Breaking Down How Colin Kaepernick Can Expose Patriots in Week 15

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Breaking Down How Colin Kaepernick Can Expose Patriots in Week 15
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick allows the San Francisco 49ers offense to reach its full potential, and against the New England Patriots, Jim Harbaugh's attack must be firing on all cylinders. 

Tom Brady and Co. were nearly flawless in their 28-point defeat of the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football in Week 14, but the most impressive aspect of the convincing win was the way Bill Belichick's defense clamped down on Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and the rest of the Texans' rather balanced offense. 

However, New England will face a drastically different quarterback when Kaepernick comes to town in Week 15. 

His versatility has made him one of the most effective signal-callers in the NFL over the last month, and there are a few things he does exceptionally well that could ultimately expose the Pats' undoubtedly improving defense. 

Due to Kaepernick's familiarity in the pistol offense from his collegiate days at Nevada and his inherent running capability, the 49ers run a variation of plays from the unique pre-snap formation. 

The read-option puts a significant amount of strain on the opposition's defensive front seven, especially the linebackers and defensive ends, and Robert Griffin III isn't the only young quarterback who runs it well. 

One possibility out of the pistol read-option is the simple handoff to the running back. 

Last week against the Miami Dolphins, rookie runner LaMichael James was given his first NFL carry from this formation and easily scooted for a 10-yard gain. 

Note how two of San Fran's offensive linemen have already gotten to the second level and how much room there is around the corner.

Later in the game, Kaepernick read the outside defender and held on to the football for a modest five-yard gain. 

However, the minimal gain isn't what makes this play so excellent and presumably worrisome for New England.

Not only did Kaepernick's fake misdirect the camera, look at the total confusion amongst four Dolphins defensive players. 

Karlos Dansby is actually turned away from the football—totally unaware.

The Patriots have a trio of rather active and athletic linebackers, but their instincts and discipline will be tested more than anything against Kaepernick.

San Fran's signal-caller is more than a gimmicky read-option quarterback, keep that in mind.

His ability to drift away from pressure in the pocket is good, especially considering his lack of experience in the NFL. 

On this second-quarter pass, Kaepernick extended the play when receivers weren't initially open and protection broke down. 

The result? 

A 17-yard completion to Randy Moss and a slew of frustrated Dolphins secondary members. 

Lastly, Kaepernick is able to sit traditionally in the pocket and deliver pinpoint passes with necessary velocity. 

Check this perfectly-timed flag route completion to Delanie Walker between three defensive backs. 

His downfield accuracy is striking, as well. 

He placed the football precisely in Moss' hands on a flea-flicker in Week 14—a pass that traveled over 50 yards in the air. 

So, as is plain to see, Kaepernick will undeniably test the Patriots defense—any defense for that matter—in a myriad of ways and has the capability to duel with Brady in what could be a Super Bowl preview. 

 

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