How Colin Kaepernick Puts More Pressure on a Defense Than Alex Smith
Never thought I'd type that sentence this season.
After Jim Harbaugh's team bolted out to a 6-2-1 beginning to the season with Alex Smith calling the shots, they now have quite the quarterback conundrum on their hands following Kaepernick's performance.
While the jury is seemingly split in regards to who should start for the 49ers in Week 12, let's break down what Kaepernick brings to the field that Smith doesn't.
To be fair, Smith is an underrated athlete and can most certainly elude pass-rushers in the pocket.
However, the opposition is rarely threatened by him as a runner, as any scrambles, more often than not, would be for only minimal gains.
With Kaepernick, a dynamic running dimension is added to the 49ers offense.
He has 189 yards on 26 carries this season for a 7.6 yards-per-carry average and has supreme athleticism for a quarterback.
The Nevada alum ran a blistering 4.53 40-yard dash at the 2011 NFL combine, so he undeniably has the natural speed to gain huge chunks of yardage upon leaving a collapsing pocket.
Although he couldn't get into a real groove against the St. Louis Rams in Week 10, he finished the game with eight rushes for 66 yards, and some of his scrambles led to the game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.
That multi-dimensional ability of Kaepernick undoubtedly is more hazardous for any defense.
Alex Smith has a traditional and fundamentally sound quick release. Normally, he isn't limited by a lack of arm strength and can "make all the throws" as the scouts say.
But Kaepernick's arm strength is at another level.
All of his throws have a noticeable zip that Smith's don't, especially the long ones made downfield or from one hash mark to the far sideline.
In fact, Kaepernick displayed his special arm talent on an early throw against the Bears.
The play came on a 3rd-and-7 on the 49ers' second possession. Wideout Kyle Williams ran a deep out, and Kaepernick delivered an absolute pinpoint laser. The pass traveled 33 yards downfield but came from the far hash mark before falling exquisitely into Williams' hands.
After the play, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller jumped on the difference between Smith and Kaepernick in regards to that type of throw with the following tweet:
There's something Kaepernick does that Smith doesn't. Deep throw on a flag. Wide side. Dropped in the bucket. #49ers— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 20, 2012
When it comes to arm strength, Kaepernick is rarely, if ever, limited in any way.
Both quarterbacks appear to be similar in terms of accuracy, but Smith obviously as an edge in the game-experience department and, in all likelihood, has a firmer grasp of the 49ers scheme. He has also really proven himself over the last year-and-a-half.
But when it comes to the ability to accumulate major yardage on scrambles and wowing with inherent arm strength, Kaepernick is clearly more capable.
Therefore, defenses must develop a new respect for the deep ball, and coverages have to be that much tighter.
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