Buccaneers Must Contain Colin Kaepernick on Sunday
The Buccaneers do have an important task Sunday, and that is containing Colin Kaepernick.
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The Buccaneers are favored by one point on the road Sunday. It’s not much of a surprise as San Francisco enters this one at 1-5, reeling after a 45-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. If this one were in Tampa Bay, the spread would likely have been bigger.
That cross-country trip brings the spread down I guess.
But, there is one “X-Factor” that Mike Smith and the Bucs’ defense will have to face on Sunday. That factor is Colin Kaepernick. 49ers’ coach Chip Kelly announced early in the week that despite the loss on Sunday, Colin will start against the Bucs.
Now, we can all agree that his ability has declined since leading his team to the Super Bowl. But, he does bring a unique set of skills and has played well against the Bucs in the past.
They have to contain him.
In two previous meetings, Kaep completed 68% of his passes and posted a rating over 111. The Niners won both of those games. His passing ability has waned, but look at his rushing totals. On six rushes, he has averaged nearly seven yards per carry.
It was the same story last week against Buffalo, as he scrambled eight times for 66 yards, nearly a nine yards per carry clip. A lot can be said about Kaepernick, but he is fast and he is slippery.
Containing him may likely involve using a guy like Kwon Alexander as a spy. Let’s look at Colin’s 29 yard run from last week, his longest of the game, courtesy of NFL Game Pass (subscription required).
Take a look. Colin actually has open options to throw to, but his instinct is to run? Why? Look at the open field on the right side. The defense has gone too far and been run out of the play. One pass rusher has been pushed behind Kaepernick so he could step up, and everyone else has been blocked down to the left.
With that, he has all kinds of room, and he takes it.
Now we rewind to earlier in the game, specifically the first quarter. The play only went for five yards, but the circumstances will look very similar.
Just like last time, Rex Ryan’s aggressive defense is guilty of over-pursuit. The guys up front have either been double-teamed, pushed off to the left, or pushed behind the quarterback. Kaepernick is able to step up and then take off.
Nobody is there paying attention to Kaepernick. When you have a guy that can run at a moment’s notice, there needs to be a defender watching his every move. In football they call it a “spy”. It is not uncommon, as it has been a tactic done as far back as the Randall Cunningham days. At least that far in my lifetime.
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Give someone the task of watching Kaepernick. Kwon, Lavonte, somebody. It will loom large.