It’s a do or die 3 months for Kap | NevadaAppeal.com

It’s a do or die 3 months for Kap

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … There aren’t many people, inside or outside of the NFL, who believe Colin Kaepernick is an elite quarterback anymore. His detractors say he can’t read defenses, couldn’t hit the side of a 747 from 10 yards away, has a slower and more deliberate delivery than your 92-year-old grandpa saying grace at Thanksgiving and is as skittish in the pocket as a newborn kitten after a balloon pops. Well, the greatest player in the history of Nevada Wolf Pack football can prove them all wrong over the next three months. The San Francisco 49ers are finally allowing controversial Kap to get on the field starting Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Kaepernick has a new contract and a new lease on his NFL life and odds are he’s going to make the most of it. Expect the 49ers to win at least six of their final 11 games with Kaepernick at the controls. The 49ers are finally interesting once again.

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Kaepernick’s future as an NFL starter all hinges on the next 11 games. Chip Kelly’s reputation as an innovative offensive mind is also on the line. The two of them together might save each other’s NFL careers. Kelly has never had a quarterback in the NFL as dynamic as Kaepernick. Kaepernick has never been tutored by an offensive mind in the NFL as daring as Kelly. The Kelly-Kaepernick combination could be the second coming of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana in San Francisco. It might revolutionize NFL football. Or it might be a train wreck. Either way, it won’t be boring.

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It’s been widely assumed these next 11 games will be Kaepernick’s farewell in San Francisco. Don’t be so sure. Yes, nothing that has happened over the last year or so would suggest the two sides want to continue their marriage well into the future. But the 49ers desperately need Kaepernick and Kaepernick, whether he’ll ever admit it or not, also needs the 49ers. There are only a handful of teams — Browns, Jets, Denver come quickly to mind — who need a quarterback upgrade as much as the 49ers. The NFL isn’t major league baseball, where a dozen or so teams drool over free agent middle inning relievers every off-season. Free agents in the NFL always have few choices, especially when their careers have been as controversial and rocky as Kaepernick’s. The best spot in the NFL for Kaepernick is right where he is.

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The Wolf Pack football team is lucky it isn’t 1-5 right now after playing poorly in five of its six games. But none of that means anything in the forgiving Mountain West, where bowl games are handed out at the end of the year as easily as free casino buffet coupons are given to tourists coming off a bus from Sacramento. The Pack is still on track to play San Diego State for the West Division title on Nov. 12 at Mackay Stadium (stop laughing) and only needs to win three of its next six games to get a bowl invite. Keep the faith, Pack fans. College football at the Mountain West level means nothing and is certainly nothing to get all worked up about. It’s just a reason to tailgate. And don’t forget basketball season is less than a month away.

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San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy went insane in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. Bochy used five pitchers in the ninth inning as the Cubs scored four times for a 6-5 series-clinching victory. Three of the pitchers — Derek Law, Will Smith and Sergio Romo — pitched to just one batter. None of the five threw more than six pitches. The whole inning was just so un-Bochy-like. It was as if Dusty Baker was back in the Giants dugout. Why did Bochy even feel the need for a reliever at all, given starting pitcher Matt Moore had allowed just two hits and two runs with 10 strikeouts over the first eight innings? Moore had tossed 120 pitches but this is October. The Cubs weren’t even touching him. Do you think Bochy would have taken Madison Bumgarner out with a 5-2 lead in the ninth?