Colin Kaepernick’s opportunity to shine has never been greater for this Sunday in Week 9. The 49ers (4-3) are coming off a bye week in where they see a struggling 2-5 St. Louis Rams team.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said he was impressed with Kaepernick’s development throughout this season. He sees more activity with the quarterback than the usual running game of the past.
“They’re doing a lot more with him now than early on, which is the natural progression for a quarterback,” Fisher said in a conference call on Wednesday. “And he’s doing it well. He’s got control of the offense, he’s making good decisions, he’s trusting his legs. He makes all the throws, he does it with a little more accuracy now. He’s extending drives on third down either with his arms or his legs, which makes him especially hard to defend.”
In Week 6, Kaepernick threw a season high 343 passing yards with two touchdowns to show for it. One pass to Anquan Boldin included a scramble where he kept the play alive and threw a perfect dime where only the receiver could make a play on it.
Kaepernick’s completion percentage has increased to 63.8 percent something that has opened Fisher’s eyes. He said the 49ers quarterback is not dependent on his legs anymore, but makes the right decisions when passing.
“I think he [makes] the right decision,” Fisher said about Kaepernick’s abilities. “He’s done that since stepping on the field a couple years ago. He trusts his legs, he can move around, he’s looking downfield always to make a play. If it’s not there, he can go and can really hurt you defensively.”
The 49ers have won three straight games against the St. Louis Rams dating back to 2013. Their last loss came in St. Louis in 2012 where it was Kaepernick’s first career loss as starting quarterback.
St. Louis still has one of the worst pass rushing attacks heading into Week 9. They have two sacks on the season as a team, doubling their sack total on Sunday with one from Robert Quinn.
The Rams sold out for the run three weeks ago as they stacked several linebackers in the box. This freed up Kaepernick to do more, opening up the passing game with less coverage in the secondary.
Kaepernick struggled passing at first and didn’t hit his targets, but everything changed on the 80-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd where Janoris Jenkins took a bite on the double move. St. Louis will be playing with a banged up safety group of players and the door is open to do more damage this Sunday.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh continued to praise his quarterback, saying he is executing on all fronts. He should only get better.
“I love the way he competes,” Harbaugh said of Kaepernick in a conference call. Love his talent, love the effort that he brings every single day. He’s executing at a very high level, it’s at the highest level on all regards from my vantage point.”