SANTA CLARA – Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst has been with the 49ers for every step of Colin Kaepernicik’s five seasons with the team.
The simple question was posed to him on Thursday during Chryst’s weekly meeting with the press: What has gone so wrong for Kaepernick to necessitate a change at quarterback through eight games this season?
“That’s a question that you ask yourself on the plane ride, coming home when you’re frustrated,” Chryst said. “But you’re part of a team. And we know that the 2012 team that he stepped into the huddle with had a lot of really nice characteristics. And it probably – I don’t want to say ‘years in the making’ – but he showed up in 2011 and walked into the huddle in 2012. Some of those elements had been put in place, in terms of the O-line, in terms of the defense, in terms of the stability he walked into.
“In 2015, we know in the NFL, the roster will churn, what, 30 percent every year, it seems like. Well, here we are, a couple years down the road, and we still have some core elements from that 2012 team, but there’s a lot of pieces that are new. I think the vision that we had of what this offense would be and how we’d contribute to a victory was what we saw in the Minnesota game and one-by-one, some of those elements – take Carlos Hyde, for example, which was a critical element – are no longer out there.
“We still have to find a formula with the new line and all the things that have been going on. Colin has a high expectation for himself to win football games and when you’re dealt challenges, it’s harder to win that football game. You put pressure not only on yourself but you become frustrated when the games aren’t wins. So Colin is a hard-worker. He hasn’t worked any less harder. He’s applied himself in the way he’s played the game in a lot of the same ways, but it’s a team sport. And I think it’s important that we all understand that just because Blaine happens to be in there, we’re not trying to say, ‘Lose (game), blame QB, tape at 11.’ It’s more of an over-arching thing that gets things solved. And we’re willing to try anything, including a new quarterback at a position to get us going.”
Kaepernick stepped into the 49ers and had immediate success in 2012 after taking over for Alex Smith. In seven starts that season, Kaepernick had achieved a 98.3 passer rating with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. In the postseason, Kaepernick's passer rating was 100.9 with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Chryst said the margin of error seems a lot smaller now than it was in 2012, and the reason is the state of the team's offensive line, he suggested.
“We’re not blocking well at the point of attack in the run game, (and) the opportunity to throw from a clean pocket, we did that an awful lot in 2012,” Chryst said.