Posted August 21, 2013

Ron Jaworski: ‘Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever’

NFC West, San Francisco 49ers
Colin Kaepernick has started just seven regular-season games in two years in the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick has started just seven regular-season games in two years in the NFL. (Robert Beck/SI)

Colin Kaepernick was brilliant last season after taking over for Alex Smith, as he led the 49ers’ on their run to the NFC West title and took them to within a few yards of a Super Bowl championship.

It was impressive. It was surprising. It was enough, apparently, to convince ESPN’s Ron Jaworski that we may be witnessing all-time greatness at work.

“I truly believe Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever,” Jaworski said Wednesday on ESPN. “I love his skill set. I think the sky’s the limit.”

Jaworski has never backed down from heaping high praise on certain NFL signal callers, but nevertheless, that’s a pretty eye-popping statement. Kaepernick’s emergence was one of the big storylines of the 2012 season, as he completed 62 percent of his passes and completely transformed San Francisco’s offense. With Kaepernick at the helm, the 49ers switched to an attack that took full advantage of his running abilities via such tactics as the read-option.

Still, Kaepernick has just seven regular-season starts (and three in the playoffs) under his belt — Alex Smith was the starter before he suffered a concussion a little more than midway through last season. The bar for greatness has also already been set exceptionally high in San Francisco, thanks to quarterbacking legends Joe Montana and Steve Young.

The 25-year-old Kaepernick may have only started scratching the surface last season. Given a full offseason and preseason to work as the No. 1 QB, he might thrust himself into the mix as a Pro Bowler or All-Pro candidate in 2013.

Of course, you could argue that he’s not even the best quarterback in his division — Russell Wilson has at least a claim to that title. And the NFC also includes such A-list QBs as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Robert Griffin III, a glittering sample of the talent on display today at the game’s most important position.

Ron Jaworski believes Kaepernick can be better than all of those guys, and maybe better than any QB who has come before them.

180 comments
rightsaidfred
rightsaidfred

This very same statement could have been made about Michael Vick several years ago.  Jaws is a great one for predicting the "future" of guys who barely have had a cup of coffee in the NFL.  Hell, Matt Flynn had one good game with the Packers and he became a multimillionaire.  Maybe Kaepernick will be great but he needs a few more years under his belt.  Tom Brady (remember him?)  won 3 out of 4 Super Bowls right off the bat.  That kis greatness.

lignas
lignas

I'm a big fan of Kaepernick. I expect great things from him. Go Niners baby!

KeithBeaumont
KeithBeaumont

Why in the world would you sink to ESPN's level on this one SI? This is not news. This is not even information. This is insulting to your viewers. You've just lost any sense of journalistic integrity in my eyes.

Jeffersonldavis777
Jeffersonldavis777

The picture says it all.  He is not throwing the ball, but running it.  That will be taken away from him and he will have to rely on his arm at some point, and the dude is not that accurate.  Even cannons have to hit something to be effective.  His accuracy MAY improve, but Jaws is just guessing on that one.

comeflywithme23
comeflywithme23

it to early to put Colin Kaepernick in that category he is a good QB but going to be one of the best don't think so 

beekay31
beekay31

Jaws also gave his kiss of death to GB in his Super Bowl prediction.  Thanks, Jaws!

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

Hahahahaha... oh espn is good for a laugh.  What a joke.  I am sure Jaws would have NEVER said Montana "could be one of the greatest qb's of all time" because Montana's "skill set" was pretty much considered crap by everyone that scouts for the NFL.  How about Tom Brady?  What kind of "skill set" did he show?  Not really all that good until he was in the NFL and got a chance to learn and grow.  

This is unadulterated hype and I think it is funny.  The kid may suck this year.  We shall see.

gary41
gary41

Jaworski said "could be one of the greatest", leaving Kap as one of many, which in the broadest sense, is consistent with his projections for 2013, where he was rated at #11, behind #7-10 Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Schaub & Luck.  Russell Wilson was rated 12th and RG3 was rated 13th.  Among other things, Jaws puts a greater premium on pocket passers.  In any case, his response to this question does not reasonably reflect his current rankings.   

Jack4Life
Jack4Life

With only 7 games under his belt, how can Jaws say that, just gave CK the kiss of death.

For some reason, Jaws has anointed himself the NFL QB Guru....this comes from the QB that pissed away SB XV when he threw 3 INTS to Oakland linebacker Rod Martin...btw Jaws, that's a still stands a SB record....some expert!

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Key word:"COULD".  Please espn, quit hyping the flavor of the month.....I remember they said the jets would win the super bowl, too

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

WOW, Jaws only after a few games you can say that,,,,,,,,,,, Why not wait till he plays a full season...

MatthewE.Personale
MatthewE.Personale

Joe Montana IS THE BEST QB of all time and no other QB could match his status

therednorth1
therednorth1

Well someone famous once said, when you're young, you start life with the most potential.  And as you live, you choose some potentialities to pursue, but in so choosing, you're also *not* choosing other potentialities.  As such, your entire life, you're losing potential, until you die.

As such, Jaworski's statement is correct: Kaepernick "could" be an all-time great QB.  It's one of Kaepernick's potentialities.  Finding out whether Kaepernick reaches that potential is part of the joy of life.

MichaelRayJaeger
MichaelRayJaeger

The coach will decide his fate. 

This year if coach turns Kaep loose with Daniels as his backup and if SF runs 3/4  Pistol Read Option face pace plays as their major weapon with west coast as a change up pitch then Kaepernick will shred NFL scoring records starting this year. If coach uses old west coast plays as the main weapon for 50% or more of the plays we bite our nails like last year and the games will be close.

Kyle Spillman
Kyle Spillman

BEFORE i even read this, i am a san fran fan, but im tired of all this hype around colin. ill be there first one to root him on but hes yet to even play a full season in the league and shouldnt have any of these labels of being the greatest or best in the league untill he proves himself

MichaelRamsey
MichaelRamsey

I'm not saying I fully agree but I think i can see where he's coming from as Kap seems to have that rare blend of pocket passer and mobile QB that made Steve Young so dangerous in his prime. Kap however seems, so far at least, to be better at keeping himself safe while doing it. RG III may get more yards but he won't last long unless he can learn to get what he can get and get down or out of bounds as Kap has done thus far. If Kap can do what he did as back up last year he should be able to do so much more now that he's had a full off season as the starter as well as having the offense re-tuned to his skill set than Alex Smith's.

RonaldDodgen
RonaldDodgen

Kurt Warner said Alex "game manager" Smith was a top 5 QB last year how did that work out. Listen if these guys didn't say this crap they would probably lose there job "out of sight out of mind". On Jaws own QB list Kap is like # 19 with Wilson,  Luck and RG3 ahead of him not to mention that QB from Houston.

Thats all you got to know!! Niner/Colts fan

RonaldDodgen
RonaldDodgen

He's throwing to jack with no deep threat, every QB need's a big dog or two and San Francisco has none. Niner/Colt fan


ManuelValencia
ManuelValencia

He's got all the tools and work ethic. Obviously, longevity is the key. However, so far, so good...

RonaldDodgen
RonaldDodgen

He's doesn't look that strong in his leg's, skinny in the leg's, i see him getting injured kind of like RG3.

Hope i am wrong Niner/Colt fan.

Note! i had Kap first QB off the board when he came out.

bay2sierra
bay2sierra

Let's talk about it after he wins a few Superbowl rings.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

Understandable you wouldn't let Colin's Super Bowl performance color your assessment, Ron.  Some of NFL's "greatest" came up short in the big game (Marino, Tarkenton & Jaworski ('81!)).  But his signature win came over a pedestrian Packers' defense and, you of all people should know, mind-set is a big part of a QB's "skill set" and Kaep, well, he can't even find the right cap to wear (MIA).  Just kidding, Colin.  Hat-gate showed moxie.

CK has the physical skills but if he doesn't learn pocket skills (and I'm not sure Jim's the one to teach 'em), I'd predict, you've got better chance of getting a bust in Canton than Kaep does becoming "one of the greatest."   

jeffr85392
jeffr85392

Jaws might well be right. This seems to be the perfect confluence of a player with certain skills coached by a staff who can properly develop those skills. That doesn't happen very often. Think Elway/Shanahan in Denver.

SeanReynolds1
SeanReynolds1

with the coaching staff he has in harbaugh  and his willingness to adapt to his qbs strenght 

i think he could make mark sanchez look good   and capernick is so much better the him 


lignas
lignas

The operative word is "could" not saying he will be the greatest "could". However the way he destroyed the Packers last year during the playoff was the Greatest QBing I've ever seen on a QB position. Ever!

RLE325
RLE325

Kaepernick had some success running the ball last year, especially in the postseason where he faced some pitiful defenses like the packer's and falcon's. Teams will easily figure him out this year like the ravens did. He is just a sprinter lined up at QB.

AntonyJones
AntonyJones

@Jeffersonldavis777 - God knows one still picture can define a player. You've obviously never seen Kaepernick play, because if you did you wouldn't have made that comment. Kaepernick is a pass-first, run-second QB. The Niners RARELY call run plays for Kaepernick, he only runs when there's nothing open.. he just happens to be an exceptional runner. 

Kaepernick led the league in down-the-field accuracy, at nearly 56%.. which is ridiculous, seeing as most starting QBs struggle to stay over 60%. Kaepernick finsihed with a 62% overall completion percentage, his QBR was ONLY behind Brady and PManning.. after not having had a training camp w/ the starters getting only 1/3 of the reps and an offense-designed for another QB w/ different skills.

Jaw's statement is extremely premature in saying Kaepernick will be an all-time great, but your assessment of Kaepernick's abilities are just as ridiculous.

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@Jack4Life  For some reason???? He watches game film almost nonstop! Do you? 

What does a game 32 years ago have to do with anything? Jaws knows more about football than you know about anything! 

mystafugee
mystafugee

@MatthewE.Personale Elway was better than Montana, that's not to take away from Joe but you notice Steve Young also won a SB with that team. 

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

@therednorth1 i remember that quote.  obama said that when he got elected talking about his "change".   Sad he is not even trying to have ANY potential though.

jbc123
jbc123

@MichaelRayJaeger  MRJ, If "Kaep" runs the "Read Option" with any regularity in the NFL, he doesn't last the season and is out of the league in three years. QB's can't run in the league, guys are too big and fast, bad for your health. I really wish it were different, but it's not.

xrayspectator
xrayspectator

@RonaldDodgen He ranked Kaepernick 11th. Wilson was 12th and RG3 was 13th. Andrew Luck was 10th.

Other than that you have a valid point about talking heads.

Cartesian
Cartesian

@RonaldDodgen 

He was talking about what COULD be based on Colin's MEASURABLE. Make a list of QBs who are more of a threat running the ball. Make a list of QBs who can throw the ball with more zip. Make a list of QBs who are more accurate with deep passes (Colin led the NFL in completion percentage for balls that travel 20 or more yards in the air). Make a list of QBs who are as big and strong as he is. Make a list of QBs who are as smart as him (based on Ivy League acceptance, wonderlick, etc). Make a list of QBs who play for as coaches as innovative and successful at QB development.

Now make a list of QBs who have every played in the NFL who have all of those characteristics. That list is going to be very, VERY short. 


Does that mean Colin will become one of the best ever? Nope, but it does mean that the stage is set for a remarkable career for him.

Cartesian
Cartesian

@RonaldDodgen 

They didn't have any last year either, yet Colin led the NFL in completion percentage on passes that traveled 20 or more yards through the air.

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@bay2sierra By then we'll all be sick of the discussion. The time for someone to make this bold statement is when he's played half a season of regular games. 

Cartesian
Cartesian

@KeysSteven

Colin Kaepernick had one of the best QBRs and passer ratings in the entire league IN THE POCKET. Why does this myth that he can't throw from the pocket keep on getting pushed? He is OUTSTANDING from the pocket.

Colin's Total QBR in the pocket: 87.4

Colin's passer rating in the pocket: 100.8

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/100063/newton-to-upstage-kaepernick-wilson


Both of these are actually HIGHER than his work outside of the pocket. Colin is a really good pocket passer who can run. When will the myth finally end?

Mark112
Mark112

@SeanReynolds1  

Please spell-check before posting or I will banish you from posting in the future.

RonaldDodgen
RonaldDodgen

@lignas Green Bay was clueless on playing the read option which the niner's didn't show  till the Playoffs. All teams have practiced against it during training camp so surely it will not be close to affective as it was last year. Niner/Colts fan

lignas
lignas

Dude your logic sound Stupid!

schmitty42
schmitty42

@RLE325 How about the Bears in his first start (they were the #1 D in the league at the time)? Lit them up from the pocket, hardly ran at all. He was the most accurate QB in the league on passes over 20 yards. His total QBR (ESPN's rating) score was 3rd in the league behind Manning and Brady. 

He was the best player on the field against Brees, Brady, Rodgers, and Ryan in his first 10 starts. He didn't run against the Falcons in the playoffs. And Green Bay had the 11th ranked D in the league last year.

And if you think the Ravens figured him out he threw for 300 yards and ran for 60, I think the Niners will take that every game. The Niners D lost that game not Kaepernick.

You should actually watch him play.

AntonyJones
AntonyJones

@mystafugee @MatthewE.Personale - Elway didn't win anything, Terrell Davis and the Donkies' O-line won those 2 Super Bowls.. Elways was relegated to game-manager towards the end of his career. Joe Montana possesses FOUR Super Bowl Rings.. Horseface only has two. 4 > 2. Elway is as good as GM as he was a QB..Elvis has left the building!

JeffreyRayStone
JeffreyRayStone

@schmitty42 @RLE325 I have watched him play. last year his numbers are about the same as Alex Smith, except in the red zone. With Alex the Niners scored 60% of the time, with Colin on 40%

RLE325
RLE325

 So you should actually watch him play

RLE325
RLE325

@schmitty42 GB had the second easiest schedule in the league, so it doesn't really matter if they were in the top half of the league in defense. By the way, In the second half of the season (The only half Kaepernick played) Russell Wilson outplayed him in every way and had the second hight QBR rating behind Manning. I admit he had a pretty good game against the falcons (Who really are one of the worst defenses in the league.) I don't think the Niners would take 1 Td and I int every game, to go along with 3 sacks and a 46.1 QBR

schmitty42
schmitty42

@RLE325 @schmitty42 Why don't you compare Wilson's first 7 games to Kaepernick's (Kaepernick started 7 regular season games). Because Kaepernick's first 7 starts were far superior to Wilson's first 7? Wilson's QBR in his first 7 starts 45, Kaepernick's 76. QBR in the playoffs? Wilson 66, Kaepernick 77.

Cartesian
Cartesian

@RLE325 @schmitty42 


in the pocket in the 2nd half of the season Colin outplayed Russel in terms of Total QBR.


Wilson Total QBR in the pocket in final six games: 77.0

Collin Total QBR in the pocket in final six games: 91.1



So basically to say Wilson outplayed him in every way is false. Kaepernick outplayed Wilson from the pocket in the final 6 games.


RonaldDodgen
RonaldDodgen

@JohnLewis1 Yes he will he reminds me of Fran Tarkenton plays like sandlot football and the lineman hate chasing him. Niners/Colts fan

RLE325
RLE325

@JohnLewis1 Wow aren't you classy. I would be will ing to bet he is taller than you and you are jealous. Unlike you, Wilson is smart and knows how to protect himself. I would never wish ill on someone as a football fan cause I'm not an idiot like you, but running QBs like Kaep are luck to make it through mid season

JohnLewis1
JohnLewis1

Russell Wilson?!? That hobbit won't make it 4 seasons.