SANTA CLARA -- Colin Kaepernick's repertoire of pitches is expanding.
This summer, Kaepernick is showing amazing touch on some of the underneath and swing throws he struggled to execute and his teammates struggled to catch a year ago.
And he has not lost his 87-mph fastball, either.
"Over the last couple of years, that's been huge. When he first got here, everybody knows how strong his arm is, but he was doing that on every throw," 49ers receiver Kyle Williams said.
Kaepernick has vastly improved the touch on his passes -- even since the end of last season. He continues to drive passes down the field to tight end Vernon Davis and some of his wide receivers. But he also demonstrated something new on back-to-back plays during practice Saturday.
Kaepernick lofted a beautiful screen pass over outside linebacker Cam Johnson that dropped into LaMichael James' hands just a couple yards away along the right side. On the next play, he demonstrated a feathery touch on a pass to Frank Gore on the left side.
"He spends a considerable amount of time on every phase of the game, his training, his film study, meeting habits and always looking for things on the field to improve on," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "But he did have some very nice touch throws."
Davis declared that Kaepernick is a "totally different guy" than the player who showed up on he scene with the 49ers, citing his "touch" and "precise decisions," among other improvements.
Kaepernick's improvements in all aspects are noticeable from a year ago at this time when many of his throws sailed on him. He has been particularly impressive through four full-squad practices of training camp at driving the ball down the field. (The 49ers do not practice on Monday.)
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Last season, veteran Randy Moss had a finger pop out of socket in a game due to a Kaepernick pass. Rookie receiver Quinton Patton has not caught any passes since the rookies and quarterbacks practiced for several days prior to the full squad's arrival.
Harbaugh described Patton's condition as a jammed middle finger on his left hand. While Harbaugh said he did not know if it was a Kaepernick pass that did the damage, that is the most-logical assumption.
After all, Kaepernick is the guy who showed up to throw the first pitch at a Giants game this summer and uncorked an 87 mph pitch from the mound after only a couple warmup tosses.
Veteran Anquan Boldin said just because the passes are coming at a higher rate of speed, it does not change the expectations of those on the receiving end.
"I really don't think about how hard Kaepernick is throwing his ball," Boldin said. "Obviously, my job is to catch it. I don't care if it's coming 1 mph or 90, the end result has to be the same for me. And that's to catch the football."