Joe Santoro: Of course Kaepernick’s workout is a publicity stunt | NevadaAppeal.com

Joe Santoro: Of course Kaepernick’s workout is a publicity stunt

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal
Joe Santoro

It appears that Colin Kaepernick is going to finally return to a NFL roster in the near future. The former Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback apparently will work out in front of more than a dozen NFL teams this Saturday in Atlanta. The workout, organized by the NFL, has been called a disingenuous publicity stunt. Yes, of course, it is a publicity stunt. Everything the NFL does is a publicity stunt. But not all publicity stunts are disingenuous. This workout likely just means that Kaepernick is now more valuable to the NFL on a roster than he is out of the league. Just keep in mind that a huge ingredient for the success of this NFL publicity stunt hinges on Kaepernick getting a contract offer. If Kaepernick does not get an offer it will be a public relations disaster for the NFL.

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It is time for Kaepernick to return to the NFL. He is now 32 years old. He has missed the last three NFL seasons. He has not been coached in three years. If he is ever going to wear an NFL uniform again it has to happen soon. His development as a NFL quarterback, after all, seemed to stagnate the last time we saw him on a field in 2016. Don’t forget that Kaepernick had a record of 3-16 as a starting quarterback over his last two seasons. What kind of quarterback is he now? He might not even know the answer to that question. Pretty much everything you’ve heard or read over the last three seasons about Kaepernick’s football ability is likely not true. He is not a horrible quarterback who can’t read defenses. And he is not some magical combination of Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Steve Young. The last time we saw him on a field he was simply a solid NFL quarterback with a 28-30 career record as a starter. It will be interesting to see if he can still play at a high level. He can always go back to saving the world from social injustice after he is done throwing a football.

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The Wolf Pack football team’s 17-13 victory at San Diego State is the signature victory of Jay Norvell’s career as head coach so far. It is the first time the Wolf Pack has beaten a Top 25 team on the road in school history. The Pack stood toe-to-toe with the tough, physical, take-no-prisoners Aztecs and beat them at their own game. No matter what happens the rest of the year (short of a loss to UNLV) this season is a success at Nevada.

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It is time we start to pay attention to the Wolf Pack’s defense. The Pack’s offense continues to be a mess, no matter who is playing quarterback or calling the plays. But, thanks to the defense, the Wolf Pack has won its last games over New Mexico (21-10) and San Diego State (17-13) by scoring a grand total of 38 points combined. The last time the Pack won two games in a row by scoring 38 points or fewer combined was in 1992 when it scored 33 by beating Cal State Fullerton (19-0) and UNLV (14-10). Norvell has won 17 games at Nevada in his two-plus seasons (against 18 losses) and the Pack defense has allowed 25 or fewer points in 14 of those victories. The Pack has scored 21 or fewer points in five of Norvell’s last eight victories as Pack coach.

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Wolf Pack defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who came to Nevada in 2017 with Norvell, saw his defense allow 30 or more points in eight of its first nine games (when the Pack started 1-8) in 2017. Since those first nine games, though, Casteel’s defense has allowed 30-plus points just seven times in 27 games as the Pack has compiled a 16-11 record.

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How can the Wolf Pack win the West Division of the Mountain West? It’s not as complicated or far-fetched as you might think. First of all, the Pack must beat Fresno State on the road next Saturday night and UNLV at home on Nov. 30 to finish 5-3 in league play. San Diego State also needs to lose one more game, either vs. Fresno State at home or Hawaii on the road, to also finish 5-3. Hawaii, which holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pack, needs to lose one more game, either at UNLV or home against San Diego State, to finish 4-4. Fresno State would also finish no better than 4-4 since it would lose to the Pack. The Pack would then win the division because it holds the tiebreaker over San Diego State. Make your plans for the Dec. 7 conference title game now.

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A West Division title will likely mean a game at Boise State on Dec. 7 for the Pack. It would remind everyone how silly it is for the Pack and Broncos not to be in the same division, playing each other every single year. The Pack and Broncos will not play each other in the regular season this season or next. It is likely the best rivalry in the Mountain West and to go two years without it is yet another example of how this conference continues to shoot itself in the foot. An easy solution would be to switch divisions with Hawaii and Boise State. It doesn’t matter which division Hawaii is in. They are close to nobody and have a real rivalry with nobody. But Boise State playing Nevada, Fresno State and San Diego State every year is just what the attention-starved Mountain West needs.

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Despite losing the entire coaching staff and the vast majority of the roster off of last year’s 29-5, NCAA tournament team, the Wolf Pack men’s basketball team has not lost its appeal in the community. The Wolf Pack, which hosts the USC Trojans on Saturday (8 p.m.) at Lawlor Events Center, is averaging a solid 7,988 fans over its first three home games. That is down from the school-record 10,878 a year ago and would be the lowest average attendance at Lawlor since the Pack averaged 6,554 in 2015-16, but there are still a ton of attractive matchups (USC, Utah State, UNLV, Fresno State, New Mexico, Boise State, San Diego State) coming over the next three months that could draw five-figure crowds.