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Putting Colin Kaepernick under center seems to improve 49ers passing game

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The San Francisco 49ers passing game has seen a resurgence the last two weeks. It does not seem like a coincidence that it coincides with the increased amount of Colin Kaepernick operating under center, instead of in the shotgun.

The San Francisco 49ers have put together offensive performances the last two weeks that show some semblance of improvement. After career-worst performances in Weeks 3 and 4, Colin Kaepernick made some solid plays against the Giants in Week 5, and took a bigger step forward in Week 6. Against the Ravens, he threw for the third most yards in his career, and had the fourth highest passer rating of his career.

One reason for the improved performances has to factor in the level of defense he faced. James pointed it out this morning, but to further emphasize it, the Ravens and Giants secondaries are not good. If he shows improvement against the Seattle Seahawks, that will be great, but for now, he has two strong statistical games against two really bad defenses.

David Neumann will have more specific film breakdown, but the second reason for his improved performance likely has to do with the change to playing more under center. According to Pro Football Focus, Kap was under center 12.1 percent of his snaps from Week 1 to Week 4. In Week 5, he was under center 60.3 percent of the time. In Week 6, he was under center 80 percent of the time.

Joe Staley was asked about it following Sunday's game. He said getting Kap under center instead of in the shotgun helps with his timing and tempo. He thinks it allows Kap to play quickly, and get the ball out of his hands a bit quicker.

Matt Maiocco discussed it on Monday, and had an interesting comment. He talked about how Joe Montana and Steve Young used to prefer playing under center because of the ability to eye the defense. When taking a shotgun snap, they had to drop their eyes off the defense. When taking the under-center snap, they could keep their eyes on the defense the entire time. Even without having played or coached the game, I can say that makes a certain amount of sense. Even if you have a great chemistry with the center, it seems likely a player is inherently likely to look down at the ball for a shotgun snap.

There are a lot of issues in play for Kap's mini-resurgence. The key now will be carrying it over against a slightly more notable Seattle Seahawks secondary. The Seahawks defense has not been anywhere near the level it was the last couple years, but they are also not rolling out Shareece Wright on Thursday. If Kap struggles against the Seahawks, criticisms will return. If he has even a decent game against the Seahawks, we can take this discussion to a new level.