I’ve been thinking a lot about how the 49ers should use backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
I think he deserves playing time. He’s one of the best weapons on the offense.
I don’t think he’s going to play much against the Seahawks, though. I expect Jim Harbaugh to go conservative, rush Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter more than 30 times combined to get the offense back on track, so to speak.
Whenever the 49ers decide to use Kaepernick next, I think he would feel more comfortable and more in the flow of the game if he had a series rather than just a bunch of specialized snaps.
Defenses eventually build a book on the opposition, and by now, most upcoming defensive coordinators are going to expect the zone read, the zone-read option and the QB draw as the main staples of Kaepernick’s play list.
On the other hand, when Kaepernick is in the game on regular downs with the defense focused on the run and the zone-read option, coverages tend to be more basic and vanilla like a 3-deep zone or a 2-deep zone. So the opportunities for Kaepernick to attack with the passing game would be to the 49ers’ advantage.
If Kaepernick is in the game on third downs, defenses will be leery of the QB draw and have a defender serve as a spy, which will take away a bit from the pass rush.
If the Niners really wanted to get tricky, they would have Kaepernick and Alex Smith in the game at the same time with Smith at QB and Kaepernick as a move man who also could throw a double pass off a reverse hand-off or from a lateral. The Niners also could put Kaepernick in the shotgun as the Wildcat QB and split Smith out wide.
However, the 49ers have to worry about being too cute, taking snaps away from their normal personnel and getting out of the flow of the game.
To work Kaepernick into games effectively against good teams, Harbaugh and Greg Roman must tightly script and manage the offensive game plan.