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Colin Kaepernick Masters the 49ers Playbook

Posted Jul 31, 2014

When Jim Harbaugh was asked about Blaine Gabbert’s development, the 49ers coach praised Kaepernick’s knowledge of the offensive system.


Colin Kaepernick is like your iPhone 5.

Only the San Francisco 49ers quarterback will correctly change play calls – not text messages.

The comparison is not ours. It was made by Jim Harbaugh at his Wednesday press conference.

When the 49ers coach was asked about Blaine Gabbert’s development in his first season with the team, Harbaugh went out of his way to praise Kaepernick’s knowledge of the system.

“Really, really good,” Harbaugh said of Gabbert. “He’s showing all the signs of developing quite rapidly and executing very well, sharp in all mental facets, in terms of knowing all the plays, and he’s come along.”

Harbaugh then heaped praise on his starter, who was drafted 26 spots behind Gabbert in 2011.

“Colin is farther ahead by an amount where I would say it like this,” the coach began, “Blaine is very smart and he knows the plays, he already has picked up many of the nuances. But Kap’s at a different level. Where Colin’s at a level of the highest level where he can auto correct.”

The texting metaphor was put in a true football context by Harbaugh.

“If a coach makes a mistake, its wrong in the script, the play is called into him wrong, (Kaepernick) just auto corrects it and doesn’t ask, ‘Hey, is that right or is that wrong?’”

Harbaugh gave his quarterback the ultimate compliment when discussing his knowledge of the offense.

“It’s at the highest level,” Harbaugh said. “You just have never seen it, in my experience, like the way he does it right now. It’s great with a ‘Capital G.’"

Gabbert has been with the 49ers for four months; Kaepernick is on his fourth season with the team.

“Blaine’s coming along,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always said, six months later you’re going to be very far along in this system but not as far along as you will be after a year, and after two years you’ll most likely be an expert in this system. That’s it. Those are the differences right now.”

Harbaugh also said Kaepernick gets the “greater share” of practice reps based on the coach’s feel for on-field sessions. The 49ers coach wants all of his passers to get work each day.

There’s no percentage of how the quarterback reps are divvied between the team’s four signal-callers.

“I just have a plan, and I have a feel,” Harbaugh said. “I know what I want Blaine to get, I know what I want Colin to get, I know what I want the other two quarterbacks, to make sure they’re getting what they need as well. Also, what they’re good at. It’s a plan and a feel.”