I’ll be the first to admit that San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was a complete mess against the Arizona Cardinals. A game in which he threw a career-high four interceptions including two pick-sixes — it’s no wonder Forever Faithful have been questioning whether Kap is a true starting NFL quarterback.
Everyone from NFL Network’s Charlie Casserly to The Press Democrat Lowell Cohn have all voiced their opinions and good ones at that.
However, I believe that Kaepernick although struggling, has been receiving unfair blame for the team’s offensive woes.
In the game of football it all starts up front and the 49ers offensive line has been downright awful thus far.
During the team’s off-season there were a number of questionable moves that 49ers GM Trent Baalke made starting with the free-agent addition of RT Erik Pears.
According to Pro Football Focus, Pears ranked 76 out of 78 guards in 2014. A signing that raised eyebrows across the Bay Area as other players were available at the time, Baalke opted to go for the big, behemoth, and versatile Colorado State product instead.
Combine that transaction with the release of G/C Dillon Farrell in favor of keeping G/C Ian Silberman during 53-man roster cuts, and you can see where the 49ers problems lie.
But the show had to go on and the 49ers offense is now paying the price through the first three weeks of the season.
With 49ers C Daniel Kilgore continuing to rehab from a broken leg, it’s been second-year G/C Marcus Martin replacing him at center and it has backfired immensely.
Whether routinely getting bull-rushed backwards or being out-leveraged, Martin has been a huge disappointment thus far as he currently ranks as the worst offensive player on the team with a -11.5 rating by Pro Football Focus.
In addition, Pears ranks as the second-worst player on the team by Pro Football Focus with a -7.6 rating and RG Jordan Devey ranks third-worst on the team with a -5.8 rating. Simply put, the right side of the offensive line may be the absolute worst in the NFL.
How can Kap go through his progressions if he doesn’t have the proper time in the pocket to make the reads? That is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, which is why some players I spoke with believe practice squad RG Andrew Tiller is the right man for the job.
But we have to remember this is a team sport, and there is no excuse for Kaepernick disregarding fundamentals from the quarterback position. Whether it’s trusting his arm to make plays downfield in double-coverage or throwing off his back foot, Kaepernick needs to learn when to live to play another down.
And what about Kaepernick’s accuracy and ball placement? Those are all valid reasons for the team to be concerned, as their franchise quarterback has been inconsistent up to this point.
But the blame shouldn’t be solely on Kap. Was it Kap’s fault that the team brought in two offensive lineman that were serviceable backups at best? Was it Kap’s fault that RT Anthony Davis abruptly retired? No. Which is why the blame should be dispersed equally starting with Baalke for believing that Pears and Devey were the answer on the right side.
With Kaepernick struggling in Week 3, it will be interesting to see how he bounces back against the Green Bay Packers in Week 4, as he has a knack for having big games against his favorite childhood team.
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