San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wrapped up minicamp on Thursday with a locker room media session. He touched on a variety of topics, and while he did not go into a lot of detail, we got a few interesting tidbits.
He had plenty of praise about rookie wide receiver Bruce Ellington. He had a lot of praise for Quinton Patton last year heading into the season. Patton ended up dealing with a foot injury that slowed him down, but we saw some of the reasons the team was high on him. We've heard nothing but praise for Bruce Ellington. He looked very solid in minicamp, and this generally does not come across like the forced praise we heard about A.J. Jenkins the last couple years. That's not to say Ellington will definitely turn into a solid receiver, but the optimism is not completely crazy.
Kap also got another set of questions about his contract. Someone discussed the notion of the 49ers winning the negotiation, but Kap once again pointed out the reasoning he had for doing the things he did with his contract. This will eventually die down, but it remains a bit of a nuisance topic as some people still don't seem to full grasp the contract.
He also touched on Carlos Hyde a bit. He mentioned his good hands, his feel for the game, and how he has some "wiggle" to him. I saw Hyde catch a decent amount of passes coming out of the backfield during minicamp. We've talked about his receiving skills before, and this only further emphasized that he can do some things. He's a big guy, but he could be a very solid all-around back as soon as this year.
What did you get out of this three-day minicamp?
“We got more work with our receivers, with our running backs. Great opportunity for us just to get better.”
Are you a better redzone team now after this three-day minicamp than you were? I know that’s been a big focus this offseason.
“I hope so. We’ll find out when the season comes. It’s hard to tell until you start doing things in a game.”
Is there anything you want to work on during the break until you come back for camp?
“Everything. Always working on everything. Trying to have complete game.”
What is your impression of some of the young guys, WR Bruce Ellington in particular?
“Bruce has been amazing out here. He’s picked thing up very quickly. Good route runner. Very good feel for the game and he’s made plays when we’ve given him the opportunity.”
What’s his speed like? Deep speed.
“I feel like he has game speed. He’s faster than he looks and he can separate. So, we’re very excited about what he can add to this team.”
WR Anquan Boldin was saying that he feels the chemistry between you two has really come along because of communication. Can you kind of describe what he means by that?
“It’s just a constant conversation between the receivers, me, the coaches and really nailing down what we want to do vs. different coverages, different looks and how we want to approach those things. And I think that’s cleaned up a lot of our passing game for us.”
Does all the additions at receiver, does that give you the chance to expand what you can do as a quarterback? What those guys can do makes you able to do more?
“I think it gives us an opportunity as an offense to do a lot more. When you have playmakers like Anquan, [WR] Stevie [Johnson], Crab [WR Michael Crabtree], B-Lloyd [WR Brandon Lloyd], [TE] Vernon [Davis], our tight ends, Bruce, [WR] Quinton [Patton], you have a lot of weapons that you can put in a lot of different places and you don’t necessarily have to worry about where you’re positioning people because they’re all good route runners. They all the capability of getting open and making plays.”
Would you like to see the offense start tilting more toward the passing game?
“I want to see this offense do whatever it has to to win games. That’s really what’s most important, but I’m always good to throw a few more balls.”
Do you think that the offense is capable of becoming an elite, prolific passing offense?
“I think we have that capability. I think a lot of it is the game plan though. How do we want to attack different teams?”
Is it a relief for you that the negotiations and the contract situation is done and you can go into this break and head to training camp without having to have that weighing over you?
“I wouldn’t say a relief. It wasn’t something I was ever worried about. I was playing football. I would say it’s probably more of a relief for my agents than anyone. But, I’m very happy that the contract is done and happy to be here for a lot more years.”
Since you had that press conference, there’s been a lot of talk about the 49ers having won the negotiations and maybe it wasn’t the best contract for you and maybe your agents got taken a little bit by the 49ers. What’s your response to all of that?
“You can skew things however you want. At the end of the day, a lot of the way the contract is set up is how every other quarterback’s contract is set up. And the things that aren’t set up like those contracts are because we wanted them that way so we can sign other players.”
So it was very deliberate on your part?
“It was very deliberate by agents, the organization and myself that we want things done this way so we can keep a solid team here.”
So do you feel you’re betting on yourself in the negotiations?
“If that’s what you want to call it, yes.”
Head coach Jim Harbaugh was saying that his outgoing speech to you guys about surrounding yourself with positive people. What do you take away from that? A lot of players in the locker room say they completely agreed.
“Yeah, you want to keep good people around at all times regardless of where you’re at.”
What are your first impressions of RB Carlos Hyde, and in particular, his hands coming out of the backfield?
“He’s a very good running back. Feel like he can make an impact here and he’s someone we can use out of the backfield. Has very good hands, has a good feel for the game and has a little wiggle to him.”
To continue on with that line of questioning about what Jim Harbaugh said to you guys, do you find yourself now a little bit more guarded or wary of what he talked about people lurking around the corner with not your best interests in mind?
“A lot more.”
When did you – was that even before this offseason?
“Yeah, I would say since I really started playing it’s something I’ve been more aware of and especially in the past few months. It’s something that obviously you have to be very aware of.”
Is that what you took away from the Miami situation?
“Yeah, for the most part.”
What do you think the biggest difference between the Colin Kaepernick that showed up here as a rookie three years ago to this minicamp, if you could sum up what’s the difference between that guy and you?
“Experience. Experience in the offense. Experience with what I want to be doing on the field as far as footwork techniques, everything. It comes down to experience and the time here and time on task as far as what we’re doing.”
What about off-the-field stuff?
“For the most part, I’m going to be me. Off the field, you just have to look out for what other people’s intentions are.”
Can you be you?
“I’m going to be me regardless.”
Did it bother you that Vernon and G/T Alex Boone weren’t here this week? What did they miss these last few days?
“We would love to have them here. They’re great players, great contributors to our team. But at the end of the day, that’s their personal decision.”
Michael Crabtree’s kind of taken things slow, but in the glimpses you’ve seen, is he better than he was last year, more explosive than he was at the end of last year?
“Yes. At the end of last year he still wasn’t 100%. He has a lot more burst to him now. Looks really good.”
What did you see out of TE Vance McDonald and G Joe Looney, kind of the guys who are getting more reps with Vernon and Alex not here?
“Joe Looney’s been great. He came in last year during the Rams game and played phenomenal. So, I think he’s someone that everyone has great confidence in. Vance has made great strides this offseason too. Just being comfortable in the offense, knowing what he’s doing and making plays.”