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By TED SILLANPAA

49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick is getting national media attention for kissing his own biceps after he scores a touchdown, but he should be getting it for being an other-worldly quarterback prospect. It seems silly to consider him a prospect after his record-setting playoff performance against the Packers, but he is still a work in progress … an amazing work in progress.

Kaepernick is making it clear that even the most prominent, knowledgable NFL analysts don’t know what it takes to succeed as a starting quarterback. A year ago, analysts were explaining that Tim Tebow was a wildly inaccurate passer because he had a long, loopy passing motion. Kaepernick has the same type of motion, he reaches way back to throw a pass. He, however, has proven to be incredibly accurate on short, mid-range and long throws. So, Kaepernick has proven it’s all about repeating a passing motion that works.

Those same NFL analysts moan constantly about how running quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton simply can’t survive and have a long, healthy career in the NFL. They run that read-option, just like Kaepernick does. They take lots of hits. Big hits. So, experts figure that no NFL quarterback has ever lasted very long running and getting tackled … so Griffin III and the rest can’t either. Kaepernick runs the read option and analysts don’t seem to question that he can take the punishment that comes when a quarterback runs the ball frequently. Kaepernick has proven that his incredible speed, size, strength and ability to deliver a blow at the end of a run when necessary works.

By now, even Kaepernick’s critics and those most insistent that the decision to bench Alex Smith killed the 49ers have been quieted. What can they say to extend the argument that Smith, not Kaepernick should be the Niners No. 1? The folks who insist that the 49ers need the offense to play it safe with Smith to win the Super Bowl simply can’t say that now, not after Kaepernick put on one of the most amazing playoff performances by a quarterback in playoff history.

Kaepernick has something even the best of the mobile quarterbacks lack. The guy goes from zero-to-full speed in about a stride and a half. When there’s a crack in the pass rush, he’s gone in a flash and he’s at full speed by the time the time he passes the line of scrimmage.

When the defense turns its back on Kaepernick to defend the pass, he does what Joe Montana and Steve Young could do and runs. The difference? Kaepernick’s so fast that the defense is tasked with trying to catch and tackle a 6-foot-4, 230-pound sprinter who doesn’t slide to safety at the first sign of danger.

As was witnessed on the Niners’ first possession Saturday, Kaepernick’s going to make mistakes. That pass interception returned for a touchdown was just a … bad idea. But, at this point, we can probably understand why Kaepernick will at a times be guilty of thinking he can do anything he wants, right?

Kaepernick will be starting his ninth NFL game in the NFC Championship at Atlanta. He could still be an inconsistent performer. It would be foolhardy to expect him to do to the Falcons what he did to the Packers … although the Falcons have loads of trouble with quarterbacks who can run. (Newton destroyed Atlanta twice this season.) There will be times when the 49ers spread out from sideline to sideline to give Kaepernick room to run and … the blocking will break down and he won’t get anywhere. There could be tough times ahead.

Only a moron would still be arguing that Jim Harbaugh’s bold decision to hand the quarterback job to Kaepernick, a guy who might redefine the position, was anything but an incredible display of leadership and understanding of a player and a team.

 

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Comments

22 Comments

  1. KB

    I felt that the GB game would make or break the mid season decision for Harbaugh. He didn’t break.

    January 14th, 2013 8:12 pm

  2. overtime

    KB…You couldn’t be more right. I think it’s one of the more amazing decisions and outcomes of my memory following sports. TED

    January 14th, 2013 8:37 pm

  3. The Bat

    The kid is special, been saying it for awhile now. You were right, though, Ted; Harbaugh made the decision because he felt Kaep was the best, and he was correct. Hoping for big things ahead. Hoping the “third game factor” doesn’t bite us in the rear, too. GO NINERS

    January 14th, 2013 8:57 pm

  4. paul

    This was the same situation the 9ers were facing when Montana was given the first go ahead. He didn’t make believers of us all until his 2nd year, Part of it is poise in the face of danger, part of it is all his abilities, and the rest belongs to the team. There hdd to be something for him to open up into and that was the 49ers. Glad to see him stretch his wings early, but I hope he sees he will become a target if he runs too much. Could be another dynasty.

    January 14th, 2013 9:51 pm

  5. JEFF FERDINANDSON

    How bout adding a little class to the game. Just a bit of humility would go a long way.

    January 15th, 2013 12:25 am

  6. Larry Rowe

    I also think a big difference is that he sat for a 1 1/2 were RG3, Luck, Smith and other were thrown to the wolfs.

    CK7 is amazing. I was not sure if the change from Smith to Ck was the right descion. But here we go. Same spot Smith was in a year agao.

    Win and we will be Superbowl Champs.

    God Bless

    January 15th, 2013 11:06 am

  7. Pete

    ASmith known for his 3 and outs was a little tough to watch at times. CK7 is very exciting to watch and extends plays much better than most QB’s He’s 6-5″ by the way. He is the new breed of QB in the NFL, pure pocket passers may not be what scouts are looking for any longer. 2 years ago I thought the Rams Sam Bradford was a gem and would serve them well, now? I wouldn’t trade Kaep for 5 Sams.

    January 15th, 2013 11:18 am

  8. Just too Fast....

    Talk about evaluating talent, JH is GM material. I can not believe Gabbert, Locker, and Ponder, went ahead of Kaepernick. He looks like a steal from the way he is playing, if you compare him to RGIII or Andrew Luck.

    January 15th, 2013 11:52 am

  9. Just too Fast....

    I just took at the 2011 draft, Cam Newton went #1 overall, and Andy Dalton went one spot ahead of Colin Kaepernick. Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh deserve credit for making this pick. This pick alone will make the 49ers the team of the decade again.

    January 15th, 2013 12:41 pm

  10. overtime

    Fast…Thanks for reading. Things are certainly unfolding in a way that will leave that decision to choose Kaepernick among the best in 49ers history. Ted

    January 15th, 2013 1:20 pm

  11. overtime

    Fast…NFL talent evaluators are notoriously for choosing the cookie-cutter, tall, strong pocket-passer ahead of a quarterback. It was easy to take Gabbert and Locker off of every analyst’s draft board. It took some vision to look at the 6-foot-4 runner with the strong arm and the awkward throwing motion who had been running a college-type offense (the Pistol) at Nevada. Fans typically fall in line with those NFL thinkers who pick Gabbert and Locker over a guy like Kaepernick. The game might be changing and the 49ers might’ve realized it before other teams. It’s a no-brainer to select the Heisman Trophy winner (Newton, RG III) … the 49ers might have the superior all-around new-age weapon at QB and he was a second-round pick from Nevada. TED

    January 15th, 2013 1:25 pm

  12. overtime

    Pete…Agreed. Thanks for writing and reading.

    I’m going to wait awhile, let time pass, before actually judging Kaepernick better for the long haul than Bradford or any of the other many young quarterbacks. I don’t want to get too caught up in the hype after 9 NFL starts. I mean … put Kaepernick in St. Louis and Bradford with these 49ers and I think we’d like Bradford a lot. TED

    January 15th, 2013 1:27 pm

  13. overtime

    Larry…Thank you for reading. I don’t think RG III or Andrew Luck suffered from starting from the beginning. Both performed well for teams with talent inferior to what the 49ers have, right? Kaepernick clearly wasn’t nearly as ready to play, based on what exhibition outings, as those two were. Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder were thrown into action before they were ready.Ted

    January 15th, 2013 1:29 pm

  14. overtime

    Jeff…Thanks for reading. I felt like the cranky old man waving his fist at the neighbor kids shouting, “Get off my lawn!” when Kaepernick got the 15-year unsportsmanlike penalthy for taunting the Packers defender … and, while Tebow’s prayerful pose came organically from the first time I ever saw him play, this “Kaepernicking” thing is just another example of the part of the “Look At Me” generation of professional athletes. I don’t understand it. But, I’m sure you and I will be shouted down for suggesting class and humility matter at all. In fact, another reader suggested Kaepernick’s success stems from humility. Ted

    January 15th, 2013 1:31 pm

  15. overtime

    Paul…Thanks for reading. Kaepernick’s got the advantage of playing for a much more talented team than Montana first started with. And, you’re so right … it’s about the team as much or more than the quarterback. TED

    January 15th, 2013 1:33 pm

  16. overtime

    Bat…Harbaugh’s not interested in schmoozing the media or, really, even pretending that he cares what the media or fans think about his decisions. Great coaches typically make bold decisions. We still probably need to see when Kaepernick shows the consistency a great quarterback needs to be great. TED

    January 15th, 2013 1:34 pm

  17. swiller

    Kap was indeed the right choice. Amazing display and can make the Niners a joy to watch for years to come. Aren’t we jumping the gun a little TED? I mean last year we were singing the praises of Davis and Smith for their last minute exciting win. They lost the Championship game and the season becomes a disappointment by next season. Still Kap rushing yards were outrageous, but let’s wait for a Super Bowl win till we start claiming him up with the best in 49er history.

    Btw, this year and last have been awesome in my book. Maybe devote a article to Gore. That man has been outstanding for years.

    January 15th, 2013 7:34 pm

  18. overtime

    Swill…We are jumping the gun. I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m jumping the gun. I mentioned I still expect Kaepernick will have ups and downs. I’m not ready to induct him to the Hall of Fame next to Montana and Young or anything. That Packers’ defense was just terrible. The 49ers’ offense manhandled the Packers defense with Alex Smith to open the season, then manhandled it in a different way with Kaepernick. So…to be clear…yeah…hold your water, fellas! The Seahawks so savaged the Niners and Kaepernick that people wrote her to exclaim that Kaepernick failed … choked … broke under pressure. He’s somewhere between that bad and as good as he was the other night. TED

    January 15th, 2013 8:10 pm

  19. Matt

    The Seattle game was a mailed-in fiasco, not indicative of this team’s or this QB’s ability to be successful. Two back-to back East Coast cities and national evening broadcasts coupled with dismal inclement weather spelled trouble.

    January 16th, 2013 12:48 pm

  20. overtime

    Matt…If I was the type guy who was concerned about how teams come upon bad performances, I wouldn’t be able to write off the loss to the Seahawks as a game the 49ers mailed in. They got manhandled that night … so, it could happen again. The Falcons didn’t accidentally compile the best record in the NFC, right? Ted

    January 16th, 2013 1:29 pm

  21. Bill Williamkill

    We’re all witnessing an incredible change in football with CK. We are witnessing one of the greatest beginnings in football history. No if’s and’s or but’s, Kap was made for his position and playing the ‘great game’. He won’t get hurt. We are blessed with the watching the ‘next level’ in CK, and taking the niners with him.

    January 30th, 2013 8:40 am

  22. overtime

    Bill…Thanks for sharing. We don’t know who will or won’t get hurt, but otherwsie…good thoughts.TED

    January 30th, 2013 12:38 pm

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