49ers vs. Seahawks: On the usage of Colin Kaepernick

Stephen Dunn

The 49ers haven't been shy about using their backup QB on some "mix-it-up" plays in 2012, but are they rotating Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith in the most effective way?

As the 49ers prepare to face the Seattle Seahawks tonight the question on many people's mind will be: How will Colin Kaepernick be used, if at all?

"Kap" has had his opportunities to come into games this year and has been up and down, overall. The splash plays (throwing long darts down the field, rushing for touchdowns) have overshadowed the not-so-good plays (fumble on end-around, taking bad sack for big loss), mostly.

But what about the rhythm of the offense and Alex Smith? How is that affected by the insertion of Kaepernick into the game?

Last week against the Giants we saw one example of poor usage as Kaepernick came off the field on third down, handing Alex Smith a 3rd and 11 to convert after throwing an incomplete pass and being tackled for a 1 yard loss. That's not going to work well in terms of rhythm. Now Alex has to come in for one play and try to get a first down.

I've been saying all year long that I'd like to see Kaepernick used for an entire series of downs. Let him earn a first down or punt the ball rather than giving Alex Smith yards to gain that aren't his own. It also gives Kap the chance to work the rhythm of the offense and get used to game flow.

Some wonder if perhaps the usage of Kaepernick will be tapered off as a result of some of these things. Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman keep saying that both QBs practice the same plays and there aren't specific plays for either one of them, but I think we've seen that is mostly a bunch of mularkey, to borrow from Joe Biden.

They also say it depends on the opponent, although so far it seems like just about every opponent was "worthy" of seeing some Kaepernick action. What they'll do in tonight's game, is anybody's guess. I just hope they can find a way to get something going on offense and not disrupt it.

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