Charming Kaep­ernick still needs to play better


SANTA CLARA — Members of the media dug in Wednesday for the Colin Kaepernick‘s first interview since Sunday’s debacle at the Coliseum, ready for the next chapter in this communicative drama.

Instead, Kaepernick immediately dispelled a repeat performance by flashing a smile long been absent from the quarterback’s face, while delivering one of his most lengthy and refreshingly honest interviews in a long time.

Describing what was a work-in-progress relationship, Kaepernick spoke about his newfound willingness to open up to the media.

“I think there’s a different way to go about things. Obviously, it’s something that I take my job very seriously and when I go out there and compete and I don’t do well, it’s something I’m very hard on myself about. So it’s something that I have to be able to approach others different with when I’m in those situations.”

Kaepernick was open in answering a variety of questions, but the 49ers signal caller was most descriptive while talking about Sunday’s much-anticipated rematch between San Francisco and the Seattle Seahawks.

Despite the last two meetings between the division rivals ending in disheartening fashion for the 49ers, Kaepernick said Seattle presents opportunities to learn from while trying to keep the 49ers playoff hopes alive:

“That game and the game we played Thanksgiving are two games we look at and we try and take everything we can from those, and see if we can attack them a different way to go out and try to get this win.”

That answer represents a significant upgrade over the much-used “we have to execute” quote. Kaepernick continued on to talk about the biggest struggle while facing the Seattle secondary, CB Richard Sherman:

“He’s fast. He’s long. He does a great job covering guys. So, he makes the windows very small for being able to get the ball into receiver. … He does a very good job at what he’s coached to do and it makes it tough on our receivers, makes it tough on quarterbacks.”

Praising Sherman? Perhaps Kaepernick took this talking thing a little too far.

But historically, Kaepernick is right. Sherman ia the biggest cog in a secondary that has held No. 7 to just a 50.6 passer rating, while intercepting him nine times in five career games against Seattle.

The last meeting between the two foes was perhaps the roughest outing against Seattle that Kaepernick has had, throwing two interceptions, both to Sherman, while gaining just 121 yards through the air alongside no touchdowns.

Kaepernick often looked like he was trying to do too much on offense during that game, attacking the tight coverage of the Seahawks secondary with questionable throws and passes to covered receivers that were either knocked down or picked by Sherman.

Despite his declining play over the course of the season, Kaepernick doesn’t feel his recent struggles have been attributed to trying to press matters too much on offense:

“I don’t think you can try too hard. I think you can get too focused on one thing or another thing. You have to be able to do everything as a quarterback and that’s not necessarily just taking care of your job, but making sure you’re preparing everyone else to go out and play well and make sure you have them in the right mindset when they step on the field.”

The 49ers will have to be in the right mindset on Sunday if they want to avoid another embarrassment at the hands of the Seahawks. But at least Kaepernick is practicing his communication prior to entering the noisy confines of CenturyLink Field.

Follow @SFBay and @ShawnWhelchel on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the San Francisco 49ers.

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