That’s an assessment made by Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers head coach shared his feelings on his second-year quarterback on Tuesday, two days removed from losing Super Bowl XLVII to the Baltimore Ravens.
Kaepernick led the 49ers as far as the 5-yard line in need of a touchdown, but was unable to find
The Ravens were lined up in a cover-0 alignment and sent more rushers than the 49ers had in protection.
“We didn’t have a play for that so I audibled to a fade to Crab,” Kaepernick said of his fourth-down decision.
Looking back, Kaepernick said he’d attack that same matchup.
“I’ll take Crab one-on-one with anybody,” the 49ers quarterback said.
In spite of the franchise’s first loss in six Super Bowl appearances, Harbaugh, a 15-year veteran quarterback, praised his own signal-caller for his demeanor in the face of adversity.
“He showed a lot of poise a lot of leadership throughout the entire game,” the 49ers coach said in his end of the season press conference. “You can’t say enough really. With Colin, it’s always just appropriate. He’s got the appropriate amount of competitive fire when you need competitive fire. He’s got the appropriate amount of happy and joy when it’s the right time to have that. He plays the game, you just really feel him playing the game.”
Harbaugh recognizes that demeanor because he exhibited much of the same characteristics in his NFL playing career.
“He’s upset when it’s the right time to be upset and he does that with his own personality,” Harbaugh continued. “I really believe that’s how people should play the game. It’s genuine and it’s honest of a guy who’s out there playing the game and competing.”
Despite having the third-fewest starts for a quarterback making his Super Bowl debut, Kaepernick completed 16 of 28 passes for 302 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The second-year player posted a quarterback rating of 91.7, plus rushed seven times for 62 yards and a 15-yard touchdown, the longest by a quarterback in Super Bowl history.
“He was fantastic in this game,” Harbaugh said. “He was fantastic the entire season… The stage was not too big for him. He competed at the highest level.”
Asked about how long he’ll think about the four-down sequence that saw the 49ers come up short of reaching the end zone trailing by five points, Kaepernick paused, looked up and said, “For the rest of my life.”
Kaepernick’s 10th start took place in a Super Bowl, yet he was prepared to lead the team to a sixth championship.
The only turnover he made was an overthrow to
“The ball was thrown too high on that particular throw,” Harbaugh said point-blank. “It wasn’t catchable. I think that’s one Colin would like to have back.”
The 49ers quarterback agreed.
“Overthrew Randy,” he said. “I overthrew him, that’s my fault.”
Now that the 2012 season has come to an end, Kaepernick said he plans on going about his business the same way to get back to another Super Bowl.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work like it did last year,” he said. “We need to do a little bit more, make sure we win.”
To Kaepernick, playing in a Super Bowl was memorable, but not good enough.
“It’s good to get the experience; we should have won that game regardless though.”
If anything, the bitterness of defeat in the final game of the NFL season is enough to push the hard-working quarterback to even bigger and better things.
He’s going to approach his job the same way he did when the season began and he was No. 2 on the depth chart.
“I don’t see it as being any different,” the 49ers starting quarterback said. “I’m going to come in work the same way I have.”
For now, watching teammates go separate ways is all the quarterback can think about. It’s hard to see.
“It’s tough,” Kaepernick admitted. “We’ve been through a lot together, we’re here with each other all the time, it’s like leaving your family.”
Kaepernick said he plans on working out in Atlanta where he trained before the 2011 NFL Draft. Oh, and he plans on bringing in his wide receivers to work out together.
How appropriate of him to do.