SANTA CLARA — This is what Jim Harbaugh said about Colin Kaepernick Monday in the media tent, courtesy of the 49ers.
You always talk about trying to improve one percent every day. Have you seen that in QB Colin Kaepernick? Have you seen him improving game to game, week to week, play to play?
What areas just generally would you say he’s grown the most in?
“He was good to start with. I think he came into the season good. When he got his first opportunities to play very early in the season he was very good. And then when he got his first start was very good. But, just being in the situations he’s been in. The way he’s handled himself in those situations. At this point we could say just about everything that a quarterback could face. And he’s done well. So, I’m not saying it’s dramatic improvement in any one area because I think he was good to start with. But, there’s been good improvement across the board.”
I’d like to follow up on that. When you made the switch from QB Alex Smith to Colin, was it something that you had pondered, planned throughout the season? And was it inevitable? Or after Alex got hurt and you saw that Colin did well, did you think he’s done well I don’t want to go back to the other guy? How did the decision get made?
“No, it was not a predetermined move. The decision was made when Alex got hurt. Colin played, played well in his first start. Came back the next week, still felt that that week against New Orleans that Colin gave us our best chance to win. He was healthier and played well. And then after that I saw enough really good things that wanted to have the same faith and trust in Colin that we had shown in Alex. And it’s pretty well documented how we felt about both guys. That one’s our left arm, one’s our right arm. And both are very good quarterbacks. And we felt we could win with either quarterback. And we’re in a great situation having both those men on our team.”
You complimented Alex in that game for his legs, for his arm, and for his mind. How much does the quarterback’s mind come into play, and particularly a young quarterback going up against the Green Bay defense?
“It’ll be a big challenge, and one that Colin is very excited about. And he’s so far, now it’s early, but expectations will be high that he will be on it as well. And he’s got a good grasp of the game plan so far. I’m excited. It’s a bit savant-like the way he’s handling it so far this week. So, that’s really encouraging.”
You said that, if I wrote this down right, that Kaepernick is a little savant-like as far as how he’s handled it this week? Can you elaborate on that? What exactly do you mean by that? I think I know what you mean, but can you elaborate?
“Just that it’s so early in the preparation and so early in explaining the game plan, but, just his understanding of it this early in the week is, the way he’s understanding it is savant-like.”
Do you give the game plan all at once? Does Colin have it all, or do you give it to him in pieces throughout the week?
“Everybody gets it in pieces.”