Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson are part of a new class of quarterback that are bucking the trend of young signal callers needing years to develop into competent players. Both have made an impact on their teams immediately and have fans thinking Super Bowl this upcoming season. The arrow is, without a doubt, pointing up for both players. So much so that Ron Jaworski recently ranked Kaepernick and Wilson 11 and 12 respectively on his list of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. That’s quite an honor considering how little experience they have.
Both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are built in a very similar manner. Both have head coaches that appear to be in a place for a while. Both have strong running games and good defenses. While Kaepernick and Wilson are certainly capable of carrying their teams, the rosters are structured in a way where they don’t have to. It’s hard to judge who will ultimately be better, but there are a couple of reasons to believe it will be Kaepernick.
With all due respect to Seattle Seahwaks’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Kaepernick has a superior offensive coaching staff. Greg Roman is as creative as they come in terms of formations and getting his players in situations that play to their strengths. On top of that, Seattle head coach Pete Carrol is defensive minded while Jim Harbaugh specializes on the offensive side of the ball. Harbaugh has been the “QB Whisperer” during his time as a head coach in college and the NFL. He helped Josh Johnson turn into a prolific passer at San Diego State and guided Andrew Luck into being one of the most polished quarterbacks to come out of college in decades. Since his arrival in San Francisco, he has revived Alex Smith‘s career and looks to be molding a super star in Kaepernick.
There is a strong possibility that both Bevell and Roman could leave for head coaching jobs in the near future. If that happens, Kaepernick looks to be better off because Harbaugh would be able to deal with that type of loss more effectively considering how closely he works with his quarterbacks. The 49ers quarterbacks are, in a lot of ways, an extension of their head coach. The same can’t be said for the Seahawks.
On the Road
While Wilson was very impressive throughout 2012, the home/road splits of both he and his team are concerning. During the regular season, Wilson was 8-0 at home and had 17 touchdown passes to only 2 interceptions. One the road, he was 3-5 and threw 8 interceptions with only 9 touchdown passes. Wilson and the Seahawks did pick up their play on the road in the playoffs, however, winning in Washington against the Redskins before ultimately falling to the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. Road contests have traditionally been difficult for Seattle, something that could hold Wilson back throughout his career.
Kaepernick has a very small sample of play on the road, but has looked good in limited action. He was 2-2 during the regular season including a 4 touchdown performance in a 41-34 victory at Gillette Field against the New England Patriots. It was the first home loss for the Patriots in 21 December games. In the playoffs, Kaepernick lead his team from a 17-0 hole on the road in Atlanta to bring his team to the Super Bowl. The 49ers also project to be better on the road than the Seahawks in the coming years. The 49ers are 11-5 away from home in two seasons under Harbaugh while the Seahwaks are 8-16 in three years of Carroll.
This trend is an important one. Championship teams must win tough contests on the road and can’t rely on winning seven or eight home games every year. If things stay status quo, Kaepernick and the 49ers could be sitting on top of the NFC West standings for years to come while Wilson and the Seahawks play second fiddle.
Photo Credit: Mike Erhmann/Getty Images
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