SAN FRANCISCO — Colin Kaepernick had to stop getting dressed. He was already in a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and a gray hat representing the San Francisco 49ers. He was looking for his shoes. But that task had to be put on hold, as about dozen members of the media wanted a piece of him.
Despite living the dream, this was not a good night to be Colin Kaepernick or any other member of the 49ers. His team had been stomped by the Houston Texans, 30-7, in the 49ers third preseason game on Saturday, with the offense not contributing a single point. Kaepernick, a Pitman High graduate before having an unforgettable career at the University of Nevada, is one of the quarterbacks.
In his most active game as a rookie, he completed just 6 of 16 passes for 52 yards with one interception leading to a touchdown.
“You can learn a lot from games like this,” Kaepernick said in front of TV cameras and digital tape recorders. “As much as you hate to have them, sometimes you learn more from losses than wins.”
In other words, he knows this process will take time.
It’s only been four months since the 49ers chose Kaepernick as the 36th overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft. It’s been said that he’s being groomed as the next great quarterback within the San Francisco organization, especially after he signed a four-year, $5.22-million contract. He’s also in an ideal quarterback situation, seeing that the inconsistent Alex Smith only signed a one-year contract with the 49ers.
But no one was thinking Kaepernick can step in and become a starting quarterback after the Texans game.
Not even Kaepernick himself.
“You have to get better,” he said. “You’ve got to do a lot of things better offensively. I have to be better with my eyes, feet and some of my reads.”
After the game, no one was playing the blame game. It was a team loss. It was a learning experience for a team operating under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh, who did not elaborate about what he told his players in the locker room. He figured the loss was a part of his process as the coach.
Smith, the veteran starting quarterback who completed just 2 of 6 passes for 17 yards and committed an interception, understands the pressure.
“As the guy who touches the ball on every single play,” he said, “you’re the focal point. But we all rely on each other — it takes 11 of us. We have to find a way to get a rhythm going.”
The fans at Candlestick Park on Saturday booed Smith, even before he took an official snap, during the players’ introductions. It seems those same people have more sympathy toward Kaepernick, perhaps because he’s still in his rookie season.
One reporter even asked Harbaugh at the post-game press conference if he’d start Kaepernick based on his mobility. The coach simply said, “No.”
However, Harbaugh stuck to his promise to give Kaepernick some first-team snaps against the Texans. He didn’t do so well, but no one is in panic mode. It’s a long season.
“I think he wants to see how I handle different situations,” Kaepernick said about Saturday’s playing time. “I feel more comfortable with the offense, but there are a lot of things I need to improve on.”
His post-game interview was no longer than 5 minutes.
After that, he had to find his shoes.
And after that, he went on with his career.
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