San Francisco 49ers‘ head coach Jim Harbaugh is at it again with his effusive and over-the-top praise. As most intelligent observers have no doubt discovered by now, Harbaugh loves to exaggerate — about the opponent, about his players, about his team, etc. Usually, underneath his rah-rah mentality is a form of truth. For example, the Jacksonville Jaguars were praised extensively before the 49ers played them in London. This not only foreshadowed the Jaguars late-season resurgence, but more importantly revealed the truth that any and all opponents must be viewed as successful for a team to prepare for a matchup to the best of their ability.
Harbaugh, then, would find it quite natural to compare his quarterback’s ability to throw on the run — specifically to the left — to the “universe of quarterbacks.” Colin Kaepernick has undoubtedly shown a knack for this type of throw (more so than his throws from the pocket, at least). Of course, this seems to be an exaggeration to everyone not paid to wear a 49ers logo. Brett Favre, Kaepernick’s boyhood idol (as mentioned later in the article), had a very nice throw when running to the left (though his decision making sometimes led to turnovers rather than touchdowns). I would even argue that, at this point, Russell Wilson, whom I described as overrated here and here, as an equal, if not better, throw while running to the left.
I have a lot of confidence in Kaepernick’s abilities. I do believe he can develop into an elite QB — and I think he will at least become a consistent Pro Bowl starter within a few years. Still, he has a long way to go. Harbaugh may be exaggerating a truth — that Kaepernick is fairly good throwing while running left — but that does not change the fact that, despite the few “wow” throws he has every game, Kaepernick usually has a few throws that resemble Tim Tebow‘s. He needs to become more consistent and much more accurate before I would compare him to the “universe of quarterbacks,” even just for one type of throw. Hopefully that’s what Kaepernick will develop this offseason, so he can become what Harbaugh is saying he is.