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There was concern in 49ers-land when Alex Smith went down with an injury in Week 10. Nobody thought Kaepernick could run the offense as well as Smith—remember, Smith had completed 92 percent of his last 27 passes before his concussion).
Five starts, four wins and nine total touchdowns later, there is no question that Kaepernick is the 49ers' next franchise quarterback.
Kaepernick's ability to avoid pass rushers and pick up first downs with his legs is no surprise—he gained over 4,000 yards rushing in college.
What has been shocking is the young quarterback's poise in the pocket.
Kaepernick handles the office like a veteran. He looks comfortable reading the defense and doesn't force throws. He uses his strong arm to complete passes down the field, something Alex Smith never has been able to do.
This has opened up the offense and resulted in big plays, another thing the 49ers passing game lacked with Smith under center.
It's hard to say that Kaepernick has improved since last season, since he only saw the field during garbage time of a few games as a rookie. But what can be said is that nobody thought the second-year man from Nevada would outplay a seasoned vet as he did in New England on Sunday night.