Friday, October 7, 2016

Why The 49ers Are Not Playing Kaepernick








Let's face it, the San Francisco 49ers stink, battling Cleveland for the embarrassing title of NFL's Worst Team. The Niners are a pitiful 1-4. After shutting out the LA Rams the first week, they have lost every game, including Thursday night's fiasco, falling to Arizona 33-21.

Part of the reason the Niners are so bad is the abysmal play of QB Blaine Gabbert. Against Arizona, he was doing everything wrong--making dumb decision after dumb decision, missing open receivers, throwing into double coverage, visually zeroing in on targeted receivers so defenders knew where he planned to throw. He also had a bad case of happy feet. Gabbert was a walking disaster. What's worse, there's no sign he's getting better.

Which leads to the big question. Why is he still starting? Why is backup Colin Kaepernick, who is much more skilled, not playing, particularly since new coach Chip Kelly cherishes read-option plays that are Kaepernick's specialty? During the sparsely attended Arizona game, when Gabbert did something especially stupid, there were chants to put in Kaepernick.

Some people think the Niners are not playing Kaepernick as punishment for him leading an anti-police brutality protest movement that involves not standing up when the national anthem is played pregame. Wrong. Team management supports his activist activities and there's no evidence that these activities have created any locker room problems.

The Niners are reluctant to play Kaepernick for financial and contractual reasons. In other words, because of  money. He's earning $12 million now because he was injured most of last season and virtually untradeable and consequently still on the roster this past April 1. If the Niners play him now and he gets injured, the same scenario could play out again, but this time the stakes are higher. If  he's on the team April 1, 2017 he'll get $14.5 million.

They could cut him now but that would anger the liberals in their fan base. It would be smarter to wait til off season.to dump him. So don't look for Kaepernick to be in a Niner uniform next season.

Meanwhile playing Kaepernick now would definitely increase the team's chances of winning games. But so what? They may win a few more games with him at QB but not nearly enough to make the playoffs. When LB Narvorro Bowman, the team's best player, was declared out for the season last week with a torn ACL, any remote chance the Niners had of making the playoffs evaporated.

Bottom line. Playing Kapernick now and risking him getting a serious injury enhances the chances of something the Niners don't want--him on the roster next April 1.

What about winning games? They will never say it out loud but the team management has an answer for that question--"who cares?"