(KPIX 5) By Dennis O’Donnell
Kaepernick TWO looks a lot like One.
The package was different, but what’s inside is the same.
Colin Kaepernick looks different and acts different than the man that lost his job last November. But he is still the same quarterback. Kaepernick is a mobile, nimble, elusive, enticing player that has one of the strongest arms in the game, but displays inaccuracy in virtually every drive of which he is a part.
His lone touchdown pass to Torrey Smith was underthrown and was the direct result of blown coverage by the Bills secondary, not Kaepernick’s arm. He’s better than Blaine Gabbert only to the extent that he can escape would-be sacks and turn a loss into a gain.
He did that several times against Buffalo, once eluding a sack for a safety and running for a first down. But offensive coordinators can’t count on that. They can’t game-plan that. They can’t say, “Ok, here’s what’s going to happen. Listen up! Carlos is going to miss the blitzing linebacker, Colin’s going to barely shake him, and then he’s going to run for 29 yards and the first down. Everyone got that?”
Rex Ryan dusted off the old Kaepernick tapes and installed the same game plan that rendered him obsolete in the first place. It looked like ground hog day when Bills linebacker Zach Brown was waiting for Kaepernick to tuck and run and then greeted him like his mother-in-law at Thanksgiving. That worked in 2013, not 2016.
The Bills knew what was coming and game-planned for it.
Said Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, “He came out, was effective, he extended a lot of drives and made some plays with his legs. At the end he had to sit in the pocket, and I don’t think he’s ready for that yet but kudos to him.”
That quote by Alexander IS Kaepernick. And it’s everything that he is not. He was drafted in 2011. The hope, expectation, wing-and-a-prayer thinking, whatever you want to call it that Kaepernick will become what the 49ers want him to become is the great exercise in futility.
I’ve heard NFL experts proclaim that Chip Kelly’s offense is perfectly suited to Kaepernick’s skill set. Uh,no. Kelly’s offense demands accuracy. Kaepernick was 13-29 passing and the 49ers were 3-13 in third down efficiency.
In his postgame interviews Kaepernick is more expansive than ever. He talks passionately about social injustice and is 100% more engaged than his Beats by Dre era.
But when you unwrap the box and look inside, he’s the same quarterback.
See you on TV.