SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick spent time in the offseason working on becoming a more efficient pocket passer.
Yet, the early offseason word from 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke centered around the emphasis the team would place on the quarterback-driven running game.
Kaepernick attained career-highs in passing and rushing yards last season. As the 49ers get set to open the regular season Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings, Kaepernick said he is not concerned about being pulled in different directions with expectations for his style of play.
“I’m really not too concerned about peoples opinions of what they see or view me as,” Kaepernick said. “I mean, I was also the black quarterback with tattoos. So, once again, (it’s) not something that really crosses my mind.
“To be honest, I’m really not worried about what people say about me as a quarterback. I’m worried about what my teammates think and what my coaches think about me as a quarterback. So that’s ultimately who I give that ability to judge to.”
The 49ers’ first-team offense did not show much during the three games Kaepernick appeared in the exhibition season. Kaepernick completed just 5 of 13 pass attempts (38.5 percent) for 40 yards. He carried four times for 62 yards.
Those numbers aside, Kaepernick said he is pleased with his progress since the end of last season.
“I think I’ve improved personally,” Kaepernick said. “I think this team’s improved. It’s something that everyone in here has worked everyday and tried to get better to make sure when we did get to Week 1 of this season that we’d be ready to go and ready to go out and compete.”
The 49ers finished 8-8 last season, as Kaepernick had a career-low 86.4 passer rating. After a tumultuous offseason, beginning with the coaching change from Jim Harbaugh to Jim Tomsula, the 49ers certainly are not burdened with high expectations from national pundits.
“I don’t think that’s something this team really needs to be talked to about,” Kaepernick said. “They come to work everyday and work their butts off. So it’s something that this team kind of handles by itself. It just naturally comes about.”