Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Colin Kaepernick is showing finesse along with power in his passes this pre-season for the 49ers.
Colin Kaepernick is showing finesse along with power in his passes this pre-season for the 49ers.

Colin Kaepernick ready to mine for championship gold with 49ers

Colin Kaepernick can already feel the difference between where the San Francisco 49ers' offence is now compared to this time a year ago. All of the quarterback's teammates can see the evolution, too.

Just a week into training camp, Colin Kaepernick can already feel the difference between where the San Francisco 49ers' offence is now compared to this time a year ago.

All of the quarterback's teammates can see the evolution, too.

Kaepernick's confidence and comfort level has been soaring on and off the field. He has been tossing deep balls with more touch behind that powerful right arm - even leaving All-Pro linebackers questioning how to defend such precision - and strutting around the 49ers' facility with a black beanie on his head and bright red head phones around his neck to show off his swagger.

"I think, thus far, I'm a lot farther ahead from where I am last year," Kaepernick said. "And hopefully, moving forward, that continues to show more and more."

All eyes have been on Kaepernick since camp began last week.

While his favourite target has been new wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Kaepernick and tight end Vernon Davis turned in what might be the play of training camp Tuesday. A day later, the throw and catch still had the 49ers facility abuzz.

Davis, lining up in the left slot, was covered by All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis underneath and safety CJ Spillman over the top.

Davis sliced across the middle of the field and made an over-the-shoulder catch on a perfectly thrown pass by Kaepernick 45 yards down field for a touchdown.

"When Kaep threw the ball and Vernon was able to turn on another gear and go get it on the other side of the field, I'm just like, 'Come on, that's not even fair'," Willis said.

The play was just a small sign of how far Kaepernick has come with his receivers.

Davis' role diminished when Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith last season. The tight end finished with 41 receptions for 548 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season; all three were his lowest since he caught 31 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns in 2008.

Kaepernick said Davis' determination has never wavered. The two spent extra time together this off-season building that chemistry and trust to create big plays like the one in Tuesday's practice that Davis candidly said last year they did not have.

"He did everything right on that play," Kaepernick said. "He made the correct read on the coverage, hit his landmark and at the end had that extra burst of speed to go get the ball."

The biggest challenge for Kaepernick so far in training camp has been finding rhythm with all of his receivers, which has been increasingly difficult because of injuries.

Top target Michael Crabtree is rehabbing his surgically repaired right Achilles tendon and is expected to miss at least half the season. Mario Manningham is coming off an ACL tear in his knee and is expected to be back "at some point" this season, coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Kyle Williams, AJ Jenkins and Kassim Osgood each came off the field this week with apparent leg issues, though none seemed serious.

Kaepernick has used the time to develop a rapport with other receivers, including shifty slot man Chad Hall, who has surprisingly emerged as one of the quarterback's favourite targets for one reason.

"He gets open," Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick believes the work he did with most of his receivers following the Super Bowl will alleviate the time they miss in training camp nursing injuries.

They spent about two months in the Atlanta area running routes and studying the playbook, and the coaches have noticed the off-season work.

"I think Colin's getting better at really everything he does, just because of the approach he takes. He's definitely somebody with a live arm, and I think he's really focused on all his throws - short, intermediate and deep," said Greg Roman, the offensive co-ordinator.

The 49ers believe Kaepernick's experience in the offence is what has led to his progression.

Kaepernick, drafted in the second round out of Nevada in 2011, is entering his third season under Harbaugh and Roman - and first as the unquestioned starter.

He finished 7-3 as the leading man last season with 1,814 yards passing, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. He rushed for 181 yards in the play-offs, a record for a quarterback, including a 56-yard touchdown against Green Bay Packers in the divisional playoffs. He led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, where they lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens.

While the regular season does not begin until September 8 against the Packers, Kaepernick said his command of the offence in camp gives the 49ers a powerful starting point.

"It's just being more comfortable with the receivers," Kaepernick said. "People I'm throwing to, our tight ends, receivers, they're making plays and I'm putting the ball up there."


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National