Maiocco: 'A good quarterback is a guy who can make receivers better'
Colin Kaepernick has quickly become the face of the franchise and a nationally recognized rock star. (AP)
Editor's note: Insider Matt Maiocco will be providing position-by-position breakdowns each day leading up to 49ers training camp. The rookies are scheduled to report on July 19, with the veterans scheduled to follow on July 24. Today Matt focuses on the quarterbacks.
Who they have: Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels
Who they lost: Alex Smith
Looking back: The 49ers kept three quarterbacks on their roster the entire season. Smith opened as the starter and was in the midst of a career year when he sustained a concussion, which opened the door for Kaepernick. Smith never regained his starting position. Coincidentally, both quarterbacks attempted 218 passes in the regular season. Smith had the better completion percentage and threw more touchdown passes, but Kaepernick accounted for 77 more yards passing with two fewer interceptions. Kaepernick also added 415 yards and five touchdowns rushing. In the playoffs, Kaepernick had 181 yards rushing against Green Bay and led the 49ers to the Super Bowl with a comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game. He threw for 302 yards and rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown against Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII, but could not get the final 5 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the closing moments.
Overall outlook: This is Kaepernick's first full season as the starter. And he has quickly become the face of the franchise and a nationally recognized rock star. Kaepernick excelled last season while running the read option out of the "pistol" formation. He is a home run threat as a runner and a passer. He exploded on the scene last year, but teams -- such as Week 1 opponent Green Bay -- have studied him thoroughly over the offseason months to try to find weaknesses to exploit. In his first season, Kaepernick was exceptional at getting the ball to his outside receiver, especially Michael Crabtree. At times, his underneath passes lacked touch, making it difficult on his targets to hang onto the ball. Kaepernick will be asked to do even more this season. He will be expected to play at an even-higher level to help the 49ers compensate for the loss of Crabtree, who will miss most of the season with a torn Achilles. McCoy, a three-year veteran, enters camp as the No. 2 quarterback. He started 21 games in three seasons with the Cleveland Browns before coming to the 49ers in a trade. McCoy is also comfortable in the quarterback-driven run game.
Camp competition: The first two spots appear set but there should be good competition for the No. 3 job. Daniels, a seventh-round draft pick from South Florida, might have an edge over Tolzien due to his versatility. Daniels has good running ability and a strong arm. He could be active as the No. 3 quarterback because of his ability to play different positions and contribute on special teams. Tolzien is a heady quarterback who has served as the third quarterback in both of his first two season. He has suited up for three games but has yet to play in a regular-season game.
In line images provided by the Associated Press