In the up and down world of the NFL, where one week you can tie a bad team (like the Rams) and the next week you can obliterate a good one (like the Bears), one game is often enough to make a judgement on a quarterback. I most certainly have made a ruling on Colin “Steve Young Jr.” Kaepernick – hand over the keys to the franchise.
The one game rise to prominance has a lot of precedent: Matt Schaub and Matt Flynn were both backups who had limited opportunity to shine before getting big contracts (as was Charlie Whitehurst…and Tavaris Jackson; bottom line the Seahawks have made some awful QB decisions). Kaepernick may eventually also get such an opportunity, unless of course he has stolen Alex Smith’s job right out from under him. The reasons Kaepernick would do so are the following: he has a cannon for an arm and surprising accuracy, he can run like Steve Young and escape from pressure, his command and leadership in the huddle are evident even from a small sample size. Midway through the third quarter of the Monday nighter, Kaepernick threw an absolute laser of a touchdown to the resurgent Michael Crabtree and I found myself genuinely liking the kid…maybe more than I have ever like Alex Smith in any one game in his entire tenure with the team.
Going forwards, both Smith and Kaepernick will struggle at some point and the calls will come for the yank. The Niners need to ensure they do not take one game and expect the second coming of Steve Young to continue to produce at the same level.
Yet, for the first time in a long time the 49ers have a truly exciting player at the QB position – and it would be a shame to just let him languish on the bench…