The big news coming out of 49er-land (non-head coaching search division) is the fact that Colin Kaepernick is going to change up his typical offseason routine. Whereas last year he spent the offseason in Florida working on athletic exercises in general, this year he will be in Arizona working on the more technical aspects of the QB position. This recent news is accompanied by the fact that he will be working with Kurt Warner on a regular basis in addition to Steve Young and Trent Dilfer on occasion. Not a bad list of guys, particularly since they have all had some insightful comments about Colin's play over the last couple of seasons.
I think this is a great move on Kaepernick's behalf. He had a rough season this last year and a large part of that had to do with a lack of pocket awareness and accurate throwing. Am I simplifying a bit? Well, I hope not, because that would mean less to fix, but in reality I think it's safe to say that Kaepernick has a few things to work on this offseason.
This all begs a question, though? How much more can Kaepernick develop as a QB. He's been in the league for a few years now, and he has always been just a touch older than some of the other QBs in his draft class. Has his growth plateaued? Is Colin the QB that he will always be, more or less?
First off, I don't think it's outrageous to ask this question. For a lot of players, this is pretty normal, in fact. A lot of players are who they are and won't change much. Additionally, Kapernick's problems have been fairly consistent during his tenure as a QB - and now those problems are compounded by the fact that there is a lot of tape on him. Teams have started to play him in a way that is represses his strengths and highlights his weaknesses. Any adjustments he has to make comes when the team is already working toward his failure. He's playing against a stacked deck, so to speak.
I do think he has some room to grow, however. I think he can improve and this offseason might afford him the opportunity to do so. First off, he's still pretty young. Yes, he's been in the league for a few years, and yes, he didn't play in a pro-style offense in college (which might be the biggest problem, actually), but I think he's still new enough to the league that he could be more consistent.
But the main reason why I think Colin can improve has to do with the nature of the QB position. It's incredibly difficult and requires an immense amount of mental strength in addition to the physical aspects. The mental components can be learned. Don't get me wrong - this is incredibly difficult to do and the vast majority of QBs (even NFL QBs) don't ever reach a high level. But, the possibility is there. If Peyton Manning is proving anything, it's that somebody who might qualify for a handicap parking placard might be able to play QB if he can read defense and master an offense.
So, what do you all think? Can Colin continue to progress at a rapid rate? A slow rate? Or, has he plateaued? Is the Kaepernick we saw this last season the Kaepernick that we will see for the rest of his career?