The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the first quarter of their season at 1-3, and seemingly in an offensive tailspin. The defense rebounded from two awful performances to put together a very respectable effort against the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, a second straight week of offensive ineptitude resulted in a 17-3 defeat. You don't need the stats to know just how bad the offense looked.
And with a second straight awful performance, the chatter has begun. Not the "start Blaine Gabbert" chatter, but rather, the "Kap's contract is easy for the 49ers to get out of" chatter. People are talking about Gabbert, but thankfully I think most folks are looking at the bigger picture. Jim Tomsula said the team is not considering a QB change right now, and if they did swap in Gabbert, that would essentially be giving up on the season.
Rather, the discussing has quickly swung to the lowest of low-hanging fruit: Colin Kaepernick's contract. We've had plenty of discussion about it, and now the national media is chiming in on the potential to get out of the deal.
There have been two particularly good articles from local media that are worth reading amidst the turmoil. On Sunday evening, Steve Berman (BASG) wrote an article titled "The 49ers ruined Colin Kaepernick". On Monday, Tim Kawakami wrote a similar style of article, laying much of the blame on Jed York's decision-making.
I highly recommend reading both of those articles, because they raise important points. Some folks have always thought Kap was an awful quarterback, others thought the sky was the limit, and others were in the middle. Prior to the last two weeks, I viewed him as a quarterback who with the right offensive line, ground game and defense could get a team to the promise land. He is not a guy who wil carry the team on his own on a consistent basis. And that should not be viewed as a slight. Troy Aikman essentially turned that into a Hall of Fame career.
However, after watching the last two weeks, I agree whole-heartedly with BASG and TK's assessments on this. The offense struggled last season, and so the team promoted the QB coach to OC, and brought in a QB coach who had spent the last couple years working in radio. Not exactly a recipe for success.
Kawakami brought up a good point about Kap being stretched in different directions by what kind of QB the team wanted him to be. And he was in a unique position given that few quarterbacks have the legs and arm of Kap. But in looking back at everything that has gone down, the team did not put him in a position to succeed. He does not escape blame in this at all, but if Jed York wants to be held "accountable" when the team does not win Super Bowls, then the criticism should begin with him.
York and Trent Baalke thought they knew how to get the offense on track after a poor 2014. Instead, they have seemingly pushed this offense back into the stone ages of the Mike Singletary era. Sure, they're not the OC, but they're the ones responsible for the people currently in place. Whether it be the awful right side of the offensive line, or the decision to run a handoff to Reggie Bush on 3rd and 11, the buck eventually stops with them, and York in particular.
Where this team goes at this point, I have no clue. Will Colin Kaepernick be with the 49ers in 2016? The more this goes on, the less likely it seems. He is due to have a cap figure of $16,765,753 in 2016, with the number going up in subsequent years. Considering how this organization has handled him over the last year or so, would it surprise anybody to see them cut him loose before the April 1, 2016 deadline?
It's really quite amazing how quickly this whole thing has fallen apart. Strong work from Jed York and Trent Baalke. We are only four games into this season, but I don't see how anybody can have optimism about this offense turning around. Strong work indeed.