Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been dealing with pass-rush pressure over the first three weeks of the season, 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst conceded Thursday. But that’s the reality for any NFL quarterback these days.
“I’m trying to be as straightforward and honest as (I can) – there are great players and great quarterbacks who have to manipulate in the pocket,” Chryst said. “And there are other quarterbacks who are frustrated because that’s just the way that it is.
“So Kap is no different than a lot of others in that you’d prefer to throw from a clean pocket. But the office of the quarterback in the National Football League right now is always going to be at some level a little bit edged.”
Chryst said most coaches agree that defensive players are more athletic than offensive linemen. The offensive linemen’s advantage is that they play as a unit or use double teams to move one defensive player.
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That cohesion, he said, has been more difficult to achieve because of restrictions on how many padded practices a team can have during the offseason. That’s why quarterbacks have experienced more pressure, especially early in the season.
The 49ers made several changes on their offensive line in the offseason, perhaps one reason Kaepernick has experienced a more intense pass rush than most quarterbacks. According to Pro Football Focus, Kaepernick has been under duress on 43.2 percent of his dropbacks this season, the highest percentage of any starting quarterback.
Most of that pressure has come from the rebuilt right side of the line or over center, where second-year player Marcus Martin has started the first three games. Pro Football Focus rates Martin 33rd of 34 centers; it ranks right guard Jordan Devey 62nd of 75 guards.
The 49ers can’t turn to experienced backups. The team’s four reserve offensive linemen have no NFL regular-season snaps. Center Daniel Kilgore, who started seven games last season, cannot come off the physically unable to perform list until after Week 6.
New Orleans’ Drew Brees, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Dallas’ Tony Romo have missed or will miss games after absorbing hits this season.
Other teams have felt the phenomenon more acutely than the 49ers. New Orleans’ Drew Brees, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Dallas’ Tony Romo have missed or will miss games after absorbing hits this season.
Said Chryst: “From a large perspective, it is hard to stitch up your protection throughout the league.”
Boldin speaks – Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, one of nine captains this year, said the 49ers had a good game plan entering Sunday’s blowout loss to the Cardinals and he didn’t fault the team’s coaches.
“They don’t play. It’s up to the players to change that,” Boldin said. “The only thing they do is call plays, call defenses. It’s up to the players to go out and execute.”
Boldin was frustrated Sunday, especially after the third of Kaepernick’s four interceptions, but he said he wasn’t upset with the quarterback.
“Nah, my frustration was with us as a team,” Boldin said. “We didn’t play the way we were capable of playing. We didn’t execute well. We just didn’t look like ourselves.”
I don’t think guys really respond to the rah-rah and all that. Come out there and work your butt off. That’s the only way you work out of slumps, the only way you get out of droughts.
Anquan Boldin, 49ers wide receiver
Boldin said there’s one solution for the 49ers’ funk: hard work.
“I don’t think guys really respond to the rah-rah and all that,” he said. “Come out there and work your butt off. That’s the only way you work out of slumps, the only way you get out of droughts.”
Injuries – Tight end Vernon Davis (knee) warmed up with teammates but did not practice for the second straight day. Linebacker Navorro Bowman (not injury related) and safety Eric Reid (hip) were listed as limited participants.