NFL Morning After: The Decline of Colin Kaepernick

NFL Morning After: The Decline of Colin Kaepernick

As far as NFL is concerned, Colin Kaepernick is a very important player, particularly off the field. His act of not standing up during the National Anthem has led to lot of controversies and discussions. The discussion ranged on free speech, race, and brutality by the police and how sports impacts society. However, here will be looking at Kaepernick from a different perspective and that too his role, off the field. Over the years his form has declined and he has become a shadow of his past as a quarterback, it can even be seen on the online betting lines and odds in any major sportsbook.

Unfortunately all this is happening at an age when he is supposed to get better. 

Around four years back Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith in the 2012 mid-season. Those who watched him that year know how good he was. The particular game when he went to New England just in his fifth match still lingers in the mind. People believed that Bill Belichick would be able to stop this rampaging young guy. However, Kaepernick was good and he threw for four deciding touchdown passes as his team won over Patriots. He was one of the few who was able to break Balichick's defense.

That was the year when Kaepernick played his role in taking the 49ers to Super Bowl. His record was great with 263 yard passing, 181 yards of playoff wins over big teams like Packing. He threw in Super Bowl for a phenomenal 302 yards apart from running for 62 yards and in short was simply unstoppable. But for 49ers being unable to beat Ravens, Kaepernick would have become the most valuable player in Super Bowl. 

His second year was also pretty good which saw him leading 49ers to the playoffs. They missed the NFC Championship when they lost to Seahawks. The year also saw Ron Jawaroski stating that Colin Kaepernick could be shaping as one of the best quarterbacks the game has seen. There are many who like to take on Jaworski for that overstatement but at that point of time, it was no overstatements. There were many who believed that Kaepernick had it in him to reach the Hall Of Fame as Quarterback. Though they may criticize Jaworski now at that point of time most of the others sang the same tune. 

The decline of Kaepernick started in 2014. 2015 became even worse and he was asked to sit it out in place of Blaine Gabbert. However, this season he has got the job back from Gabbert, but that is about all. His performance is still bad and he is average a pedestrian 4.2 yards per pass and his success rate of completing passes is not even 50%. This was evident in his team’s loss to Buccaneers. 

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The Eagles obviously went in a different direction, as they aggressively moved up to No. 2 overall in April's draft to take Wentz. He hasn't even thrown for 180 yards in either of his last two games, and things don't get much easier against Dallas.

What Went Wrong With Kaepernick?

The most important reason is the exit of coach Jim Harbaugh. It was foolish on the part of General Manager Tren Baalke and Jed York the owners of 49ers to let Harbaugh go. They not only lost a coach but also lost somebody who could get the best out of Kaepernick.

The next reason is because defenses of other teams found out his style of play. Though Kaepernick had a great arm, he does not have the touch as far as short passes are concerned. Defenses started forcing Kaepernick to engage in short throws and he is not good at it. This has resulted in his averages dropping from 8.3 in the first seasons to 5.2 this year. 

He seemingly does not have the best players to support him. The first few seasons of Kaepernick was good because the team had lot of talent. They are not the same now and they have some of the worst receivers, horrible running backs, worse offensive linemen, and poor quality defense. This has resulted in their running less and throwing more. 

Kaepernick has also declined physically. His muscle mass has declined and his look skinny. His three surgeries have not helped his physical cause one bit and he also has lost weight tremendously because of changed diet. He is the same as he used to be three or four years ago. 

Though there is optimism surrounding Kaepernick, it is doubtful whether he will be the same player again. He may not get the same coach as Harbaugh and defense have found a way to stop his advances. As things stand now he is not even above-average but the days of mesmerizing Colin Kaepernick are all but over.