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Colin Kaepernick has struggled at times this season.
Colin Kaepernick threw for a career-high 412 yards against the Packers in the 49ers' first game of the year.
However, that success was fleeting, as opposing defenses have made it tough to throw since Week 1. Defenses are focused on Anquan Boldin and are also playing the 49ers' receivers with very tight press coverage most of the time.
Kaepernick has frequently not found anyone open, but he has also missed on a few passes.
Kaepernick has not reached 170 yards in any of his last three games. Over that span, he has completed only 41 of his 78 passes. He also has four interceptions and only two touchdowns in the past three weeks.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have also minimized the number of runs for Kaepernick. The fear is that he could get hurt, which would cripple the 49ers offense.
Almost completely gone from the list of plays being called are the read-option sequences that Kaepernick was so effective with last year.
The coaching staff has directed Kaepernick to try to stay in the pocket more and not expose himself to any big hits. Kaepernick will still scramble on occasion, but the called running plays are virtually nonexistent.
This takes a lot away from Kaepernick's offensive arsenal. In the NFL, you cannot play as effectively when the main focus is to avoid injury. In order for Kaepernick to achieve his maximum effectiveness, he must be allowed to utilize all his assets, and that includes designed running plays.
Kaepernick is big, strong and fast, so he can avoid big hits most of the time. It's rare to see an opposing defender get a clean hit on him when he's running.
In reality, Kaepernick stands a greater chance of getting hurt in the pocket on a pass play. A pass-rushing defender could hit him in the knees when he's planted and throwing the football.
It's time for Harbaugh and Roman to use Kaepernick in the best way possible to win football games. This means utilizing all of his assets, which means allowing him to run.
Quarterback Grade: C