Colin Kaepernick would fit right in with 49ers offense in 2021
By Isaac Garcia
It won’t happen. But Colin Kaepernick would be the ideal mentor to assist the 49ers with their development of rookie quarterback Trey Lance.
Remember the 2012 San Francisco 49ers and the dominating force that was Colin Kaepernick?
After taking over for quarterback Alex Smith in the middle of that season, Kaepernick took the NFL by storm with both his legs and his arm.
Mind you, this was before current elite-level mobile quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson were household names.
At the time, the read option was so new to the league that no defense could stop it. After getting torched by Kaepernick on the ground for 181 yards and two passing touchdowns in the 2013 NFC playoff push, the Green Bay Packers sent their coaching staff to colleges to learn how to stop the read option.
When you hear the name Colin Kaepernick, many words may came to your mind. With his influence he has had over the years, it is easy to forget how dominant he was in the league. The early 2010s were dominated by the 49ers, and Kap led the team to one Super Bowl appearance and two NFC Championship games.
That era in Niners football had moments of pure greatness.
Colin Kaepernick could help Trey Lance, current 49ers
Fast-forward eight years, and the 49ers were again looking for a dual-threat quarterback who can run and pass the ball downfield.
Or, as head coach Kyle Shanahan put it, “a guy who can throw like Drew Brees and run like Lamar Jackson.”
The Niners have their quarterback of the future in the rookie, Trey Lance, which is a great move. But let’s just imagine that Kaepernick was on the roster instead of Lance. In Shanahan’s offense, Kap could run play action and read option with accuracy. Even if he was signed as a backup, he could be an asset and mentor to Lance.
They are also very similar players.
Lance and Kaepernick both came from small-school programs. Although Lance was drafted higher, neither him nor Kaepernick were expected to come in and produce right away. Looking at Kaepernick and Lance highlights from college, both appear very identical. Both can stand in the pocket and throw the deep ball or tuck the ball and run when needed.
They are also built a lot like each other with Kap being 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, and Lance being 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds.
The uncertainty of perceived starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s health could lead to Lance taking over a starting job sooner than anticipated. Much like in 2012 when Smith suffered a concussion and Kaepernick took the starting job from there and never looked back, leading to Smith’s trade to the Kansas City Chiefs the following offseason.
Colin Kaepernick helped define the new era of NFL quarterbacks
Kaepernick was in college at Nevada when the read option took the college game to a whole new level. Defenses were still learning how to stop the read option. When Kap got to the NFL, however, defenses truly didn’t know how to stop the quarterback runs and read options. They had to account for Kap being able to launch the ball with his arm and take off for an 80-yard touchdown.
It could be argued that Kaepernick made the NFL quarterback what it is today.
The NFL is no longer a stay-in-the-pocket league. Of course, pocket passers can have success at the pro level, but it has become such an asset to have a mobile quarterback who can extend plays after the play-call breaks down. And even though Kaepernick hasn’t seen the field since 2016, he can still succeed in the league at a high level with the right coach and system, as he is still incredibly athletic and mobile.
Read More: 4 reasons why Trey Lance starts for 49ers in 2021
Hypothetically, if he became a Niner again, Kap and Lance could be a deadly threat together on the team. Two outstanding dual-threat quarterbacks and Shanahan as the offensive mastermind? All the trick plays and run-arounds Shanahan could come up with?
Defenses really wouldn’t know what hit them.
Of course, it’s not likely. But it would be a fun experiment for the fans and the team.