Five Reasons why Colin Kaepernick erupted so fast
Colin Kaepernick watched Alex Smith lead the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship Game last season.
This year Kaepernick is the man and Smith is the understudy. During Saturday’s record-setting playoff performance against the Green Bay Packers, we all saw that a star was born.
Lets look at how it all came together.
1. His confidence grows weekly
When some guys get their shot as the lead-dog they die on the vine like overexposed grapes. Unlike Minnesota’s Joe Webb, Kaepernick has made the most of every opportunity that he has been given. He is a special talent that can do a lot of great things.
When Alex Smith went down with a concussion and ultimately lost his job to the second-year man out of Nevada, the offense was quietly divided. One of the most important pieces of that unit Vernon Davis, was as assertive as he could afford to be in supporting Smith. To quell what could have been a diplomatic nightmare, Kaepernick earned the trust of his teammates by stepping up and distributing just a little more swagger with each passing week.
Skill players such as running backs and especially wideouts want to get on the ship that is being flown by the guy that performs like he is the man. If Cam Newton is Superman, Kaepernick might just be Rick Flair.
He’s now out-dueled both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. It’s these marquee wins that fuel his personal ability to understand that he is a gamer.
2. He has developed a Bond with Michael Crabtree
The world has been patiently waiting for Michael Crabtree to stand up and live up to the superstar hype that he had when he was drafted in 2009.
Who knew that all he needed was the right guy to pull the trigger? More than half of his 85 receptions and six of his 9 touchdowns have resulted from Kaepernick’s presence. It must be said that they have both done wonders for each other’s careers. Kaepernick to Crabtree could continue to be the 49ers’ box office connection for years to come.
For Kaepernick, he quickly made it his business to find a primary guy that he could gel and grow with.
3. Unconditional Support
A key ingredient in this success story is the wisdom of coach Jim Haurbaugh.
Kaepernick did not just happen. He was chosen for development by the quarterback savvy coach. Was the plan to eventually kick Smith to curb when the time was right? I believe so. Before Smith was injured, Kaepernick was already moving in on Smith’s gametime snaps here and there.
The stage was set early on. You can’t blame Harbaugh for wanting his guy to make history with. Alex Smith benefitted from Harbaugh’s tutelage as much as the team did under his effective game management.
Harbaugh did his apprentice the biggest solid by not flinching at all when the 49ers dropped games to two divisional rivals in the St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks. Some guys (cough cough…Rex Ryan) would have allowed a circus of indecision to eat his team alive. After the two week production of Lets Pretend That We Like Alex, Harbaugh built his quarterback up buy not jumping ship when they hit a few choppy waves.
4. Expanding His Arsenal
Back-shoulder throws that cruise like missiles. Intelligent check downs. The occasional smart audible. These are the upgrades that Colin Kaepernick is bringing to his team every week.
He is becoming a student of the game that is consistently introducing a better way to place the football away from defenders or a sneakier way to run the play action game. Each week Kaepernick has a new trick to show you that is not really a trick at all. It’s the product of digging deep and completely immersing himself in what he needs to do to get better.
A key thing to notice about him is that he never makes the same mistake twice.
5. He Has A Strong Running Game
An emerging quarterback’s best friend is his running back. When all else fails he can depend on the 49ers running back committee led by Frank Gore to get it done as he figures out his next move.