One of the more debate-inducing players in the NFL is Colin Kaepernick. Good or bad quarterback? The San Francisco 49ers have shown their belief and faith in him in the past, and adding Reggie Bush to their running back corps means they intend to make things even easier for him.
The Niners have parted ways with Frank Gore this offseason after a decade. The 49ers were always a run-first team until last season. Gore still made it past the 1000-yards mark, but Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh tried turning Kaepernick into a pocket passer despite his ability to get in the open field and chalk up some yards, maybe doing it better than anyone in the league.
One of the problems for Kaepernick isn’t his inability to make throws; he can probably make any throw in the book, long or short. The problem has been with his efficiency and consistency, something he’s been working on this offseason with quarterback coaches in Arizona, including getting some help from Kurt Warner.
Bush, unlike Gore, isn’t the kind of running back who can carry the ball 20-25 times a game. He never was. The Saints used him as a decoy and pass catcher out of the backfield. With Miami he was a feature back, and with the Lions, when he was healthy, he was a mixture of both. He’s not as fast as he can be, but he’s still hard to tackle and excellent at making defenders miss.
The 49ers have a running back who can be a workhorse – Carlos Hyde, who did well with the few touches he got last season, but just like Gore, catching passes isn’t his thing. Bush? For years he has been one of the better running back pass catchers in the NFL if not the best of them, but in order to make the most of his skills Kaepernick has to start hitting the short routes.
The 49ers will be very different next season with changes on the field and on the sidelines. Those that remain have their work cut out for them, but Kaepernick alone won’t cut it, no matter how much he improves his passing skills and accuracy. If he’s forced to do things behind a broken up offensive line and held back by a conservative offensive scheme, no good will come out of their offseason changes and his work.