• 49er's Rookie Camp: Option Option?


    In a post practice interview Colin Kaepernick mentioned he was tutoring rookie RB LaMichael James on the playbook. He said they had an "option bond" from college. That prompted Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat to wonder if the 49'ers might include some option packages for Kaepernick and James this year.

    As everyone knows, the 49er's offense was dreadful on 3rd down (30th) and in the red zone (31st) last year. Looking at Cam Newton's success in both areas makes you wonder if this idea could work in key situations. Ron Jaworski said of the read option “The read option in the red zone is an added dimension that (Cam) Newton brings. His speed is a decisive factor. One element I’ve always talked about discussing Aaron Rodgers is the ability on third down to defeat the man coverage by running. Newton gives you that same quality. That’s a real problem for a defense. It limits their coverage concepts.” Kaepernick and James are quite a bit faster than Cam and DeAngelo.

    I'm not sure this idea would work unless Kaepernick demonstrates he can be effective from the pocket. If an NFL defense knows the read option is coming I think they can stop it. Cam has been successful with it because he is on the field for every play and completes a decent amount of standard dropback passes. Defenses knew the read-option was coming but not necessarily when. Using Kaepernick in only a read-option role would work a few times but eventually go the way the Wildcat did in Miami. However, if the 49er's offense continues to be horrible on 3rd down and in the red zone it might be a wrinkle worth exploring.

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I think you are looking at 2013-2014 with a pretty clear eye.
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      Alex Smith had a good year but he's in the 2011 Sanchez-E. Manning-Flacco sector where he has to prove himself and then some. It's set at the right tempo, too. Those other cats went to playoffs games and won but not Smith until the 2011 season. He's got to make this year the year or SF could bench him again like that MNF game back a ways. Don't put off for tomorrow---
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Alex Smith was a #1 draft pick who finally became average in his 7th season. He's an adequate placeholder but he isn't the future of the franchise.

      The 49er's need to find out if Kaepernick can be the future in 2012. Using a few plays here and there during the season might help answer that. If CK7 isn't the QBotF they need to go back to the draft and try again.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      I know I've said this before (more than once), but I think it's worth repeating with visual aides. Kaepernick can fly in the open field, but he isn't slippery. He really doesn't have much wiggle. He's a threat to score every time he touches the ball, as long as there's no one directly in front of him. Any significant change of direction slow him down dramatically. You'll see in this video that every time he tries to juke, he gets tackled.



      That's not to say this plan is doomed to failure. LeMichael James is slippery. And Kaepernick is obviously very experienced at running the option. The problem with highlight tapes is that they are just that, highlights, Kaepernick's highlights to be exact. We don't know how often he pitches the ball or how often he gets caught in the backfield. Maybe he only keeps it when he sees that daylight and knows he has 7+ yards.

      In James and Kaepernick you have two speed players. Neither of these guys is going to break a tackle, though James will make some people miss. Is that really what you're looking for on 3rd down/goal line? This guys are more likely to get you 40 yards on 3rd and 12 than 2 yards on 3rd and 1. The option may have it's place in SF, but that might be more of a change of pace than in short yardage.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by msclemons View Post
      Alex Smith was a #1 draft pick who finally became average in his 7th season. He's an adequate placeholder but he isn't the future of the franchise.

      The 49er's need to find out if Kaepernick can be the future in 2012. Using a few plays here and there during the season might help answer that. If CK7 isn't the QBotF they need to go back to the draft and try again.
      At least you stopped calling him Capernicus.
    1. xmenehune's Avatar
      I guess from watching years of WAC football, UNR runs the 'pistol' and perhaps that is what SF wants to do, but I think the QB needs to be an everydown QB, not situational, it may work for a few games, but I believe D's will be prep'd within a few games if it's situational