San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently wrapped up a ten-week training sessions with quarterbacks coaches Dennis Gile and Mike Giovando. Bay Area media has had a chance to talk with Gile in recent days, and 95.7 The Game had the most extensive interview thus far. You can listen to the interview HERE, and I have transcribed it below.
John Lund and Greg Papa spoke with Gile on Tuesday, and Gile discussed some of the bio-mechanics Kap worked on in Arizona. He briefly touched on the classroom work, but the most notable comments related to mechanics. It is an interesting interview for a couple reasons. Gile is rather effusive in his praise of Kap, and early on we get the most interesting comment. Gile said people will be surprised when they see Kap, and that we will see a "totally different throwing motion" from what we've seen in the past.
As intriguing as that was, toward the end of the interview he sort of walked that comment back a bit. Lund and Papa asked about molding what Gile was doing with Kap, and what the 49ers coaching staff will be doing with him when the offseason workout program begins. Specifically, they asked him about communication regarding changes in mechanics. Gile seemed to say at that point it wasn't a huge change, but it is hard to tell exactly. That response is second from the end. It could very well be a matter of semantics as far as how Gile views a change in throwing motion with regard to mechanics. I'm open to suggestions about what people think he means with those comments.
What Kap worked on:
I'd say the most important thing we wanted to work on was biomechanics. Getting him to understand the position from a scientific standpoint, and saying, OK, how can I be the best mechanically I can be. Like a Tom Brady or some of these guys who are the greatest to ever play.
The one thing that's crazy about Colin Kaepernick is how coachable he is. And when I say coachable, I don't really mean, "yes, sir", "no, sir". How he can take something he has never done before in his life, what he's been doing his whole life, and instantly change it and never go back to it. And that has to do with his athletic ability, but it also has to do with how intelligent he is. He's a super-intelligent, photographic person. And I don't think a lot of people understand how super-intelligent this guy really is. To the point where the game is pretty simple to him in his mind. How that translates to the team he's playing for, the offense that he's running, would correlate from different team to different coach. But, the guy's super coachable, probably the most coachable guy I've ever worked with. And by far the most physically talented guy I've ever worked with.
So those are things that we really worked on. Obviously worked in the class room, and Kurt Warner came over with us and worked on stuff when he had time. But for the most part it was biomechanics and classroom.
On how Gile and Kap connected:
His agent called me and said that he wanted to come out here and work with me. Liked the fact that I had Kurt Warner around the corner to get his side of things as well. And obviously Kurt's time was so limited. In the ten weeks we got to train, his time was super limited, to maybe one day a week because of the Super Bowl, and family and other things at NFL Network he had going on.
His dad called me about halfway in and said that Colin had never really trusted someone like this, and that he told him that he trusted me with everything. So that was a pretty cool deal to here. Someone of his stature and the point that he's at in his career, where he's at. He didn't have to do that, but he wants to become one of the greatest to ever play the game. And he doesn't ever really tell you that, he just proves it to you. He's always the first one to show up at the workouts in the morning. He's always the last one to leave. He's always trying to get better in every aspect of football, whether that's throwing, classroom work, some other stuff that we've got down here. They sought me out, and it ended up being a great relationship for us.
On biomechanics and if they tightened up his throwing motion even more:
I think everyone's going to be super surprised when they see him. I don't really want to get into specifically like I said, exactly what we changed. But everyone's going to see a totally different throwing motion from what they've seen out of Colin Kaepernick in the past.
On developing the short passing game and touch:
I think his firm with the arc ball, his touch ball, the deep ball are things that people are really going to notice, like, "hey, he just threw that ball over the linebacker, got it up and down with enough touch to get over him, but yet it never sailed on him to get to the safety." He mastered a lot of that stuff in a ten week period of time, which was pretty incredible, and obviously that was a strong point that we were looking at. Hey, let's get you touch when you need touch, and let you throw it through someone's chest if you absolutely have to to fit into a window.
I think that was his biggest challenge while watching his film, was the touch balls. Even though he didn't have a lot of challenges, I thought that he excelled in that area tremendously.
On the Nerf ball:
That was a misunderstanding. We did not ever use a Nerf ball. But we did various different drills, drops on and off platforms, to help him get to where he felt comfortable with just basically using the stuff that he needed to to get it up and down. He has it. He's mastered this craft we've worked with very fast, and he's gonna seek to keep that going, which is unbelievable. It says a lot about the guy's character, and who he wants to become. And obviously, he wants to become the greatest, one of the greatest of all time. And in my humble opinion, he has the ability to do that both physically and mentally.
On simulating when first read isn't there, have to re-set and change launch point:
I think what Colin did before was, and that was one of his other challenges, he played with a really narrow base, which makes it hard for anybody to go through their progression, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, whatever it may be, it makes it hard. So when you get a base it makes it a lot easier, so your feet are outside of your shoulders, all your cleats are in the ground, you're able to tie your eyes to your feet and move through those reads. I don't think, there's a lot more that goes into what happened in the past, which I will never get into, because it's not for me to say. And there's a lot that people don't understand about what happened in the past. I think a lot of that will change now, and hopefully he can show people how good he really can be.
On whether he has quick feet in the pocket:
Yea, really quick. So, Tyrod Taylor, who is a good buddy of his, and is also super athletic, he trains with him. He came down here and they push each other on their footwork. We worked on footwork every single day before and during the workouts. So, their footwork is not going to get much faster than what they do. At times they need to slow down if that does anything. They got enough quickness with their feet to get away from anything, and to do anything they want. It's just, being able to put it together from head to toe and the understanding of what we're trying to get them to do, while doing that. And it took him two or three days to get that down mentally. So he understands it, and it's totally different because he's never had a quarterback coach before, so he's always just based his game off of how athletic he was, and his arm strength and stuff like that. And I did that too until I started learning from some of the greatest to ever teach and play the game. So it's a totally different feeling. What I told Colin is that in the pocket I want him to be Tom Brady. And when he's not in the pocket, I want him to be himself. And I mean that from a standpoint where he doesn't have to feel like he has to get out and run unless he absolutely has to. And the reason I use Tom is because I think he's the best biomechanical quarterback of all time. In hindsight, it makes him maybe the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, and one of the reasons is he is also mechanically sound in what he does.
On the film room and what Kurt helped with:
Well, Kurt, like I said, helped when he could. It was limited at times, but he gave Colin a lot of good tools to work with when it comes to watching film or looking at plays. The one thing that Kurt and I really tried to touch base on was, you want to have plays that can beat any type of coverage. You don't ever want to go into a situation where you say, let's just beat Cover 2 or Tampa in this situation. Let's go into a play thinking, well this play, no matter what will beat any coverage. Now it's just a matter of me finding the guy, me having a post-snap look saying it is Cover 3, it is Cover 4, it is Tampa, or it is 1 or 0, and saying OK, well on this play I know on 1 I this guy will be open, so I can take my eyes from 1 and get off him because it's 0 and I can get back to this guy.
That's the one thing we tried to help him out with, to figure out what situation are you in, and how can you get yourself out of it. And Colin, like I said, blew me away, the part that blew me away the most with Colin was how intelligent he really is, and how photographic his memory really is. People say, he can't read the field, he's not smart enough, this and that. And, they're mistaken. He's very intelligent, he gets it, like I said, he has a very photographic memory, so his pre- and post-snap look, it's very decisive at times, it's just everything has to match up to where all 11 guys and coaches are on the same page. I'm not saying that they weren't, I'm just saying that watching film, you don't know what's really going on unless you're there and understand the play-calling and you know what's going on.
Like I said, I think he did a great job. And is he perfect? By no means, he can get better. Everyone can get better. But I think he's a lot more intelligent than most everyone gives him credit for.
On watching film other quarterbacks:
We mostly watched film of him. We did watch some other stuff, but we wanted to pay attention to what he was doing because basically that's what's most important. But yea, we watched some film of what other teams and guys did, but not as much as watched of him. The thing we really wanted to get was the 49ers playbook, but Geep getting hired as offensive coordinator now, they're not all the way done with it. So, hopefully before the season starts, if there's anything we can help him out with on that aspect of it and they get the playbook, we'll do that. But not having their new playbook yet, we weren't able to do a lot with what they're going to do, but we went over everything they used to do. Hopefully that helped him out, and he said it did. But like I said, the kid is really smart, and he's going to master it, and he's not going to stop himself until he does. And that's what I've seen out of him over the last ten weeks.
On molding their stuff with 49ers offensive philosophy and plans:
I don't think that, it doesn't matter what playbook you run or what offense you run, if you have true bio-mechanics, it's going to fit into any system that you run, as long as you're throwing the ball and it's not just a zone-read system. I don't think that we'll be far off from what they're trying to do mechanically. He'll be able to make all the throws, and that's the good thing about bio-mechanics is that you can make every single throw. It doesn't matter what you're doing, it doesn't matter how you're doing it, it doesn't matter if you're underneath center or in shotgun. It doesn't matter if you're rolling out, or if you're setting up on a half-roll. It covers the bases of every type of throw you're going to make on and off platform. And I think that's what we try and focus on the most, is say, OK, I don't care what situation you're in, we're going to put you in the best situation to throw this ball the most accurate with the most timing. And the thing that we really wanted to touch base with on Colin is that we wanted him to be more consistent, more efficient. And if he did that he would be very dangerous. Even though he's already dangerous, it would make him just more dangerous. The more consistent and efficient he can be at that position, obviously the more games you can win and put your team in the best situations
On communication on changing mechanics:
I wouldn't say we changed, I'm gonna let Colin tell you about all that, and let him see, we just tried to work on the things that we know from that standpoint, from sports science, from Brady, from Belichick or the people that were, that I've learned from and be taught from. Obviously working with Trent Dilfer, him being one of my mentors, all these different people and all these things we've come up with on the proper way to do things, are the things we try to emphasize to him. And some of the stuff he already did, and some of the stuff he had challenges with. But like I said, nothing's really a challenge to him. He conquers stuff really fast. I wouldn't say we changed a whole lot, or we did or we didn't. I want to let him answer that for you guys. I know he'll be back in town soon, and he can hopefully answer that for you. And if not, you'll see it sooner than later and it'll kind of speak for itself. I just don't ever want to get into one of these conversations, because it's not about me, it's about the players. And second of all, they ask me to keep things confidential at times, and let them speak of it themselves. And I'm always going to respect my athletes.
On confidence Kap will take this groundwork into games in the fall and not revert:
I'm pretty confident in that. And I don't think that our work together is over, so any way that I can keep working with him in the near future, and with the coaching staff, if they want my opinion or anything. I think that it's not going to go away because he is going to be constantly reminded of it on a daily basis, however that works out. i'm confident with someone like him, he's so coachable and he's so athletic that he can change things at the drop of a dime. He can self-correct so fast. It's to the point where now he can feel something as soon as he releases it, "Oh man, I did this", or "Oh man, I did that." I don't want to get into specifics, but he can feel it and he can change it. It's almost to the point where halfway through he was coaching himself before I could even say anything to him. And so, I truly believe that he is going to be able to do it when bullets are flying, or when he is about to get blasted or has no one in front of him. That's how highly I think of Colin Kaepernick, and that's my humble opinion. It might not be someone else's, but from what I've seen, I think he's going to do tremendous.