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Colin Kaepernick: Is the 49ers QB Regressing or Progressing?

Colin Kaepernick
Colin KaepernickThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IDecember 10, 2012

After four consecutive starts, is 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick getting better or getting worse? The answer depends on what angle you look at his statistics.  In four starts, he is 3-1, but his numbers don't always look the same in each game:

Game Passing Yards Passing TDs INTs Sacks Rushing Yards Rushing TDs
W vs CHI 243 2 0 1 10 0
W vs NO 231 1 1 0 27 1
L vs STL 208 0 0 3 84 0
W vs MIA 185 0 0 4 53 1

source: ESPN.com

If we look at his passing numbers, he's throwing for fewer yards and touchdowns with each game and the number of sacks he's taking is steadily rising. Conversely, his rushing yards have risen and his rushing touchdowns have remained about even.

Although this is an incredibly small sample size, it does show the direction of the 49ers' play-calling. After last week's debacle in St. Louis, which involved a safety and botched toss by Kaepernick, it looked like the 49ers put their sophomore quarterback on training wheels against the Miami Dolphins.

By having him stick to short and mid-range throws, it looked like a game plan for Alex Smith.  But even though Kaepernick hasn't thrown the long ball as much as anticipated, he does excel at making plays with his legs.

His big run in the fourth quarter of today's win against the Dolphins helped put the game out of reach. With big road games coming up against New England and Seattle, don't expect coach Jim Harbaugh or offensive coordinator Greg Roman to deviate from a low-risk passing attack.  

Judging from the conservative play-calling, it's more important to ensure gradual progress than risk shattering the young quarterback's confidence with costly turnovers on risky, deep throws.  

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