Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner’s goal for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick this offseason was to wait longer in the pocket as a passer before using his athleticism as a crutch.
Warner appeared Monday with former Raiders quarterback and 2002 league MVP Rich Gannon, on The SiriusXM Blitz. He said Kaepernick has relied on his running ability for so long that it’s a difficult transition to become the type of pocket passer that is required to be successful in the NFL.
“He can’t do all the running,” Warner said. “Now he’s got to become more of a pass-first guy and complement with his athleticism. And he’s never been asked to do that before. And so that’s the process that we kind of went through in the couple of months I was working with him.
“Really trying to get his normal to be a quarterback position as opposed to being an athlete – you know, thinking first as a quarterback and staying in a more throw-friendly position longer so he can get through his progressions and he can be comfortable and he can stay accurate . . . down through his reads. As opposed to looking at one guy and going, ‘OK, now I can create like I’ve done in the past.’ So that’s the kind of the process we went through.”
Kaepernick spent 10 weeks of his offseason in Arizona working primarily with independent quarterback coach Dennis Gile. Warner helped tutor Kaepernick for approximately 10 sessions.
“The hardest thing, I told him early on, was he’s going to have to figure out where that process goes,” Warner said. “How long do I stay a quarterback before I need to become an athlete? For me, it was quarterback 24/7. There was no athleticism there. I’m a quarterback and I’m looking to throw.
“These guys who are so talented have to find that timing where it’s quarterback for this long, and then I become an athlete. And I think that’s one of the hardest things for guys like yourself, Rich, that can move and create, is how long do I stay a quarterback within a particular play, what read do I get to before now I can become the athlete that has made me so special and can make me so dynamic.”
Kaepernick last season threw for a career high 3,369 yards and rushed for a career-best 639 yards. However, his passer rating dropped to a career-low 86.4, as he averaged just 7.0 yards per pass attempt.
Said Warner, “For us it was, ‘Let’s keep you as a quarterback a little bit longer, in a balanced position in a throwing position, moving, ready to throw so you can become more accurate, have more touch and then you’ve got that find that fine line of when I become an athlete.’”