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49ers Training Camp 2011: Colin Kaepernick's Cannon

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For those who haven't seen some of the earlier posts today, I was able to make it down to training camp today and view the 49ers three hour practice this afternoon. I've decided I'm going to get back a few more times over the next week and a half so I focused in on some very specific things. One of today's focal points was quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Alex Smith is expected to take over on Thursday, but in the meantime Kaepernick is getting all the first team snaps.

One area I wanted to focus in on was the windup that has brought some manner of criticism. He's a pretty big guy, which means he also has a sizable wingspan. I think part of the lengthy windup is just the nature of his extensive wingspan. On the shorter passes he seemed to be able to keep the throwing motion fairly compact. I took some pictures and will try and get those uploaded later tonight.

On the deeper routes you could see the windup. It does look a little awkward, but it does actually seem somewhat natural for him. The team focused more on running plays today due to the use of pads, but they did run a mix of short, intermediate, and modestly deep routes in the workout. Kaepernick can make a lot of great throws, but as would be expected from a rookie with a cannon for an arm (or a "hose" as Coach Harbaugh described it), he also tries to force the ball into some tight situations. He threw two interceptions that I saw, with one coming on a rollout to his right in which Keaton Kristick tipped the ball and Reggie Smith snagged the pick. Smith made the other pick as well.

I can tell you with absolute certainty what his most impressive play was today. He rolled out to his left and then throwing across his body without totally squaring up, he threw a ball 35 yards to Vernon Davis who caught it in stride right around his belly. While I am one of the more optimistic Alex Smith supporters, it's a play that few quarterbacks in this league can make. And I say that last line with absolute certainty.

The players are feeling some confidence in Kaepernick as well. Frank Gore spoke after practice and when asked about Kaepernick, Gore said he was really impressed with both his ability to make the throws and his general command in the huddle and ability to make reads. He did make sure to state Alex was the guy coming back, but he had positive comments about Kaepernick's skills.

All in all, things are looking good for Kaepernick. Practice is still just practice, but hopefully we'll see his skills translate in preseason games.