Yesterday Steve aka “The Guy” took a look at what the 49ers are doing to groom Colin Kaepernick as the 49ers’ quarterback of the future.
Today I wanted to go back to the tape to take a look at how the 49ers used him so successfully against the Jets (plus I listened on the radio so I wanted to watch the whole thing). Here are the five major plays that he was involved in, broken down.
Play 1: Kaepernik off left tackle to SF 36 for 17 yards
Pre-snap Delanie Walker came in motion as the back behind Kaepernick in the pistol.
The first part of the play is a zone read. Kaepernick reads the end who collapsed down on the Frank Gore hand off. Kaepernick keeps the ball.
After keeping the ball, the play — like with an option — is designed to make one guy cover two people and then have the ball carrier make the correct decision with the ball. On this the play the corner commits to Walker, so Kaepernick keeps the ball.
If we wanted to pick nits on this play we could point out that once past the corner and with the safety as the last guy to beat, Kaepernick could have pitched the ball again. Walker had a better angle toward the sideline at this point. I don’t think he made the wrong choice because at this point he was already going to have a nice gain and a pitch inserted unneeded risk when he had already tucked the ball to run.
Play 2: Kaepernick incomplete pass to Moss
On his second play of the game the 49ers lined up with jumbo package and two receivers.
The first part of the play was the play-fake to Gore. The Jets’ safety didn’t bite on the play and is still in a good position to provide help on Randy Moss.
Kaepernick goes for the home run play deep to Moss. This is well covered with the safety still in a position to provide help after not biting on the play-fake. There really isn’t much of a window for Moss to make a play on this. What is perhaps missed is that Michael Crabtree is open underneath and looks primed for at least a 15-yard gain.
It wasn’t a home run, but in this case it was probably better to throw to the second read who wasn’t double covered.
Play 3: Kaepernick rushed to the left for a 7-yard touchdown
The 49ers motioned Bruce Miller to the left to overload that side of the line.
Miller make a nice block on the end as Joe Staley and Gore act as Kaepernick’s lead blockers on the sweep.
The second key block is by Gore who takes out the safety making it a foot race to the corner of the end zone that Kaepernick easily wins.
Play 4: F. Gore rushed to the right for 1-yard loss
I stopped this one a little early but again Walker comes in motion to be a back behind Kaepernick.
This is the same play that the Niners had run earlier in the game. This time the Jets’ end stays home and doesn’t crash down on the handoff to Gore. Kaepernick makes the correct read and hands the ball to Gore. The play goes for negative yards because Anthony Davis is beat on his block.
Play 5: Kaepernick rushed to the right for 30-yard gain
On the last real play of the game the 49ers again come out with a package full of big bodies.
Unlike in the Moss play earlier, this time everyone buys the play-fake. I was listening to this on the radio and Ted Robinson was already calling this one stopped for a one-yard gain before realizing Kaepernick still had the ball.
After a beautiful play-fake, Kaepernick rolls out and has nothing but open grass in front of him. The shot below shows just how open the field is for him.
If you look here you see nine Jets, all with their focus on Anthony Dixon. Not a single guy looking towards Kaepernick.
This is the shot after he finishes the roll out. Nothing but open space and the end zone. If he hadn’t slid at the end he could have ran for as long as he wanted to on this one.
Of Kaepernick’s five plays, the 49ers had a positive result on three of them. While he was in the game (minus kneel downs) the 49ers gained 53 yards.
The two plays that didn’t result in a positive play he made the correct decision on one and on the other went for the home run when a safer option was probably the better choice. I can’t even blame him too much for wanting to throw the deep ball to Moss because that was probably what the whole thing was designed for and he appeared to lock in on him from the beginning. Luckily Moss did a good job to make sure that if he wasn’t going to come down with it, no one else would either.
Overall it was nice to see the 49ers open up the playbook a bit and Kaepernick looked good for seeing such limited action so far this season. It is a nice luxury to have a backup quarterback as dynamic and with a such a high ceiling as Kaepernick. It’s gravy that the 49ers haven’t had to throw him into tough situations, but instead let him build confidence in situations designed for him to succeed.