By Greg Aspen: The San Francisco 49ers are ranked dead last in the NFL in passing yardage this season, and you’ve got to put most of the blame squarely on the shoulders of quarterback Colin Kaepernick rather than blaming it on the Niners missing the presence of Kaepernick’s favorite wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Kaepernick has failed to show that he can get beyond his first read, which is usually receiver Anquan Boldin.
If Boldin or tight end Vernon Davis are covered, Kaepernick has failed to show the ability to move into the 2nd or 3rd read to spot another receiver such as Jon Baldwin or Kyle Williams this season. It’s like Kaepernick has no confidence in that receiver or a particular running back, so he won’t even bother throwing to them if he finds his primary target covered.
What we’ve seen on many occasions this season is Kaepernick looking at his first read and if that guy is covered, he takes off running or he tries to force the ball to him anyway rather than looking at his other receiver.
Matt Maiocco of csnbayarea.com also has noticed that about Kaepernick, saying “It just seems the loss of Crabtree has had a huge impact on the team. I think the hallmark of a great quarterback, you see it with Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, the quarterback’s job is to make the players around him better. I don’t think Kaepernick has made the wide receivers, the tight ends, and running backs around him better. We all know what Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis are doing, and he’s shown confidence in those two gentleman. But everybody else he hasn’t. There comes a time when a quarterback has to throw a wide receiver open, and that has to come with the confidence the quarterback has in the receiver. And we haven’t seen that in the passing game with the 49ers this season…I think Kaepernick was basically a one read quarterback last season.”
Maiocco is dead right. Kaepernick is almost like a snob when it comes to spreading the ball around. He simply doesn’t do it. He looks at one receiver and tends to throw to that receiver, in this case Boldin, or to a specific tight end like Vernon Davis. Kaepernick, for whatever reason, won’t throw to the other receivers like Williams and Baldwin. This in turn has led to those players seeing less and less playing, as if it’s their fault that they’re not getting passes thrown to them rather than the fault of Kaepernick for failing to even look their way to see if they’re at least open.
Kaepernick had this problem last season where he was throwing mainly to Crabtree and not to the other Niners receivers and tight ends. The Baltimore Ravens were able to take advantage of this by blanketing Crabtree and forcing Kaepernick to look elsewhere. Ultimately, Kaepernick was unable to do that and it cost the Niners the game when he attempted to throw three straight passes to Crabtree when the Niners had the ball on the Ravens 5 yard line in their last series. Kaepernick ignored the other wide open Niners receivers and kept throwing passes to the well covered Crabtree.