SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh did not invite reporters out to practice until 2:30 p.m., so I missed most of the players stretch, so I won’t be able to report on that for you today. Sorry about that.
But I did get to see the quarterbacks warm up. When I got out to the field they were doing a three-step-drop drill and Harbaugh was watching closely. Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick and Josh McCown and even McLeod Bethel-Thompson took turns lining up under a center, dropping back three steps, rocking forward one step and firing a pass to a coach standing 10 yards away.
This is how Harbaugh and Geep Cryst make their quarterbacks start each practice – quick drops, crisp footwork, over and over.
The most difficult part of the drill is the footwork. The quarterbacks have to execute the steps perfectly or else Jim Harbaugh stops the drill and does it himself.
Today, Harbaugh didn’t take any reps. He seemed to like what he saw. At the beginning of training camp, he’d have to step in every few minutes, especially for Colin Kaepernick.
At first, Kaepernick had a tough time just holding on to the ball when the center snapped it. Then, he’d add extra shuffle steps at the end of his drop, turning a 3-step drop to a 5-and-a-half-step drop.
Today his exchanges and drops were as crisp as any of the other quarterbacks.
Here’s what Kaepernick said yesterday about lining up under center: “[I feel] a lot more comfortable. It’s almost second nature now, so it’s not something we really worry about.”
Who is we? Is it the royal we? Is it Kaepernick and Harbaugh? Whatever he meant, he’s clearly confident.
Here’s what he’s less confident about: “I want to improve my footwork a lot,” he said yesterday. “There’s a lot of times I feel like my footwork can be improved and that might help me through my progressions, whereas sometimes I think my feet get a little bit sloppy.”
Add Colin Kaepernick’s footwork to the list of things to watch this Saturday against the Texans.
Follow me on twitter @grantcohn.