I don’t want to take anything away from Colin Kaepernick. His first NFL start on Monday was sensational, and made much more so by the fact that he dominated the Chicago Bears, of all teams. The Bears had yet to give up a decent passing game to a quarterback this year; Kaepernick was the first.
But already, I see people going crazy about Kaepernick, calling for him to be the starter for the 49ers over Alex Smith. I live in Niners country, and have yet to meet a fan who likes Smith, so there’s probably a lot of people longing to see something different. For them, Kaepernick is the answer, now that he put up a spectacular game against a suffocating defense.
I’m not going to say Kaepernick will end up falling on his face, but I do think a healthy dose of caution is warranted. This is the same Colin Kaepernick who struggled to score points the week before against the Rams, and I don’t think getting excited about a single game is a good idea in any circumstance.
You remember Craig Erickson, right? You don’t?!? Well, as a 25 year old quarterback (believe it or not, Kaepernick is 25 already) for the Buccaneers in 1994, Erickson had the following passing line against the Colts: 19/24, 313 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Unfortunately, 1994 was also the last time Erickson was a full-time starter in the NFL.
Well, since you don’t remember Erickson, surely you remember Vince Evans, right? No? Vince Evans had the following passing line as a 25 year old for the Bears in 1980: 18/22, 316 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions. The Bears won 61-7. Unfortunately, Evans ended up with 11 touchdowns and 16 interceptions on the year, followed by an 11 TD/20 INT performance for Chicago in 1981.
Of course, neither the Colts in 1994 nor the Packers in 1980 had a defense nearly as good as this year’s Bears. And again, Kaepernick could turn out to be a superstar for all I know. I’d just be careful before rushing to give him that label.