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Kaepernick 'Explosive And Makes The Throws'


The Washington Redskins' defensive unit faces a duel-threat quarterback capable of making big plays every day in practice.

They're hoping that experience comes in handy this Monday night when they take on Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers.

Kaepernick, a third-year player out of Nevada, has nearly 4,400 total yards and 29 touchdowns in his nascent NFL career.

Last season, he burst onto the scene in replacement duty of former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith, with a dazzling two-touchdown performance against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

The fantastic effort was enough to land him the starting gig for the remainder of the season.

Helping lead the 49ers to an NFC West championship and a Wild Card Round home game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick accomplished something that no other quarterback in the league's 93 years of existence has—rush for over 180 yards.

Then in Week 1 against the Packers this season, Kaepernick shattered Hall of Famer Steve Young's franchise record for passing yards (412) in a game.

Since Week 1 however, Kaepernick's touchdown to interception ratio is almost 1:1 and in the past two games he's failed to average more than five yards per attempt.

In search of their seventh win of the season, the 49ers have come up empty-handed both times.

Despite his struggles, the Redskins defense knows that he can take over a game in a heartbeat if given the chance.

"Obviously his speed and his athletic ability," veteran Kedric Golston said about his strengths. "When he decides to tuck the ball and run, you're talking about most quarterbacks might get a 10-, 15-yard gain.

"With him it's a touchdown.

"That's the type of athlete he is. He's explosive and he can make all the throws. You have to understand what his tendencies are, what he likes to run, where he likes to go when he runs and build the gameplan around that in order to stop him."

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett sees similarities in Kaepernick's superb play from a season ago and believes the injury bug plaguing his weapons is a culprit for his stats dip.

"He's had a lot of injuries at that receiver position," Haslett said on Thursday. "I'm not really sure why the numbers aren't the same but he didn't start until halfway through last year. But I think you look at the receivers – he's had a lot of injuries in that area, you know, [wide receiver Michael] Crabtree being down and they cut [wide receiver Kyle] Williams and I think that kind of plays into it."

Haslett intimated that his unit must remain self-controlled against Kaepernick.

"You've got to be disciplined, No. 1," Haslett expressed to the media. "He's got great speed. You've got to have somebody that can run him down. But he'll run at the drop of the hat. If nothing is open, he turns it up and he's got great speed.

"So it's a good test for us up front to make sure we stay disciplined in our rush lanes."

Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan echoed his coordinator's sentiment, saying positive results will be keyed by keeping Kaepernick in the pocket.

"We've faced a lot of athlete quarterbacks in the past couple of years and he certainly fits that mold as well," Kerrigan said. "I mean he's big, strong and real fast and you can't let him out of the pocket, because if you do he can hurt you."

Fellow linebacker Rob Jackson said the goal for the defense is to keep Kaepernick, who has 335 rushing yards and three touchdowns, from wandering in the open field.

"We've learned from watching film this week [to put] them in a one-dimensional game," Jackson said on Redskins Nation. "If they're not able to run the ball as successful as they want to, he's going to have to pass the ball. If we keep him in the pocket [and] close down the rush lanes [then] we should be alright on defense."

Through 10 games this season Kaepernick's interceptions are up (seven to last year's three), completion percentage is down (62.4 to 56.2) and he has been sacked eight more times already.

He also has only one fourth quarter touchdown this season, a 34-yard connection with tight end Vernon Davis in a contest the 49ers were already ahead by 21 entering the final timeframe.

Still, Kaepernick has the ability to move the ball quickly and efficiently.

The quarterback has led the 49ers on several red zone penetrating drives this season that have resulted in 19 touchdowns.

If the defense is put in that situation, Golston hopes they can clamp down enough to have 15-year veteran Phil Dawson attempting field goals on a forecasted windy night at FedeExField opposed to watching San Francisco celebrating in the end zone.

"The ultimate stat is points on the board," Golston stated. "So if they get into the red zone and you make them kick field goals you're looking at that as a win. Obviously you don't want them to get down there, but at that point you're looking to cut your losses."

Making plays is the name of the game, especially against a dynamic playmaker whose confidence appears rattled in a slump.

"It's just about making plays at the right time and win football games," Golston said. "I've been on top-five defenses with an 8-8 record. I've been on a top-ten defense with a 6-10 record.

"All of those numbers are great and you have goals that you have in mind in order to be successful, but the ultimate goal is wins. That's what we need to do.

"Whether we give up three points or 17 point,s we need to win this football game."




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