The San Francisco 49ers offense is struggling to get on track, with Colin Kaepernick and the offensive line both having forgettable seasons. Both have had some success at times, but have struggled more often than not, leading to a team that is dead last in the NFL in most offensive categories.
Kap's struggles are naturally bringing everybody out of the woodwork with suggestions to improve. This is going to continue as long as Kap struggles, and opinions are probably going to vary pretty widely.
The latest came from Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. He was out and about when TMZ caught up with him. You can feel free to make of that what you will, but it at least provides some spur of the moment thought, rather than pre-planned analysis.
Rice acknowledged the issues across the entire team, but then suggested Kap needs to be benched for a brief time, just to shake things up. "I am a true Kaepernick fan. 100%. I'm not saying bench him for the season, but sometimes you gotta shake things up. It could energize the team, and provide Colin the spark he needs."
At this point, if Kap finds himself benched, I honestly don't think he would come back from that with the 49ers. If Blaine Gabbert replaces him in the starting lineup, it strikes me as more of an RG3 situation. By that, I mean the team benching him so he does not get hurt and they can unload him in the offseason. Kap's 2016 salary does not become fully guaranteed until April 1, 2016. In the meantime, it is guaranteed for injury.
Kap is a big guy who can take the big hits, but there is always the concern of random fluke injuries. If the 49ers intend on releasing him this offseason, benching him actually would make sense to avoid a fluke injury that guarantees his 2016 salary. And while Blaine Gabbert does offer something different, this is a guy who was consistently one of the worst quarterbacks ever in his run in Jacksonville. Stick him behind the god-awful right side of the 49ers offensive line, and I can't imagine seeing much more from him.
Benching Kap does not strike me as using a motivational tool, so much as using a, "we need to get rid of him" in the offseason tool. I could see the 49ers trying to deal him in the offseason, and if nothing has happened by March 30, releasing him. The team has some time to make a decision, but if they do bench him, the writing would seem to be on the wall.
Our friends at Bovada released some new odds this week, and they included a prop bet on Colin Kaepernick. The query is "Will Colin Kaepernick be pulled from a game while trailing during the 2015 Regular Season (Non-injury related)?" Yes is the favorite at -250 (bet $250 to win $100), while No is listed at +175 (bet $100 to win $175).
If Kap struggles each of the next two weeks, things suddenly get really interesting heading into that bye week. The Rams are a great defense, so struggles would not be shocking. The Falcons defense is not particularly good, so if he struggles against them as well, concerns will be heightened. If he is going to get benched at some point this season, that Week 10 bye could be the point.