Kaepernick’s foot faults

Here is my Saturday column on Colin Kaepernick.

Watch Colin Kaepernick’s feet this Sunday.

The 49ers play the Cardinals in Arizona and the game means very little to the Niners. Win or lose, the 49ers will make the playoffs. They’ll be a wild-card team if the Seahawks beat the Rams, and the Seahawks probably will beat the Rams.

And the 49ers probably will beat the Cardinals. You already know the Cardinals’ quarterback, Carson Palmer, will throw at least one interception. He’s already thrown 21 this season.

After Palmer takes his first big hit of the game, he will want to crash on the couch next to you and drink hot cocoa. He doesn’t like taking hits. That’s why he quit on the Bengals in 2011.

Consider this game against the Cardinals a dress rehearsal for what the 49ers will face in the playoffs. It’s a road game and the Cardinals are playoff-caliber. If the 49ers make it to the Super Bowl, they most likely will have to win three straight playoff games on the road. That’s the challenge ahead of them. If anything could hold them back from rising to that challenge, it is Kaepernick’s feet.

He still can run with them, but his footwork and technique in the pocket are poor. If he can show some improvement in those areas on Sunday against the Cardinals, who’s to say he can’t win three straight road playoff games? The sky is the limit.

Bill Walsh always said the quarterback defines the limit of the offense. Kaepernick does certain things to increase the limit of the 49ers’ current offense – he’s very good at throwing on the run – but he does other things that limit the limit. His technique in the pocket is junior varsity. And that’s problematic, considering Jim Harbaugh makes Kaepernick drop straight back about 90 percent of the time.

You saw issues with Kaepernick’s footwork against the Falcons Monday night.

His second pass of the game he threw off his back foot, and it almost got picked off. He threw off his back foot at least three times against the Falcons, and he attempted just 21 passes.

Kaepernick has a tendency to throw off his back foot on short throws, and to over-stride on long throws. Quarterbacks can’t stride 6 or 7 feet like Tim Lincecum, because quarterbacks don’t have a mound. When Kaepernick over-strides, he looks like he’s reverting to his pitching mechanics – he played baseball in high school, and the Cubs drafted him to be a pitcher.

He over-strode twice against the Falcons. The first time was a deep pass to Michael Crabtree, who was running a corner route on the right side of the field. The ball was snapped from the left hash. It was a long throw. Kaepernick dropped back, the pocket was perfect, Crabtree was open, Kaepernick set and strode but strode too far and the pass flew over Crabtree’s head.

Later, Kaepernick threw another deep pass to Crabtree, this one over the middle. Again, Kaepernick was overzealous, he over-strode and threw the pass high and behind Crabtree, who jumped and twisted and made an acrobatic catch.

Sometimes, Kaepernick doesn’t even bother to point his feet toward his target. On one short pass to rookie tight end Vance McDonald, Kaeperinck’s feet were parallel to the line of scrimmage when he released the ball. The pass was low and McDonald dropped it.

Kaepernick’s best pass against the Falcons may have been his worst play. It was a great pass because he reset his feet in the pocket and didn’t over-stride and, as a result, threw a strike to Anquan Boldin between two defenders. The problem was Kaepernick stared at Boldin the entire play and never saw Crabtree, who was wide open deep behind Boldin.

If you have access to the coaches’ film, you’ll see a shot from right behind Kaepernick on that play. You’ll see him lock his head onto Boldin. Kaepernick never scans the field. There is no progression, no reads. Just hoping and choking the football. And cheering the wide receiver, “Please get open. I’m waiting for you to get open.”

I’m leaving you with one more image, but I won’t interpret it.

Hours before a game, quarterbacks warm up on the field in shorts and T-shirts. Every quarterback warms up his arm and his legs.

Before throwing, Drew Brees spends 20 minutes working on his footwork in an imaginary pocket. He sets his feet and resets them and resets them over and over again quickly, going through imaginary progressions, avoiding imaginary pass rushers, always re-calibrating his feet, making sure they’re in perfect position.

Kaepernick does wind sprints.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for the Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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      1. slince: “to express surprise, shock, or disapproval with silence” – from The Roderick-Random House Dictionary of the English Language (unabridged edition, 2011)

      2. But he didn’t comment. He meta-commented – a higher level of communication that attempts to circumvent linguistic paradoxes of the sort your comment touches upon. :-) What’s your prediction for today’s game, Jack? (But maybe you’ve already predicted below and I didn’t see it.)

      3. Okay. I’ve got ‘em winning 13-6 if both sides’ defenses are playing efficiently today, and 27-13 if one side’s defense isn’t. Wouldn’t that be somethin’ if the Rams decide they want to make an at-the-end-of-the-season statement – and pull it off? Seattle fans would go nuts! And so would we! LOL!

  1. Nice analysis. I noticed that throw to Boldin/”miss” to Crabtree, too, and was likewise annoyed. (BTW, disjoining your topic sentences from the body of your last paragraph, and breaking that body into two parts, is interpretation enough. Very subtle, very effective rhetoric. I like it.)

  2. This is probably the best article of the year Grant. I feel like you’ve touched on what’s wrong with Kaepernick in an irrefutable fashion. So many times as fans we watch and yell from the couch. This article was great incite into the miscues that are causing this offense to falter. I appreciate that perspective.
    I think SF would like to go into Seattle and beat them. SF might be better off with a 5th or a 6th seed rather than a 1 or 2 seed.
    This year the lower seeds look like better teams. Philly is streaking now. New Orleans is a handful with that offense. And if Greenbay gets in WOW. They just activated Cobb from the IR. There are going to be some tough matchups wildcard weekend.

  3. I’ll give you another image:

    Drew Brees second and third years in the league (rookie year almost did not play):
    27 games
    2002 – 60,8% – 17TDs – 16Ints – 3,284 yds – 76,9 rating
    2003 – 57,6% – 11TDsear? – 15Ints – 2108 yds – 67,5 rating

    28 games
    2012 – 62,5% – 10TDs – 3Ints – 1814yds – 98,3 rating
    2013 – 58,1% – 19TDs – 8Ints – 2887yds – 89,9 rating

    So imagine if he has just 2/3 of Drew Brees’ improvement by the 5th y

    1. Allan, lets hope the Niners have more patience with Kap than the Chargers did with Brees. Otherwise he won’t be around for his 5th year.

    2. great point. I always say its about progress. Keap is in a bad situation because we are in an era of being great right away(Luck, Wilson, ect…….). He will have a great career. The Niners are in great shape with the future draft picks and coaching to be competitive in the long run for many years to come.

  4. “the game means very little to the Niners.”
    I’m sorry, it’s peripheral to your main theme, but hard to ignore when stated so prominently in the beginning. Grant, I believe you’re incorrect. Let’s just say it is important to Harbaugh, as he stated. Given that he’s a charismatic leader, it’s my guess that the game is important to the players too. I’d be disturbed if I believed it didn’t mean much to the players.
    OK, moving on to a few contrarian thoughts: You make some good points, and these should be details to look for Sunday and going forward. I think CK will like the results when he improves his footwork. Not sure when he’ll get to that. Houston9er pointed out CK may be healthier too with better mechanics. A number of extra-strong-armed QBs have gotten away with bad mechanics and throwing off the back foot. Brett and Big Ben are examples. Would they be even better with better mechanics? I’d suspect so, but they made a lot of plays.
    So, CK could still (even likely will) lead SF to victory with his lousy footwork.
    Does McCoy have better footwork? He might, but I’d start CK.

      1. Chicago,

        Grant gave Kaepernick praise for doing some things that elevate the offense, and my take away is that he feels if Kaepernick can improve in these areas he will elevate it even more.

      2. Chicago49ers, your take is right on here. After all, this piece forewarns of a narrow perspective by its title: it is about Colin’s footwork. So, by “narrow” I read you to mean that footwork is only part of the story – perhaps a rather small part – and that other factors can and should be taken into account to provide a broader perspective on what constrains Colin’s accuracy or inaccuracy on any particular throw. Still action photos (how’s that for an oxymoron?) reinforce this narrowness. We see a frozen moment and can only infer what might have happened before and after. And isn’t it revealing that the snap of Colin throwing the inaccurate pass has him out of the pocket, at the end of a scramble, lofting the ball further downfield toward the endzone, while the snap of him throwing an accurate pass has him more or less in the pocket, not at the end of a scramble, drilling the ball at somewhat shorter range into a stationary receiver? Certainly “mechanics” are important – but what constrains mechanics? What are the different impacts on the mechanics of throwing, and especially on over-striding (1) from a relatively unhurried stationary position, (2) from a relatively rushed stationary position acquired at the end of a scramble, and (3) on the run? Is there a different impact on mechanics when throwing to a moving target as opposed to throwing to a stationary target? Video provides the mini-history of any given throw and so would provide a broader, more comprehensive reading of what contributes to any given accurate or inaccurate pass. But again, to be fair to Grant, he did announce what the academics call his “methodological closure” by his title. He was interested in discussing Colin’s footwork – one tree in a forest of phenomena that go into a throw – and that’s what we got in this article. Problems, however, arise when Colin’s inaccuracy is attributed solely to his footwork without also asking from where that particular footwork on that particular play might have arisen (which is one reason why Colin’s history as a pitcher is also relevant and interesting, as Coffee-for-Closers suggested.) So, come game time, in addition to watching Colin’s feet at the moment-of-throw, folks might want also to attend to what those feet – and the receiver, and the defender – are doing before it. ‘Niners win 13-6 or 27-13 :-)

      3. Max thanks for articulating my point of view. You very clearly stated how i feel about this topic and the reason why i believe Grant continues to make meaningless statements with his very narrow perspective articles. I truly wished Grant would consider to do a more comprehensive article by exploring a various factors in Cks performance. I know this approach would require more time and research but Grant is capable of doing it.

      4. Your welcome, Chi.

        Grant does a good job, better than I could do, that’s for sure. And notice what he so often has to put up with (though not from you): the ages-old taking of constructive criticism (what Grant does) for negative or malicious criticism.

        You articulate just fine – and even managed to coin a new word – “slince” – a nice neologism if ever there was one!

        Happy New Year, pal!

    1. The foot work is a symptom and not the caus of his problems.
      QB’s that run are instinctual players instead of methodical players. I think HarHar has been trying to shape CK since the SB. And CK is soaking it all up and trying to implement it. At the beginning of the year CK had the Deer in the head light look, it looked like he was in fear.
      I think he was trying to please HarHar and trying to change his style. I think it backfired because CK OVERthinks what to do . Not because he is stupid, but because he wants it to be perfect.Last year he had no fear because he had nothing to live up to. Now he’s trying to adjust and find the middle ground and his feet are showing what the body wants to do, while his arm shows what the mind wants to do.
      It would be interesting to see photos of LAST year to compare and see if Grant is right……….

  5. Great article Grant. Coffee pointed this out the other day (though I am sure others have and it just never registered with me). That stride that you talk about here looks very similar to a pitcher’s stance when they are in the middle or near the end of releasing the baseball. It seems to be something that Kaepernick think is needed when throwing the football, which is very far from the truth. I hope that he works out with a QB guru this off-season to try and correct that.
    What’s your prediction for the game?

  6. Alex Smith had the same problems coming into the league. Kaepernick is not going to transform into the quintessential NFL quarterback overnight. Jim is bringing him along, force feeding him all season. My interpretation is that right now Colins’ strongest asset is his athletic ability, and his wind sprints play to his strengths…..

    1. If Colin was on a rebuilding team, then he has time to grow into a NFL QB. But right now he’s the QB of a team that’s built to go to the SB and win it now. Somehow they almost won it last year.
      But now, with 15 games as a body of work, we see a lot inconsistency, bad footwork, and what Dilfer called, remedial passing.
      It’s astonishing that the team won 12 games.
      In truth none of that matters. They just need to win 3 in a row come playoff time. I don’t care if he passes below 50 percent, so long as they win.
      But if it’s two minutes to go and the Niners need a drive to win it or send it into OT, I’ll be sweating bricks.
      I don’t think he can do it.
      I hope I’m wrong.

      1. Nice comment, Fan. Maybe you’re right that he couldn’t do it – couldn’t, that is, all through the air. But remember those feet some folks are so concerned about? And those pre-game wind sprints? He’d get the job done not just by throwing, but also by running . . .

      2. “Somehow”, like it was a stroke of luck. Athletic skill and a surrounding cast of talent is how he did it, and that’s how he’s doing it again. Shrugging off the negativity from the press, and avoiding the Super Bowl/Sophomore slump. He has this team poised for another Super Bowl run with plutonium flowing through his veins, and as long as you have a quarterback with that type of athletic skill set, you have a chance…..

      3. Dilfer’ “remedial” comment regarding CK came after CK’ worse QB outing. I’m sure that had we been able to ask any football analysis what they thought of CK’ play on that miserable day that most of them would have given CK bad reviews.
        Honesty, it was like shooting ducks in a barrel. Too easy.

        Dilfer made the remedial comment in regard to CK becoming less than average after missing his first read. Again, that is not a major revelation because many NFL QB’ would fall in that category if they miss their first read.

        The other thing that Dilfer should have said during his analysis was that CK was only in his 1st full season as a starter and was still a work in progress.
        Dilfer (imo) missed a great opportunity to gain credibility by not adding CK’ inexperience as part of the equation.

        The word ‘remedial’ has a couple of meanings, but the one that Dilfer used seemed to apply to and criticize CK’ poor habits, which is far from the truth. CK is one of the hardest working players on the team and any teammate and coach will vouch for that.

        People can choose to nitpick at CK all they want and doubt his commitment to be the best QB in the NFL, but I choose to support my QB until he proves me wrong.

      4. Again, that is not a major revelation because many NFL QB’ would fall in that category if they miss their first read.

        Kaep wants a big payday this off-season so he can’t afford to fall into that category.

      5. Fan 77,
        Congratulation, the Packers won the Central division. Whom are you going to root for in the playoff game at Green Bay between the 49er’s and the Packers? Because I know you like the Packers.

        With A. Rodgers, back the offense looks very good. The Packers defense is questionable, but still the A. Rodgers and the Packers are tough team to beat at Lambeau.

    2. Alex Smith had the same problems coming into the league.

      The difference is that Smith didn’t have anybody to help fix his mechanics until Harwich came onto the scene. Kaepernick does and has since Day One. This is both on Harbaugh and Kaep.

      1. I think you miss the point. Playing a traditional drop back pro offense in the NFL is light years away from a college read option. It takes time and numerous repetition. I doubt you’re going to see too much more improvement in that part of his game until next year…..

      2. No I didn’t. Kaep has a QB guru in Coach Harbaugh that could have been showing him how to correct that quirk and has since the end of the lockout. The style of offense that he came doesn’t change the fact that Harbaugh should have been working to correct Kaep’s stance and throwing motion since Day One.

      3. Dude, it’s not like Harbaugh has a magic wand. You expect too much. Alex had tutoring from Turner and McCarthy did he not? Look how long it took Urban Meyers quarterback to learn…..

      4. How exactly is thinking that the third year QB on my team should have his fundamentals down pat already me expecting too much? And please stop using Alex Smith as an example. In his rookie season he had to learn a pro football system and then had to learn a whole new system the following year. The same rollercoaster ride continued until Harbaugh arrived and established the current offensive system which allowed Smith to finally be able to work on his mechanics instead of having to digest yet another type of offense. Kaep has had the same offense since being drafted ergo he should have plenty of time to work on his mechanics (which he should have done this past off-season instead of bulking up).

      5. I’d like to call my final witness to the stand, Colin Kaepernick, do swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Why were you doing commercials and buff workouts when you should have been working on your footwork? Don’t you care about your team and team mates?

      6. Midwestdynasty,
        “The same rollercoaster ride continued until Harbaugh arrived and established the current offensive system which allowed Smith to finally be able to work on his mechanics instead of having to digest yet another type of offense.”

        What? Harbaugh implemented a new offense. Smith had six years to work on his mechanics. Smith never played like the #1 overall pick (but was paid like one) while Kaepernick has played very well for a second round project. Harbaugh knew what he was trading away and Reid knew what he was trading for. You simply don’t like C.K. but would rather try to manipulate people instead of just saying it. Get a life, we know you post under multiple names.

      7. Nice guilt trip BigP. You can ask Grant and he tell you that I am not a double poster. I did go by the screen name of MidWestNiner, but I changed it so that MWNiner would stopped being confused as being me by others.
        Point out once where I said that I never liked Kaep. Here’s a hint: YOU CAN’T. I just critique Kaep like I did when Smith was here. Are you a coach? Can you explain to me why in three years time that Kaep’s footwork and throwing mechanics haven’t been corrected yet? It just seems odd considering that he has had the same coaching staff on offense since the day that he was drafted. I was told by Razor that I am expecting too much. Am I? Instead of telling me to get a life, why not try explaining to me why I should or shouldn’t think this way.

      8. 1. Kaepernick’s rookie season was during the lockout. He had no offseason work with the staff or coaches.
        2. Smith was the starter, and starters get the majority of reps in practice.
        3. Kaep improved his throwing mechanics and will have time to improve his footwork this offseason.
        4. Smith worked on his mechanics with a coach, Tom House. The only thing Harbaugh fixed was Smith’s propensity for throwing interceptions. I’m sure Kaepernick will do the same during the offseason, as his work ethic is beyond reproach.
        4. Are you expecting too much? I don’t know. I do know that Kaepernick is producing similar numbers to what Smith did under Harbaugh. He is more talented but less experienced. When his experience catches up with his talent he will be consistently special. There is no reason for me to believe he won’t.
        5. Don’t tell people to stop using Smith as an example, Kaepernick replaced him. Smith hired Tom House to work on his mechanics, Harbaugh didn’t fix them. Smith was entering his seventh NFL season when he hired House, he could have fixed the issue earlier.

        Those are facts. Instead of making jokes about C.K.’s biceps, look at the big picture. C.K.’s play was good enough in his second year to make the seventh year QB expendable going forward. Harbaugh made that choice because he knows how much football means to Kaepernick and he knows how hard he works. You get similar performance with much higher upside.

      9. Thank you. I will agree on the lockout part but only to a point. The lockout ended before his rookie season began. I don’t see however how when Smith was the starter that it had anything to do with Kaep and his working on his mechanics.
        I really haven’t seen an improvement in his throwing motion yet as Kaep still has that slight hitch in his progression plus the way he slings the ball instead in a pure throwing motion. The way he throws it looks similar to the way a pitcher does it. I know that he was once a pitcher and most likely that could be the reason that he throws the ball the way he does.
        I will agree with your fourth answer (both four actually) but not your fifth one. The reason why I don’t want people to use Smith as an example is because both he and Kaep’s situations were very different. Smith had the revolving door at OC to constantly deal with during the early part of his career while Kaep has been on solid ground since he drafted by the team. Some on here claim that Kaep deserves seven years to prove himself because it took Smith that long. That idiotic way of thinking is pure rubbish. Kaep isn’t even close to the situation that Smith was in during his first three years and vice versa. To even try at an attempt in using either ones’ situation as an example is nothing but a weak argument.

      10. And another thing. The fact that Kaep replaced Smith means absolutely nothing to me. I said when Smith was here that if he, Colin Kaepernick, Scott Tolkien, or even Mickey Mouse was our starting QB that I would support them because I am Niners fan first before I am a fan of the player. The same holds true now and in the future. Whoever our starting QB may be next year, 10 years from now, or even 50 years from now, I WILL SUPPORT HIM 100%! But that doesn’t mean that I will hold back from critiquing them.

      11. MidwestDynasty,
        “To even try at an attempt in using either ones’ situation as an example is nothing but a weak argument.”

        Not really. Telling people not to compare situations is a weak attempt at manipulating the argument. Smith was a project when he was drafted. He didn’t come from a pro style offense at Utah. It was a spread option attack. He didn’t know how to read defenses because he didn’t have to do it at Utah. It had nothing to do with mechanics. He was drafted over Aaron Rodgers because of his supposed upside. Kaepernick faced the same challenge coming from Nevada. He was looked at as possibly the most athletically gifted player in the draft, but he would take time to develop. He’s developing right now.
        The whole Smith thing is so stale because the guy never should have been taken with the first overall choice. He wasn’t a franchise QB. Harbaugh’s actions told you what he thought about him. Heck, Harbaugh wanted Manning, who would have started over Kaepernick. He has a QB with unlimited potential that he is developing the right way, I’m good with that.

      12. BigP:

        Harbaugh’s willingness to trade Kaepernick to the Eagles for a second round pick in the 2012 draft tells us something different about what he thought of Smith. And Kaepernick for that matter.

        You know that agenda you claim you don’t have? It’s showing.

      13. Not really. Telling people not to compare situations is a weak attempt at manipulating the argument.

        And saying that we should give Kaep seven years because Smith had that isn’t? It’s two different situations .

        He was drafted over Aaron Rodgers because of his supposed upside.

        Smith was drafted over Rodgers because Mike Nolan thought Rodgers was arrogant.

        The whole Smith thing is so stale because the guy never should have been taken with the first overall choice.

        You can’t say that unless you have solid proof that Rodgers would have succeeded with arguably the the offensive personnel in Niners history. Neither you nor I can substantiate this from either side of the argument.

        . Harbaugh’s actions told you what he thought about him.

        Kaep was the QB he drafted, had more tangible, and was the cheaper of the two. That’s really a no-brainer.

        I am happy with having Kaeperdini as our QB of the future BigP. Did I hope that it would work out with Alex Smith? Yes, but that ship sailed a long time ago and I moved on. Now I hope that it works out for Kaep and that he is our QB for the rest of his career, but it won’t stop me from critiquing him.

      14. Claude, assuming that report from Schefter was correct, I agree it says a lot about the 49ers confidence in Smith following the 2011 season. To be honest, after the 2011 season, and despite ‘kicking the tyres’ with Manning, I think Harbaugh at el believed Smith would be their QB for the foreseeable future.

        Looking to trade Kaep for a 2nd round pick made sense at that point in time – he’d done nothing as a pro and if Alex held onto the starting role the odds were greater Kaep’s trade value would decline over time rather than appreciate. One season later Alex is netting them 2 2nd rounders. Goes to show what giving young guys an opportunity can do for a team.

      15. Midwest,
        All good. I’ve never said Kaep should get seven years, so please don’t include me in that line of thinking. Nolan wanted Smith because he was submissive. Rodgers refused to do a drill that had absolutely nothing to do with football. Why should he kiss the ring that Nolan didn’t have? Nolan was a bully and Rodgers was smart enough not to put up with it from the get go. Rodgers also came from a pro style system in college and was much better prepared for the pro game. I supported Smith from day one and wanted him to succeed. I’ve met him and he is every bit as nice as people would imagine, he is a really good person. His biggest problem was that he wasn’t an alpha male at a position where people expected him to be.

      16. Claude,

        “Harbaugh’s willingness to trade Kaepernick to the Eagles for a second round pick in the 2012 draft tells us something different about what he thought of Smith. And Kaepernick for that matter.

        You know that agenda you claim you don’t have? It’s showing.”

        Not really Claude, there is no agenda. Talk of trading Kaepernick says nothing more about Harbaugh’s belief in Smith than his pursuit of Manning did. He wants the best guy because he wants to win. I support that because I want the team to win. I think Manning would have been significantly better than both of them.

      17. BigP:

        Your comments about Harbaugh and Smith speak for themselves, and they extend beyond “Harbaugh thought Manning was better.”

        However, as you said, the whole debate has grown tiresome. Hopefully, people will stop bringing up the subject sooner rather than later.

      18. Claude,
        Once again, you’re wrong. My posts were in response to Midwest and his negative comments about CK. You are saying I have an agenda against Smith, which is funny because you are defending him, which shows an agenda on your part. “Harbaugh’s willingness to trade Kaepernick to the Eagles for a second round pick in the 2012 draft tells us something different about what he thought of Smith. And Kaepernick for that matter.” Maybe. Harbaugh’s willingness to sign Peyton Manning tells us something different about what he thought of Smith. And Kaepernick for that matter. The contract they gave Smith also said something about how they felt about him. And Kaepernick for that matter. The fact that Smith isn’t the QB of the 49ers says something about they felt about him. And Kaepernick for that matter.
        Your comments about Harbaugh and Smith speak for themselves, if you didn’t have an agenda you wouldn’t feel the need to defend Smith. You didn’t defend the 49ers QB against Midwest’s comments, you defended the QB of the K.C. Chiefs. Don’t talk to me about agendas.

      19. BigP:

        Those actions say lots of things. Just not the things you hinted at earlier.

        As for agendas, mine is merely to separate facts from unsubstantiated opinions and mere guesswork. On this blog, that happens most often when people talk about Alex Smith. That’s why I responded to your comment.

      20. Claude,
        Actually, they have everything to do with what I said earlier. There isn’t anything I said that was incorrect. Like I said, maybe you should review the comments I was responding to since your agenda is to “separate facts from unsubstantiated opinions and mere guesswork.”

        “Harbaugh’s willingness to trade Kaepernick to the Eagles for a second round pick in the 2012 draft tells us something different about what he thought of Smith. And Kaepernick for that matter.”

        Does it? Sounds like the definition of unsubstantiated opinions and guesswork to me. And you have the nerve to criticize me about having an agenda because I said Harbaugh wanted Manning over Smith AND Kaepernick. Smh.

    3. The problem is that he should be learning how to be a pocket passer during the reseason, not as he goes. His greatest asset is his athleticism, and it is the fear of him running that causes teams to break coverage an give him easy targets to throw to ( see frank gore in the NO game). We should be playing to his strengths, moving him and the pocket more to force the defense to account for that dimension. Remember–he was successful in college because he was a running QB. I think he can learn to be better from the pocket, the time to win is now–we need to use him in the most effective way we can.

  7. You should watch top tier pro tennis some times; talented athletes do not always have perfect forms. That’s why they are talented!

  8. You should watch top tier pro tennis some times; talented athletes do not always have perfect forms. That’s why they are talented!

  9. “…the game means very little to the Niners. Win or lose, the 49ers will make the playoffs.”

    5th seed means avoiding a cross country trip vs the Eagles, defending a major number of snaps against that crazy offense, then playing a rested Seattle on tired legs the following week.

    We saw this movie last year… first New England, then Seattle. I’m thinking they want to nail down 5th seed to avoid a re-run.

    1. If things go well in the wildcard rounds…
      - 6th seed means the front 7 defends up to 80 snaps, then plays a Seattle team coming off a bye. Dead legs vs fresh legs.
      - 5th seed means defending a standard 40-65 snaps (if they make it past the divisional round), then playing a Seattle squad that also played the week before.

      “I’ll take the 5th”

  10. I can’t say more about a person who knows less about football.

    I’m waiting for a positive article one of these days rather than ragging the home team players, coaches and front office.

    The only positive articles I’ve seen are the ones where someone says hi to you, i.e. Solari and Tolzien.

    1. I found the article to be very insightful and full of supporting evidence. If you prefer a rah rah article written by a homer, you can always go to the Bleacher Report.

      1. At least Bleacher Report has articles that male sense and writers who know a smidge about football Chewie.

        What’s wrong with being a homer anyway?

  11. Grant, I’m loving your obsession with footwork. Feet are everything. I remember a Steve Young interview where he mentioned coaches only showing him film of the bottom half of the QB. He quickly realized he could predict which throws were completed just watching the feet.

    Tolzein and Wilson nailed it in Wisconsin learning WCO. Kaepernick is just starting in the pro set.

    My worry is his late start. Colin is already 26, in his 3rd season. (for perspective, Alex Smith is 29). Could it be too late for Colin to develop the muscle memory needed to maintain proper footwork under duress? 16 would have been a more ideal age.

    1. Could it be too late for Colin to develop the muscle memory needed to maintain proper footwork under duress?

      Not if he focuses more on that and less on bulking up or starring in his next commercial Brodie.

      1. Did I miss something? I thought this team is set up for a Super Bowl run. Their a dark horse that no one wants to play. How does the bulking up and commercial stardom stop the 49ers?

      2. Aye, it could. And dying in your bed, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, for Kaepernick to take this team back there and tell the naysayers that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take away our QUEST FOR SIX!

  12. Kaepernick’ (so-called) foot work is a small problem imo.

    Yes, CK does not always have the correct foot work when setting up for a pass. But, there aren’t many QB’ that I know of who could throw with the velocity and accuracy that CK has while not being completely set. How many QB’ could have made the throw CK made to VD against Tampa Bay while moving in the pocket?

    For most QB’ in the league not being able to set their feet correctly before throwing would be a major problem, I don’t see it as a problem with CK because of his incredible arm strength that allows him to make throws on the move that many QB’ could only dream of.

    CK reminds me of a young Ben Rothlisberger who could throw while defensive lineman were hanging on him because of such incredible arm strength.
    CK’ style may be far from traditional, but he is getting the job done after only two full seasons of football.

    Until CK shows me that he can’t deliver, his style of play is fine with me.

    1. I agree with the caveat, his athletic ability will someday need compensation. If he gets the compensation early, he will be unstoppable and increase the longevity of his career…..

      1. Exactly razor – if he improves his consistency making accurate throws and going through progressions he’ll be a nightmare for D’s to stop.

  13. Footwork is the foundation for all fundamentals regardless of the sport. CK has some bad habits in his footwork is he overcoming them yes. I am far more concerned with his game management skills and his inability to get past his first option. Would I like to see better footwork out of CK? yes. Do I think his footwork will be the main reason the 9ers don’t win the SB [if they don't win it] No. he overcomes his sloppy footwork but I do have other areas I’m worried about CK.

  14. Glad so much is being made of Kap’s footwork publicly. Hopefully, it makes him realize that we’re ALL watching for it. And, yes, he has other areas to fix–but some of that will come with time (says he who flips out every time Kap holds the ball too long and fails to check down). Loving our continued development as a team this year, though!

  15. “Consider this game against the Cardinals a dress rehearsal for what the 49ers will face in the playoffs…”


  16. It kills me when writers use words like never. CK never scans the field? Helps you make your point but it isn’t true. And stop comparing him to other QBs. He’s not from a cookie cutter, nor should he follow the same path and have the same exact skills. He needs help with his footwork like 100% of all beginning QBs. He can work that out. Will he ever be good at everything? In life and football? No. Simple answer. Nobody is. Let the kid play.

    1. Mike thats exactly my problem when I read statements like CK NEVER SCANS the FIELD!!! Yes I am a Niner fan and a bias one but i have personally witnessed him go through his progression and find an open receiver. Does he do that all the time? no. Also I have seen him to set his feet and deliver a great ball. Therefore such statements by the writer damages their credibility specially since it does not explore other factors such as:

      Defensive formation
      Match up
      Offensive play or audible
      any potential mistakes by the other players blocking the rush or running routes! We are just focusing on Colin’s footwork without looking at what is happening in that specific situation!!!! Sorry but the very narrow perspective is not realistic. Most elite athletes in many different sports might deviate from the appropriate form depending in a very specific situation. Even if you go and study Russell Wilson that is supposedly a great QB you can see that his foot work needs more work. Grant easily could have written an article about Russell Wilson and how his foot work has impacted his performance.

    2. Grant didn’t say Kaepernick never scans the field. His use of never was limited to a particular play, and his description if the play was spot on. Kaepernick was locked onto Boldin and never looked away on that play.

    3. Maybe some people should read a post or comment twice and think about what was actually written before getting offended and quickly firing off a response to it.

  17. Blah…… Kap is in his first full season as the starting QB of the 49ers. He’ll continue to improve… It’s no secret he’s still learning the nuances of a pocket passer…… Yet this offense continues to put plenty of points on the board regularly. Imagining this offense in which he reaches his full potential… It’s almost unfair to pair with this defense….unfair to all those fans of other NFL teams anyway.

    Hey, I thought Gore was done?

    1. Well said Red. I’m not concerned about CK7 ‘s mechanics. He’ll continue to improve and that’s bad news for the rest of the league.

      I’ll put my trust in a former NFL QB, successful college and NFL head coach, and someone known as a ‘QB whisperer’ than a blog writer who’s probably never played sports at a high level.

  18. I disagree with the statement that this isn’t a big game for the Niners as I believe it is important to secure the #5 slot that would likely mean going to CHI/GB vs PHI, and then through CAR vs Seattle- if all goes as presumed tomorrow. I also think NO can run the table and we host them at The Stick.
    Big day tomorrow regardless.
    Go Niners!

    1. Run what table for New Orleans? They got destroyed by the Seahawks 3-4 weeks ago… The match up horribly against the Seahawks.. The only team that has a shot at beating seatle in a playoff game is our niners! The saints? Come on man..

  19. I agree Kaep’s footwork, progressions in his reads, and overall reading of defenses are areas he needs to improve if he’s ever going to be one of the greats.

    There is no doubting his physical capabilities and he can get by with the tools he has at the moment, especially when he’s playing in a quality team like the 49ers have had the past few seasons. A team can win a SB with Kaep at QB if he catches fire at the right time.

    But for a team to consistently be pushing for SB honours year in, year out, you can’t go past a QB that can pick D’s apart by going through his reads, and hitting his receivers on the money. Kaep’s not there yet. Fixing up his footwork will definitely help with more consistent accuracy. Learning to go through your progressions is something that usually comes with experience as the game slows down mentally, but also requires a conscious effort to start making those progressions. Will be interesting to see how these areas of his game develop in the coming years.

  20. Gore needs 47 yards to reach 10,00.
    CK needs 38 yards to break Youngs single-season franchise rushing record for a quarterback.
    The Niners haven’t allowed a 100 yard rusher all year.

  21. Grant

    Taking issue with your first paragraph. What makes you think the Seahawks will “probably beat the Rams”?

    Have you been following the NFL this season?

    The Cowboys are putrid, in case you were wondering. And the Seahawks are 1-2 in their last 3 games with their 2 losses against NFC West foes, and their game upcoming against the remaining foe, the one who played them closest the first time around. The Seahawks are backing into the playoffs and will end up with the #5 seed; it has been written.

    You can take your negative Niners hate and deposit it forcefully where the sun don’t shine, thank you very much. And while you’re near your rear, you can think about what Terrell Owens just said about your “It boy”: his best days are behind him.

    CK > Russell Wilson
    Niners > Seahawks

    Take a breather and don’t delete this awesome post.

      1. He won’t, remember Kaepernick wouldn’t even pullover and help Grant out with jumper cables, do you really think he’ll loan him plutonium?

  22. Sorry but no QB has 100% perfect footwork. Even Peyton Manning throws off the wrong foot once in a while.

    I can watch a tape of just about any NFL game and point out one or two times where the qb threw off the wrong foot. Sometimes the protection breaks down and the Qb has to try and make a play without having time to wory about the placement of his feet. As long as Kap put’s the ball in the right place for his receivers to make a play more often than not, I could care less about his footwork.

    The Kid was one play from wining a Super Bowl his first year as a starter, and will most probably put up 12 wins his second year and all you can do is nitpick his footwork. Unbelievable..

    1. Stop with the “even Peyton Manning” commentary.

      Now if you said “even Joe Montana” your reverence would be well-founded, but you’d be wrong.

  23. Definitely a big game! If the Rams prove their point agains the Seahawks, we get a first round bye…which is HUGE, but most importantly we get home field. Not to mention, you don’t want to go in to the playoffs stumbling. You go in kicking A$$!

    As for Kaepernick’s feet…spot on! He needs serious work. Though if he fixes that this offseason, next year will be great. For now he just needs to get hot and make all of the big plays when they’re in front of him.

  24. I’m not sure how this game is not important. A 5th or 6th seed makes a huge difference. A sixth seed means you’re playing Seattle sooner while a 5th seed means later with the possibility of a home game. But I guess you’re really saying that they won’t make it that far and if they do, Seattle will beat them anyway.
    I’d like them to go to Dallas, oh wait….wa wa wa……lol

  25. I know Kaepernick was working out with Bay Area QB guru Roger Theder to fix his footwork last summer. Did the lessons not stick? Does Kaepernick need a more WCO type QB guru?

    1. You’re my surprise witness against MidWestDynasty’s assertion that Kaepernick did not work on his feet, but instead focused solely on his buffing and commercials……

      1. lol, alot of people have been cracking that joke. Yea i guess that’s the “breaks”. *oof* Silva was a great champion but he is 38 years old now, time to retire.

  26. granite I’m wondering do you ever write anything positive about my niners. What do you just exploit them in use them to further establish your career? I have never seen a quarterback get his game overtly dissected in this fashion after 26 starts in the regular season. When am I going to read article were you support the Niners? I just hope you don’t receive an undeserving paycheck for this “sports journalism.” Wow!

    1. country …
      the purpose of this blog is … “opinion” …

      (true) journalism is facts without opinion …

      the opinions expressed on this blog are what generates the page hits ..
      Sure .. Grant sometimes throws outta left field .. but..
      think about it …
      it starts conversation …

      stick around awhile … you’ll get it

  27. Teams have figured out how to beat the Seahawks. They will not reach the NFC championship game. Mark it down.

    Also reading this ‘article’, it’s quite clear who the idiot was that asked Harbaugh those questions in his press conference.

  28. You nailed this one Grant. I remember someone else (maybe it was you) saying manning has happy feet. The difference is manning always sets his happy feet into position before throwing.
    I’ve been saying it all year. They are forcing him to play a way he’s never played before. It’s a great move for the future. He’s making some strides in it. His footwork, reads, and trust from his O-line are some things he’s obviously struggled with. I have to think they told him this plan in the offseason, and that’s why I was a little bothered with his work ethic this offseason. This is my opinion on it. If it were me and my coach told me that this was the plan, to transform my game into new territory’ I personally would have not been doing tons of shoots and commercials in the offseason. The greats like Rice, Brady, and others never did this many commercials before they found their game. I was hoping he would have been working on things like his footwork in the offseason. Especially after losing the superbowl. That’s just me though.

    I have a feeling they will turn him lose in the playoffs like last season and let him throw in the run more often then they have this season. And hopefully he will treat this next offseason like summer school and learn the basics of qb.
    That’s one thing I loved hearing about Alex smith the year he hired the qb specialist to help him with his mechanics. You just can’t teach these kids those type of decisions. He’s got what it takes physically. I just hope he develops the drive to improve year after year.

    Again great piece Grant.

    1. Well I agree with what you’ve stated but my only question is. How do you know he was not working as much on his foot work. After the first packer game, we thought he’d arrived. Is there a chance he could have regressed fundamentally as the season progressed? or wasn’t conformable enough with his receivers early on to focus on his footwork during the game? it could be the reason we haven’t seen him improve there.
      I could and would never knock his time used to make commercials or have his photo shoots. it’s non of our business. In fact, all we heard was him going straight to Atlanta after the super bowl to train right away. That sounds dedicated to me.
      so your blog name on here is niner md. If you’re a doctor, nurse or paramedic, how would you feel if all of your “patients, clients” told you how to work. Now your job is a lot more serious so that’s a bad example, but you get my point. Let the kid be. …it’s not like he’s done anything illegal or bad in the community. opportunities come, money and fame are involved and we all do the same thing. IMHO, your resentment runs a little deeper. The sad thing is people are actually trying to compare him to Alex Smith, where there is none.

      1. Well said Big Niner. Some things take time to develop and who is to say he has not worked on it because we have not seen the improvement that we hoped for. Great point about his work ethic immediately following the SB loss. I trust that if us fans can see the deficiencies of his game then coaches do too and will/ have devised a plan for improvement. Lastly, the kid is still underpaid considering his results, flawed or not. His performance earned him endorsements and he should take advantage of it while its available.

      2. you could compare tony banks to alex smith and banks would come out ahead physically but not as a qb…point is that physical skills arent the end all be all of being a good qb…in the comparison this year smith has been better

      3. Big Niners…. Did you notice I said its my opinion on his offseason. You’re right we don’t actually know how much he worked on his footwork in the offseason. I posted my opinion on his offseason on two things.
        1 I seen him on almost every commercial or magazine spread there was last summer.

        And 2 I think he’s a bright kid, but he looked absolutly lost this season with horrible rookie type footwork and decision making.

        I’m going on things I see. I’m not knocking him for getting his money or fame, I’m just concerned as a paying customer and life long fan that he’s not showing enough improvement as Russel did. If you listen to Seattle radio or tv and the nfl you hear that he’s a student junkie and is always in the film room studying. You don’t hear the same about ck, unless someone asks JH. You don’t have to ask a out Russell it’s well known.
        So before you label me a hater, I must remind you that I’ve had his back since day one and understand he’s young and it will take time to become the qb I believe ha can be. I just have some questions on his studying ethic and attitude. Sorry it seamed his head started swelling a bit this offseason and the Miami hat fiasco didn’t help my outlook at all. So take it easy Big Niner. This fan isn’t bashing ck, just stating my opinion on the resources I had in the offseason.

    2. Ninermd,
      Good stuff. But if CK wins a SB this year I don’t see him shying away from the camera. On the contrary, he will be that much more in demand then this past season.

      BTW, CK did work on his mechanics during the 2013 off season with his old QB mentor Roger Theder who has been running a QB camps for about 20 years in Orinda, CA.

      CK has been involved in Roger Theder’ QB seminars (occasionally) since his days in high school. As long as CK is studiously applying himself to his trade that gives me reason to believe that we will see Kaep becoming a better QB with each season.

      The issue with CK (imo), is that he was thrust into the limelight practically overnight. And its taken a full season to truly identify some of the flaws he has. But those flaws are minor imo, and are correctable with playing time.
      I’ll say again, with CK, the best is yet to come.

  29. Another waaa waaa waaa article from grant??big surprise there!…but it’s ok, heck he called Russel Wilson the next Joe Montana a couple weeks ago…He looked just like Joe last week huh Grant?…I bet the guys in the 49ers locker room love you!…

      1. Grant compared RW to Joe and Steve for his elusiveness and ability to extend and make plays. I never quite agreed on Steve, but that’s quibbling over style. I see Tarkenton mostly, with a bit of Flutie.
        I still still see Randal Cunningham in Colin’s game.

    1. He actually called him a miniature combination of Montana and Young.

      The same week he said that a Bay Area radio personality said Wilson was the best QB in the league, better than Manning and Brady, so Grant wasn’t alone.

      1. When I heard Wilson surprisingly won Seattle’s QB I scanned some of his preseason youtubes.

        I knew he had good running ability and was trained in Wisconsin’s WCO. My heart sank when I saw his quick release. I quickly realized the 49ers would have to face a sterling QB for years.

    1. Grant did you watch Teddy ballgame yesterday? Two teams may have Hundley ranked #1 that leaves 30 other teams that have Bridgewater ranked #1

    1. Dynasty – Lets hope the Cowgirls luck out today so there is no chance Niners play at Philly. I hope we play in Dallas or Chicago unless we can pull off NFC title somehow.

      1. I’m not too worried about the Eagles as I am about the Panthers Crab. That is the one team that I believe can keep us from getting to the Super Bowl and giving the Broncos a second whooping.

  30. The pole question is Who is the 49ers’ MVP so far this season?

    The answer is clearly CK7. If you take away any of those other players, the Niners will still be in playoff contention. However, if you take away CK7, there’s no way they’d have 11 wins at this point.

  31. Grant you make a pretty serious allegation that carson palmer quit on the 2011 bengals because he did not like getting hit…do you have sources to confirm this, or did you just speculate that to be the case? have the courage to answer this serious question?

  32. Falcons lost to Carolina, so there goes my notion of Carolina going 6th seed, winning the first round, then softening up Seattle in the next round.

    Titans finished 7-9. Was hoping for 6-10, but the 3rd rounder the Niners have from them should be mid round. Also means the Texans will have the #1 draft pick. The Rams (via Washington) will have the #2.

  33. The Road to the NFCC is through Seattle. First, the 49ers need to travel to the frozen thunder and play A. Rodgers and the Packers. Everyone knows how tough it is to play at Lambeau Field in December.

    The Hawks and the 12th man are looking forward in playing the 49ers again at Century Link Field in Seattle. It will be a very brutal game between these two teams if they meet again in Seattle.

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