Kaepernick’s offseason — valuable lessons or waste of time?

Here is my Sunday column.

Colin Kaepernick looked like a new guy during warmups Friday afternoon.

He’d drop back, raise the football to his ear and fling it in one quick, compact motion — up and out. It seemed like a perfect recreation of Aaron Rodgers’ throwing motion, the ideal throwing motion.

Kaepernick used have a long, loopy motion. When he threw a football, he’d bring it down to his waist, then extend his right arm all the way back like a pitcher.

This offseason Kaepernick decided to shorten his stroke and improve his knowledge of the game. So, he spent 10 weeks at EXOS training facility in Phoenix, Ariz. He worked with quarterback guru Dennis Gile, who changed Kaepernick’s mechanics.

In addition, Kaepernick spent one day a week in a classroom with former quarterback Kurt Warner, and they worked on reading defenses and going through progressions. Watching Kaepernick during warmups, you were sure he had internalized all the training he received in Phoenix.

He finished the Friday’s warmup session throwing deep passes with touch. He used to throw deep on a straight line, like a pitcher. But during warmups, he’d calmly lean back, launch the ball high into the air with his brand-new compact delivery and hit his receiver in stride 60 yards downfield. Gorgeous passes. Good for him.

As soon as team drills started, he routinely was late throwing to his primary receiver. He’d try to make up for his lateness by firing the ball extra hard, and he’d revert to his old loopy throwing motion.

He wasn’t any quicker or better at reading defenses and going through progressions than before. During team passing drills Friday afternoon, Kaepernick would stare down his primary receiver and, if he wasn’t open, Kaepernick would start scrambling instead of resetting his feet and finding his secondary receiver. Kaepernick bolted. When he threw, he threw with his old loopy motion.

Under pressure, he showed total reversion to the old Kaepernick.

A few days before Friday’s practice, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report reported that the Niners’ coaching staff is concerned Kaepernick won’t be able to carry over his offseason training to the regular season.

Here’s what Cole said in a video report on Bleacher Report: “While Kaepernick was working out and doing due diligence, (the 49ers) weren’t a part of that process. They were not able to observe those workouts because the collective bargaining agreement specifically prohibits teams from working with players during parts of the offseason…

“(Jim) Tomsula wanted to send quarterbacks coach Steve Logan down to Arizona to observe those workouts,” Cole said. “Ultimately, (the 49ers) said no. General manager Trent Baalke said, look, let’s not take a chance of violating the collective bargaining agreement by sending a coach down there and making it look like that coach might be working with Kaepernick …

“Now, the question is can Kaepernick carry whatever he was working with down in Arizona into the regular season, to fix his mechanics, fix his ability to read the field, and will the 49ers’ coaching staff know how to work with him based on all of that training?”

It’s like Kaepernick spent the offseason learning football in Spanish and has to relearn everything in Hebrew. The language, the terminology, the words that Warner and Gile use aren’t likely the same as the words offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and quarterbacks coach Steve Logan use with the 49ers.

The progressions probably aren’t the same, either. Warner doesn’t know how Chryst and Logan want to teach a particular play in a particular game situation. Warner knows how Mike Martz taught that play — Martz is Warner’s former coach. Martz has nothing to do with the Niners’ current offense.

Warner’s work with Kaepernick may have been fruitless.

It’s possible Kaepernick’s entire experience at EXOS had no benefit. It’s one thing too look improved during warmups.

It’s another thing to practice what he learned in a competitive situation, like seven-on-sevens, 11-on-11s or a game. A quarterback can’t think about how he throws the ball. He has to read coverages, progressions, hot routes and sight-adjustments. Muscle memory takes over and the quarterback throws on instinct.

Tim Tebow is the perfect example. Year after year, he works with tutors on his throwing, and he throws fine when he’s on the sideline by himself because he can focus on his mechanics.

Throw him into a team passing drill? Bam, he reverts to how he has thrown since he was a kid, the way he has thrown for decades.

Kaepernick is 27. Think about how many reps he’s had throwing a football one particular way. Now, all of sudden, he wants to change his motion?

Realistically, the odds are against him. It takes a special athlete to achieve what he’s doing. Is he that athlete?

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. I have never read a positive thing in one of your articles about the Niners. I’m not saying I have read all of them but I read a lot. I would be happy if you would “relearn” your writing.

    1. What’s your problem with honest assessments? Kaep sucked donkey balls last year, but everyone chose to ignore his problems because of the dark nimbus cloud that was Jed York gearing up to fire Harbaugh. The trip to EXOS was never going to change how Kaep threw the ball in a game situation. Anyone who thought Kaep would return from his 10 week camp a new quarterback is naive. Kaep is still airmailing footballs and will continue to do so, because that’s what he does.

    2. Scott, it is possible that while he’s sitting on his couch taking notes and practicing what he wants in his article, there are several positive words for the niners. But when he gets to the office and writes his actual article, he reverts back to his former self and bashes them over and over. I mean how long has he been doing it? Finger muscle memory just takes over! We should have a contest between Kap and him. See who changes faster under the pressure.

  2. Interesting. I’m curious though, why is no one else reporting this? Not one of the other beat writers published any of this analysis from Friday’s open practice. Was this the general consensus of those watching?

    1. I didn’t see these criticisms in Barrows’ or Maiocco’s reports from Friday. I think one of them mentioned that CK’s accuracy was a bit off at first but that he dialed it in later.
      I try to get a feel from a combination of reports. I like reading the details and I tend to form my own preliminary impressions until I can get my eyes own eyes on it.

      1. Those articles in no way, shape, or form contribute to anything anyone mentioned in any comment… Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having read those. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul!

  3. Grant, because I think your articles often take a dramatic and pessimistic approach, it’s hard to take them seriously. However, it does stand to reason that the odds are against him and that the coaches know this. I think he’ll have more support in the running game and also a faster corps of WRs. But the rest is up to him.

    1. I should have added that the oline will start out healthy and has better depth, although the right side has become an issue, so at this point who really knows about them.

  4. For last 3 years we have been haring about Kaeperror’s progression. He is stuck in Neutral mode for quiet some times. The 49ers are wasting money and time in him. He is a good running back at his best. He has no instincts for passing game. He panicked every time he is pressured, he throw away too many good games, including Super Bowl. No mental toughness, he can’t take criticism, his cockiness stopped him from learning anything, He didn’t want to hear from the Legend like Joe Montana. He couldn’t throw screen passed, He couldn’t through in a middle or in a rush, He could throw precise deep passes; he either under throw or over throw. Strong Aram without brain is something 49ers don’t need

  5. The information in your articles has been really good lately. Thanks for that. I don’t necessarily agree with your conclusions, but as long as you’re expressing your actual thoughts and not deliberately trying to be provocative, how can I condemn that? I do believe that athletes can change and grow, they do it all the time. Baseball players are continuously adjusting, both pitchers and hitters. Heck, when I play a computer game and try to implement a new strategy, it takes awhile to get used to it. So I’m loathe to draw any long term conclusions at this point about CK’s progress. But, based on past performance, you do have a point.

  6. For last 3 years we have been haring about Kaeperror’s progression. He is stuck in Neutral mode for quiet some times. The 49ers are wasting money and time in him. He is a good running back at his best. He has no instincts for passing game. He panicked every time he is pressured, he threw away too many good games, including Super Bowl. No mental toughness, he can’t take criticism, his cockiness stopped him from learning anything, He didn’t want to hear from the Legend like Joe Montana. He couldn’t throw screen passed, He couldn’t throw in a middle or in a rush, He couldn’t throw precise deep passes; he either under throw or over throw. Strong Aram without brain is something 49ers don’t need

    1. Didn’t you hear? Kaepernick is merely a stop gap until the 49ers coaching staff gets Dylan Thompson ready….

  7. Oh for the love of…. C’mon Grant! It’s called progress and trying to better yourself. Kaep took the right steps in learning from Kurt Warner this offseason.

    1. Grant already wrote this article when Kap announced he was going to Arizona. Only difference is a few OTA snaps added for a conclusion. Predetermined narrative that he’s been waiting to jump on since the first time he wrote it.

    2. He should have worked on footwork, not shortening his stroke. Accuracy comes from good footwork. Tom Brady almost never throws with an imperfect base.

      1. I don’t think Kaep is ever going to have good footwork, so shortening his throwing motion is probably the only option available.

          1. Maybe he needs to do what Tony Romo did and spend his downtime throwing balls at his sofa until the new throwing motion becomes natural to him.

          2. Hey Grant, in your other article the “Good and Bad from OTAs” you mention that Simpson looks good and that he caught a 60 yard TD reception. You fail to mention that Kaep was the QB who threw the pass. Why did you conveniently leave that out? Is it because it would have contradicted your point of Kaep being bad in OTAs!

            1. Fair point. I focused on Simpson because he burned Johnson by a few steps and was wide open. It was a good throw, though, Kaepernick’s best of the day.

      2. I’m pretty sure he did work on his footwork Grant. As I said, you seemed to already have your mind made up when you wrote about this a few months ago, and are ready to write off an offseason of trying to improve after watching two OTA sessions.

        It doesn’t happen that quickly, and really there doesn’t have to be a lot of improvement this season for Kap to be successful. Sure I’d love to see him hitting 65% completion rate, but you don’t get that unless there are a number of passes to the backs. If they incorporate that more this season, the completion percentage will be a lot better.

        The other thing to keep in mind is, the difference between 2013 and 2014 was ultimately two more ints. If those 2 picks were 2 TD passes, his rating would have been over 90 and we likely aren’t having this discussion. That is the type of microscope this guy has been put under.

        All I want to see from Kap this season is a concerted effort to stay in the pocket a second longer if he has it, and throw the check down more often. If he does those two things, he’ll be fine. As much as some want to overreact and talk about a regression last season, it really wasn’t that far off the previous year as I pointed out.

          1. Don’t rush to judgement is all I’m saying. Two OTA’s are not enough to decide his offseason training was a waste of time.

      3. why do you assume that all Kaepernick did was work on his throwing motion?

        “Really trying to get his normal to be a quarterback position as opposed to being an athlete — you know, thinking first as a quarterback and staying in a more throw-friendly position longer so he can get through his progressions and he can be comfortable and he can stay accurate, . . . down through his reads. As opposed to looking at one guy and going, ‘OK, now I can create like I’ve done in the past.’ So that’s the kind of the process we went through.” -Kurt Warner

        “Start with the physical part of it,” Warner said. “We’re trying to teach him . . . what ‘normal’ looks like for a quarterback. Not an athletic quarterback. Not a guy that you’ve thrown in there and allowed to live on his athletic ability. It’s about getting balanced and being in a situation where your technique is so good, that it drives how you throw the football. So we’re starting there.”

        “Then the second part is going to be seeing how far we can push him from a mental standpoint, to understand the whole game,” Warner said. “And I’ve been very impressed so far with what he knows mentally. We’ve been on the (chalk)board and we’ve talked about it. Been very pleased with where he is at. But you know, the whole thing is, you have to be able to decipher what 22 guys are doing, or at least 11 guys on the other side, in three seconds, know where to go with the football, know how to get there and technique-wise, be able to get it there. So we’re going to push the envelope in all those areas and see how far we can get him.”

        “But it still starts with technique,” Warner said. “Because if you don’t have technique, you’ll never have consistency. And then from there, we’ll go to the mental side of it and see how far we can push the envelope and how good he can be.”

  8. Wait, wait, wait. Here we go again with Grant coming up with a thesis and then trying to fit various phantom evidence into it for support. It’s normally annoying, but it seems he blatantly misrepresented some facts here. Here’s how I see this article:

    Grant states that the report by Jason Cole is that the Niner’s coaches are “concerned Kaepernick won’t be able to carry over his offseason training to the regular season”. He then only goes on to state that the Niner’s coaching staff did not attend his offseason training regimen because they did not want to appear to be violating the collective bargaining agreement. He THEN states the Cole himself posed the question in his video report as to whether Kaepernick will be able to carry his offseason work into the regular season. There is absolutely no mention that the coaching staff has those concerns. There is no mention of Cole talking to an “unnamed source familiar with the situation” or anything like that. He represents Cole’s observation as one held by the coaches. I actually think this is offensive to the readers, because he obviously thinks we are too stupid to catch his bait and switch antics.

    This just gets old. I literally only read his articles these days to find little tidbits like this that show Grant has no journalistic integrity. He should just start a blog called “Negatives About the Niners”, because that is really all he is capable of writing.

  9. I think your right it was a waste of time ,I’m a niner for last 45yrs. Throwing motion an accurancey are either you have or you don’t,I hope I’m wrong . Wish KAP the best,

  10. I think your right it was a waste of time ,I’m a niner for last 45yrs. Throwing motion an accurancey are either you have itor you don’t,I hope I’m wrong . Wish KAP the best,

  11. “Realistically, the odds are against him. It takes a special athlete to achieve what he’s doing. Is he that athlete?”

    Yup, you’re right Grant.
    The odds are really against a player that has been a winner since the day he stepped on the field. How could a player that has helped take his team deep into the playoffs and one play from a Superbowl win ever have a chance to make it the NFL?

    I don’t need CK to throw like Aaron Rodgers or Kurt Warner for that matter. What I need is for the O-line to improve over last years 7 different O-line combinations which resulted in poor pass protection.
    What I need is WR’s that can catch and separate much better than they did last year. What I need is better offensive creativity and better redzone personnel and strategy. What I need is coaching, ownership, and GM stability.
    Considering all the above, Kaep actually helped the team finish with an 8-8 record on what had all the makings of a below 500 win season.

    I could live with CK’ “loopy motion” and “bolt” from the pocket style because when all other aspects of the team are working correctly, he has already proven that he can win.

    1. Not sure if anyone caught this last week, but it bears reading especially coming on the heels of Grant’ latest one sided slant. It’s a little extensive but it also gives better perspective of CK’ 2014 season.

      By StereoPete on May 24, 2015, 1:06p 176
      “There has been much debate and commentary about this topic, but as I continue to hear “…and given his less than stellar 2014…” about Colin Kaepernick I am a bit confused. A recent article about our “bounceback candidates” included the preceding quote and I just don’t know that he’s getting a fair shake, given how the overall season went.

      Let me explain myself: 2014 saw him set personal bests in several areas: Attempts (478 which is +15%), Completions (289 which is +19%), Passing Yards (3369 which is +5.4%), Rushing Attempts (104 which is +13%), and Rushing Yards (639 which is +22%). Colin was sacked 52 times – which is 2nd only to Blake Bortles and his miserable O-line. Common theme there? I think so. FYI – Kap was sacked at nearly double the average rate (28).

      For reference, he was sacked only 39 times in 2013 (tied for 11th), making this past season a 33% regression in protection.

      The only areas he was not career best are Completion % (60.5 with his career avg being 60.1), TDs (19 vs 21 in 2013), overall passer rating (86.4 vs a 90.6 career average), and rushing YPC (6.5 vs career high 6.6 in 2012). For reference, Andrew Luck had a Comp% of 61.7 and the league average for passers with >100 attempts is 62.6% (Tony Freaking Romo topped the list with 69.9%! O-line much, anyone?)

      Keep in mind his number of completions were up by 19% while attempts were up only 15% – a clear improvement in efficiency. But since we just couldn’t get into the end zone most of the time, these improvements didn’t really show up where it counts most – on the scoreboard.

      So taking all of this into consideration, I just don’t see the whole “big regression” so many people here and in the media are talking about. Oddly, he threw the same number of combined TDs and INTs the last 2 years (29) but swapped 2 TDs for INTs in 2014. I get he threw 2 more INTs and his passer rating dropped a few points, but “huge regression?” I don’t think so.

      The 2014 49ers offense was – to quote a line from one of my favorite movies – a stinking pile of “diseased rhinoceros pizzle.” That was the result of a number of things not clicking, O-line injuries, and a WR corps of possession clones that just couldn’t get open.

      While I share everyone’s frustration with the 2014 season, I just don’t think the data support any sort of significant “regression” from Kap. Your thoughts and debate are welcome!”

      1. AES– How dare you use stats to counter the Kaep regression theories. Stats are only supposed to be used to negate him. You know it is always better to wait for an out come rather than predict and come out looking like the fool. When we predict an out come then we also become invested in trying to defend any interpretation that validates our predictions. Which is the reason for the regression talk from last season. Everyone who has any sense will be easy with the predictions because what will happen will happen predictions be damned.

      2. AES
        Well said
        I see the same thing. …
        Our oline shows up we in the nfc title game
        Our oline doesn’t show up we picking tip 15 again..

      3. Kaepernick set a career high in attempts last season? WooHoo! Start up the parade.

        Kaepernick started off good but had a rough second half of the season starting with the Denver game. Also, over the last 5 weeks of the season he posted a QB Rating of 68.8 which was barely better than Jacksonville rookie Blake Bortles’ 68.4.

        There are a number of explanations or “Alexcuses” behind the decline but perhaps the vertical threats posed by Smith and Simpson, along with the threat of Bush out of the backfield will make 2014 a mere blip on the radar.

        1. Also, over the last 5 weeks of the season he posted a QB Rating of 68.8 which was barely better than Jacksonville rookie Blake Bortles’ 68.4.

          That was due to a terrible game against Seattle and a hangover a week later in Oakland. His final 3 games were all above 80 and the final two were among his best of the season. Kap was inconsistent much like the offense as a whole. As I pointed out to Grant above, the difference in his QB rating was 2 fewer TD passes and 2 more picks. He improved in every other category with the exception of YPA.

          1. “the final two were among his best of the season”

            He had 114 yards passing against San Diego in week 16. In the second half of that game he was 6-12 for 28 yards.

            In week 17 against Arizona he was 13-24 for 123 yards after the first after their first possession.

            If those were two of his best games of the season it’s no wonder they finished 8-8.

            1. I don’t expect responses like this from you Jack. You paint yourself as a Coach and yet this is a knee jerk reaction to stats. The offense scored 28 points in the first half, had success running the ball to the tune of 355 yards, and Kap was a big part of that. He didn’t turn the ball over, had an incredible TD run in the second half and put up enough points to win that game. His QBR was over 90. Yes it was one of his best games of the season.

              You do the same thing in the Arizona example. Who cares how many yards he had at a certain point in the game or how many yards he had period for that matter? He finished up with 2 TD’s and no TO’s and got a win against a team that was fighting for the playoffs and had one of the better defenses in the league.

              This is a great example of only focusing on parts of a game that suit the narrative you prefer and ignoring the game and outcome as a whole. You decided he wasn’t very good and are now posting info in a way to try and back that up. I expect more from you Jack.

              1. Other than his touchdown run the 2nd half against San Diego was a flop. His fumble that was recovered for a Chargers touchdown played a role in the comeback, as did the offense going 3 and out on 5 of 7 possessions prior to the game being tied. Not good when your defense is as banged up as they were.

                His completion rate against Arizona was barely over 50% for the majority of the game. They beat a team playing with its third string QB by 3 points. Sure he didn’t blow it, but it wasn’t one of his best games of the season.

              2. Other than his touchdown run the 2nd half against San Diego was a flop. His fumble that was recovered for a Chargers touchdown played a role in the comeback, as did the offense going 3 and out on 5 of 7 possessions prior to the game being tied. Not good when your defense is as banged up as they were.

                Again you are looking at this in a vacuum and ignoring key points:

                Right before that fumble, he threw a TD pass to Davis that was called back on a penalty. Right after that turnover, he got the TD back on a 90 yard run.

                The playcalling was also conservative, as it usually is with a lead,resulting in a number of 3rd and long situations. Sure Kap could have been better, but at that point it’s about not making mistakes. Ultimately it was a mistake (Patton fumble in OT) that cost them the game.

                His completion rate against Arizona was barely over 50% for the majority of the game. They beat a team playing with its third string QB by 3 points. Sure he didn’t blow it, but it wasn’t one of his best games of the season.

                Again who cares? Kap doesn’t play against the other teams QB last I checked. He threw two TD passes, didn’t turn the ball over and his team won. He also ran for 63 yards. His QBR was 78 and his rating was over 100. In the Charger game his QBR was over 90 and his rating 87. It’s about doing what you have to do to win a game and he did that in the final 2 games of the season

              3. They weren’t two of his better games. He was much better week 1 against Dallas and against St Louis on the road.

              4. Here’s what you said Jack:

                Also, over the last 5 weeks of the season he posted a QB Rating of 68.8 which was barely better than Jacksonville rookie Blake Bortles’ 68.4.

                The game against AZ was his third highest QB rating of the season, and the Charger game was his highest QBR rating of the season.

                You tied in the final two games as being part of a run of poor ratings and that was incorrect. That poor QB rating over 5 games, was really a poor QB rating over 2 games.

              5. It was the worst 5 game stretch of his career so far. He averaged just under 151 yards per game, 5.75 yards per attempt, and had a 1:1 TD:Turnover ratio.

                His numbers from the Denver game on were very Terrelle Pryor like.

              6. Jack,

                I’ve already refuted your argument on passer rating over the last 5 games. You can change your angle to passing yards and other stats all you like but It doesn’t change anything. You also continue to ignore the fact he rushed for a lot of yards in those games which was a big part of the offense, and why his QBR especially was so high in the Charger game.

              7. His numbers from the Denver game on were very Terrelle Pryor like.

                Again with the stats. Ok I’ll play along:

                He had a bad two game stretch against Seattle and Oakland where he threw 4 picks to 1 TD, had a 55% completion percentage and averaged 4.76 yards per attempt.

                In the 7 other games in that run you’ve singled out he had a 58% completion percentage, averaged 8.6 yards per attempt and threw 7 TD’s to 1 Int.

                Numbers can be manipulated Jack. Your first post is a great example.

              8. “I’ve already refuted your argument on passer rating over the last 5 games.”

                Yes you have, and it still remains the worst 5 game stretch of his career.

                “You can change your angle to passing yards and other stats all you like but It doesn’t change anything.”

                I’ve never changed my angle. All those things play a role in QB Rating which is what my initial comment was based on.

                “You also continue to ignore the fact he rushed for a lot of yards in those games which was a big part of the offense, and why his QBR especially was so high in the Charger game.”

                His rushing yards in the last two games were indeed impressive, and also inflated by a single play.

              9. This was from a piece written prior to the Arizona season finale:

                In his 9 starts from Denver through San Diego he completed 155 out of 267 pass attempts for 1709 yards with 7 touchdowns and an NFL passer rating of 76.5.

                Compare those numbers to the last nine starts made by Terrelle Pryor which saw him complete 153 out of 262 pass attempts for 1766 yards with 7 touchdowns.

              10. Jack,

                You started this discussion by talking about how poor Kaps rating was over the last 5 games and I clearly pointed out that his QB rating was not bad over 5 games, it was bad over 2. If you want to look at passing yards etc to try and make a point that he was bad, feel free but it doesn’t fly. The numbers are based on many factors outside of Kaps performance which is why there is a QB rating and QBR at all. The fact he had his highest QBR and 3rd highest QB rating in two of the games clearly shows he did not struggle or play poorly in those games.

                The comparison with Pryor is funny because that would be a high water mark for Pryor, and my guess is a number of other QB’s we hold in high respect likely had similar runs, yet it’s being used to disparage Kap..

              11. Not disparaging Kaepernick. His play in the second half of the season was subpar. Can it be explained? Sure, i acknowledged that in my original response.

                Pryor has a total of 10 career starts so I doubt it was much of a high water mark for him.

              12. There were instances where he played poorly no question, but you can say that about pretty near every QB in this league.

                What he has to change is his inconsistency, or at least keep the changes from good Kap to bad Kap less dramatic when they do occur.

            2. You certainly have delved into the numbers behind that 5 game stretch Hammer. Can you go deeper to reveal causality, if any?

              1. “Can you go deeper to reveal causality, if any?”

                Razor, I thought I already referenced that the numbers can be explained in my initial comment.

                “There are a number of explanations or “Alexcuses” behind the decline but perhaps the vertical threats posed by Smith and Simpson, along with the threat of Bush out of the backfield will make 2014 a mere blip on the radar.”

              2. Hammer, the “Alexcues” as you so called them. Would you mind just laying them out there on the table for all to see so we can make up our own mind whether or not they’re legitimate or reek of butt wax? Thanks….

              3. Not wanting to speak for Jack, but some of the excuses given for Kaep’s “regression” have been, that I recall:

                – Lack of a deep threat to open the field
                – Poor play of the OL
                – Reduction in use of play action/ reduced threat from running game to allow play action
                – Lack of check down options
                – Poor game planning that put a greater emphasis on Kaep’s arm and less on the running game
                – Predictable play calling with a lot of running out of heavy sets and a lot of passing out of 3 or more WR sets

                Those are the ones I recall. Some I think are valid, others not as much (e.g. lack of check down options – even when he had them he rarely used them).

              4. Pretty much sums it up Scooter. Those were previously called “Alexcuses”, and saves a lot of typing. ; )

              5. That’s what I wanted Scooter, thanks. Many factors go into the numbers, and as you pointed out, some valid and some not. It’s early but I think the organization has addressed the majority of the valid ones. Kaepernick is a highly competitive personality and I’m really interested to see what Tomsula can get out of him this year….

        2. Hammer,
          You sound a little sour by Kaep’ 2014 stats.
          Your view of CK was negative stemming from your prediction last year that Gabbert would overtake CK sometime during the season.

          I’m not defending CK, and that was not my intent when I posted CK’ stats, it was only to provide a different perspective from Grant’ usually slanted views.
          Again, I say slanted because there is very little mention of other negative factors that worked against the entire team last season other than CK’ game.

          Also, Alex did not hit his stride until he had one of the best offensive lines in football. Can’t say that was the 49ers strength last year.

            1. From recollection you predicted that Kaep would get hurt and Gabbert would lead the team to the playoffs… is that correct?

              1. That’s correct Scooter. It was part of a wild predictions piece that I did.

                I wrote that after Kaepernick was lost for the year due to injury, Gabbert would lead the team into the playoffs with the help of a strong run game and defense.

      4. I have been saying the same thing the whole off season. His stats are comparable to Willow from Seattle. It was the O-line play!

      1. Sanchez was bottom of the league in most categories including rating and QBR for most of his career. He makes Kaps first 4 years look HOF worthy in comparison.

        1. The Sanchez/Kaepernick comparison isn’t based on their individual stats.

          The comment was about deep playoff runs.

  12. Imho I believe kap is that athlete. Our team is gonna be so much better than last year’s version. We have people who want to be here and should have no devision within the locker room. The attention to detail alone should improve our team. Our in game coaching was terrible at adjusting and this year I believe will be different. Speed kills! And now we got some, Patton running stride for stride with one of the best deep ball receivers in football is great news. No Roman is great news. No Crabbtree is great news. No pissing Co test between coach, gm and owner is great news.

    1. Last Year kept his defense in game 45 minutes of 60, half of defensive worked too hard got injured. The offensive line tried to protect him for more than 4-5 seconds on every play because he couldn’t find his receivers. Same thing happened to offensive line that happened to half of defense. Conclusion, he is one man wracking machine but not for other teams. :)

    2. Last Year he kept his defense in the game 45 minutes out of 60, half of the defense worked too hard and out wih injuries. The offensive line tried to protect him for more than 4-5 seconds on every play because he couldn’t find his receivers; Same thing happened to offensive line that happened to half of the defense. Conclusion, he is one man wracking machine but not for other teams

      1. Zoobi123- Is that the best you can do? A lot of posters on this site have blamed him for a gezzilion more things than the paltry number of things you mentioned in your post. They even mentioned other players bad efforts and attitudes. You need to give these things much more thought if you want to be in the same league as the Kaep detractors which we have posting on this site. Let me help you out. Borland’s, Willis, and Cowboys reasons for retirement was because they didn’t want to be on the same team with Kaep. That was also the reasons the free agents didn’t sign with the 49ers. Actually the real reason Harbaugh left was not the front office but that he didn’t want to have Kaep as his QB. The just kept it on the QT so as to not damage his trade value. Harbaugh and Baalke were actually buddies.

      2. ” The offensive line tried to protect him for more than 4-5 seconds on every play” That’s just not true.. Kaep was pressured under 3 seconds 80% of the plays..

  13. Anytime you challenge yourself, go out of your comfort zone you are a better person for the journey and if given time to practice a new physical technique or strategy you get better. Putting new tools in your box provided by a HOF’r like Kurt Warner and his staff can only help.

  14. Odds are it’s going to be tough for him to unlearn habits that he’s had up until now especially in the short term but I would rather him work on becoming a better passer in the offseason than throwing his hands up in the air and saying it would be a waste of time.

    The work he put it might never pay off and won’t take him to the next level as a passer but not putting in the work at all definitely won’t make him a better passer.

    And who knows? The times in the game that he does throw with the proper motion could mean the difference between a long completion or a long completion that leads the receiver and allows him to score a TD that could be the difference of a game.

    So even if he doesn’t throw it perfectly all the time doesn’t he won’t throw it perfectly some of the time and there won’t be a benefit from that.

  15. So yesterday i was critical of Kap’s leadership. Today I defend his on filed performance. The last two seasons Kap has had one good reliable # 2 receiver -boldin. But, that simply is not enough to sustain a passing attack. Consider that two years ago Kap’s primary receivers were Kyle williams and Boldin and QBoldin was getting double teamed for most of the season. last year Kap had craptree and Boldin. Boldin has decent year, but craps looked slow and lethargic. Second, Kap dealt with a porous O line. Iupati was ineffective at pass protection and Jonathon martin is not a NFL caliber player. Kap was running and ducking for his life. Third, Kap was probably the fastest offensive player on the field. The opposing D would look at our old slow receivers and rbs and think we will stack the box and we dare you to beat us deep. We were unable to , with the exception of Bloyd versus Rams.

    Kap kept us in most games and outright won the Saints game for us. I am sure everyone remembers the scrambling 70 yard bomb to craptree. What about the scrambling touch pass to Boldin for a TD. That was one of THE most impressive pass plays I have seen.

    I am cautiously optimistic our Oline and WR corps will be improved, although we are still lacking that true #1 receiver. It seems like we are incorporating screens to rbs in our offense which was lacking the last few years. That is also encouraging. Is it possible that Kap regresses with his throwing motion – yes. Is that correctable – yes. Perhaps the niners will bring in Gile as a consultant if necessary.

    Let’s not hit the panic button just yet.

  16. Obviously, the type of transformation that Kaepernick is seeking (and everyone is anxious to see) takes time. He’s trying to make the unnatural, natural. He’s a player who’s mostly been able to get by more on athletic ability, so now he’s trying to transition into a more complete QB. Breaking bad habits and developing ones more conducive to consistent success is an ongoing process. It’s probably not going to happen two weeks into an OTA session on a Friday afternoon. Like it or not, you have to have patience with this kind of thing. Can he get there? Yes, I believe he can. He seems to want to and he works hard at it. Will he? That remains to be seen.

    My only problem is the way the whole QB developmental process is viewed and ultimately executed. People expect these college QBs, who haven’t had to perform as traditional passers, to come in and have it all down from day one. Sometimes you can get that (Luck, Rodgers, etc.), but a lot of time there’s some development that needs to take place. Everybody wants the house, but nobody wants to help build it. Then you wind up with situations like E.J. Manuel and to me it’s a waste of time. Either take the time to develop these guys or don’t even bother with the process.

      1. NG365, I would also mention that even Aaron Rodgers didn’t necessarily have it all down from day one. He got to watch and learn from Brett Favre for several years before taking over.

    1. My biggest question… Why did Colin, at the ripe age of 27, entering his 5th season, wait so long to make fundamental changes in mechanics.

      To be fair, the previous regime did tweak his throwing motion. Colin’s 2012-14 motion was much more compact than his college delivery. But still very slow by pro standards.

      I was happy when the 49ers drafted him. My top two concerns was his delivery and learning pro-set footwork. I was encouraged by two things…

      – While rolling out his motion was much more compact. Little wasted motion. Still had plenty of zip. If he could do this rolling out, why not in the pocket?

      – He was not only fast, but had very nimble feet. Nimble enough to run to the left sideline while keeping his feet coordinated enough to throw an accurate right handed pass. I thought he could pick up pocket footwork quickly.

      My hopes have yet to pan out, but I can’t wait to see him in action.

      1. B2W,
        It may be that up until last season, the 49ers with him at the helm have had very good success.
        I still believe that many here have not or not willing to see all the mitigating factors that contributed to Kaep’ 2014 less than stellar season.

        I said at the end of last season that if CK has another year like he did in 2014 that it might be well for the 49ers to move on without him.
        I believe that we should have more cohesiveness on the O-line as well as more speed on offense which could very well prove to be the missing ingredient in Kaep’ repertoire.

        I want to see the entire team improve over last year which will cover any minor deficiencies that Kaep game – because he should be expected to carry the whole (defense, special teams, offense, off. playcalling) team on his back.
        Joe and Steve couldn’t do it all by themselves, and neither can CK.

        1. The good news for the 49ers… they don’t need a completely re-tooled Kaepernick. In 2012 Colin’s formula was high Yards Per Attempt + Good TD/INT ratio.

          YPA combined with a good running game was an effective offense. Not ideal, but it got them to the Super Bowl. It doesn’t have to be all about completion percentages.

          – Acceptable Offense: high YPA + good TD/INT ratio

          – Very Good Offense: high YPA + good TD/INT ratio + improved accuracy throwing long

          – Dominating Offense: high YPA + good TD/INT ratio + improved accuracy throwing long + timing passes to backs

  17. Outside of Aaron Rodgers as a recent example how many QB’s have made significant changes to their throwing motion and gone on to have successful careers as a starting QB.

      1. Yes but I knew if I didn’t mention it I’d get 20 people trying to remind me about him.

      2. here’s what Chris Brown said about how Rodgers changed his game:

        “The most obvious example of Rodgers making this shift is that he used to hold the ball up near his ear while in the pocket on the theory that it cut down on the time he had to bring the ball back before throwing it forward. Under McCarthy and Packers quarterback coach/offensive coordinator Tom Clements, however, Rodgers gradually began holding the ball between the middle of his chest and his throwing shoulder, a more natural spot that keeps his throwing motion compact while allowing him to rotate his body just enough to create extra velocity.

        More subtly, Rodgers has improved his accuracy, which might sound crazy when discussing a guy who once completed 23 passes in a row in college. But in the NFL, accuracy must be an every-snap thing, particularly in the West Coast offense. Walsh used to jump all over Montana and Steve Young if they missed the precise spot he wanted on a given play — the upper right corner of a receiver’s jersey, a receiver’s left eye, etc. For Rodgers, the key to improved accuracy was perfecting his footwork. “Learning to time up my drop with each route has been a big thing with me,” Rodgers told ESPN The Magazine in 2011. That didn’t just mean opting for a three-step drop versus a five-step drop, but instead learning that while a hitch route might require a three-step drop with one big and two quick steps, a slant route might benefit from three big steps. Rodgers said that mastering those nuances for every conceivable route allows him “to throw the ball in rhythm and hit the same release point with every throw, meaning that no matter what else is happening, the ball comes out on a similar plane. That’s when accuracy comes.”

        Creating the New Joe Cool

    1. Let’s also keep in mind that Rodgers literally sat for 3 seasons and watched one of the best QB’s in NFL history. That is very different from what Kap has experienced. He was a guy that needed to sit and learn, but didn’t because he could win with his talent alone. Now he’s trying to catch up to the stuff he should have learned while sitting and watching.

  18. Good analysis Grant. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that some of the info and technique changes will stay with him during live action.

    Just shows you how important being taught the right way to do something in the beginning is.

  19. He’s 27 yearsold. Been in the league 4 years. He realized that he needed to work on the fundamentals of the QB position.
    It will take the entire offseason for him to get better at it. It’s June. None of the observations made matter til Week 1 versus the Vikings. Yawn!!!!

  20. Interesting observations. Doesn’t sound good for Kaepernick.
    However—it’s likely Kaepernick just needs more time to apply his new skills to game situations.
    Further, the 49ers are revamping the offense to take advantage of Kaepernick’s running ability.
    Kaepernick has a lot on his plate, but I have the utmost confidence he’ll have it all down come September.

  21. Kaepernick runs on not only Ethel, but little Jimmies doubt fuels him too. In fact, the only offer he received to play college football was from a Div-1 School that stipulated he could not play baseball despite possessing a 94 mph fastball. He doesn’t give up and he’s reportedly a relentless hard worker. Those two qualities coupled with his athletic talent, and that of the players they’ve surrounded him with, alleviate any fear of taking a step and going with Kaepernick. All in, OK?

    1. To be honest, even if the only changes to the offense that happen this year are the addition of some speed on the perimeter and installing in Kaep the idea the check down option is a viable option when the primary target is covered, this offense should still look a lot better than last year.

      1. Yep. He actually had a completion percentage over 70 on short passes. They just need to call more of them and get him to accept the Check down as a viable option.

      2. I’d add to that more adaptability and flexibility in the passing game. There were too many times when I saw that there was a deep pass play called (something like 3 verticals) and the blitz would just come in and blow up the play. There did not seem to be a dump off outlet: a hot receiver or the RB stayed in to block (check/release is what Gore usually did…stayed to block when he read a blitz or released when the defense rushed 4). other times I think the PREDETERMINED hot route blitz beating receiver was covered…like the defense was looking to take the safety valve away.

  22. I don’t see that it was a waste of time. Anytime anyone is working at their craft can only make them better. As far as reshaping muscle memory, that’s a hard thing to do. I am way more concerned about the mental part of his game then his physical game.

  23. I remember when I used to come to the Press Democrat first for objective, unbiased 49ers news and facts from Matt Maiocco. Now I just come here to get a good laugh from the opinions of a closet Raider fan.

  24. Grant

    I can’t understand why, with your clear obsession with the age of a player, you’re even talking about Old Man Kaepernick. This is a young man’s game, and Kid Gabbert is obviously the future of this franchise.

    1. Hammer,
      You sound a little sour by Kaep’ 2014 stats.
      Your view of CK was negative stemming from your prediction last year that Gabbert would overtake CK sometime during the season.

      I’m not defending CK, and that was not my intent when I posted CK’ stats, it was only to provide a different perspective from Grant’ usually slanted views.
      Again, I say slanted because there is very little mention of other negative factors that worked against the entire team last season other than CK’ game.

      Also, Alex did not hit his stride until he had one of the best offensive lines in football. Can’t say that was the 49ers strength last year.

  25. the terminology should be the same. Chryst said they were sticking to the West Coast Offensive System which is what Harbaugh/Roman ran for the passing game part of their offense. And the WCO is Logan’s background as well. How they implement it will probably be different but the terminology and many of the passing concepts should be the same (I had hoped they’d get away from the WCO terminology as I think it’s too big and clunky for communicating plays).

    yeah, I think it’s not a matter of knowing offense or reading defenses. I’m sure Kaepernick is probably really good at it (all reports say he’s a student of the game). The problem is that the offense he came from Nevada was pretty much a one read offense….which worked well for him. Also because he’s a scrambler he has it in his head that he needs to avoid being hit. He needs to break the habit of rabbiting as soon has he senses pressure. He has to be okay with being hit so that he throws from the pocket with confidence. Grant’s right about resetting his feet. That’s fine but he has to be okay with being hit…get past that mental block. It’s not that I blame him. If I was going to be hit by a 300 lb defensive tackle running right at me and I was quick enough to out run him, I’d run away too. But then I’m not a pro football quarterback.

    btw. both Steve Young and Randall Cunningham became primarily pocket passers after the age of 30. For the athletic scrambling QB it may just take more time.

  26. Gotta love the positive analysis, Grant. I guess you think it makes interesting reading but to me it’s just too negative. You are saying the Niners risked a $100 million or so on a bust. I just don’t buy it. He is better than that. Maybe some more in depth discussion of Kaep’s positive attributes and potential. Reading this makes one think it’s all downhill. Really?

    1. they didn’t risk $100M they risked $16M on Kaepernick.

      I have no problem calling out Grant on some of his BS. But his observations are what he saw. and he’s not alone in his assessment of Kaepernick’s showing. so it is what it is. it’s pretty early (we’re talking OTAs) for doom and gloom…I mean they’ve barely run through plays together at this point. and even if Kaepernick is 27, it’s still early in his career (for a talented project, who should have sat for a few years as a back up) to improve.

  27. Valuable lesson or a waste of time. How did I know exactly what the conclusion of this article was going to be after just reading the title?

    1. even if the fixes to Kaep’s throwing motion aren’t an immediate improvement, I’d hardly call them a waste of time. He has to relearn his throwing motion and override his instincts to scramble and throw with bad footwork. that takes time. more time than a few months of training. he has to start somewhere. so yeah “waste of time” is just a somewhat slanted view and headline exaggeration IMO.

      1. Yep, one offseason is not enough to completely revamp a throwing motion. Brees and Brady still go to Tom House in the offseason to work on it.

        1. Does Tom House ever dramatically shorten anyone’s throwing motion? Does House talk about X’s and O’s? I don’t think so.

          1. He tapes their throwing motion and analyzes it with them. At the point they are in their careers, I doubt there is any major changes, but it tells you that like a golf swing, it is a constant work in progress for a lot of QB’s.

            The x’s and o’s Kap worked on at EXOS were likely just reads from the pocket and looking at what defenses are doing before and after the snap. All useful and transferable.

            1. “All useful and transferable.”

              Thank you Rocket.

              Grant you are making the assumption that Warner and Gile are completely ignorant to the fact that the niners were under drastic coaching changes. Of course they knew, I’m sure mechanics and footwork were a lot of what went into the sessions with Gile. Which, like AFFP, stated is going to take time and he needs to start somewhere.

              As for Warner, being that they only met once a week, I doubt Waner put in the time to even look over any old playbook or the entirety of Kap’s game tape. He likely focused on the basics, going through basic progressions, when to go to your check down, basic movements in the pocket. Real basic, but helpful and transferable, information.

              I can see Kaep making some good strides this year. Hopefully we can get the play-action game going strong again, and utilize the speed we have now. I’m excited.

              1. I’m sure the offseason helped him become more knowledgeable about the game in general, but I’m skeptical the work he did with Warner will help him go through progressions in any type of competitive setting — from seven-on-sevens to a game.

              2. You’re welcome Leo.

                Grant,

                He can already go through progressions and read defenses. He’s shown that on multiple occasions going back to his first season as a starter. The problem he has is being overly sensitive to pressure at times, which in turn leads to putting his head down and leaving the pocket too quickly. If given a clean pocket and time, he’s shown he can go through his progressions and find somebody. The work he did with Warner was likely just building on what he already knows along with Warner showing him how he left plays on the field by leaving the pocket before it was necessary.

                This training was Kap trying to better himself; not recreate the wheel.

              3. Shortening the stroke is the quarterback equivalent to recreating the wheel. It’s a huge adjustment for Kaepernick.

              4. Grant,

                I don’t think so. The Coaching staff shortened Kap’s delivery out of College, and this appears to be just more tinkering to make it more compact. Chances are his muscle memory will revert to his previous delivery at times, but that is to be expected.

              5. the problem is Grant that you think of “progressions” as if it were something Kaepernick can book learn on the field. like he needs to acquire knowledge. You never hear about Kaepernick not putting in the X’s and O’s chalkboard work. Harbaugh thought he was great in that aspect (can you imagine Harbaugh working with a QB that wasn’t?) No. I’m going to guess that Kaep knows his offense and his coverages. Kaep’s passing problems look like a psychological issue. he does not trust his knowledge, his feet etc… when things go bad he falls back on what he knows. locking on to a receiver and scrambling for yards to avoid being hit.

                most “progressions” from offense to offense aren’t that different. passing concepts are passing concepts just packaged and described differently in different offensive systems. but footwork is footwork and is necessary whatever the offensive system.

              6. I think as with anything, until the new throwing motion feels natural to him he will revert back to more of his old motion when game instincts kick in.

                I mentioned in an earlier comment he should take a leaf out of Tony Romo’s book and spend any down time he has just throwing, using the new motion, making it more natural to him. The only way it will happen is through repetition.

              7. Does it matter the exact age he was? He’d been a QB and had been throwing the football for a long time beforehand. His motion was ingrained. But he spent an entire offseason just throwing the ball (including while at home, throwing into his couch) to get an adjusted motion to feel natural and improve his accuracy.

                As I said, repetition is the only way a change like this will stick for Kaep. He needs to do it over and over until it feels natural, and his body reverts to the new motion under pressure.

            2. I mainly agree with Grant regarding the difficulty a QB faces in changing his throwing motion. Unfortunately, the misnomer ‘muscle memory’ masks a great deal of neurological complexity, and it leads people to believe that mere repetition is enough for someone to make a change that will manifest in game situations.

              When we learn a new action (and a new throwing motion is a new action, as Grant alluded, not an adjustment of an old action), we process said action in the cerebral cortex. That is, we think about it then do it. Through repetition, the new action becomes a habitual action and does not require conscious thought. This is accomplished when the physical action is no longer processed by the cerebrum but rather by the much faster and more tightly packed neurons of the cerebellum. These we can call habitual actions, ingrained actions, autonomous actions, ‘instinct’, etc. They include actions such as walking, riding a bike, driving a car, throwing a ball, playing an instrument, using a computer mouse, touch typing, and such.

              It is quite possible for someone to ‘move’ a physical action from the cerebrum to the cerebellum with abstracted repetition – that is, by repeating the activity in isolation from outside stimuli. That is what happens when a QB practices a new throwing motion sufficiently. The threshold at which this is reached is different for different people, but it is not a difficult task overall – moving habitual tasks from the cerebrum to the cerebellum is something our brains do well.

              The problem comes in having multiple possible habitual actions for a single outcome. In such instances, the cerebrum may be implicated as the person may have to decide which action is right to fit the external stimuli. This decision is measured in milliseconds, but when someone must act as quickly as an NFL QB, the extra milliseconds of processing time can be enough to create a problem. It takes consistent and repetitive application of the newer physical action to specific situations for someone to not have to take a millisecond or two to decide between actions.

              We can compare it to race car drivers changing vehicle types. The basic driving actions are the same, but different types of race vehicles may behave very differently. Even something as seemingly simple as changing from a floor shifter to paddle shifters may throw off a driver under race conditions, even if the driver has logged thousands of practice laps in the vehicle with paddle shifters and has run competitive lap times in practice. This is why it is common for race drivers who change vehicle types to take at least a few years of race condition experience to become as proficient in the new vehicle as they were in the old. Some never are able to fully make the switch.

              Bringing this back to Kap, even if he has ingrained a new throwing motion sufficiently that it is processed by his cerebellum, that motion at this point is in the context of practice. In game context, different external stimuli are present, and those stimuli are associated with the prior action. He will need to make an effort to consistently apply the new action in game situations, and that will slow him down until his neural network reaches the point that the new motion is selected in game situations without cerebral processing. This may take years. Improvement, if it comes, will likely be incremental.

              1. Can he be better today than yesterday? How about being better tomorrow than he is today? Continuing to get 1 percent better(each day), is what he should be striving for. Instilled by Harbaugh?

              2. nice explanation (I took neuropsych in college too…worked for a few years at a head injury facility…2 professions and a lifetime ago)….

                put simply…it takes time for his new throwing motion to become automatic (without thinking) and when stressed (game or game like situation) he will revert to his old throwing motion until enough time that the old throwing motion is superseded by the new one…and that may never happen…depends on the person and their practice conditions (similar stimuli/circumstances).

              3. I think if he can get game experience with the new motion, that would help him tremendously. Script some high percentage short pass plays and let him use his new mechanics in situations with a high probability of success. Not only will that help Kap start to be better able to use the new mechanics in game play situations, it would probably benefit the offense as well.

              4. I take your point JPN, but I think the first step has to be getting the new motion as a habit in a non stress situation. It will take too long to form the habit under the limited number of reps they are allowed under game like situations.

              5. Agreed, Scooter. I think his work over the off season and in drills is important there. The more habitual the motion becomes, the more likely it will be that he will be able to use it in game situations. It is a process, which is the important point. It would be surprising if he was able to incorporate such a change both quickly and completely.

  28. With regards to Warner and Kap’s working relationship, I remember reading that one of Warner’s major goals was to get Kap to make the “easy” throw. This sounded to me to be primarily a check down throw when the receiver’s are covered. So instead of trying to thread needles just take the “easy” throw and live to fight another down. If Kap just does that, I forsee a sizable improvement in his game. Of course, this assumes that a check down outlet is available on all passing plays. I have to believe that professional playbooks have such “check down” opportunities or hot reads if the defense is blitzing. Still, check down outlets/hot reads aren’t always open. I wonder what Warner coached Kap to do if the check down isn’t available – look to run I would guess.

  29. When are all of you going to learn that Grant Cohn is an idiot, know nothing who hates the 49ers ? In reality I think most of you understand that already.

  30. Tim – he is not an idiot. He may write stuff you may not like or I might not like but that doesn’t mean he is an idiot. Yes we all know he isn’t much of a Niner fan, but this blog is more about the participants then the host.

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