YSTL: Does Kap need to improve for 49ers to make serious playoff run?
Colin Kaepernick: “If we snap the ball with one second, that’s not a problem to us. Because we know we’re getting to something we like versus their defense.” (USATSI)
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SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick does not consider the 49ers’ seemingly constant battle against the play clock a huge issue facing the team’s offense.
He said the positives of trying to get into a better play against what he diagnoses from the defense far outweighs the negatives of an occasional timeout or delay-of-game penalty.
“I feel like it’s a minor thing in the grand scheme of what we’re doing,” Kaepernick said on Wednesday. “If we snap the ball with one second (remaining), that’s not a problem to us. Because we know we’re getting to something we like versus their defense.”
The mechanics of simply getting the ball snapped within the 40-second play clock is not as simple as it might look.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman calls the play down to coach Jim Harbaugh on the sideline. Harbaugh uses a radio device to relay the play -- or plays -- to Kaepernick. Then, Kaepernick must, at times, deliver multiple calls to the other 10 players in the huddle.
Kaepernick gave an example of a possible call in the huddle: Strong Right Slot, Fuzz, Direction-90 Load Trap kill 94 Power Bonus.
If Kaepernick sees one thing from the defense, they could stick with the original call. If he sees another look that might make the second play – 94 Power Bonus – the preferred call. If that’s the case, he will “kill” to that play at the line of scrimmage.
“It could be something based on what the defense is doing that week that we want to run this versus this look and this versus that look,” Kaepernick said. “The defense is always changing. So they might change, and then we have to change late. I think that’s where a lot of the time factor comes in for us.”
But with such a complex set if directives, Kaepernick has to make sure everybody hears the two play-call options.
“You’re breaking the huddle and somebody might ask, ‘What’s the second part of that?” or ‘What was the original call?’” he said. “So you have to make sure everybody’s on the same page on all levels otherwise you’re going to have a blown play.”
A lot of people saw the negatives in the 49ers’ 33-14 victory on Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers used three timeouts on offense and were called for one delay-of-game penalty. But the upside is the 49ers’ controlled the clock with an advantage of 19 minutes, 40 seconds in time of possession over Tampa Bay.
“Ultimately, we want to hold the ball,” Kaepernick said. “We want to make sure we’re successful moving down the field and if we have to use a timeout here to correct something or make sure we’re getting the advantage we want, we’re going to do that.
“I know conventionally people are going to be like, ‘Why are you taking a timeout at the beginning of the third quarter?’ Well, if we sustain that drive and we end up with points at the end of that, we feel like that’s a good timeout used.”
In line image of Colin Kaepernick provided by USA Today Sports Images