All offseason doubters of Colin Kaepernick voiced their opinions. You heard things like – sophomore slump, fluke and run-first QB. However, we’re just one game into the 2013 season and the Kaepernick-doubters are probably experiencing some doubts of their own. The San Francisco 49ers signal-caller put on a show Sunday against the Green Bay Packers and led his team to a very important week one victory. But to the surprise of many, he didn’t do it with his legs.
We all know that Kaepernick can run like a deer and that at any given time he could probably take one to the house via a scramble or designed run, but that’s not what Jim Harbaugh is looking for in a quarterback. In fact, it’s been reported that Harbaugh didn’t let Kaepernick run at all during offseason practices. Speed is a natural gift that the QB can use when he needs to, but to truly be elite, he has to evolve as a passer.
Kaepernick has one of the best arms we’ve ever seen. Dude simply has a cannon. But having arm strength is only half the battle in the NFL. QB’s have to be able to go through their progressions and make the right reads to be top-tier. In the 49ers’ week one victory, Kaepernick did just that and had a banner day as a result. In total, he threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, without tossing a pick. At the same time, he only had seven rushing attempts for 22 yards. In week one he played the part of pocket passer to a tee.
It also seems apparent that he has a new favorite target in veteran Anquan Boldin. The Super Bowl champion wide receiver went on an absolute tear in his 49ers’ debut, hauling in 208 of Kaep’s 412 passing yards on the day. Tight end Vernon Davis was also a reliable target for his QB all day, hauling in another 98 yards and two TDs.
To be critical, Kaepernick needs to spread the ball around more in the future, because two players accounted for all but 106 yards of his total. But when you’re trying to beat a team like Green Bay, I suppose you have to rely on your main targets. There will be plenty of time for the QB to develop chemistry with other receivers against lesser opponents down the road.
It’s only one game, but it seems pretty clear that Colin Kaepernick has taken the next step to being an elite NFL quarterback.