By Jerrell Richardson
As the San Francisco 49ers prepare for their game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night, the questions around practice seem to center around quarterback Colin Kaepernick and how he will perform against a top ranked defense in a very loud stadium. Century Field is designed to keep the noise inside the stadium, and the 12th man will be decidedly on the side of the home team, figuring to wreak havoc on the 49ers ability to communicate in the huddle and at the line. The elements will not be the problem though, while the level of competition will, and even that is no reason to doubt Kaepernick. In his short stint as the 49ers starter, he has proven that he is up for any challenge, and a look at his resume should calm any concerns.
Does Seattle have a defense that will cause problems? Yes. Defensively the Seahawks are near the top of the league in all categories and have the advantage of being at home. However, Kaepernick in just his first NFL start picked apart a Chicago defense that at the time was being touted as the best in the league. That game was in San Francisco, but the very next week Kaepernick went to New Orleans and outgunned Drew Brees. The New Orleans defense is in no way comparable to the Seattle unit he will face, but the Saints did poise a new problem of a zone-based defense designed to confuse quarterbacks. This game also happened to be in the Super Dome which, when rocking, is considered one of the loudest places to play in the NFL.
The 2nd-year quarterback made his biggest statement of the year just last week against the New England Patriots. How many quarterbacks can say that they went into Tom Brady’s house in Decembe, and left with a win? Not only did Kaepernick pull off the victory, over arguably the best quarterback in the league, he did it on a night that Brady was on fire (for at least a half). In the same game, Kaepernick also survived the defensive game plan of mastermind Bill Belichick who has feasted on both inexperienced and veteran quarterbacks in the past. Some can argue that Kaepernick cooled down late in the game, but he won. He got his team up big early, and did not make any mistakes that would have given the game to New England. He also made a key read and better throw late in the game to Michael Crabtree that sealed the win.
Not only has Kaepernick snatched the starting job from Alex Smith, but when looking at how he has done it, it makes Jim Harbaugh’s decision look like the right call. Kaepernick has beaten Drew Brees and Tom Brady both on the road in two environments that are far from ideal after carving up an intimidating Chicago defense that figured to eat Kaepernick alive in his first start. Seattle will be a new set of challenges, but if the concern is how he will play in a hostile environment against a good team, he has already proven that he will be fine. Kaepernick just needs to be aware of the elevated level he will see on defense, but there is nothing he will see on Sunday night that his coaches will not have him prepared for.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.