What’s Next for Kaepernick?
Everyone knows by now that Colin Kaepernick has been benched in San Francisco for Blaine Gabbert. The quarterback that once started for the Forty-Niners in the Superbowl has regressed and may not play a down for them again. What does that mean going forward for the still young quarterback? You would think there is a team out there that would take a chance on him, and hope he can get back to the level he was playing at when he took the job from Alex Smith. After all, he is still only 28-years-old and quarterbacks are a premium in this league.
Let’s go back to the Harbaugh regime and look at what got him the job in the first place. Kaepernick is a running threat as a quarterback and in Harbaugh’s pistol offense he excelled. In 2013, he rushed for 524 yards, and 639 yards in 2014. Not exactly Michael Vick in his prime but it’s enough to command respect from opposing defenses. Those were also the two seasons he threw for the most yards, 3,197 and 3,369 respectively. Trying to make him a pocket passer like it seems Jim Tomsula was attempting to do, is not going to work. It didn’t work for Robert Griffin, and you only have to look at Cam Newton to see what happens when you let running quarterbacks run. Otherwise they over-think things and throw the ball at water coolers instead of decent receivers like Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin.
So if he is done in San Francisco then where could he end up? I can think of a couple of places where if given the chance Kaepernick just might have a resurgence.
The Lions ownership is cleaning house and I believe that will trickle down to the players at the end of the season. We could see Stafford traded and possibly even Calvin Johnson. Picking up Kaep and letting him run wild while running the ball with underused Ameer Abdullah, along with drafting for defense next May might be something for Lions fans to be excited about. He would also be within driving distance of his old mentor Jim Harbaugh in case he needed any extra pointers.
Chip Kelly’s Sam Bradford experiment is not working. He likes running quarterbacks and Bradford is anything but. Philly has a good defense and some good young talented receivers that aren’t benefitting much from the quarterback situation. If they can figure out the run game they could be dangerous with a fresh look at QB.
I actually kind of like Brian Hoyer and he has worked very hard to keep the job he lost after week 1. However after trade deadline rumors that the Texans were looking to trade for Jay Cutler, it doesn’t seem like they are sold on Hoyer. At the very least bringing in Kaepernick and making them compete could be a good thing, and with a weapon like DeAndre Hopkins and the potential of Jaelen Strong it could make for an interesting situation. If O’Brien makes it through this season it’s something that could even save his job.
There is nothing out there right now that bares proof to any of these happening, but in the NFL we know that there are no surprises. I mean go back about ten years; did you ever think you would see Peyton Manning in another team’s jersey? Good luck to Kaepernick and good luck Forty Niners, you’re going to need it.
Kevin McQuade covers the NFL for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @kmcquade9.