Hall of Fame QB John Elway: 'I've Always Liked Colin Kaepernick'

DENVER -- If there's a man who knows a thing or two about good quarterback play, it's John Elway.

The Denver Broncos general manager and executive vice president of football operations met with the media on Thursday following the final joint practice between the Broncos and San Francisco 49ers.

Among the number of topics the Hall-of-Fame quarterback covered was 49ers signal-caller Colin Kaepernick. The man with 51,475 career passing yards and 333 total touchdowns had many complimentary things to say about San Francisco's fifth-year quarterback after watching him for the past two days.

"I've always liked Colin," said Elway, who went to nine Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls as a player with the Broncos. "I think he's very athletic, and he's a guy that can make a lot of big plays. He's doing more within the pocket, which I think will continue to help him. He's a great athlete, and he's got that big-play ability to avoid things and make things happen."

Elway wasn't the only member of the Broncos staff who was impressed by Kaepernick's continued progression as an NFL quarterback. Head coach Gary Kubiak, who spent all day Wednesday watching his offense, spent Thursday's practice watching Kaepernick operate against his defense. 

"He's got a big-time arm," Kubiak said. "He can make every throw, and then when you cover people up he goes and makes plays. He's obviously a special player, and to have a good team in this league, you better have a special player at that position."

Aside from his rocket arm, it's well documented that few, if any, quarterbacks in the NFL can match with Kaepernick's speed. In fact, Kaepernick's 1,576 rushing yards through his first four seasons are nearly half of Elway's 16-year career total of 3,407.

Bronco's defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said that's a part of the quarterback's game that they saw previews of in the practice.

As a coach who got to see Michael Vick in his prime with the Atlanta Falcons, Phillips knows the value of having a mobile quarterback who can beat you with his legs.

"You can't help but notice his speed," Phillips said. "The guy is a real athlete. You don't find many quarterbacks (like him). … A quarterback that can run like that can hurt you at any time. He's an impressive guy."

The kind words didn't just come from the Broncos coaching staff and front office, but also from those standing opposite him on the defensive side of the football. Linebacker Von Miller is one of the league's top pass rushers and is coming off a 2014 campaign in which he recorded 14 sacks.

Miller said that the quarterback's tireless work during the offseason is paying dividends on the field.

"He looked great," Miller said. "He looked great at practice. I know Colin, and I know he's been working real tough. He's been grinding this offseason, and you can tell. He looked poised out there. He looked like a leader. It looked like he had good command of the offense. It was typical Colin. He made some great passes. He didn't really scramble on us today, but he looked pretty good out there."

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