Colin Kaepernick Is Officially Running Out of Time


Colin Kaepernick should be on notice. Losing by 40 points to your division rival will tend to do that.

After the worst start of his career, Kaepernick’s hold as the franchise player is all but lost. Forget franchise player- his hold as the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers is tumultuous at best.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

There were so many reasons to be optimistic for Kaepernick this season. He put in the work with former Most Valuable Player, Kurt Warner. His throwing motion and pocket awareness had improved. There was touch to his passes, both long and short. The weapons were still there at his disposal.

It is harsh to say after one embarrassing performance that all his progress has been washed away, especially after the first two games had seemed to exhibit signs of Kaepernick’s maturity. But the scary part is that this is just who Kaepernick is- a physically talented freak of nature, who could not pair those tools with a true cerebral game that needs to be developed in any elite quarterback’s character.

Looking at the tape on the two pick sixes against the Arizona Cardinals, it was clear that old habits have not dissipated for Kaepernick. In both instances, Kaepernick failed to find the small creases in the pocket where he could step aside or step into in order to buy some time and space. While the pressure is applied, it’s clear that Kaepernick is skittish in his footwork, a cardinal sin for any starting quarterback.

As Kaepernick goes into panic mode, he plants on his back foot awkwardly and unleashes a pass that is begging to be picked off. What we see here is a classic case of relying on your physical tools to bail you out of trouble. In these instances, Kaepernick paid dearly with two easy interceptions to Justin Bethel And Tyrann Mathieu, putting his team in a huge hole on the road.

In postgame comments, Mathieu did not mince words about the 49ers game plan. “Their passing game has simplified so much,” he said. “It was easy for us to anticipate routes and just get some good breaks on the ball.”

It is debatable whether the simplified approach that Kaepernick has praised about so far this season is leading to a titanic disaster for the offensive unit. When a quarterback is pressured and throws more than 20 yards downfield off his back foot to a receiver outside the numbers, the blame should not go on the game plan. Kaepernick has to clean up these fundamental flaws if the 49ers have any shot at being competitive this season.

Some aspects of quarterbacking that have not been lost on Kaepernick, are accountability and leadership. He knows he let his team down and must atone for his mistakes to put his team in position to win. Kaepernick has been an easy target by the media and fans as a tattoo covered prima donna, but he has always took the blame for his poor performances and has always been a tireless worker.

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As an NFL starting quarterback, you are showered with praise when you win and crucified when things go awry. Kaepernick deserves much of the blame but he is also not the only cause of the Niners’ troubles.

The secondary has been absolutely shredded the past two weeks. After recording five sacks in the opening week’s win, the Niners have had just one sack since. The offensive line, which looked downright nasty in the first week, has been pushed around in the passing and ground game. The coaching staff needs to do a better job at putting their players in the best position to succeed.

It feels like an eternity since Kaepernick took the league by storm on the road to Super Bowl XLVII. The fact remains, he has been given three years to find his stride and he has failed at consistently keeping the bar high. If his play continues to be erratic, the sun may set on the Colin Kaepernick era in the Bay Area.

Next: San Francisco 49ers Lose Big Again, Fall to 1-2