Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kaep and the 49ers

If you have ever read anything I've posted on this subject, or heard me discuss the 49ers on the radio, then you're well aware I NEVER believed Colin Kaepernick was a good quarterback. Nor did I think he ever would be, or ever will be.

Call it a hunch, intuition, a guess, or just the ability to see what to me is so glaringly obvious, but others so obviously not. At this point it no longer matters because one thing is finally clear to all: the guy sucks.

No, no, it's not the offensive line. No, no, it's not the surrounding skill-players, or the coaches, or anything other than his lack of ability to play the position. Countless other Quarterbacks have done more with less, many playing right now. It's simply this: Kaepernick does not have the ability to anticipate what's going to happen on a football field before it does. He makes obvious plays as well as anyone, but it's the not-so-obvious plays which separate the good from the bad, no different from a point guard in basketball. I used to joke about how Steph Curry could become a better QB than Kaepernick in 2 years, having never played the sport. Thing is, I really wasn't kidding.

Now that the thing which was so obvious to me is apparent to those of you who couldn't see it, lets point out the parts of this story seemingly less obvious to those commenting on the matter.

First off, it is worth noting nearly every host on KNBR-680, for whatever reason, either willfully distorts the reality because of their relationship with the 49ers, or they really have no clue what they're witnessing. They all seem utterly clueless about this player. I've never heard a radio station's "talent" (using that word VERY loosely) create so many excuses for a player who not only isn't good, but is also both a terrible interview and a prick to the media. Remarkable how poor their coverage has been the last few years with regards to Kaepernick. Yet at the same time, I've come to expect it. We all have.

So many 49ers fans listen to KNBR and came to believe the Kaepernick problems were "fixable", since it was so often repeated. Clearly, they were all wrong in their group-think.

Next is ESPN's Mike Greenberg, who today mentioned how the 49ers "deserved this" for letting Jim Harbaugh leave. Greenberg isn't alone in this; but for the sake of argument, he represents everyone who says similar things. Sorry, Mike, but Kaepernick was never a "superstar."

For a moment, lets take a realistic look at the Harbaugh situation. I said at the time and still believe you fire a General Manager before you do a coach, but clearly the immature 49ers owner Jed York wasn't going to do this. Instead, he chose his guy GM Trent Baalke.

In defense of Baalke his drafts have actually been quite good, which was a problem for Harbaugh, as odd as that seems. One would think the drafting and signing of good players as a net positive. Not so much in Harbaugh's world. In fact, one of the biggest dust ups between Baalke and Harbaugh, if not the biggest, was Harbaugh's loss of draft control especially as it relates to Kaepernick. Harbaugh desperately wanted to select the player with the 7th overall pick in the 2011 draft. Baalke instead chose Aldon Smith, who despite his off-field problems, is/was clearly the better player.

Because of this loss of power Harbaugh decided he couldn't get rid of Alex Smith fast enough, who at the time of his benching was 6-2-1. Since Harbaugh is a know-it-all egomaniac, he wanted to prove to everyone, Baalke in particular, just how good Kaepernick would be. He pushed Kaepernick onto the field as quickly as possible to rub it in Baalke's face, as well as send a message to York that he's the football mind that matters. This part of the story you NEVER heard on KNBR, that's for sure.

To Harbaugh's credit he was able to succeed with Kaepernick despite the flaws in his game, but this was the beginning of the end between coach and management. It was also only a matter of time before the flaws started to show up. You can't trick NFL coaches over the long run.

Harbaugh is a good coach, but clearly not a great assessor of talent. Guys with huge egos often believe they can make anyone good. In Kaepernick's case, Harbaugh saw this Adonis-like athlete and figured it would be a cinch. Unfortunately Kaepernick's flaws became more and more obvious after nearly every game they played, especially if Seattle was on the field.

Contrary to Greenberg's comments, the Kaepernick gimmick Harbaugh pulled off for a couple of seasons was quickly figured out. He was far from a "superstar" in Harbaugh's last season, which if you assume Harbaugh to be a great coach, it should have been his best. It was his worst.

You can't teach a guy to be a NFL pocket passer when he gets to the league. They couldn't teach Tim Tebow to be accurate, Terrelle Pryor to have good mechanics, or Robert Griffin III to remain in the pocket. These things are learned well before you're drafted, and are often innate. The appeal with Kaepernick is he seems to possess ALL the physical tools these other 3 have, but it's still not enough. It takes a strong mind to be a great quarterback.

That's the one thing Kaepernick has never had, and never will.

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