Training camps begin at the end of July, and Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned by an NFL team.
There are two sides to the argument as to why Colin Kaepernick isn’t on an NFL roster. One argument is because he’s the victim of an elitist organization’s attempts to silence his efforts to make strides for an oppressed people. The other is because he struggled to grasp the subtle nuances of offensive scheme in the NFL, especially when those schemes became more complex. Maybe it was a little of both. Maybe it’s neither argument that was correct.
Either way, he’s still waits by the phone to hear a call from somebody’s head coach or general manager.
Kaepernick was a two-sport phenom who played his college ball at the University of Nevada. They’re mostly famous for their “pistol” offense. The quarterback never lines up under center and is given a small number of reads to make in the passing game (maybe two). If nothing was there, Kaepernick was often relied upon to make things happen with his legs. His college success was a result of his athletic superiority. Unfortunately, in the NFL, everyone’s a great athlete.
The argument for the NFL:
The early part of Kaepernick’s pro career was spent backing up Alex Smith on the San Francisco 49ers’ roster. Then, former head coach Jim Harbaugh had an idea. With playmakers everywhere on the offensive side of the ball, he’d substitute Kaepernick for Smith on offense. Smith was reasonably athletic but lacked Kaepernick’s speed and cannon-like arm. There was just one problem. Kaepernick was struggling to adapt to the complexity of the NFL game and the 49ers’ offensive playbook, so Harbaugh simplified it. “Kap” won early, but as scheme and film study began to take over, he struggled.
Long touchdown runs began to evaporate as teams learned to defend him. The cannon-like arm began to draw criticism as it was learned he lacked touch. Defenses knew what the 49ers intended to do offensively, and on one occasion, a national audience watched the Arizona Cardinals picked off multiple interceptions as the 49ers endured one of the most embarrassing losses of the Kaepernick era.
Mr. Kaepernick, a man who’s competed less than 60 percent of his passes for his career, would eventually lose the starting job to Blaine Gabbert who is still trying to prove he belongs in the NFL.
The argument for Kaepernick:
Coming out of college, Kaepernick had tremendous upside. NFL scouts were raving. The 49ers made him the 36th-overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. They thought enough about him to trade up and give away three picks to make his selection (picks 45, 108, and 141 overall).
After being given the starting role in 2012, Kaepernick helped lead the 49ers to the playoffs. He rushed for 181 yards against the Green Bay Packers, a single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback. That was followed by him leading the 49ers to a come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. In that season’s Super Bowl, he threw for one touchdown and ran for another as he helped in almost leading the 49ers to another world championship.
For his career (six seasons), Kaepernick’s thrown for 12, 271 yards. He’s run for another 2,300. He’s tossed 72 touchdowns and reached the end zone 13 times with his legs. He’s proven he can play at a high level in important games. So why isn’t he on an NFL roster?
The truth is most of the reason for Kaepernick’s success was the fact that he played on a 49ers team that was loaded. They were the same team who would have been in the Super Bowl a year prior if they would have been able to field two punts. It was Alex Smith that led them to the brink, not Kaepernick. The latter never showed he was able to beat out the former for the starting role. Instead he was given the position because he played for a coach who was enamored with his physical gifts.
Ladies and gentlemen, there aren’t many decent quarterbacks who couldn’t have been successful with that team
Since Harbaugh’s dismissal, Kapernick’s played for two coaches, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. Both agreed Blaine Gabbert was the better option. Both relegated “Kap” to the backup role. What’s largely forgotten in talks about protests and things of that nature was Kaepernick wasn’t even the starter at the time. What largely goes unnoticed is the fact that, despite the fact that most of us (myself included) agreed with what he did, there were other players who protested as well, Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles for instance. The NFL and the Eagles organization haven’t gotten rid of him.
I’m just as angered by what still goes on in this country and the way race relations and police brutality are handled. I share Kaepernick’s anger, but that isn’t why he isn’t in the league. He was barely in the league when his protests began, and the theory he’s been treated unfairly goes out the window for a bevy of reasons.
Robert Quinn of the Rams raised his fist in protest and is still in the NFL. So is every member of the Seattle Seahawks who linked arms to protest the same injustice. Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas are still hanging around. D.J. Fluker is still in the league. So is Ron Brooks, Jason McCourty and countless others who protested for the same reason as Mr. Kaepernick. I guess no one remembers the protests ended when he approached free agency. I’m not saying that he wasn’t genuine about his stance, but it is a strange coincidence.
Kaepernick struggled to find his way, even in his successful years. When interviewed later about that multi-interception game against the Cardinals, Arizona defensive back Tyrann Mathieu talked about the simplistic approach on offense that the 49ers had taken with Kaepernick under center and how easy it was to prepare for them.
“We knew going into this game that the focus for them was to run the football. Their passing game has just simplified so much, it was easy for us to anticipate routes, get some good breaks on the ball today.”
Ladies and gentlemen. That’s largely the reason his career has stalled. No one loves “Kap” more than me, but it’s time we chill with the conspiracy theories. Things aren’t over. Someone may call because one thing is certain. If Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert are still in the league, Kaepernick deserves a shot somewhere.
Exposure Magazine Sports Editor
Geoffrey Knox is the creator and the owner of The Thunderstorm Hip Hop Sports & Entertainment Network, co-editor for Inside The Iggles and a contributor for Saturday Blitz. Bookmark Thunderstorm Media on BlogtalkRadio.com, iTunes, TuneIn and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter @GQ_4_Eva, @stormradio66 @stormsports66 & @insideiggles.
Orlando Magic Enshrine Tracy McGrady in Team’s Hall of Fame
This past Tuesday the Orlando Magic honored one of the NBA’s premier talents when it enshrined NBA Hall of Fame guard/forward Tracy McGrady into its own hall of fame. McGrady spent 4 season with the Magic, making the all-star team every season, the All-NBA 1st or 2nd team every season, winning two scoring titles and the most improved player award in the 2000-2001 season. The more notable part of McGrady’s enshrinement is that we are still asking “what if” due to the injuries that cut short his run of dominance in the NBA, and the likelihood of his star shining even brighter had he not incurred them.
“We all sit around and wonder what it would have been like if he had spent the majority of his career here or finished his career off here after those four years.” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “If he had, I think, clearly, his number would be hanging in the rafters here and perhaps we’d even be talking about the Magic having won a championship during that time.’’
“It’s full circle because I used to drive up with my mom from Polk County and at a certain point I’d smell that bread and then we’d pass (Amway Arena) and I’d be like, “I’m going to play there one day, I’m going to be in that uniform,’’ McGrady said after the enshrinement. “Now, here we are getting inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame and it’s a gratifying feeling. This is how it should have been.’’
Donning number one in tribute to his favorite player coming up Penny Hardaway, as well as coming up in Florida as a kid, McGrady definitely fit the bill of hometown hero during his tenure with the Magic. As impressive as his 28 points, five assists and seven rebounds a game were, like many greats of the past, McGrady’s game was an experience; An experience that had viewers watching his career and team high 62 points in his final season with the team and believing that could happen any given night.
At some point, the question was “T-Mac or Kobe?” with regard to who the best player in the league was. In a not so surprising remark, NBA legend Kobe Bryant was asked who was his toughest cover during his playing days.
Still occasionally getting the itch to ask “what if” about McGrady’s career, fans should still acknowledge the 8 year teaser was a very substantial appetizer just as McGrady is able to.
“There’s a lot of what could have been with my career,” McGrady said. “But no, I don’t look back on it. I live on the experiences.”.
Surprising Upsets Headline NCAA Tournament Round of 64 as Round of 32 Begins
Walking off the court in deep laughter, screams and smiles, the Retrievers of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) were still taking in completing possibly the biggest upset in NCAA history over the Virginia Cavaliers. To sum up the game, the Retrievers played as close to perfect as you could hope, while the Cavaliers displayed a stagnant offense, and a soft defense specifically by the rim which resulted in the 74-54 final score.
“A week ago, we’re cutting down the nets and confetti is falling,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said to CBS. “And then we make history by being the first 1-seed to lose. I’m sure a lot of people will be happy about that, and it stings. But, trying to tell the guys in there, this is life. It can’t define you. You enjoy the good times, and you got to be able to take the bad times.”
An equally embarrassing showing came on opening day between the Arizona Wildcats and the Buffalo Bulls. Selected by over 3 million brackets to at least reach the Final Four while also having the best player in the tournament, center DeAndre Ayton, Thursday’s outcome of 89-68 in favor of the Bulls was unexpected to say the least.
The Wildcats had a distinct size advantage, or disadvantage in this case, with the Bulls swarming the big men in the paint and limiting their effectiveness. The Buffalo guards were aggressive throughout and could not be contained by Arizona and basically had the Wildcats in the palm of their hand for most of the game.
“We knew we had a very tough draw,” Arizona Coach Sean Miller said to the Washington Post. “We knew we were playing an excellent basketball team — and a team, quite frankly, that we didn’t necessarily match up well with.
For the first time in 33 years the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago made their return to the NCAA tournament. Usually teams with these stories show up with the “just glad to be here” look until they don’t like the Ramblers Thursday. Fighting through a close game against the Miami Hurricanes, guard Dante Ingram of Loyola issued a reminder to fans via his buzzer beating three pointer that the Ramblers are here to win.
“Well, it’s pretty simple to know why we call it March Madness.” said Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga post game.
The round of 32 will likely provide its own variety of shocks and surprises. Whether the underdogs will shock us again or the Goliath-like teams reaffirming why they are here, March Madness will remain just as exciting as ever.
Star Cornerback Richard Sherman Bids Seahawks Farewell Upon Release From Team
Earlier today the Seattle Seahawks released cornerback Richard Sherman due mostly to the financial strain of maintaining his salary. There was a meeting between both parties today which the release indicates neither side could find common ground. Regardless of what was said, the team appeared to want to send Sherman off on a positive note.
“Thank you for helping win championships, shape our culture and define success in Seattle,” the team said in a public statement regarding Sherman.
“We love you and your unwavering competitiveness, confidence and fierce passion for football and life. For that, you will always be a Hawk!”
Sherman too seemed to want to leave the situation on a positive note, expressing his stance via twitter.
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) March 10, 2018
Unable to finish the 2017-2018 season due to a ruptured Achilles, Sherman’s health likely played at least a small factor in the decision, but all reports indicate Sherman is on track for a full recovery. A Super Bowl champion, three-time pro bowl and first team All-Pro player, as well as one of the outspoken leaders of the Seahawks defense, Sherman could be taking his talents elsewhere, but the Seahawks expressed their willingness to welcome Sherman back at a reduced price which still leaves the door open for a return.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) March 9, 2018
There are a number of good fits available for Sherman. Sherman has history with some of the coaching staff for the Cowboys and Falcons, the Chargers aren’t too far from Sherman’s hometown and the 49ers could offer him a big payday. There are plenty of other options available, and while Sherman has jumped from saying he wants to play for a contender, to he’s willing to join and up and coming squad, his last statement of finding a team that’s comfortable with numbers to match sounds to have the most sound reasoning backing it.
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