It was announced today by head coach Chip Kelly that the San Francisco 49ers are going to start Colin Kaepernick against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but what are the team and the fans expecting from him?
Putting in the backup quarterback is always the answer when a team is struggling. The best job in sports is the second string quarterback because they get paid well and everyone always thinks the back up will outperform the starter.
The San Francisco 49ers are a bad team. The team’s struggles go far beyond the play of the quarterback. While Blaine Gabbert hasn’t performed well, who really knows if Kaepernick can come in and play better.
Even if he does play better, the 49ers roster is still far less talented than most of the teams they will go up against.
So what is it going to take to decide if Kaepernick is right option for the future?
His future can’t be determined by the number of wins the team gets, because frankly, an elite quarterback would have trouble winning with this roster.
He can be judged by the always reliable eye test, but he passed that test in 2013 and now we’re having this discussion.
Maybe he will be judged by the amount of rushing yards he gets, or his conditioning while in control of the hurry up offense.
There’s no doubt that making the switch to Kaepernick is the correct move for the 49ers. He has shown potential to be a winning quarterback in the past, and the team is paying him far too much money to be sitting on the bench.
The issue is not whether it’s the right time to put him in, but what he needs to do to prove he is the quarterback the team can rely on for the rest of the season, and years to come.
The last time Kaepernick was on the field as the starting quarterback was in the middle of last season. He didn’t perform well at all. In the nine games he played in, Kaepernick had a rating of just 78.5 with six touchdowns and five interceptions.
If he plays that poorly on Sunday and throughout the rest of the season, his future with the team will be non-existent. That is, of course, if he doesn’t suffer a serious injury, but that’s an entirely different story about his contract.
On Sunday, Kaepernick will come out of the tunnel, take his usual kneel down during the National Anthem, and then take the field against a team which has won three straight games.
There’s a possibility Kaepernick comes out and throws for 250 yards and runs for another 100, but there’s also a possibility he has an underwhelming Gabbert-like performance.
The mere chance that Kaepernick can play like he did in 2012 and 2013 is the sole reason why the Niners need to give him every possible opportunity, but just keep in mind, the roster is awful.
He will not make this team much better than they are now.