Colin Kaepernick is one win away from making a second Super Bowl in his second season of starting. And yet Joe Montana sees room for improvement for the San Francisco 49ers' third-year quarterback, especially as a pocket passer.
"I like his mobility and that he's getting the ball downfield," Montana told USA Today Sports. "But sometimes, he needs to be more accurate in the pocket with pressure.
"The game is changing. Nobody wants to throw with pressure anymore. But the guys who can win in this league are the ones who can make throws from the pocket."
So, let's see, this is bulletin-board material ... from a supporter of the team? Perhaps. And you can never put anything past Jim Harbaugh in terms of getting his team ready for a big road playoff game.
Speaking of which, Kaepernick has shown his mettle in short time as far as that is concerned, going 3-0 in his young career on the road in the postseason. But Montana believes there are holes in his game, such as the ability to stand in the pocket, take a big hit and deliver a key throw.
"Kaepernick still needs to get better at that," Montana said. "He'll look and then he's off and running. I still think the thing is the pocket and making those tight throws from the pocket."
Montana is talking specifically about fitting those throws into some small windows.
"He'll make some," Montana said of Kaepernick, "but a lot of times guys are wide open, and he misses them."
In general, not specific to Kaepernick, Montana said he thinks it's tougher for mobile quarterbacks to be great from within the pocket.
"You're going to get hit in the teeth," he said. "The hardest part is throwing the ball accurately. If you're not a pocket guy, you're not used to it."
Some interesting criticism, or advice if that's how you take it. The question is, how will Kaepernick take it, if at all heading into Sunday's NFC championship showdown in Seattle against a first-rate defense? He seems to have done pretty well for himself to date, despite all the — ahem — flaws.
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