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NFL San Francisco 49ers

Will Michael Crabtree’s Nearing Return Mean More Colin Kaepernick for San Francisco 49ers?

Kaepernick Crabtree Niners

David Butler II – USA Today Sports Images

After taking over Alex Smith’s job in the middle of the 2012 NFL season as the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick obviously performed extremely well. The 49ers showed immediate faith in the young dual-threat quarterback in terms of his speed, his leadership and his arm as he led them to a near Super Bowl win.

One of the things that was interesting about Kaepernick’s performance last season was how much work he got throwing the ball and how much faith the coaches had in his doing so. In the 10 games he started last season (including the three playoff games) Kaepernick threw 25 or more pass attempts in all but three of his starts, one of those three being his first start on Nov. 19 of last year.

In the first game of the 2013 season, it seemed like Kaepernick might be unleashed even further. The third-year quarterback threw the ball 39 times against the Green Bay Packers on opening night for San Fran and threw for 412 yards. Strangely enough, that’s the only time we’ve seen that type of play from Kaepernick this year.

Since that game, Kaepernick has thrown the ball more than 30 times just once, has thrown more than 25 times just four times and has thrown the ball less than 20 times twice. This Niners team has largely focused on their running game, which has been effective. However, a big reason why is that defenses have focused on Anquan Boldin hard with Michael Crabtree out.

According to recent news, though, Crabtree could return from an Achilles injury in week 12 on Monday Night Football and will be back soon if he’s not back this week. As a result, you have to wonder if that means more tosses from Kaepernick or coming.

Though there hasn’t been much said on the subject, I’d have to guess Crabtree’s return could mean more passing attempts from the QB. They’ve been ineffective moving the ball through the air, but their lack of weapons has been the biggest issue. Getting their number one receiver back, even if he is going to be rusty, certainly helps remedy that. Still expect the Niners to feed Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter when Crabtree comes back, but don’t be surprised if you see Kaep airing it out a little more as well.

Cody Williams is a Senior Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20, add him on Google and like his Facebook page.