Kaepernick: I'm not huge on mechanics


Kaepernick: I'm not huge on mechanics

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, downplaying the importance of his throwing mechanics, said it’s not how things look that matters, it’s whether the pass arrives at its intended target.

“Mechanics are, I’m not huge on them,” Kaepernick said. “You can look at (San Diego quarterback) Philip Rivers throw, you can look at (New England’s) Tom Brady throw. Looks completely different. They’re both great quarterbacks.

“It is something that I constantly work on, my mechanics, fundamentals, to make sure I’m out there throwing the ball the best way I can. Ultimately, whether the receiver catches the ball and the ball’s in the right position is the only thing that matters.”

Kaepernick spent approximately 10 weeks early in the offseason working with private quarterbacks coach Dennis Gile on his mechanics to tighten up his throwing motion with the intent of becoming a more consistent pocket passer.

While the results from his work were noticeable through training camp, Kaepernick appears to be reverting back to some of the habits his former coach at Nevada and the father of the pistol formation, Chris Ault, said he saw him developing last season.

Prior to the 49ers’ game Sunday night against the New York Giants, Ault told FOXSports.com that faulty mechanics were central to Kaepernick’s struggles.

“Nobody knows Kap like I do, and really that started last year,” said Ault, who coached Kaepernick from 2007 to ’10 and now serves as coach of the Rhinos Milano, a team in the Italian Football League. “For some reason last year his technique throwing the ball . . . he let it go.”

Ault said Kaepernick’s background in baseball is probably the explanation for sometimes delivering the ball late.

“I saw a little of it in college,” Ault said. “He was a pitcher, as everyone knows. He threw that thing 93 or 94 miles per hour. He has a low elbow at times. It’s not a sidearm throw by any means, 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 said it’s a necessity for quarterbacks to be able to vary their release points to account for an oncoming rush and the positioning of offensive and defensive linemen.

“You have to be able to change arm angles, especially on underneath throws to throw around linemen, to throw into windows,” Kaepernick said.

When asked if he notices the same thing with his elbow that Ault pointed out, Kaepernick answered, “I don’t look at film that closely about my mechanics of where’s my elbow at.”

Gile worked with Kaepernick on the positioning of his hips to remain in a throwing posture longer in the pocket. Ault attributes some of Kaepernick’s lower-body mechanical flaws to the 49ers' inconsistent pass protection, which does not often leave him with a clean pocket.

“That plant leg is sometimes fairly loose,” Ault said. “I’m not defending Kap, but some of those things are attributed to the front. You get yourself in some bad habits when you try to get things going on your own. You don’t realize you’re doing it, and it leads to other bad things.”

Ault’s assessment came immediately following Kaepernick’s worst back-to-back games of his career in losses to Arizona and Green Bay. He threw four interceptions against Arizona, then looked hesitant to even throw the ball despite single coverage on the outside and little safety help against the Packers.

“I can tell you this, and he had some bad games with us at Nevada, but this guy is a vicious competitor,” Ault said. “You may not see it, but I’m telling you that he is. His vision is real clear on where he’s at, what he has to do to get better, and he’ll find a way. He is one of the most competitive players that I’ve ever coached.”

Kaepernick rebounded with a strong showing against the Giants, completing 23 of 35 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Kaepernick credited improved communication and chemistry throughout the 49ers' offense for the improved offensive production.

San Francisco coach Jim Tomsula said he has confidence in his staff -- quarterbacks coach Steve Logan and offensive coordinator Geep Chryst -- to work with Kaepernick and make any necessary adjustments without seeking outside opinions or assistance.

“I won’t get into anything that the coaches are coaching up and things like that,” Tomsula said. “And I really, with all due respect to coach Ault, I don’t know him but we’re not really paying attention to other people’s evaluations. We’re watching our film and we’re evaluating and we’re correcting and working on things that we feel like we need to work on.”

Through five games, Kaepernick is completing 62.9 percent of his passes, which would be a career-best but ranks 24th in the NFL. With four touchdowns and five interceptions, his passer rating is a career-low 76.8, ranking 32nd of 35 qualifying quarterbacks.

49ers' Richie James focusing on consistency, not what future holds

49ers' Richie James focusing on consistency, not what future holds

DENVER – Wide receiver Richie James has settled into the 49ers’ offense after a rookie season in which he never completely got comfortable with the offensive playbook.

So the last thing he needs as the 49ers enter their second preseason game Monday night against the Denver Broncos is to be thinking about anything that could take his focus off his job.

James is one of at least eight 49ers wide receivers who figures to be on an NFL roster this season. But not all of them will remain with the 49ers when the regular season begins. James could be attractive to some team – such as the Broncos – who need a wide receiver and return man if James does not stick with the 49ers.

“You try to control what you can control -- be the best person in this offense and be the best person in any offense,” James said. “It doesn’t matter. Just be you. You kind of let it go and not let it get to you. If you let it consume you, you’re off your game and you’re not thinking about the right thing.”

James is coming off an up-and-down rookie season in which he showed flashes in every aspect of his game. He caught nine passes for 130 yards, including a 53-yarder. He also had a 97-yard touchdown on a kickoff return.

He said the main objective in his second training camp is to achieve consistency. After already being in Kyle Shanahan’s system for one year, James is gaining more confidence in his role.

“Last year, I was thinking way much more,” James said. “But now you kind of got a glimpse of the whole offense and you can think outside the box a little bit – think of the extra stuff: the coverages, who you’re going against, what you need to do, the techniques and stuff like that.”

James had a good training camp, including two solid days of work against the Broncos in practices. Shanahan said he has been impressed by what he’s seen from James.

“I think he’s done a good job and stepped it up throughout camp,” Shanahan said. “I think he’s done a real good job.”

[RELATED: 49ers Mailbag: 10 questions before Monday preseason Broncos game]

James faces stiff competition for a roster spot. Rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, the team’s second- and third-round draft picks, have two spots locked up.

Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Jordan Matthews also are in competition for their roles. James showed plenty of big-play potential as a rookie, and now he is looking to show that aspect of his game with more frequency with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.

“They know I can do it,” James said. “People have seen it. The quarterbacks have seen it. They believe I can do it. It’s just about being consistent with it. That’s getting Kyle’s trust and Jimmy’s trust.”

49ers vs. Broncos live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online

49ers vs. Broncos live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online

Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for ... Jimmy Garoppolo is back.

The 49ers quarterback is expected to make his return to the gridiron Monday night when the 49ers face the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is undecided on how long his franchise signal-caller will play, but it marks one of the final steps in Garoppolo's return from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 3 of last season.

If you blink you might miss Jimmy G, but the 49ers still have a number of intriguing players who likely will play meaningful snaps in Denver.

Rookie wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd have opened eyes during training camp, and the 49ers' defense has impressed during joint practices with the Broncos.

While Garoppolo only will see limited minutes, you still won't want to miss the action in Denver. 

Here's how you can watch 49ers vs. Broncos game live online:

Start time: Monday, Aug. 19, at 5 p.m. PT
TV channel: ESPN
49ers live stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial