Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Nov 2012

Mandatory Monday: Faux Controversy

A genuine faux controversy! Plus, viva la revolution, and happy birthday Jimi Hendrix!

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 26 Nov 2012

11 comments, Last at 27 Nov 2012, 10:53pm by tuluse


by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 12:54pm

Kaepernick played reasonably well, completing 16 of 25 passes for 231 yards, one touchdown and one interception, plus 27 rushing yards. Those are Alex Smith numbers, accumulated in a slightly different way than Smith would.

Yeah...gotta say, Mike, this is not one of your smartest moments. Yes, those numbers are accumulated in a "slightly" different way, but that difference is one that changes the entire nature of the game. If you're only looking at end-of-game stats, then yeah, the difference is "slight," but if you actually have any interest in what happens from play to play at all, then there's something a bit more important going on there.

by Rhombus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 1:40pm

I agreed with a lot of what Mike said on this one. This game was against the Saints, and Alex could very easily have put up a similar line, including Y/A, and would have come away with a win.

But I think the largest difference from a stats perspective was twofold: no sacks, and 3rd down play. During his longer drives, Kaepernick was pretty consistently putting up good numbers on 3rd down, and making great plays. He was excellent outside the pocket in particular, and has a knack for throwing accurate, hard throws across his body while on the move. He also doesn't do that thing mobile QBs love to do where they run backwards for ten yards and then take the sack: his evasive maneuvers were pretty confined and some were spectacular.

Right now, there doesn't seem to be a huge difference in who starts for the Niners at QB. But in the long run, I think it's fairly obvious who's the better decision. It may just take some time to get there.

by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 3:50pm

I just can't think that Kaepernick's play looks anything like Alex Smith's. He has an entirely different set of tools and makes radically different decisions. Hard to believe Tanier did more than watch highlights and write a lazy few paragraphs.

I can't agree with him, for instance, that Kaepernick played "like the typical freewheelin’ young quarterback." Good or bad, there's not much that's typical about him. As for his "bloopers" -- what bloopers? There was one of note -- an interception. What other bloopers are there bad enough to "make a dog cringe?" Seems like Tanier saw that one, assumed there were others, and wrote a hyperbolic line.

by Little Bobby Tables (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 4:42pm

There were a handful of less damaging mistakes -- the almost-pick in the fourth quarter could have been bad, and was only saved by randy moss tackling the CB. He also had issues with clock management early. But I agree, his successes greatly outweighed his failures in the Superdome. His traditional stat line doesn't look amazing, but I imagine his advanced stat line will be kinder. And to anyone who watched the game, it was clear that Kaep was carrying the offense for much of the first half when his OL, his running game, and his receivers were checked out.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 11:04pm

Sure he had some errors, but that's hardly limited to young QBs. How many guys this week didn't have an "almost pick"? Maybe one or two at best? It's not like Smith was famous for never, ever making a mistake. A pretty strange and rather lazy column from a guy who usually does much, much better.

by JohnD (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 9:40am

I have absolutely no opinion on the matter, but it's worth noting that the commentary on Audibles this week seems to agree with Tanier's general argument.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 3:58pm

My complaint is that this can't be called a 'signature controversy' unless Tim Tebow is involved.

by young curmudgeon :: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 3:04pm

"Colin Kaepernick" sounds like a character in The Scarlet Pimpernel or The Count of Monte Cristo. That thought then led to the idea that the Cleveland-Pittsburgh game would have been much better to watch if football and fencing could somehow be melded into one sport. Except the Steelers would keep dropping the epee.

by moore2012 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 11:06pm

But once you achieve “maybe they will fumble our punt” enlightenment, you have transcended the football field and entered a new stage of consciousness

best. line. ever.

by JonFrum :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 6:26pm

"Faux controversy" is Tanier's typical way of letting you know he's smarter/more discerning than you are. Or at least than 'they' are.

by tuluse :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 10:53pm

Sort of yes, it's more like most people are smarter than the schlock ESPN peddles.