The defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers will open training camp at the end of the month. But before the pads come on and the competition for 53 coveted roster spots begin, 49ers.com will preview the storylines to track for each position group on the team. San Francisco's quarterbacks come into focus next in our "49ers Camp Preview" series. OVERVIEW
The youngest quarterback to start a postseason game in 49ers history has garnered significant attention this offseason. Colin Kaepernick, 10 starts deep into his NFL career, is one of the most publicized players in the NFL based on his headline-grabbing introduction into the 49ers starting lineup. Kaepernick took over San Francisco's starting duties 10 weeks into his second season and never looked back. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound passer won four of his first five starts and proved to be an elite, dual-threat talent at the position. After passing for 1,814 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions in the regular season, the 25-year-old raised his game even more in the postseason.
Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards in his first postseason start, setting the NFL's single-game quarterback rushing record in the process. The young signal-caller picked up a come from behind road win over the Atlanta Falcons to win San Francisco's sixth NFC Championship and had the 49ers a few plays away from winning Super Bowl XLVII. Nonetheless, Kaepernick put his name and his game on the map with rifled throws and blazing running speed. Kaepernick posted a 100.9 quarterback rating in the postseason and produced seven touchdowns (four passing, three rushing) in three playoff games.
The emerging leader has been a constant worker at team headquarters. Kaepernick has been praised by veteran teammates for his work ethic. According to the 49ers coaching staff, Kaepernick improved in a number of areas of his game. As San Francisco's unquestioned starter entering his third season, all eyeballs will be on Kaepernick when training camp rolls around. No matter, the confident quarterback likes it that way. DEPTH
RETURNERS: Colin Kaepernick (third season) and Scott Tolzien (third season). NEWCOMERS: Colt McCoy, (fourth season, acquired via trade) and B.J. Daniels (seventh-round pick, South Florida).
Kaepernick's presence atop the depth chart is set, but the spots behind the 49ers athletic quarterback will be determined based on performance in training camp and preseason games. The 49ers acquired McCoy from the Cleveland Browns prior to the 2013 NFL Draft and have been pleased with the offseason performance of the fourth-year passer who has made 21 career NFL starts. McCoy is learning his fourth playbook in four seasons, but still managed to complete several downfield passes in San Francisco's Organized Team Activities and mandatory minicamp. McCoy will face competition from Tolzien and Daniels, two intriguing prospects who have much to offer. Tolzien's strengths center on his accuracy and cerebral play. Daniels, on the other hand, provides athleticism and play-making ability at the position, much like Kaepernick.
Kaepernick averaged 10.6 yards per carry in the 2012 postseason.
"I'd just say everything. His approach, his expectations, his understanding of everything. Certainly everybody's got something to work on, if not multiple things, but he's light years ahead of where he was last year."
-Offensive coordinator Greg Roman gave this response when asked where Kaepernick made the biggest strides in the offseason.