Colin Kaepernick looks different. Right? Everyone who has watched the 49ers quarterback in practice or viewed clips of him this spring knows his delivery has been altered. But it's harder to put your finger on exactly what changes have been made.
Dennis Gile can tell you. He's the quarterbacks coach and biomechanics devotee who most closely worked with Kaepernick January through April at EXOS training facility in Phoenix. Gile watched some of the videos, including this one from the 49ers and this one below, from the team's recent OTA sessions and talked about what we are seeing in Kaepernick.
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If you think his release is more compact, you're right.
"It's the first thing everyone sees -- how fast the ball comes out of his hand," Gile said. That's a result of all the alterations -- from his head to the bottom of his cleats -- that the quarterback has made. "It's not about how hard you can throw it or how fast you can get rid of it," Gile said. "It's how quickly he can release it while still being relaxed."
One of the main things that changed was Kaepernick's stance. Gile said it was too narrow. That is, his feet were close together -- "real tall on his tippy toes," Gile said -- and when he took a step to throw the ball, that step was too big, too exaggerated. That elongated his release.
Kaepernick's feet are now an inch or two outside of his shoulders or hips. When he stands, there is a bend in his knees. His step is smaller and he's generating power from his feet, which also reduces the need to wind up and elongate his motion.
"Colin, starting on the first day he was with us, changed his narrow base to a wide base and never looked back," Gile said.
A second alteration involved his left arm, which Gile said swung too far from his body when he threw. He's now keeping that arm in, which helps keep his shoulders level, his upper body relaxed and his delivery more compact. Gile said the quarterback could stand to be more consistent with the left arm, but has made strides in that area.
It's also helped his accuracy. Gile said Kaepernick made the biggest gains with his deep passes. That has to be good news for wideouts like Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson, who were brought in this offseason to add firepower to a deep passing attack that had been lightly utilized in previous seasons.
Gile said he expected Kaepernick to return to Phoenix and continue to work on his craft during the team's break in early July.