Kurt Warner offered his services to Colin Kaepernick, and Kaepernick took Warner up on it.
Warner, appearing Thursday morning on CBS Radio’s Tiki and Tierney Show, said he is getting some heat from fans of the NFC West teams for which he played during his 11-year NFL career for working with the 49ers’ quarterback, beginning next week in Arizona.
“I put the offer out there to a lot of young guys and Colin is the first one that really reached out and said, ‘If you have a little bit of time for me, I’d love to work together,’” Warner said.
“People can say what they want. I’m more about helping that young man become all he can be. Do I want the Cardinals to win games? Of course I do. Do I want the Rams to win? Yeah. But I want all these guys to push that envelope and if I can help in any way, I’m happy to do it.”
Warner, a two-time NFL MVP, was a Super Bowl MVP with the St. Louis Rams. He also led the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Warner will help out Kaepernick, whose production has declined in the two seasons since taking over mid-season in 2012 and leading the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII.
Players are not allowed to work with their NFL coaches from the end of the season until the start of the official offseason program. The 49ers' offseason program is scheduled to open April 6. Kaepernick plans to spend most of the next 11 weeks in Arizona training at EXOS, and working with Warner, as well as quarterback coaches Dennis Gile and Mike Giovando, on the mental and physical aspects of playing his position.
“First of all, I don’t like the word ‘fix.’ We’re just trying to grow him as a quarterback,” Warner said. “He’s an extremely talented young kid -- a kid that was thrown in, as a lot of young quarterbacks are, before he really understood how to play the entirety of the quarterback position.
“He’s gotten by on athleticism, and he’s made some great plays and had some great games. But I think the goal is in the time that I’m going to have with him is just to see where he’s at and what he knows about the position and how far we can push the envelope as far as helping him develop as a pocket passer. “
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Kaepernick rushed for 639 yards last season, but he ranked 20th in the NFL with a career-low 86.4 passer rating. His 60.5 completion percentage was 24th in the NFL, and he did not throw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter this season.
“I’m just a firm believer that regardless of how talented you are physically, you have to be able to make the easy plays at the quarterback position to be successful,” Warner said. “You have to know what you’re seeing. When a defense gives you an easy read, you have to be able to make that read and make that throw 90 percent of the time because you don’t get that all the time. It’s hard enough to play the position.
“So it’s really going to be about seeing where he’s at as a quarterback and seeing how far we can push it to teach him how you play the game with your mind, as opposed to your arm and your legs.”