Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
I was all set to write an article this afternoon explaining why San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was getting more media hype than he deserved. That he was being put in a category with Washington rookie Robert Griffin III and Carolina second-year quarterback Cam Newton only because of their similar styles of play.
The problem is that when I checked the numbers, Kaepernick is every bit as productive as RGIII and Newton.
In fact, the only thing holding him back from putting up great fantasy statistics is his team and his coach!
As Warner Wolf would say, "let's go to the videotape."
In four career starts, Kaepernick is averaging 216.75 passing yards and 43.5 rushing yards per game (260.25 total ypg). Griffin is averaging 223.5 yards through the air and 57.5 yards on the ground (281.0) and in his rookie season Newton averaged 253.2 and 44.1, respectively, for a total of 297.28 yards.
Kaepernick is close, but ranked third of the three quarterbacks.
However, here are the key statistics.
In 2011, coach Ron Rivera let Newton throw 517 times or 32.3 attempts-per- game. The Panthers threw 53.8 percent of the time.
Mike Shanahan has allowed RGIII & Co. to pass 363 times in the first 13 games of 2012 equal to 27.9 attempts per game or 46.7 percent of the Redskins' plays.
Unfortunately, Kaepernick apparently has the most conservative coach of the three in Jim Harbaugh. Even with veteran Alex Smith at quarterback the team ran 52.9 percent of the time, but he's grown more conservative with his young quarterback under center and Kaepernick has only been allowed to throw 45.4 percent of the 49ers' plays or 25.7 passes per contest.
Despite the fewer passing attempts, Kaepernick actually has been the most efficient passer with a 8.41 yards-per-attempt mark versus 8.28 for RGIII and 7.83 for Newton in his rookie season.
Of course, San Francisco doesn't usually need to throw a lot because its defense is yielding a league-best 14.2 ppg. The 49ers also have a veteran running game headed by 1,000-yard rusher Frank Gore.
The conclusion the above numbers support is that if Kaepernick played on a team that needed to score 25 points to win a game like Carolina or 26 points like Washington, he'd be putting up spectacular numbers just as Griffin and Newton have and racking up 300-yard passing bonuses.
Unfortunately, his teammates are "conspiring" against him by being too good at their jobs. As long as the 49ers' defense is at or near the top of the charts, Kaepernick won't produce fantasy statistics on the level of Griffin and Newton despite being their equal.
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