San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ Kaepernick channels Jim Harbaugh while dismissing mechanics critique

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said the most important thing about a quarterback’s mechanics is for the ball to reach the receiver.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said the most important thing about a quarterback’s mechanics is for the ball to reach the receiver. AP

SANTA CLARA -- Colin Kaepernick channeled one former head coach, Jim Harbaugh, today when asked about a recent critique of his throwing motion by another former head coach, Chris Ault.

"Ultimately, whether the receiver catches the ball and the ball is in the right position is the only thing that matters," Kaepernick said.

The topic of mechanics arose after Ault, his coach at the University of Nevada, told FOXsports.com that Kaepernick's elbow tends to drop too far from time to time.

"It’s not a sidearm throw by any means," Ault said. "But his elbow and arm are at 90 degrees instead of having that thing extended all the way up. He does that because he’s so doggone strong. He’s one of the few guys that can get away throwing that way, but when you have to make the touch pass, drop it over (coverage), or if you have to anticipate where a receiver is going, that type of release often times makes you very inconsistent. That’s what I’m seeing. I saw it when we were at Nevada a little bit.”

Kaepernick at first said he's constantly working on his mechanics. But when pressed about his elbow said, "I don’t look at film that closely about my mechanics of where my elbow is at."

Kaepernick noted that a constantly changing pocket forces a quarterback to release the ball with a variety of arm angles. "That’s the job of a quarterback – throw it to the receiver so he can catch it," he said. "It’s that simple."

In that way, he sounded a lot like Harbaugh, who in 2011 was asked about then-rookie Kaepernick's motion.

"There's no one perfect way mechanically to throw a football," Harbaugh said. "Anybody who's ever thrown something, whether it’s picking up a rock and throwing it or throwing a baseball or throwing a football or throwing anything, you throw how you throw. It matters what the ball does more than how you do it."

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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