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. (more…)
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode Couch Side hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul begin their eight-part series that previews the 2012-2013 NFL season. In Title Talk our hosts discuss how good of a fighter Anderson Silva is. And in Quick Snippets, we break down the possible Dwight Howard trade to the Brooklyn Nets and the MLB Homerun Derby.
Click below to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side podcast, which now also airs on 89.1 FM every Wednesday at 4 p.m. across the Big Horn Basin.
BY ZACK KELBERMAN, Feedcrossing.com syndication
While addressing reporters Wednesday, Harbaugh stated the team was never seriously interested in signing then-free agent Peyton Manning this offseason, calling it an “erroneous perception” that is “silly and phony.”
Harbaugh then went on to praise the incumbent Smith, who appeared to have one foot out the door despite reaching the NFC Championship Game in 2011.
“I’ve said it all along, Alex Smith has been our quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no scenario other than Alex choosing to sign with another team that we would have considered him not as our quarterback. It’s time to set the record straight. (more…)
BY JASON HARTZOG, Feedcrossing.com syndication
The 49ers are now stacked at the running back position. They have recently signed Brandon Jacobs this offseason and they still have a stud in Frank Gore. Running backs Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter are also on the roster. I look at LaMichael as an upgrade to what Kendall Hunter brought to the table. He is a smaller back with a ton of speed. But James brings a lot more than just speed to the table.
LaMichael knows what it is like to play for a winning program … and produce. His years at the University of Oregon were very kind to him. He ran for 1,500+ yards in all three years to help the Ducks win the Pac-12 conference (formally known as Pac-10) each year. In his final season, he had four 200 yard games that helped him record a college career high of 1,805 rushing yards. This was done even after missing two games in the middle of the season due to a dislocated elbow. In his second game back from the injury he looked like he was back to his old self as he ran for 156 yards and a touchdown after being limited to just 13 carries in his first game back.
BY CHUCK CONSTANTINO, Couchsideshow.com contributor
With media from all over the country in Indianapolis to watch the Super Bowl, there has been plenty of time to analyze the Peyton Manning situation. Will the Colts let him go, keep him to teach Stanford’s Andrew Luck, or build around him in this April’s upcoming draft?
The ugly spat between Manning and Jim Isray is very public, and after all the things said in the past week, each day passing, there’s less hope for Manning to continue his career in Indy. With Manning healthy, there could potentially be half the teams in the NFL asking about him. Some obvious landing spots for the future hall of fame quarterback are the Washington Redskins, the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. But keep an eye out for the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans. The only reason I didn’t put the San Francisco 49ers as a suitor is because as bad as Alex Smith has been in the past, this season he was a Kyle Williams away from heading to the Super Bowl.
Here’s my take on who will wind up with Mr. Manning.
BY STAYSON ISOBE, couchsideshow.com writer
The old adage is defense wins championships.
Finally after a regular season that was dominated by explosive offenses and record-breaking performances, the two teams headed to the NFC Championship proved that a defense that will smack you in the mouth still prevails in this league. Both the 49ers and the Giants seemed to face an uphill battle coming into the weekend, faced with the task of attempting to slow down two of the NFL’s most unstoppable offensive attacks. The Packers and Saints, led by the league’s top two MVP candidates in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, were the two highest scoring teams during the regular season and two of the top three in total offense with the other being the Patriots.
Brees was the orchestrator of New Orleans’ attack, breaking Dan Marino’s 27-year single season passing yards mark this season, and was coming off a postseason record in regulation of 466 yards last week against the Lions. Rodgers on the other hand, showed pinpoint accuracy throughout the season as evidenced in his 45-6 touchdown to interception ratio, leading the Packers to the top seed in the NFC with a 15-1 record.
But on this weekend, neither would advance to the NFC title game. Instead, the 49ers and the Giants ramped up their defense and slowed down these two offensive assaults enough to make a statement. The two teams combined to force nine turnovers and produced seven total sacks of Rodgers and Brees.
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode, the gang recaps the NFL Wildcard round playoff game and looks ahead to the divisional games. The hosts also discuss the BCS national championship. Also, in quick snippets, Craig and Wade chat about Hue Jackson, Paul Westphal, the Washington Wizzards, Prince Fielder and Peyton Manning. Click below to listen to the Couch Side Podcast