San Francisco, CA – The stage was set and all eyes were on Colin Kaepernick last night. The quarterback that fell from grace finds himself fighting for his starting position.
Although he hasn’t made things easy, now being the center of attention after not standing for the national anthem. There’s one thing he does well and that’s play football. Kaepernick started in the 49ers final preseason game in San Diego.
As the cameras were rolling, Kaepernick kneeled down along with teammate Eric Reid who was not in uniform. Heading into the game Kaepernick had only 13 snaps compared to Blaine Gabbert’s 43 snaps who sat out this game. San Francisco’s 31-21 victory over the Chargers was enough to prove he’s the teams best option. While the spotlight was on Kaepernick’s views of why he won’t stand for the national anthem. The 49ers must decided on a starting quarterback for the season.
“It was amazing,” Kaepernick said of Reid kneeling with him during anthem. “He approached me and said, ‘Let’s think how we could do this together. We want to make sure that message isn’t lost with the action coming along with it.’ ”
Kaepernick passed for 103 yards and completed 11 out of 18 completions. After a disappointing season last year riddled with injuries, Kaepernick is hoping to get his starting position back despite the recent distractions. After a dominating opening drive where Kaepernick led a 16-play, 85-yards to set up DuJuan Harris 1-yard touchdown. San Francisco collectively took over to secure the teams win.
Backup Christian Ponder did the rest with two touchdowns of his own including the go-ahead touchdown with 3 minutes left to play. Kevin Taylor had the final touchdown of the night rushing 10-yards just under the two-minute mark. But the night was really about how Kaepernick faired. He looked just as good as he did when he was in his prime two years ago. But did it come at a cost, is his fate with the 49ers in jeopardy?
Kaepernick has stirred up more controversy than ever on or off the field. The wins, playoffs and one Super Bowl trip is nothing compared to the attention the quarterback has garnered in the last week. But all he wants to do is play football. And at this point he’s the best option at quarterback against Gabbert. Kaepernick’s had one disappointing year but that doesn’t take away what he’s achieved thus far.
“I’m going to go out and show everything I can these next two games and make sure I put my best foot forward to show this organization, this team, this coaching staff, what I’m capable of,” said Kaepernick prior to his first start against the Green Bay Packers.
The final roster cuts will happen Saturday. Until then we wait on the announcement of the starting quarterback. Coach Chip Kelly made it clear when he was hired January 14 that he liked Gabbert. But did Gabbert win him over or did Kaepernick’s actions in the 2015 season turn Kelly off? If that’s any indication, i’m sure he’s not a favorite now. But this is not about a popularity contest. It’a about winning and San Francisco can’t win without the best guy to led this team and based on experience, that guy is Kaepernick.
After being asked repeatedly, Kelly has said as of Thursday: “There’s no discussions about anything right now. We’ll make our decisions when we get all the film graded for everyone, not specifically Colin but everyone on this football team.”
After the game Kaepernick addressed the media and announced that he will donate $1 million to two different organizations to support and promote awareness. He’s also becoming more involved with organizations so he can actively be more apart.