NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell makes regular appearances on KNBR to discuss the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. On Wednesday, following the 49ers decision to start Colin Kaepernick this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Cosell spoke with KNBR about the decision. He has had his share of critiques of Kaepernick the last couple years. He talked about the issue of his track record versus the value of a new coaching staff. Here’s a transcript of his comments, and you can find audio here.
I’m just gonna tell you, when I watched the tape of their offense last Friday morning. After we shot my matchup show, I watched that tape, because they obviously played Thursday night. And here was the last thing I typed when I had finished watching the 49ers offense. The tape tells you that Gabbert is not executing the pass offense effectively. When the coaching staff dials up route concepts that beat the defense, and your quarterback doesn’t execute, either with bad throws or not turning it loose, you have to think long and hard about making a quarterback change.
On hookup not being made on various passes:
When the coaches worked as hard as they do, and people can say what they want about coaches, whether you’re on a winning team or a losing team, coaches are putting in ridiculous hours. They’re constantly looking at tape, looking for any edge they can get based on play-calling versus a particular defense. And when they dial it up, and it works, those plays have to be executed. Because you know what? It doesn’t always work because a defense, those coaches work as well. Not every play works as designed. When it works as designed, those plays have to be executed.
On if we can think Colin Kaepernick fixed his accuracy in the past year:
Well, all you can do is go by track record, and the track record up to this point as far as that is obviously not real good. What you hope is that maybe with a new voice in his head — new coach, different offense — that he just registers it differently, takes it in internally and that he can function effectively. At this point, there's no point in saying that he can or can't do it because we don't know. All you can do is look at track record. He has a very checkered track record. He played extremely well for a number of games, his first 10 games as a [second-year player], and for a bit after that, and then all of a sudden he did not play well. So you just try to take all that information, kind of put it in the blender and see what comes out. But very often, when you change the voice in your head from a different coaching staff, things can click. We'll see if that's the case."
On not liking Kap’s fundamentals:
That’s correct, that’s true. That’s not a disputable point, that’s like a mathematical equation, like 2 and 2 is 4. Those things you just mentioned are not good. Now, here’s the kind of offense he's in with Chip — there's not a lot of deep drops, it's a short quick passing game. Ball comes out quick, short throws, some intermediate throws, they take a shot here and there. But in that style of offense the traits you absolutely need are precise accuracy, you need to throw with some pace and touch, because when you're throwing the ball at nine yards you don't throw a 100mph fastball. So those are the traits that he'll need to show to be successful within the context of this offense.
Now, the flip side of that is, do you make some adjustments in your offense to account for the style of your quarterback? Look, everyone talks about Chip Kelly and says, this is what he does. But everybody has a whole gamut of plays in their playbook. It’s just what they choose to call, and what they’re comfortable calling. Because coaches coach and call what they know, but they still have a wide playbook. So now we’ll see if Chip calls the same game, or maybe you see different things.
On if real Chip Kelly offense has arrived yet:
I mean, that’s been the most intriguing thing to me, and I certainly don’t know the answer as to why. But we’ve not seen the true tempo offense that Chip was obviously known for, and that he’s talked so much about. Because I know in Philly, whenever there were concerns and he got asked questions, now again, it’s the media and coaches can say whatever they choose to to the media, but his response was normally, we gotta increase our tempo, we have to play faster. So this is an offense where, I really took notice watching the Thursday night game, because it was a national TV game, and I could see every play, and you see the play clock. There were many, many plays in which the play clock got under 10 seconds. I mean I don’t think that happened more than ten times in Philadelphia, unless they were trying at the very end of games to just milk the clock. But that was really a surprise.