In the San Francisco 49ers‘ 15-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Colin Kaepernick played only one series while throwing the ball twice. This was to be a night for the backup quarterbacks to show their stuff, and only one showed up for the party.
Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien have been locked in a battle all training camp for the No. 2 position behind Kaepernick, while the talented QB B.J. Daniels was taking snaps at multiple positions. Neither Tolzein or McCoy did anything to help their case Friday night.
McCoy again displayed the shortcomings that made him dispensable to the Cleveland Browns. The fourth-year QB has always had a problem with keeping his eyes downfield in the face of pressure, and this once again reared its head against the Chiefs.
Rather than waiting for routes to develop on Friday, McCoy ended the game as the 49ers’ second-leading rusher with four carries for 37 yards. On all but one of his scrambles, McCoy had open receivers that he simply didn’t see and he pulled the ball down in under three seconds.
McCoy also threw another extremely poor interception to the Chiefs’ Sean Smith by severely under-throwing A.J. Jenkins. Jenkins had a step on his defender, but rather than attempting to put the ball out in front of him, McCoy made a poor read and attempted a back-shoulder throw. The pass made for what might have been the preseason’s easiest interception thus far.
McCoy finished the game 3-of-6 with no TD against one INT while amassing an abysmal 28.5 quarterback rating.
Tolzien and McCoy played musical chairs at QB for most of the game, and Tolzien didn’t play quite as poorly. However, he did finish the game with only 30 yards passing while going 3-of-8 with no TD and no INT. What’s more concerning is that he clearly showed that his arm isn’t of NFL quality. The bottom line is that both players would be a severe liability to the team were Kaepernick ever to go down.
Enter the rookie Daniels.
After the first preseason game (in which Daniels didn’t see a snap), I wrote that McCoy wasn’t an NFL quarterback and that Daniels needed to be groomed for the backup quarterback job because of his athletic ability and arm — I was subsequently lambasted by McCoy supporters, but stood by my position.
It appears I wasn’t the only one that felt that way, as Jim Harbaugh indeed put Daniels on the field for the final five minutes of the game. That’s all the time it took for him to own the night.
In those final few minutes, he threw for the game’s only offensive touchdown, and was able to properly execute the 49ers’ option plays with his athleticism; he demonstrated poise and decisiveness, and clearly put on display his accuracy and arm talent.
On Daniels’ touchdown pass, he effectively looked off the safety in the middle of the field before coming back to the outside and throwing a beautifully-placed ball on a fade route to Chuck Jacobs. He finished the game 6-of-9 with a TD and a 128 quarterback rating.
When he came back to the sidelines, the 49ers players bombarded him, with veteran running back Frank Gore leading the charge. In that single drive, Daniels has made himself a serious contender for the No. 2 QB job. What we learned again Friday was that Tolzien and McCoy don’t have the attributes to be an effective NFL quarterback.
Look for Daniels to run away with this job before the end of the preseason.