Earlier this week, Green Bay Packers rookie Datone Jones had some words of wisdom for the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick: Stop running or Kap will get injured.
Jones’ full quote is below. When he gave the comments about Kaepernick he was talking about the Packers vs. 49ers divisional round playoff game:
I thought he was pretty good. But I don’t think they’re going to be able to run him like that. He takes one good hit, there goes their season.
Unless you are a Packers fan you are probably wondering, who the heck is Datone Jones? He was selected by Green Bay in the first-round of last month’s draft as a linebacker out of UCLA. A big reason why the Packers decided to select Jones is because he was known for his skills facing read-option offenses in college.
Kaepernick set an NFL record for most rushing yards by quarterback in a playoff game when he rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns in the 45-31 win over Green Bay. The Packers coaching staff had no answers for stopping Kaepernick and the read-option. With the rise of running quarterbacks last season like Kap and Robert Griffin III, the Packers are hoping the selection of Jones will help the team avoid giving up big plays to running quarterbacks. Green Bay’s coaches even went to Texas A&M in the offseason for a better understanding of stopping the read-option.
One issue I have with Jones’ comments is he makes it seem like the 49ers offense completely revolves around the read-option and Kaepernick running the football. All one would have to do is look at the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons that followed the Packers game to see that is not true. Kap only had two carries for 21 yards against Falcons. Plus, a majority of his runs last season came on broken pass plays where the no one was open or the protection broke down. In fact, most of his runs in the game against the Packers were on scrambles.
Another issue with Jones’ comments is he thinks Kaepernick is a careless runner. However, I don’t recall any major hits Kap took last season. That’s because when running the read-option, if there is nowhere to run, Kap can just hand it off. If a team focuses in on stopping him from running, he either hands it off to the running back or looks to pass the football. See the game against the Falcons.
The reason why Kaepernick continued running against the Packers in the divisional playoff game is because Green Bay’s defense could not stop him. I doubt Jones watched all of the games Kap started last season. Because if he had, he would have seen the read-option is only a small part of the Niners offense.
The Packers will not have to wait long to see if their offseason tutorials and the drafting of Jones to stop the read-option will pay off. The 49ers will host the Packers in Week 1 to open the 2013 season.