I keep reading from scribes and bloggers all over the country that, despite Colin Kaepernick’s arm strength, he is not getting the ball down the field. This is meant as a criticism of Kaepernick and it usually accompanies the question: Why did Jim Harbaugh choose Kaepernick over Smith because Smith is better?
Number One: Kaepernick cannot throw what Greg Roman doesn’t call.
Number Two: if Roman continually calls for the deeper ball (patterns or individual routes) on obvious passing downs and distances, chances are the opposing defensive coordinator is going to play a secondary coverage shell that will “discourage” Kaepernick from attempting to push the ball down the field or from holding it long enough for the free-release receivers to get even with or beyond the deepest of the secondary.
Number Three: Roman must select and utilize a personnel grouping and a formation within that personnel grouping that is most conducive to forcing the opposing defensive coordinator into a coverage that allows the offense the best opportunity to NOT throw into heavy coverage.
For example, in 22 Personnel, a play-action pass can be paired with a run and a dummy (double) cadence utilized by the QB so if the coverage does not present a favorable advantage for the offense, the QB can “kill” the original play and go with the second play.
Call the pass and kill it to a run, or call the run and kill it to a pass based upon the pre-snap coverage disguise. The double cadence will force the defense to show what they are going to play because they do not know if the cadence is real or dummy.
For example, if the defense shows a single-safety-high scheme when an offense is in 22 Personnel, stay with the play-action pass. If the defense features a two-deep shell, kill the pass and go with the run because you have an advantage in the box.
Troy Aikman made a living with a simple one or two-play concept on the Cowboys when he had Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
If he saw a two-deep shell, they ran the slide draw against 7 in the box, and if 8 in the box, Aikman would hit Irvin on the skinny post forever.
Football is not rocket science or brain surgery. Teams have used these tactics for decades and continue to use them today. It’s time for the Niners to utilize these elementary concepts to get the most out of their new quarterback.