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Lowell Cohn: Blame coaches, not Colin Kaepernick, for 49ers' woes

  • 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick passes against the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter in San Francisco on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. (Associated Press)

It is fashionable to dump on Colin Kaepernick. Last season, it was fashionable to praise him. Now, it's Dump City.

We've heard the dumpage: Kaepernick is merely a one-read quarterback. If his first receiver doesn't get open, Kaepernick panics and runs, or panics and throws a crummy pass. He does not see the entire field.

More Kap dumpage: He is a running quarterback who hardly runs anymore. He's become timid or gun shy or maybe he just lacks imagination.

And this is the worst dumpage of all: Alex Smith could do better with the 49ers. Smith is undefeated with the Chiefs, and Kaepernick has lost three times and he's looking at a potential fourth loss next weekend in the Big Easy.

There is some truth to the Alex Smith dumpage, but only in a limited sense.

The Alex Smith Truth: His decision-making skills are superior to Kaepernick's. Smith reads the defense better pre-snap and sees the field better post-snap and certainly is better reading his progression of receivers. I guess that means Smith is pretty snappy.

But Kaepernick is the right quarterback for the 49ers and Alex Smith is not. Kaepernick took six sacks against the Panthers. Smith would have taken a thousand. Smith is Sack City. He is a deliberate quarterback and he hates to throw the ball unless the moment is perfect. Sometimes it's perfect and he still doesn't throw the ball.

So, don't blame Kaepernick for the Niners' crummy offense. Got that?

OK, who gets the blame?

The coaches, that's who.

Which coaches?

Jim Harbaugh with a smaller portion of blame to offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Why do the coaches get the blame?

Two reasons.

First reason: Kaepernick is a young player, a quarterback who's still learning. The coaches are not teaching him right.

Second reason: The coaches install the offensive game plan, and the 49ers' offensive game plan is the pits.

If you want to dump on anyone, dump on Harbaugh and Roman.

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