San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback Options for Head Coach Chip Kelly in 2016
By Peter Panacy
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick
2015 was a season in which quarterback Colin Kaepernick would likely want to forget.
Following an effort in which Kaepernick experienced a career low in passer rating (78.5), the 28-year-old signal-caller found himself backing up fellow QB Blaine Gabbert before an injury in his non-throwing shoulder landed him on injured reserve.
Add that to the slew of leaks from the 49ers front office, and all the signs pointed to Kaepernick being shown the door in 2016. The way San Francisco worked his contract was also a sign to this happening.
But will this change with head coach Chip Kelly?
Again, it’s impossible to draw an immediate conclusion. General manager Trent Baalke still retains roster control, but Kelly could provide the influence to keep Kap in San Francisco.
And the new head coach could be the specific element Kaepernick needs to save his career.
Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus described it further:
"Kaepernick’s struggles of late have conveniently coincided with a downturn in talent, whether it be on the offensive line or at receiver. Kaepernick showed (back in his earlier years) that he can be accurate with the ball downfield, but short and intermediate timing routes can give him trouble. Kelly’s offense, with its heavy focus on crossers, has been one where the quarterback doesn’t necessarily have to throw with anticipation. Kelly also runs a lot of one-read run-pass options that would allow the former Nevada standout to flash his biggest skill—his athleticism—to create mismatches."
If there’s one thing a potential Kap-and-Kelly connection has going for it, it’s this: The new 49ers head coach will be working with a quarterback with a Super Bowl appearance under his belt and someone who, not long ago, was one of the most feared athletes in the NFL’s ranks.
Could Kelly and Kaepernick wind up being the perfect pairing?
Well, the quarterback would have to get to Week 1 in order to find that out.
Next: Colin Kaepernick Wins Big with Chip Kelly Hire
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.