Editor’s note: Colin Kaepernick’s interview with Matt Maiocco will appear Wednesday on the “2014 49ers Season Preview” at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
SANTA CLARA – There is only one way to define success for the 2014 San Francisco 49ers, quarterback Colin Kaepernick said.
“Super Bowl,” Kaepernick told CSNBayArea.com. “Plain and simple.”
In 1 ½ seasons as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, Kaepernick has already experienced two near misses. He has twice played in the NFC Championship with one appearance in a Super Bowl. The 49ers’ seasons ended both times with narrow losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks. And the 49ers' offense failed to convert in the end zone during the clutch moments of both games.
“I think, for me, it gives me the mindset of how we need to enter those games, how we need to prepare for them,” Kaepernick said. “What we could do differently to make sure we win those games. And right now that’s what we’re trying to work toward.
“It does motivate you, not simply because of the last plays of those games, but the performance as a whole. What could I have done differently earlier in the game to make sure we’re not in that situation where we have to make one throw at the end of the game to win it? How can we get ahead earlier, so we’re in victory formation at the end of the game, and we don’t have to worry about that?”
With his new $115 contract extension, Kaepernick said he is ready for the offense to take some dramatic steps forward in 2014. The 49ers have more weapons on offense, while there are more questions than ever on the defensive side of the ball entering the season.
What can be expected with third receiver Stevie Johnson being added to an offense that already features Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore?
“In my mind, a more explosive offense,” Kaepernick said. “I think we can do a lot more things, put people in a lot of different positions and situations to make this offense have bigger plays and score more points and take some of the pressure off our defense to stop teams every time they have the ball.”
Statistically, Kaepernick had the best season for a 49ers quarterback since Jeff Garcia earned trips to three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2000 to 2002. He threw for 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while finishing in the league’s top 10 with a pass rating of 91.6.
Kaepernick expects to make advancements in his game in every phase. Last season, the 49ers at time struggled to simply get out of the huddle and run a play on time. Kaepernick’s ability to go through his progressions was also regularly critiqued.
Kaepernick acknowledged those issues when asked about his expectations of where he can elevate his performance.
“I think in just the control of the offense,” Kaepernick said. “Just getting to the right play, checking to different things against coverage and looks, or just getting through progressions.
“All those are things I’ve been working on. I want to make sure when we get to the season and we step on the field that I have full control and command over, so there is no pressure on other players. He knows what he’s doing and he’s going to make the right decision for this offense and this team.”