The NFL’s opening weekend was sprinkled with enough horrific quarterback play to prompt this fair question: How the heck is Colin Kaepernick still unemployed?
Football fans far and wide were subjected to abominable performances from scrub- and semi-scrub signal callers in Week 1, a smorgasbord of slop from guys who should be holding clipboards underneath baseball caps instead of taking snaps.
If you didn’t already think that Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien was complete and utter trash, the veteran nobody reminded us all again with a hideous 9-for-18, 128-yard afternoon that included two interceptions in his own territory and a sparkling 33.8 passer rating in a 37-point loss to the Rams. The Rams!
If you weren’t already convinced that Tom Savage was a dubious starter for the Texans, he stated his case with a 7-for-13, 62-yard Picasso that netted him a 66.8 passer rating and a spot on the sideline after getting yanked for rookie Deshaun Watson.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick waits.
For all the fair reasons why Kaepernick shouldn’t be a NFL starter – and yes, there are some sound ones that I whole-heartedly agree with – it’s becoming an increasingly more difficult sell to explain why he can’t even land a backup gig.
It’s fair to wonder, of course, whether Kaepernick truly wants to be a No. 2 quarterback at this point. If not, he should.
Week One proved that he wouldn’t just be one injury away from playing. The league’s lid-lifting week proved that most backup quarterbacks are closer to the starting gig than he probably truly knows.
Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned despite poor quarterback play from around the league.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
Why? Well, there are some awful starters in this professional league.
Even Andy Dalton, who has led the Bengals to the playoffs four times, is on thin ice after an epic clunker in a home shutout loss to the Ravens on Sunday. Dalton was dreadful: 16 for 31 for 170 yards, four turnovers and a laughable 28.4 passer rating.
I dare any human to convince me that Kaepernick couldn’t do better than THAT.
How about senior citizen Carson Palmer, whose cobwebs are visible on television. The guy is older than the folks at Del Boca Vista. The smart money is that he drives a Cadillac, eats dinner at 4:30 pm and uses a tip calculator.
Palmer was a mess (27 for 48, 269 yards, 1 TD, three interceptions) in a double-digit loss to the Lions. Who’s the Cardinals’ backup? Off the top of my head, I have no idea. But I will bet my editor’s weekly salary that he’s not better than Kaepernick.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the current 49ers quarterback: Ol’ reliable Brian Hoyer. Only he’s not actually reliable.
Kyle Shanahan’s hand-picked signal caller went 24-for-35 for 193 yards, no TDs and one interception. If that weren’t impressive enough, maybe his 70.3 passer rating will wow you. Or not.
Scott Tolzien was horrific for the Colts on Sunday.
I don’t harbor delusions of grandeur. I’m not a Kaepernick Truther, pretending that the same guy who was one play away from taking San Francisco to two consecutive Super Bowls once upon a time still exists. He does not. That player is gone forever. But there is still a place for Kaepernick in the NFL.
There’s a valid case to be made that perhaps Kaepernick isn’t an ideal scheme fit for many teams, but he absolutely is talented enough to warrant a roster spot. He has a skill set that some of the aforementioned scrubs can only dream to have. The central issue has always been whether that skill set warrants the accompanying attention due to his anthem protest and outspoken stance on social issues.
Is Kaepernick flawed as a quarterback? Of course.
Should he have had starting offers this summer? No.
Can he still play at a quality level if called upon? Yes.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Sunday that Kaepernick is currently 230 pounds, the same weight he was at the height of his superpowers.
It’s not realistic to think Kaepernick will ever duplicate the magic from several years ago, but it’s patently absurd that we have to watch guys like Tolzien out there. My eyes can’t take it anymore.
Brian Hoyer and the 49ers were routed 23-3 by the Panthers on Sunday.
(Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)
Kaepernick should get another chance. Soon.
TWO-MINUTE DRILL FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE:
Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy might have made hit all his off-season weight clauses, but he still runs like he’s fat: five carries for three yards in a loss to the Packers isn’t going to cut it.
Somebody might want to inform Chuck Pagano that the coach that just kicked his butt works for the Rams, not the 49ers.
Further evidence that football is a brutal sport: Two years ago, Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson was an ascending star. After a forgettable season with turnover-machine Blake Bortles, Robinson reportedly tore his ACL on Sunday… in a contract year.
Hey, Jets: Did you see Marshawn Lynch run over a 305-pound defensive lineman Jurrell Casey in the Raiders’ road win over the Titans? Good luck next week when Beast Mode makes his anticipated debut in front of the crazies in the Black Hole.
With apologies to Dak Prescott, the best second-year quarterback in the NFL is Carson Wentz (307 yards, 2 TDs), who put on a show in the Eagles’ road win over Washington.