Power rankings encompass just about every facet of the NFL and the quarterback position is no exception. ESPN's Ron Jaworski recently ranked the NFL's signal-callers, including 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, and had some things to add about the team's chances in the playoffs with CK at the helm. The piece is an "INsider" bit, so I'll summarize some of it here.
Little surprise that Jaws has Peyton Manning and Tom Brady numbers one and two on the list, but perhaps a bit shocking is Matt Ryan at number three. Jaworski doesn't give much solid reasoning behind this pick other than saying that "Ryan had one bad game...against Arizona, but he has since calmed down..."
Drew Brees is next at number four and then it get's muddy when you try to rank the rest of the guys. The first rookie on the list is Robert Griffin, III coming in at number 10 on the list, followed by Andrew Luck, Jay Cut(LOL)er, and Russell Wilson. Kaepernick is next at number 14 in the rankings. Here's what Jaws has to say about CK:
Kaepernick is the reason I like the San Francisco 49ers to win it all. Between his arm strength and his foot speed, there is nothing the Niners' offense can't do. They've got the smashmouth ground game, and the quick-strike deep ball. He has shown good feel in the pocket and, like Griffin, looks to make the pass first and doesn't default to his legs at the first sign of pressure. With a little time off thanks to the first-round bye, we could see some revolutionary types of plays from Jim Harbaugh as well.
I tend to agree with Jaworski that Harbaugh and Greg Roman are likely concocting an assortment of this season's most successful plays that weren't necessarily "staples", ie. weren't used very often. We could see a whole new, aggressive approach on offense featuring more of these plays than is typical to witness in a single game, mostly because it's only a three-game season at this point.
I would guess they'll accumulate enough plays to be able to show fresh stuff each week in the post-season, should it continue. Of course there will still be some of the old standby calls, you can't run reverses and flea-flickers all game long (though that would be fun), but you get the picture.
The key to all of this is how many different things that CK allows you to do with both his arm and his legs, not to mention is complete comfort in the pistol with a play-maker like LaMichael James on the field to compliment Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Who knows, we could even see Randy Moss heavily featured for once...
One thing is clear to most, though, and that's how much of the playbook is opened up when you have a guy who can do so many different things. Alex Smith is athletic, but he's not going to win any races against Kaepernick, nor does he have the sheer arm-strength to throw outside the numbers or in tight windows all day long. Defenses know that, and now they know that they DO have to defend the entire field against the Niners.
I don't know about you, but I can't WAIT for January 12th!