This is what Steve Young said about Colin Kaepernick Wednesday afternoon on KNBR.
Q: What did like about Colin Kaepernick’s performance against the Patriots?
YOUNG: I think more than anything, handling it. Everyone has a sense of how hard it is to play NFL quarterback and play really good NFL quarterback. It takes all of you, and you get challenged week-to-week in ways you never thought possible. We put another big barrier in front of Colin and said: “Now you have to go to New England. They’re hot. You’ve seen their home record. Now we’re going to have it drizzling – there’s nothing worse than playing in drizzling rain at 32 degrees. So we’re going to put that on you. And then now you’re going to go against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Go take care of that.”
Granted, as we said when Colin took the job, Jim was making a calculated risk that the rest of the team could rise up and protect him, and they have done that in spades. This whole team has rallied in a way that makes sure things were covered. But Colin has done things on his own, so no matter how you feel the transition went, he seems like a guy who can handle the moment. That’s a lot of the battle. He’s played five games. How much do you trust him? I kind of trust him!
Here’s a guy who’s hardly played, and they’re going into Seattle – I was in Seattle earlier this year. There is no more difficult place to play than playing this defense in Seattle. It’s going to be brutal. I have a feeling they’re not going to ask him to do too much, and what they ask him to do he’ll do, and he’ll find little ways to do more, to do the extra, to do something that you didn’t expect, to go win the football game. That’s when quarterbacking gets really good from a coach’s standpoint: What I ask him to do, he’ll do, and then there’s something that’s inexplicable, something that I couldn’t coach, something that I couldn’t draw up, and it’s positive. And it wins the game. Whether it’s a 50-yard run or different throws or some big scramble – those are the kinds of things that makes coaching and winning games a lot easier.
Despite the fact that it was hard for me to deal with the transition and how it went, I’ve got to say that Colin – you couldn’t ask for more at this point.
Q: Are you still seeing the same number of rookie mistakes? A lot of fumbles Sunday night. Are we still looking at a guy with big upside, big downside? Or are you seeing him starting to level off?
YOUNG: I don’t see the big downside. They had eight fumbles in the game and they recovered seven of them. When that happens, things are bouncing your way. That’s a big deal. The things that Colin is not doing, I think you can quickly fix. The things that he’s doing – the upside – is starting to get enlarged and grow and take root.
And again, it doesn’t take long for him to go into Seattle and throw three picks and fall down and get a strip sack and we all go, what the heck is that? But you’ve got to figure there’s some of that coming. Even if that comes, I still feel like what he’s done – going into New Orleans, going into New England, these are not small feats – they’re real. It’s happening.
I’ve thought to myself, you can peck away at Russell Wilson, you can peck away at Andrew Luck, but at a certain point you’ve got to just step back and say, hey, it’s good. And if he takes expect back, which we kind of expect, I just hope it’s not in a playoff game and it doesn’t cost them a chance to go all the way. What Jim has done in my mind is take the ultimate gamble. He had a pretty sure thing with Alex. And I know this team should be in the Super Bowl, really should be. But what risk am I taking by putting this kid in now if I don’t win the Super Bowl. Because people will say Alex would have done that. That’s why it’s a huge gamble. But in my mind, so far, so good.