San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has struggled mightily throughout the first five weeks of the 2015 season, but he's not ready to attribute declining efficiency in the pocket to shoddy mechanics.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Kaepernick refuted claims by Chris Ault, his former head coach at the University of Nevada, that his poor throwing motion has caused his effectiveness to plummet.
"Ultimately, whether the receiver catches the ball and the ball's in the right position is the only thing that matters," Kaepernick said, per ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez. "Mechanics are—I'm not huge on them. You can look at Philip Rivers throw; you can look at Tom Brady throw. Looks completely different, [but] they're both great quarterbacks."
In a piece by Fox Sports' Ross Jones, Ault broke down the components of Kaepernick's process in the pocket and how it's dictated by his raw physical skill:
It’s not a sidearm throw by any means, but his elbow and arm are at 90 degrees instead of having that thing extended all the way up. He does that because he’s so doggone strong. He’s one of the few guys that can get away throwing that way, but when you have to make the touch pass, drop it over [coverage], or if you have to anticipate where a receiver is going, that type of release often times makes you very inconsistent. That’s what I’m seeing. I saw it when we were at Nevada a little bit.
Five games into the 2015 campaign, Kaepernick is actually completing what would be a career-high 62.9 percent of his passes. However, the Niners signal-caller has thrown for more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four) as San Francisco has posted a 1-4 record.
It's also worth noting the 27-year-old has been able to pad his stats by churning out solid numbers in garbage time, as the 49ers trailed late in blowout losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals.
|Colin Kaepernick's Production by Quarter (2015 Season)|
|Quarter||Passing Yards||Comp. %||TD||INT|
If history is any indication, Kaepernick does have one noteworthy ally when it comes to his stance on mechanics.
"There's no one perfect way mechanically to throw a football," former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said in 2011, per the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows. "Anybody who's ever thrown something, whether it’s picking up a rock and throwing it or throwing a baseball or throwing a football or throwing anything, you throw how you throw. It matters what the ball does more than how you do it."
At any rate, San Francisco needs Kaepernick to rediscover vintage form—and fast—or the 49ers' season could spiral out of control. Coach Jim Tomsula's team has lost four games in a row since defeating the Minnesota Vikings to open the season, but a hungry opponent awaits Sunday.
The Baltimore Ravens (1-4) are slated to pay a visit to Levi's Stadium, but that could be good news for Kaepernick. To date, Baltimore ranks 25th in passing yards allowed per game (278.2), which means Kaepernick could find some success through the air.