68°
Mostly sunny
MON
 79°
 56°
TUE
 85°
 54°
WED
 88°
 54°
THU
 84°
 56°
FRI
 88°
 56°

Last hours to vote for the Best of Sonoma County finalists! Don't miss out!

Grant Cohn: Deep trouble for 49ers' passing game starts with play-calling

  • Colin Kaepernick has thrown downfield -- at least 20 yards -- more than any quarterback in the league. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

SANTA CLARA – You could argue Colin Kaepernick has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL this season.

He definitely has been the worst starting quarterback in the Bay Area. The Raiders' Terrelle Pryor has outperformed Kaepernick in nearly every statistical category.

Kaepernick was great Week 1 against the Packers but since then Kaepernick has posted Tim-Tebow-like numbers – 50 percent completions and a putrid 62 passer rating over the past four games.

Kaepernick looks disconcerted on the field. He is doing things young quarterbacks do – not going through the full progression, sensing pressure that isn't there and missing open receivers downfield.

General Manager Trent Baalke flipped over Kaepernick missing an open receiver Week 4 in St. Louis. Baalke was sitting in the Rams' press box near the writers. There was 1:23 left in the third quarter and the 49ers were winning 21-3. You could say the game was over.

The 49ers had the ball at their 5-yard line and it was second-and-5. Kaepernick faked a handoff to Frank Gore in the end zone, turned around and saw Vernon Davis sprinting wide open downfield on a corner route. Kaepernick stared at Davis and patted the ball twice but didn't throw it. Instead, he ran to the right and gained 4 yards.

Baalke couldn't take it. He burst out his chair. “Throw the ball!” he yelled.

What happened to Kaepernick? Was he fool's gold? Is he the next Tim Tebow?

No, no, no.

Kaepernick is the real deal. He is the LeBron James of quarterbacks, the most physically talented quarterback ever. The issue is the 49ers' passing scheme. It lacks rhythm and continuity.

Name the 49ers' go-to passing play.

You can't because they haven't developed one this season.

The 49ers' offensive philosophy has become simple: Run the ball, or fake the run and chuck it downfield.

The 49ers' offense wasn't like this when Alex Smith was the starting quarterback. Jim Harbaugh didn't seem to trust Smith on downfield throws, so he called shorter passes and the 49ers' offense was less explosive. On the other hand, Smith never went through a four-game slump under Harbaugh, and the offense went three-and-out much less frequently. The 49ers currently lead the league in that category, going three-and-out on 43 percent of their drives.

© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View