Tomsula backs Kaepernick after 4-interception performance
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Coming off two straight blowout losses, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula remained in the corner of his starting quarterback.
“I believe in Colin Kaepernick and I think he’s got the tools to be a darn good quarterback in this league,” Tomsula said Monday after the 49ers lost to division rival Arizona 47-7.
Kaepernick threw four interceptions, including two on his first two possessions that were returned for touchdowns, and finished with a career-low 16.7 quarterback rating.
While the Cardinals continued to build their lead in the first half, the 49ers offense elected to stick with the rushing attack after Kaepernick’s early mistakes. The 49ers ran the ball on 13 straight plays, including two quarterback scrambles on called passes.
Kaepernick finished the first half with 33 yards passing, and didn’t add to that total until 5:09 in the fourth quarter before finishing with 67 yards. He threw his fourth interception on the first play of the second half.
“Very hard for me to deal with. Very hard to see myself play like that and hurt this team the way I did,” Kaepernick said after the game. “I nullified all the efforts of every other player on that field today and that’s something that I have to fix.”
Kaepernick spent much of the offseason working on becoming a better passer from the pocket, which included work with two-time league MVP Kurt Warner and position coach Dennis Gile at EXOS, a performance training facility in Phoenix.
Through the first two games, Kaepernick completed 69 percent of his throws, averaging 250 yards passing with a 98.1 quarterback rating before Sunday’s showing. Through three games, however, San Francisco has the league’s lowest-scoring offense.
“His development as a pocket passer, in terms of Colin reading and looking at things, and studying, I think he’s doing a nice job there working at it,” Tomsula said. “In terms of us as a team, and as a whole offense, our drop-back pass game, we need to be better at and we need to improve on.”
Things won’t get easier for the reeling 49ers (1-2) after getting outscored 90-25 in their last two games. They host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Kaepernick might find solace in his past success against Green Bay. He set a playoff record for a quarterback when he ran for 181 yards in his breakout performance in the playoffs in January 2013. In the season opener the next year, he set a career high with 412 yards passing in a 34-28 win.
The 49ers haven’t lost to the Packers since 2010.
However, the lack of production on offense isn’t the only obstacle facing San Francisco. Defensively, the team is showing attrition after losing linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive lineman Justin Smith to retirement in the offseason.
Carson Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger combined to throw for 676 yards over the last two games, when the 49ers allowed 40 or more points on consecutive weeks for the first time since 2006.
Given the tumultuous offseason San Francisco had, including changing head coaches and losing a number of key players, Tomsula insisted it’s still too early to give up on the season.
“We are a work in progress,” Tomsula said. “As far as a lost season, no. I disagree wholeheartedly. And in terms of anybody that’s not here, we spend zero time thinking of that. That doesn’t help us get better.”
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