Jeff Garcia spoke on 95.7 The Game this morning. Here’s what he said Colin Kaepernick should expect and needs to do against the Chicago Bears tonight.
Q: What does Colin Kaepernick need to do tonight?
GARCIA: I think the one thing he has to really do is play within himself. This is the thing about the Chicago Bears – they are an outstanding football team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. When you watch them defensively, they are not a complex team. They’re going to run 2-Deep or they’re going to run Single-Safety Middle. That’s pretty much all that they do. So what you have to do as a quarterback is be very selective in your decision making. Check the ball down. Don’t force the issue. They’ve intercepted the ball 19 times this year. They have 7 touchdowns on defense this year off interception returns. That is awesome. You can’t afford to go out there and make those sorts of mistakes and put your team in a hole. You have one of the best defenses on your side, and they’re facing a backup quarterback as well. Although, Jason Campbell has started a lot of games in this league and he’s got a lot more experience. But that defense for the 49ers is great. It’s got to be a skill-position game. Eliminate the mistakes. Don’t force throws down the field that are going to create turnovers. And eventually it might be one of the 12-6 football games. As long as you eliminate your personal mistakes and do the right things, you go give yourself a chance to win.
Q: What’s more likely to happen tonight: The Bears go right after Kaepernick, or they lay back and try to trick him with some of their coverages?
GARCIA: A threat that Colin brings is his escapability and his ability to get outside of the defensive end. A lot of times what the Bears will do, they’ll bring those inside linebackers right into the A gaps, right over the center, and that’s what they’ll try to pose as a threat. They’ll try to make it look like they’re going to bring those blitzers, and then they’ll drop out. Or sometimes, they’ll bring them. One thing Coach Harbaugh is extremely smart about, and what he will do with Colin is he’ll have some planned runs that get him outside of the pocket on sweeps or whatever it may be. If he breaks contain, he’s got the speed to make big plays out of that. So I don’t think the Bears are all of a sudden going to start blitzing their tails off. They know that the 49ers will emphasize running the football – they’re the top running football team in the league. That’s not going to change. They’re still going to give the ball to Gore and give him his opportunities. What’s going to happen now is you’re going to see more 8-men-in-the-box type situations by Chicago, which means more one-on-one opportunities for their tight ends and receivers outside. Just take what the defense gives you. If you have a hitch because you have a soft corner, take the hitch. If you have a good matchup outside with a one-on-one type coverage, give that receiver an opportunity. He has plenty of weapons around him who can make plays. He just has to give them the right opportunities to do so.
Q: What does Kaepernick have to do when he’s passing into the Bears’ Tampa 2 defense?
GARCIA: You have to use your eyes. What happens is the backside coverage will go with the quarterback’s eyes. They’re so savvy and they’ve been playing it for so long. They have some great veterans on that side of the ball. They like to anticipate. They like to jump. They like to go with the quarterback’s eyes, especially a young quarterback’s eyes. They’re going to believe that when Colin drops back and he looks a certain direction, that’s where he’s going to go with the football. What you have to do versus that zone is you have to almost look one way and come back to the other side. Check it down to the backs. Get it to your tight end over the middle. It’s going to be one of those games where you have to be very methodical. It’s going to take two or three downs to get first downs. It may be a 15-play drive that gets you to the end zone. That’s how you have to play against that team. When you start trying to get big chunks, that’s when they blow you up. That’s when they get the big interception. That’s when they make the big play. When you start to get impatient is when you’re playing into their hands. You have to remain very patient. You have to run the football. You have to check the football down. You have to use your eyes. Get the defense going one way – come back to the other side. Easier said than done, but that’s how you have to play against these teams. And then obviously, your defense has to keep them out of the end zone, and that’s what the 49ers are built on. They keep teams out of the end zone.