Fooch's Note: user grantmp addressed potential use of Kaepernick with the option last November. I've embedded video after the jump of the run he discusses. I've also added a GIF of Kaepernick's run last night.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made quite the impression last night as on his second play from scrimmage, he rushed 78 yards for a touchdown. The run came against most of the VIkings first string defense. There were two or three second stringers, but the rest were number ones. The run came on a zone read option in which the left defensive end, Nick Reed bit on the fake to LaMichael James. This bite, combined with a great Brett Swain block against Chris Cook opened up a huge hole that Kaepernick took to the house.
I took a look back at Kaepernick's performance, and it looks like the 49ers tried to put him in a variety of situations. He ran a decent amount of what appeared to be the zone read option, but he also mixed in other key aspects of quarterbacking. He rolled out a fair amount, got in some play action, and had some basic drop back and pass plays. On some plays he appeared a little bit too quick to pull down the ball and run, but at times he also took his time in getting the pass out. He's still got plenty to work on in the passing game, but there's no doubting his athleticism.
Tim Kawakami put together a post-game column last night in which he discussed the 49ers potential use of some more spread-offense type wrinkles. Alex Smith does remain the starting quarterback, and in the first drive the offense showe the power it will likely look to employ on a regular basis. However, there are clearly other weapons that open the door for some additional creativity that goes beyond a once every so often gimmick.
Can the 49ers find some success with that even if Kaepernick struggles in the passing game? He was 5 of 9 for 40 yards, but he continues to have that awkward passer look. At some point I suppose I should just get over the awkward passer look, but until he develops some consistency in the passing game, that's going to be stuck in my head. The 49ers are providing one more look for opposing defenses, but if there is not enough concern about a potential pass when Kaepernick comes on the field, it could create some difficulties for making big plays against those defenses.
Colin Kaepernick touchdown run GIF
Video of the run Grant mention in the article linked above