QB Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49ers
|6-4, 233||Born: 10-3-1987||College: Nevada||Drafted: Round 2|
Week 20: bye week
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2016 Week 17 vs SEA (17 / 22 / 215 / 1 / 0 pass, 5 / 16 / 0 rush)
It's fitting that in what is likely his last game as a Niner, Kaepernick had his best passing performance of the season, and by far his best passing performance against Seattle in his San Francisco career. With 215 passing yards and 1 touchdown, we're not talking stats here. Rather, except for three wayward throws, two to Jeremy Kerley and one to Shaun Draughn (two of which were completed due to the receivers' efforts), Kaepernick's accuracy was flawless. Of course, as was the case against Atlanta's similar defensive scheme two weeks ago, Kaepernick had little-to-no running room on scrambles and zone-reads, so his rushing talent was neutralized.
2016 Week 16 vs LA (28 / 38 / 266 / 2 / 1 pass, 6 / 15 / 1 rush)
Kaepernick struggled mightily until the Rams went into their prevent defense up 21-7 midway through the fourth quarter. From that point on, he went 13-of-18 for 122 yards and a touchdown pass, with 13 yards, a touchdown, and the game-winning two-point conversion added in on the ground. The problem beforehand was what it always seems to be for Kaepernick: An erratic arm coupled with a "one-read, then dump off or take off" style of quarterbacking. In this game, the Rams talented front seven easily neutralized the "take off" option. Aside from his 13-yard touchdown scramble, he took four sacks and gained only 2 yards on five other scrambles because a defensive lineman or linebacker was able to track him down before he could get out in open space. As for his passes, even including completed passes, he threw behind crossing receivers early and often. More egregious, however, was a badly overthrown interception that set up Los Angeles' ensuing one-play, go-ahead scoring drive; as well as missing two easy red-zone touchdowns on consecutive fourth-quarter plays. First, he badly underthrew a wide-open Garrett Celek. Then, he badly overthrew a wide-open Jeremy Kerley. If he's only going to throw the ball when his receivers are wide open, he can't be missing them so often when they are.
2016 Week 15 vs ATL (20 / 33 / 183 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 21 / 0 rush)
It was an up-and-down game from Kaepernick. On the upside, he was able to escape the pocket repeatedly --sometimes miraculously -- versus Atlanta's pass rush and deliver passes to wide-open receivers. On the downside, he constantly threw behind receivers that weren't wide open, especially in the second half. Kaepernick's first pass of the game came on 3rd-and-1 on San Francisco's first drive, but he overthrew Jeremy Kerley, who was wide open. On his first pass of the the third quarter, throwing behind Garrett Celek turned a first down into a punt. And in the fourth quarter, he threw behind a wide-open Je'Rod Hamm in the middle of the field. All of this said, the bottom line is that Kaepernick was able to do the three things he's always done best: read-option decisions, scramble away from pressure, and only complete long passes when receivers are wide open.
2016 Week 14 vs NYJ (15 / 26 / 133 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 23 / 0 rush)
For Kaepernick, as it usually is, this was a tale of two coverages. When the Jets predominately played a straightforward zone during the first half, he seldom faced pressure, his wide receivers were wide open enough to merit a target, and so Kaepernick was able to deliver the ball accurately and with much success yardage-wise. But when the Jets switched to man coverage behind blitzes, Kaepernick's carriage turned into a pumpkin. All of a sudden, no one looked open in his eyes, so everything was a sack, scramble, or short pass under duress; the last of which typically being inaccurate. This is how a quarterback throws for 116 yards in the first half, but only 17 in the second half. To be fair, the tone of this narrative might have been different if not for Chris Harper body-catching a perfect pass on a slant in overtime that likely would have resulted in the game-winning touchdown if he'd simply used his hands instead.
2016 Week 13 vs CHI (1 / 5 / 4 / 0 / 0 pass, 6 / 20 / 0 rush)
Kaepernick was the first quarterback in NFL history to be sacked 5 times and have fewer than 5 passing yards. He might have avoided such ignominy if not for being benched after three quarters, given that "down 24-6 in the fourth quarter" might as well be the official definition of garbage time. Kaepernick's only official completion was the result of a 4-yard throw on 3rd-and-8 in Chicago's red zone that required Vance McDonald -- of all people! -- to make a reaching-behind-himself hands catch. Kaepernick also had an unofficial 15-yard completion on the previous drive. It was a dumpoff to Shaun Draughn that would have gained 15 yards and put San Francisco in Chicago's red zone if not for the play being nullified by a holding penalty. With regard to the five sacks (and two scrambles), they can be attributed to awful pass protection, especially by center Daniel Kilgore. Presumably, Kaepernick's ill-fated performance was because the 49ers' powers-that-be chose to prepare for a game played in wind and snow by vacationing at Disney World. His out-of-the-blue benching, however, is more intriguing. At the time, Chip Kelly had called 30 runs in 38 plays and the 49ers defense had turned a 6-0 lead into a 21-6 deficit via allowing Bears touchdowns on three consecutive drives. Yet Kaepernick's to blame? Hmmm.
2016 Week 12 vs MIA (29 / 46 / 296 / 3 / 1 pass, 10 / 113 / 0 rush)
Around two-thirds of Kaepernick's rushing yards came on scrambles when Miami's man-to-man coverage vacated the area between the line of scrimmage and 15 yards downfield. The rest came from zone-read plays in which Miami's front six or seven crashed inside focusing on Carlos Hyde, thereby allowing Kaepernick to keep the ball and run -- to the tune of at least 30 more yards. In the passing game, Kaepernick was both lucky and unlucky. His interception involved volleyball action from Torrey Smith. The only fumble San Francisco lost involved a perfect throw -- despite getting hit in the pocket -- to Garrett Celek; but Celek fumbled and Miami recovered. That said, Kaepernick missed a handful of easy throws in the fourth quarter, the worst of which involved Rod Streater getting wide open on a slant in the fourth quarter.
2016 Week 11 vs NE (16 / 30 / 206 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 32 / 0 rush)
It's tough to tell how much of Kaepernick's inaccuracy in this game was due to a wet ball. On one hand, there were a couple of easy passes -- a quick slant to Jeremy Kerley and a short cross to Vance McDonald -- that were so far off that it had to be the rain's fault. On the other hand, Kaepernick had a handful of perfectly placed, lofted touch passes; which isn't one of his strengths to say the least. But on the third hand, he also fumbled twice in circumstances where the ball just seemingly slipped out of his hand. Putting the wet conditions aside, this was a distinctly "Kaepernickian" performance except for two things. First, it was encouraging to see him (finally) taking downfield chances later in the game when the 49ers needed it. Second, it was discouraging to see New England's game plan stymie his running ability. They played the read-option extremely well, such that his read was always a handoff. The Patriots's front seven also allowed few, if any, scrambling lanes to open up, which prevented Kaepernick's patented "one read, then take off" play, which is the main driver of his weekly rushing totals. This also happens to be the reason he ended up taking five sacks.
2016 Week 10 vs ARI (17 / 30 / 210 / 1 / 0 pass, 10 / 55 / 1 rush)
This game was a microcosm of Kaepernick's skill set (or lack thereof). On an early-game run for 10 yards and his tying touchdown at the end, he perfectly executed the read-option. And on at least five plays, he deftly navigated through and around Arizona's pass rush -- often via blitzes -- to produce either successful scrambles or completed passes. But then there was the negatives. Kaepernick threw multiple interceptable passes, two of which required Vance McDonald going on the defensive. He was inaccurate on easy completions. And he scrambled before routes came to their designed fruition. All in all, he is -- and has always been -- a typical NFL quarterback with strengths and weaknesses, whereby, unless Jim Harbaugh's around, there's no accentuation of the former and no dimunition of the latter.
2016 Week 9 vs NO (24 / 39 / 398 / 2 / 1 pass, 5 / 23 / 0 rush)
No doubt, Kaepernick had a great performance from a fantasy football perspective, but it would be foolish to ignore the context of said performance. First, he was going against the Saints defense, which in this particular game struggled mightily with any coverages that required teamwork. Both of Kaepernick's long passing touchdowns were the result of broken coverages that left his receiver wide open with only blades of grass standing in the way of yards after catch. Second, the Saints' pass rush failed to get pressure on the vast majority of Kaepernick's dropbacks, especially during the first half. During the second half, when New Orleans' pressure increased, Kaepernick's performance decreased. Speaking of which, after completing 14 of 18 passes in the first half, he completed only 10 of 21 in the second half. Of those four first-half incompletions, he really only had one bad miscue: an interception wherein linebacker Craig Robertson read his eyes as he stared down Jeremy Kerley's route on a third-down slant. That deserves benefit of the doubt for sure, but -- again, despite hardly any pressure from the Saints' pass rush throughout the game -- Kaepernick's second half involved throwing behind his receivers on short crossing routes and overthrowing his receivers on deeper routes, including a potential touchdown to Quinton Patton in the back of the end zone. And of course, no evaluation of his performance could go without mentioning that Kaepernick dropped a perfectly good shotgun snap when San Francisco was inside New Orleans' red zone, resulting in a turnover. At the time, San Francisco was down 15 with six minutes left in the game, which means that miscue affected football fans both real and fantasy.
2016 Week 7 vs TB (16 / 34 / 143 / 1 / 1 pass, 9 / 84 / 0 rush)
If you've seen one Kaepernick performance since his halcyon days of 2012-2013, you've seen them all. The good is making correct decisions in the read-option running game, showing an uncanny physical ability to extend pass plays via evading rushers, and gaining more yards than the typical quarterback when he scrambles. The bad is that every pass play seems to follow a decision tree consisting of only three questions. Is my first read open? If yes, throw it. If no, consider taking off running. Is my safety valve open? If yes, throw it. If no, consider taking off running even more. As I start to take off running, did a receiver break open? If yes, throw it. If no, most definitely take off running. Good quarterbacks have a decision tree far more sophisticated than that. As this game -- along with the vast majority of his games since 2013 -- showed, Kaepernick isn't a good quarterback. Because if we can figure him out from our armchairs, how easy must it be for NFL coaches to figure him out?
2016 Week 6 vs BUF (13 / 29 / 187 / 1 / 0 pass, 8 / 66 / 0 rush)
This wasn't as poor of a performance as Kaepernick's stat line suggests. He hadn't played a meaningful snap in a year, and even those snaps came in an entirely different offense, so one has to adjust for rust. One also has to adjust for how much the wind was wreasking havoc on his passes. Whereas Tyrod Taylor is experienced navigating his throws in Buffalo's blustery conditions, Kaepernick struggled to compensate for -- literally -- which way the wind was blowing. A couple of throws to Torrey Smith illustrate the point. With San Francisco driving into the wind in the first quarter, Smith soundly beat his man on a deep post, but Kaepernick somehow overthrew him. With the wind at San Francisco's back in the second quarter, Buffalo blew their coverage, leaving Smith even more wide open downfield. This time, however, Kaepernick actually manged to underthrew him by several yards. It resulted in his lone touchdown pass of the day, but only because there wasn't a defender within 10 yards of Smith, who practically had to field the ball like a punt. Other than his wind-addled accuracy, Kaepernick resembled the same quarterback he's always been. On run plays, he excelled at the read-option. On pass plays, however, he usually needed the play design to produce an open receiver immediately, or else he tucked it and ran. That sounds a lot like what Blaine Gabbert was up to the previous weeks, but there was one distinct difference Kaepernick (unsurprisingly) displayed when facing pressure: On a few occasions, his athleticism allowed him to keep plays alive that otherwise would have died a sack-riddled death. Most spectacularly, he used strength and body control to miraculously avoided a sure safety early in the third quarter; turning it into a 10-yard scramble for a first down and getting San Francisco out of the shadow of their own goal line.
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