Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Does Kaepernick's throwing motion matter?
By Mike Sando
Significantly changing quarterback Colin Kaepernick's unorthodox throwing motion shouldn't be a problem for the San Francisco 49ers. They plan to leave it alone, pretty much.
"There's no one perfect way mechanically to throw a football," coach Jim Harbaugh explained after the San Francisco 49ers selected Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft. "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."
Coaches warn against overhauling a quarterback's throwing motion because players tend to revert to previous form under pressure. That's why some teams shy away from drafting players with motions deemed too inefficient. Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. pointed to Tim Tebow and Byron Leftwich as players with more problematic throwing motions. He puts Kaepernick in another category.
"It's not like Tebow to me," Williamson said. "Tebow's delivery was a massive negative because the ball came down to his waist or below, and here it comes around. Or Leftwich, like a pitcher. Kaepernick's delivery is funky, but when he decides to throw, it comes out quickly, just unorthodox -- which is Philip Rivers."
Harbaugh also emphasized the ability to size up a target and release the ball quickly. The video from ESPN's Sports Science series breaks down delivery times for Kaepernick. I don't know how the times compare to other quarterbacks' times, but the ball does gets out in a hurry.
"To me, it is, 'Can you process the information?' " Harbaugh said. "How long does it take to get the ball out from the time you see the target open or coming open until the ball gets to the receiver? He’s very fast in processing that and the ball gets there fast. He’s got the kind of arm strength to really power a ball through a defense. "