If you are over 25 years of age, you probably remember 6’ 4” – 215 pound Randall Cunningham. For those of you not old enough to have seen Randall play, I can tell you that you missed out on a real treat. Here’s just a taste of what the legendary athlete did on the gridiron.
To say that teams had to game plan to stop the offensive duel threat that Cunningham presented is an understatement. Ask Bill Parcells or Joe Gibbs how many sleepless hours they spent trying to figure out a way, not to stop him, but how to just slow him down. Randall had a gun for an arm and could run like the wind…
Cunningham, who will be 50 years old in March, has now returned to the NFL, and better than ever.
Since we last saw Randall suit up in 2001, he’s gained 15 pounds of muscle, improved his 40-time, improved his throwing accuracy, cut his age in half and he’s even gotten a few religious tattoos. The amazing reincarnation (apparently the first person in history to be reincarnated while still alive) of one of the NFL’s best pure athletes ever, has come back in the form of Colin Kaepernick.
At 6’ 4” – 230 pounds, Kaepernick possesses very similar on-field physical abilities as Cunningham. In fact, those who have seen both play up close will tell you that the more muscular Kaepernick is harder to bring down. Also, in terms of running an offense and reading defenses, Colin is clearly more advanced at this stage of his career than Cunningham was in the midst of his second year in the league. And while Colin can throw the deep ball like Randall, he also possesses the finesse and touch required to execute screen plays and the short passing game. Colin Kaepernick is truly the total package.
If you’re someone who remains doubtful or unconvinced of Kaepernick’s sudden status in the league because his sample has been too small, I would suggest doing the following. First take a look at Colin’s prowess at the college level. Now take a look at his draft metrics. Lastly, and particularly if you’re impressed with RG III’s first season, wait a few months and take a look at what Kaepernick will have accomplished after his first 13 starts in the league and then juxtapose the two against each other.
Putting things in perspective, while no one will mistake Alex Smith for Joe Montana, Smith had clearly turned the corner as a starting quarterback in this league. Smith, who even without playing the last five weeks, still qualifies in the league’s passing statistics, is third in the NFL in passer rating. Before missing time because of a concussion and being replaced by Kaepernick, Smith had led San Fran to a 6-2 record. In his last full game as starter, the former number one overall pick was 18 for 19 for 232-yards with 3 TD’s and 0 INT’s. Not too shabby…
My point here is that Jim Harbaugh didn’t replace Smith because he was playing like Mark Sanchez, Harbaugh went with Kaepernick because he had no choice. Everyone on the team, coaches and players, could see what the 49ers had sitting in waiting during practice. In fact, Harbaugh had even been putting in a package for Kaepernick and using him in games before Smith’s injury. The concussion simply gave Harbaugh the excuse / opportunity to replace a winning starting quarterback without the fallout that would normally come along with doing so. In short, Colin Kaepernick was just too good to remain on the bench.
Sure there was a quarterback controversy for a while, but the reality is that after just one month, the controversy is gone. Watching Kaepernick beat New England on the road in prime-time has put the kibosh on even Smith’s supporters voicing their opinions. There simply isn’t anything left to say…
In Colin’s five starts, with 7 TD’s and just 2 INT’s the 49ers are 4-1 and the second year quarterback has amassed a QB rating of 101.3, which would place him at number five in the league if he qualified, just above Tom Brady. Kaepernick’s rushing skills have proven second to none as he’s averaging 7.2 yards per carry with over with 377 yards, running for more yards per carry than Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Michael Vick, or any of the other noted running quarterbacks in the game. At Kaepernick’s size, unlike the Michael Vick’s of the world but very much like Cam Newton, Colin is able to take the pounding a hybrid quarterback takes playing that style of football. RG III for example has yet to play a full season and he’s already had to miss time. With San Francisco’s defense and an offense with skill players to support him, the 49ers have a legitimate shot to win the Super Bowl, if not this season, soon.
For me watching Colin Kaepernick play is like watching Randall Cunningham all over again. Replace Buddy Ryan with Jim Harbaugh and Cunningham probably would have a ring. My guess is that Kaepernick gets one or two. Colin Kaepernick is going to be the next big thing in the NFL, lauded by fans and Fantasy Football participants alike.