Yesterday, Aaron Malone had an excellent article up arguing that Colin Kaepernick has been playing much better than Russell Wilson during the latter portion of the season. This stronger play could potentially give the 49ers an advantage heading into Sunday's game. By using some nifty statistical evidence, Aaron persuasively argued his point. But, I did notice that he didn't use Football Outsiders' statistics.
Shortly after reading Aaron's post, I read Greg A. Bedard's must-read profile of Vic Fangio (it is really quite good - check it out, if you haven't already). After the main portion of the article, Bedard turns toward some interesting minutiae in anticipation of this weekend. He writes: "I finally relented and put Kaepernick into the purple chip category [which he defines as "a combination of players that are blue (elite) and red (very good)"]. I still think he's borderline, but I can't keep him off and include Wilson, who has struggled since a Dec. 12 victory over the Saints. Both are basically the same quarterback at this juncture: they can make key plays with their feet, but they are limited in the pocket."
It's a throwaway paragraph justifying his classification of both players as "purple chip". But, it is an interesting idea: Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson are similar players. Fans of both teams, I think, are more likely to agree than most other people. The national media has this odd habit of labeling Kaepernick a "run-first" QB, which is patently absurd; they also seem to cast Wilson as a "cerebral" QB, which ignores his obvious athletic gifts. Both players are smart, athletic, and gifted QBs who make up for their shortcomings by utilizing their unique gifts. Both players have also slumped hard at different points this season, with Kaepernick (and the 49ers) seemingly benefiting from his stronger play occurring "when it counts" (or whatever that sports cliché means).
To hopefully demonstrate my point, I want to briefly apply Aaron's comparative logic to Football Outsiders' statistics. I'm drawing all of the following stats from HERE, which also has brief explanations of the stats. According to FO's DYAR stat, which measures a quarterback's total value against a replacement level player, Colin was the 8th best QB in the league with a DYAR of 795. Wilson was the 9th best with a 779. Furthermore, according to DVOA, which measures the effectiveness of a QB per play and then expresses that value by means of a percentage, Colin was the 7th best QB in the league with a 16.8% DVOA; Wilson was 8th best in the league with a 16.0%.
While it is obvious that the quarterbacks do have some differences between them, I contend that they are more similar than perhaps suggested up unto this point. Let's just hope that the 49ers can keep Wilson in his slump and that Kaepernick can continue to thrive.