without much fuss.

    It’s only the preseason, of course. But Kaepernick’s performance has been less than inspiring and does little to restore any confidence in his ability to lead this team.

    If you’re a 49ers fan, it might not be time for a full blown panic attack – yet. But Kapernick’s string of terrible preseason performances should at least be cause for serious concern.

    Next: Boldin the Calm in the 49ers' Storm