Colin Kaepernick was in good spirits on Tuesday.
The starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers broke down what worked in a Week 6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, what he thinks about Thursday's rivalry game against the Seattle Seahawks, and he even offered some humor.
With Jerome Simpson returning to practice this week on a roster exemption, Kaepernick was asked how the athletic receiver has looked so far in his return.
"Well," Kaepernick began, "we've had two walkthroughs so far. He's looked really good in the walkthroughs, and he's had a really good walking pace."
Kaepernick's lighthearted response was a fitting indication of where things stand with the 49ers quarterback after consecutive strong performances. On Sunday, he threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, which earned him a FedEx Air Player of the Week nomination.
Let's examine more of Kaepernick's comments to the media and what they mean in this post.
1. Division games equal major opportunity
Is there any lingering conversation about how last year's Thursday night game with Seattle ended? (It involved a turkey feast at the 50-yard line). Kaepernick was asked the celebration is being used as motivation or if it's just media hype.
"That's y'all doing what you do," the 49ers quarterback said.
The truth of the matter is that Thursday's game is all that matters. Both teams are 2-4 on the year and 1.5 games back of the final Wild Card spot held by the Minnesota Vikings. The winning team would also even its divisional record.
The opportunity to gain ground in the NFC West was not lost on Kaepernick.
"It's a huge opportunity for us," he said. "Like you said, to get back to 1-1 in our division, to give us an opportunity to get to 3-4 overall and start stacking wins together."
2. Torrey Smith gives SF new wrinkle vs. Seattle What's the biggest difference for the 49ers this year as opposed to previous games against the Seahawks?
Perhaps it's the downfield threat San Francisco signed in free agency. Smith burned his former teammates for a career-long, 76-yard touchdown last week. Smith's presence has changed how the 49ers are defended on a weekly basis, according to Kaepernick.
"We have gotten deeper safeties this year in a lot of our coverages," the signal-caller said. "And I think that's happening because of Torrey. Torrey has a great ability to go over the top of defenses. It showed up this past Sunday and it helped us win this game."
Seattle has the fifth-best pass defense in the NFL, allowing 220 yards per game. The Seahawks have ranked first in the NFL in pass defense over the past two years.
3. Previous matchups have no bearing on Thursday Kaepernick's 1-4 regular-season record as a starter against the Seahawks is not something that is creeping into the quarterback's mind this week.
"They're a good defense," Kaepernick said. "I'm not going to take credit away from them and what they've been able to do. I do have to go out, (and) I have to perform better."
Seattle enters this meeting with a first-year defensive coordinator in Kris Richard. Kaepernick has noticed subtle changes from previous seasons on tape.
"They have a few new wrinkles, but overall they're the same defense," the quarterback said. "(They are) a single-high defense that plays hard. They play fast. They know what they're doing. Very physical."
Kaepernick took accountability for his history with the Seahawks the same way he did after uncharacteristic outings in Weeks 3 and 4 of this season. Kaepernick has since thrown for 635 passing yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and led three, fourth-quarter scoring drives to go with a 118.7 passer rating.
Kaepernick's confident demeanor is something that has continued to be applauded by coaches and players alike.
He also said he's not putting on added pressure on himself to make up for the previous mistakes he's committed against Seattle.
"It's not a personal goal to do better against this defense, but the personal goal is to win," Kaepernick said. "That's all this team's worried about. That's all that I'm worried about."
4. How the 49ers can attack Seattle
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen caught a game-winning touchdown last week to beat the Seahawks. Tight ends making big plays against Seattle has been a trend as of late. Opposing tight ends have totaled 36 receptions for 479 yards and five scores so far this season versus the Seahawks.
When the topic was relayed to Kaepernick, the quarterback downplayed the potential storyline.
"There's holes in every defense," Kaepernick said. "There's opportunities against every defense. We have to be able to find those and be able to exploit those."
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who has no interceptions and three pass breakups in 2015, was also brought up to Kaepernick. Despite Sherman's lack of statistical production, the 49ers passer was not about to discredit Sherman's ability to make game-changing plays.
"He's a great player," the quarterback said of Sherman. "He does a lot of things well. I wouldn't say there's been a change in his game. He's been out there doing what he's done and he's done a great job at it."
5. Being under center has helped the offense
Kaepernick's pre-snap positioning has been a topic of discussion in recent weeks. Whether he's in a shotgun formation or under center, the way Kaepernick starts a play is discussed almost as much as how he executes any given play call.
Kaepernick's recent performances saw the 26-year-old predominantly under center.
"It's helped this offense," Kaepernick said. "It's part of a game plan that we've done the last couple weeks. And depending on what (offensive coordinator) Geep (Chryst) wants to do, we'll either be under center or in the gun depending on what he feels is most advantageous."
6. Quinton Patton and Vernon Davis are players to watch Patton is coming off his first-career touchdown grab last week. Davis played on a limited snap count after missing two games with a knee injury. Both pass-catchers could have greater roles against Seattle. With Anquan Boldin nursing a hamstring injury in a shortened week, Patton could be counted on if Simpson isn't added to the 53-man roster before kickoff.
"I've always had a good relationship with him, a good feel for him as a route-runner," Kaepernick said of Patton. "He plays very fast. He's very fearless when he's on the field and someone that I feel can be very reliable for us."
As for Davis, who did not catch a pass against Baltimore, Kaepernick said there will more opportunities to get the veteran tight end invovled on offense.
"He's been out there moving well," Kaepernick said. "It looks like he's ready to play. So very fortunate to have him back and excited to have the contributions from him."
7. Kaepernick remains friends with a former 49ers WR who plays for Seattle Ricardo Lockette was released by the 49ers prior to the 2013 season. He's since moved on to play for Seattle. You may know him from the final play of last year's Super Bowl. Kaepernick has maintained a friendship with the wideout, who has been a key special teams performer for the Seahawks. Lockette also caught a 40-yard touchdown pass last week from Russell Wilson.
Kaepernick was asked if there were any hard feelings about seeing Lockette have success in another city, especially for a rival.
"I'm happy for him having success wherever he's at," Kaepernick said. "I'm not rooting against him because he's in Seattle. That's my friend. I have a lot of friends on Seattle's team. I don't wish them any ill-will because of that."