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Colin Kaepernick has anointed himself one of San Francisco's new leaders on and off the field.
Most every NFL team wants their quarterback in a power position. The hitch is that the man behind center has to possess the on-field talent and bona fide confidence to truly be the shepherd that leads the flock.
According to reports from the San Francisco Bay Area, quarterback Colin Kaepernick has asserted himself as a leader for the 49ers. In record time, it only took the 25-year-old 10 career starts, including a Super Bowl berth, to embrace that role.
In 2013, Kaepernick will be entering his first 16-game schedule as an NFL starter.
“I am trying to improve on everything,” said Kaepernick. “From the playbook, to being faster, stronger, being quicker mentally on the field, putting us in better situations. Everything.”
Since he first arrived, this is a player that characteristically led by example. Although, with Alex Smith now in Kansas City, the third year gunslinger from Nevada now has the license to be a vocal leader for the team.
Kap believes this is a recently earned right, and one that would not have been acceptable with No. 11 still on the roster. It is not a backup’s job to address the players, but fortunately, Kaepernick is no longer second-string.
Now that the big job is incontestably his, he felt it was his not only his right, but it was his duty to assert himself in such a manner; to echo the sentiments of coach Jim Harbaugh and the staff.
“My leadership out here. Being comfortable taking that role. Being comfortable talking to any player on the team, telling them if they need to do something a little different to help our offense,” Kaepernick told the media at OTAs.
He has exhibited leadership qualities; directing players on the field, helping them prepare and practice, while teaching the playbook to those less familiar. The media even caught wind that WR Ricardo Lockette has been living with the 49ers QB, who has provided “24/7” homeschooling, per Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News.
His evident talent combined with this confident, vocal direction has helped him evolve as San Francisco’s signal caller as early as June. And this is by no means an easy feat—the players have to look into his eyes and believe that what he says is 100 percent factual.
It is not easy to lead 53-plus men, especially as the fifth-youngest player on the team, only three years removed from college. However, Kaepernick has unconditional support from his teammates and the coaching staff.
“His approach, his expectations, his understanding of everything. He’s light years ahead of where he was last year,” said offensive coordinator Greg Roman, endorsing the first-year starter.
Even though the offense continues to introduce new concepts and plays, Kaepernick is fully acclimated to the system. He is taking it in stride, growing within it, while spending extra time with players to catch them up to speed.
This is Colin Kaepernick taking steps forward as a player and ultimately as the face of the franchise.