By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
THE GREEK TRAGEDY IN SAN FRANCISCO
THE GREEK TRAGEDY IN SAN FRANCISCO
By:- Gary Norris Gray-BASN-Staff Reporter
OAKLAND, CA.-(BASN) A tragedy is unfolding around San Francisco Forty Niner quarterback Colin Kaepernick in what appears to be the collapse of his team. Just three seasons ago in his first year as a starter, he took his team to the Super Bowl, but is now trying to find his way out of the Gold and Red storm. Number seven broke games open with a rocket arm and play option mobility. His considerable skills so evident upon his emergence cannot have just disappeared; instead, the pedestal on which he stood has crumbled. Number seven is a victim of coaching arrogance, ineptitude, and betrayal; of teammate defections; of management incompetence. The 49ers have fallen off the face of earth and have landed in last place in the National Football Conference (NFC) western division losing four games in a row.
Sunday night there was a glimmer of light as the 49ers took the New York Football Giants to the last seconds of the game before Eli Manning threw the winning touchdown for a Big Blue 30-27 victory. The old Kaepernick showed up and gave the Gee-men a tuff game. Number seven stayed in the pocket and hit his targets, scrambling only when needed giving San Francisco a chance to win.
It seems like the standard pocket passer coaches won this round and time will tell if Colin can turn this season around.
As in a Greek play, fates beyond Kaepernick’s control conspire to destroy him. As in opera, other-worldly forces bedevil him. Plus, the culture of corporate football would enjoy seeing this quarterback removed from the lineup. Number seven is not Caucasian, and not Aaron Rodgers-Green Bay, Drew Brees-New Orleans, Matt Ryan-Atlanta, or Andrew Luck-Indianapolis, or Tom Brady-New England. The National Football League would not mourn banishing him from taking snaps behind center just as the sport has done with Donovan McNabb, Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick- Philadelphia Eagles, Doug Williams-The Washington Football Club-Tampa Bay, and would try with Robert Griffin III- The Washington Football Club, Russell Wilson-Seattle Seahawks, Teddy Bridgewater-Minnesota Vikings, Cam Newton-Carolina Panthers, E.J. Manuel, Tyrod Taylor- Buffalo Bills and Geno Smith-New York Jets if they could.
The NFL Rules committee headed by Mr. Anti-quarterback, Jeff Fisher changed the rules to limit the mobility of run-option (Black) quarterbacks like Kaepernick. The current rule states, once the quarterback moves out of the pocket or out of the tackle box he becomes a running back and a target.
A STELLAR DEBUT
Consider how stellar Kaepernick’s debut was. In 2012, in a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick set a National Football League single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 181, breaking Michael Vick’s record of 173 in a 2002 regular season game. He also broke the 49ers postseason rushing record, regardless of position. Kaepernick carried the ball 16 times for 181 yards, scrambling five times for 75 yards, including two touchdowns of 20 and 56 yards, and collected 99 yards rushing on read-option plays. He also passed for 263 yards and two touchdowns. In total, Kaepernick had 444 yards of total offense with four touchdowns.
The National sports media was not satisfied with this performance and began chipping away at this talented quarterback, stating that he was from the hood and was in the thug-gang life, wearing his cap backwards, sideways, wearing tattoo’s on his arms, and large ear phones. One network has never apologized for the thug-gang statements after they were INFORMED that the tats were of VARIOUS Bible verses.
In the NFC Championship game, the 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 28–24 with Kaepernick completing 16 out of 21 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. The team advanced to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans against the Baltimore Ravens, which the 49ers lost 34-31. But that loss haunted Kaepernick.
Earlier, one Niners score had taken just five plays, with Kaepernick making a 14-yard touchdown run, the longest by a quarterback in NFL history. Later, the Niners had the ball on the seven yard line, and advanced to the five yard line.
Rather than pound the ball across the goal-line, head coach Jim Harbaugh called three pass plays, all of which fell incomplete. It was Harbaugh’s arrogance in daring to throw, as a former quarterback himself, and in coaching against his older brother John, when he had three chances for the less glorious, but winning score for a touchdown. Kaepernick had thrown the incompletes, but it was Harbaugh who called for passes when runs would likely have scored. The Sports media and fans pointed the fingers at Kaepernick being responsible for the failure. Harbaugh got a pass.
In the 2013-2014 NFC Championship Game against the Seattle Seahawks, Kaepernick rushed for 130 yards, including a 58-yard run and also 153 yards passing. The 49ers led until the 4th quarter. Two turnovers by Kaepernick gave the Seahawks a 23-17 lead with minutes remaining. Kaepernick drove the 49ers to the 18 yard line with two timeouts and 30 seconds left.
Harbaugh brought no stealth to his strategy. He failed to use his timeouts, or to advance the ball with runs rather than attempt a bold but familiar pass, a pass that EVERYBODY seen before. Harbaugh called virtually the same play which had failed in the Super Bowl, a pass to Michael Crabtree in the right corner. It was read perfectly by Seattle defender Doctor Richard Sherman, who tipped the ball for an interception by Malcolm Smith.
SAME STRATEGY, SAME FAILURE
Again, it was Harbaugh’s arrogance, daring to throw the same play in a goal line stand, against Sherman, one of the NFL’s best defenders. Yet few commentators put the loss on Harbaugh; Kaepernick was the leader on the field, following Harbaugh’s orders, and again wore the loss.
(Ironically, almost the same pass play was run by Seattle a year later in the next Super Bowl and failed! With three downs and twenty seconds remaining on the one-yard line, Seattle coach Pete Carroll abandoned the run and got an interception, costing the Seahawks a second Super Bowl title, and preventing either Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson or running back Marshawn Lynch, both African-Americans, from MVP prominence. The NFL’s promotion of Black Super Bowl MVPs is almost non existent- Just ask Doug Williams and Jerry Rice.)
Jim Harbaugh developed Kaepernick as a quarterback, but failed to elevate number seven’s skills as pertaining to the different intricacies of the position. Knowledge is a lethal weapon on the field and Colin has lost that tool. Compounding the problem Forty Niner management, particularly owner Jed York, became disenchanted with Harbaugh’s failure to win the ultimate prize. Harbaugh seemed to do little to ingratiate himself with ownership, and his intensity began to lose its luster with players. At the end of the 2014-2015 season, Harbaugh was gone, along with offensive coordinator Greg Roman; the Niners lost ten veteran starters and had to start all over again.
Even in that season, Kaepernick set career highs in passing yards (3,369) and rushing yards (639). His 639 rushing yards set the franchise record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season. Kaepernick also tied former quarterback Steve Young for the franchise record for most consecutive games (18) with a touchdown pass.
Number seven did all that despite having been sacked 52 times, second highest in the NFL. While his offense fails him, he is criticized for holding onto the ball too long, not using his mobility, and/or not reading the field. Remember this is what young option read quarterbacks do.
Number seven has not taken it to the next stage like Seattle Seahawk Russell Wilson and 49er executives and fans are now complaining. Usually it takes two or three years to learn these special quarterback skills. Kaepernick bypassed some steps and it is now costing the team.
This quarterback played in a run and shoot offense at the University of Nevada, being named the Western Athletic Conference offensive player of the year twice, putting up pinball numbers. The Wolfpack offense moved down the field without problems until they faced a formidable defense. Strong defenses restricted number seven movements in the pocket. The same thing is happening now at Levis Stadium.
Mr. Kaepernick never acquired the mentoring like other star quarterbacks received their first two years, instead he had to find his own way and compete for the starting position against Alex Smith and do it on the fly.
THE 2015-16 SEASON
Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula was hired as head coach for the Northern California team. Tomsula had no experience as a NFL head coach it is beginning to show with the lack of imagination on the field.
Tomsula’s assistants are perceived as less seasoned than that of the Harbaugh coaching staff. There are reports of divisions within the Niner organization whither to promote the option running quarterback or to develop Kaepernick into the NFL standard pocket passer. They better make that decision quickly because the season is slowly slipping away.
At the end of last year’s season veteran players exited from the team, and the offensive line has struggled, not protecting Kaepernick’s blind side, thus creating numerous unwarranted sacks.
In the midst of this chaos is Kaepernick. To understand the decline of this potential star quarterback one would have to look at the drama that surrounds him in Santa Clara.
Number seven has started out very slowly this season with 14 sacs, one rushing and three passing touchdowns. He has fumbled the ball three times with five interceptions. Sometimes he looks like a deer looking into the headlights of a oncoming car. This is not Colin Kaepernick football and the atmosphere and direction has to change in order for the San Francisco 49ers to win.
The tragedy continues in Levis Stadium.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at email@example.com
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