The 49ers welcome back Colin Kaepernick to the starting lineup, and so we get to see if the offense can do anything different with a new quarterback handling the offense. Wide receiver Torrey Smith has been virtually a non-factor in the 49ers offense through five weeks. He chatted with the media on Tuesday following the team’s first practice with Colin Kaepernick getting the bulk of first team reps. He stayed fairly neutral on things, recognizing the wide receivers have to execute on their end as well.
The ball downfield consistently and accurately did you feel this could benefit you and this offense and his [49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick] ability to stretch the field?
I just go out there and play. I have confidence in whoever is out there on our side. Whether it’s Blaine, Kap, whoever. My job doesn’t change so I can’t worry about anything else.
Do you support this move?
I mean, I would have supported this move either way. Whether it’s Blaine, Kap, Christian, my little brother; whoever it is, we’re all on a team, we’re all trying to win. Obviously, you never want to see—you know what it’s like, I guess for anyone to lose your job, but we’re all on the same team and we’re all working towards the same goal.
How was Kaepernick in practice?
He did a good job today. Did a real good job today, so I think good way to start the week.
What else needs to happen for this offense to be competitive you see the change at quarterback is that the only issue?
I don’t think so. Not using the word scapegoat or anything, but it’s easy to point the finger at one person when things aren’t going right and you’re not winning. That’s on all of us. It doesn’t matter if they make the change at Kap and we’re not out there getting open and making plays or blocking. So we just gotta go out there and execute better. That’s been our issue.
Is there hope he can spark something?
That’s always the hope, whoever’s back there we can make plays. I’m excited for him to have a chance, we just got to go out there and make it happen.
After going through a 4-game losing streak. Does this look like it will give the team an emotional lift?
I wouldn’t say so. I’m still depressed. We just gotta win. Figure out a way to make it happen.
You obviously started with Kap eight games last year. Is there a difference in what you saw earlier last season to what you see now?
I think he was sharp today. I think that I can’t really judge him based on last year. You see a difference in how he was earlier this offseason. I think that’s what matters most. He took more reps today than he normally since Blaine’s been the guy. He did a good job. He’s got to keep, continue to keep building on it.
What would you say he did a good job? What is that.
We made some big plays. He was consistent. That was the biggest thing, just making the easy play.
What about his leadership qualities? He’s in the spotlight now, a supreme court justice was talking about him yesterday
I think Colin’s handled that situation better than anyone could have imagined. It hasn’t been a distraction in our locker room and it probably helped him open up to our team and our teammates better. He’s been very open to communication about that as well as football. For him to have this shot, I don’t think it’s one thing where he’s focused on one thing and not the other. He’s the quarterback, he’s going out there to win games. And I think he’s going to do a good job. I think he’s going to continue to be an advocate socially as well.
Do you think that was an issue last year that he wasn’t as open and engaging to his teammates?
I mean, I think he was alright. I think he’s better. That’s not to say he was terrible, but I think he’s definitely more open, I think he’s happier, overall. People tend to forget that‘s a big part of it, him being happy, having fun, being lose. I think he’s gonna take advantage of his opportunity.
Why do you think he’s happier?
I don’t know, you gotta ask him. He just looks happier. I can’t speak on that, he looks like he’s in a real good place.
Do you see more confidence in him?
I think you see a lot of confidence in him right now. I think he’s always been confident. If no one believes in him, he does. I think he always has that chip on his shoulder, that’s his motivation. I’m sure he felt the same way when he wasn’t named the starter, and now, I’m sure he’s looking forward to trying to prove everybody wrong, including our coaches. I’m sure that’s a challenge and a chip that he has, so again, it’s on us to go out there and make things happen.
The Bills are an opportunistic defense. What do his teammates and Kap have to do in order to have success?
We’ve got to execute. Gonna have our hands full. You know they can rush the passer, and that’s what they’re really good at. That’s the case with any Rex Ryan defense. Their secondary’s solid as well. So, we’re gonna have to take our chances when we can, but most importantly, stay ahead of the sticks and make plays, and continue drives. We can’t stall, and I think that, we’re gonna have our hands full, but we’ll be ready come this weekend.