Five 49ers to watch: 1. Colin Kaepernick

August 10, 2012, 8:35 pm
Share This Post

(This is the final part in a series that spotlighted five 49ers players to watch in the team's exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, 6 p.m., at Candlestick Park.)

Five 49ers to watch: 5. Alex Boone
Five 49ers to watch: 4. Perrish Cox
Five 49ers to watch: 3. Demarcus Dobbs
Five 49ers to watch: 2. Kyle Williams
Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick's goal is simple for the 49ers' four-game exhibition schedule."To go and show that I can be a starter in this league," he said. "I want to go out, perform my best and show everybody what I'm capable of."Kaepernick showed what he was capable of doing at Nevada, where his exceptional dual-threat skills prompted the 49ers last year to trade up in the second round to select him with the No. 36 overall pick.At the time, Kaepernick was viewed as the starter-in-waiting. But Alex Smith never gave Kaepernick the chance to get on the field last season. Smith took control of the No. 1 job, and he remained healthy through all 16 regular-season games and the playoffs.Now, as he begins his second NFL season, the 49ers still do not know what they have in Kaepernick. The club signed Smith to a three-year contract, giving him the opportunity to make sure Kaepernick never rises to starter status before he becomes eligible for free agency.
In the first two weeks of training camp, Kaepernick has been up and down. Starting defensive players have joked among themselves that Kaepernick would rather run with the ball than throw it.That is the biggest issue that faces Kaepernick. In each of his final three seasons at Nevada, Kaepernick threw for at least 2,000 yards and he rushed for at least 1,100. In his career, he threw for 10,098 and rushed for 4,112.He was the No. 2 last season. And that's where he begins his second training camp.But Kaepernick must earn that backup job. Josh Johnson comes to the 49ers after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And second-year player Scott Tolzien has shown plenty of skills and acumen to challenge for the job, too.
Smith is not expected to play very long Friday night. Then, Kaepernick will take the stage. He wants to prove he's a starter, though he is not likely to get that opportunity for a while.First, he must prove he is the 49ers' best option as the backup.

More Team Talk