SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Jets’ painstaking search for a franchise quarterback should no longer include the biggest charlatan out there. For all of Colin Kaepernick’s physical gifts, he’s not worth the trouble anymore.
The Daily News reported in February that the Jets were aware of and intrigued by Kaepernick’s desire to play for them after the signal caller’s rocky couple of seasons in San Francisco. The mercurial quarterback had become disillusioned with the 49ers, angered for myriad reasons, including a midseason benching. San Francisco and Denver nearly worked out a trade in the offseason, but John Elway couldn’t convince the player to take enough of a pay cut.
Kaepernick’s desire to become an agent for social change this summer has altered the equation for quarterback-needy teams. His ongoing national anthem protests are reason enough for some clubs to steer clear when he becomes a free agent in March by opting out of his restructured contract.
“It wouldn’t be my first choice,” Jets owner Woody Johnson said in September about how he would feel about one of his players refusing to stand for the national anthem. “I think I would have a conversation at that point with him to try to find out what’s motivating that person to do that kind of protest.”
Kaepernick’s public disdain for Donald Trump likely doesn’t sit well with Johnson, who has been one of the president-elect’s biggest fundraisers and reportedly a candidate for the United Kingdom ambassadorship in the new administration.
On the field, Kaepernick can be a dual threat, but it’s unclear whether he’ll ever be able to recapture the magic that got him to within one play of back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. He went 21-8 as a starter in 2012-2013, including four playoff wins, before regressing. He is 10-21 as a starter in the past 2½ seasons, including 0-7 this year.
“I’m very confident in my ability to go out, play, succeed and lead a team to win,” Kaepernick said in the run-up to the 49ers’ game against the Jets on Sunday. “There’s a lot of things that go into teams winning football games. But I try to make sure that I do my part as far as being able to lead, being able to come in every day, work hard and prepare myself and try to prepare my teammates to go out and be successful.”
Although the 28-year-old signal caller has shown flashes of his former dynamic self this season (see: Saints and Dolphins games), he’s still only completing 54.5% of his passes. He completed a grand total of one pass for four yards before getting benched in the fourth quarter against the Bears last week.
Kaepernick, who will start against the Jets, hasn’t exactly alleviated concerns about his ability to mentally grasp playing the hardest position on the field. It’s fair to wonder whether he’ll ever clear that hurdle.
Kaepernick would be an intriguing option in a vacuum for the Jets. Chan Gailey once turned Kordell Stewart into a dual-threat weapon who got the Steelers on the doorstep of the Super Bowl.
It’s impossible, however, to consider signing Kaepernick now without factoring in his social stance.
He has revealed himself to be misguided with nothing more than surface knowledge about issues he supposedly cares deeply about. He promises to continue his anthem protest until “this country represents what it says it represents”… yet didn’t participate in the most fundamental process that can affect change in this country. His refusal to vote (or even register to vote in his life) was the height of hypocrisy and ignorance.
Maybe he should pick up a book and read about the Civil Rights activists who died so that future generations didn’t have the discriminatory barriers to the 15th Amendment.
Kaepernick’s decision not to vote not only insulted their memory, but undermined the very principles that he said he stood for. He could have weighed in on health care, gun control and many other down-ballot measures to make his voice heard on Election Day.
There were 17 state-wide platforms in California that surely would have appealed to social activists. There were 25 ballot measures in San Francisco, including a proposition that would have allowed 16-year-olds to vote in school board elections. Wouldn’t that have been a good way for Kaepernick to encourage the next generation to get involved in the process and affect change?
Kaepernick either chose to ignore those ways to make an impact or was too busy wearing t-shirts with images of a dictator with a legacy of human rights violations to understand. He needed to look beyond the obvious. Obviously, he didn’t.
The Jets don’t need that baggage.
TWO BOLD PREDICTIONS
1. Bryce Petty will throw two 40-plus yard touchdowns to Robby Anderson. The pair hooked up for long scores in the preseason and last week. Petty will have his challenges/struggles, but the one thing we know he can do is sling it deep.
2. Sheldon Richardson and Mo Wilkerson will each get a sack. It’s been a forgettable season for the pair of defensive linemen (four total sacks between them), but this is the week that each of them get to the quarterback. I think.
JETS HOT READ
WR Robby Anderson: Rookie wide receiver Robby Anderson might be the fastest player on the Jets roster. He was forced to take on a bigger role after Eric Decker suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 3, and his performance this season has many at One Jets Drive excited about his future.
Anderson’s primary weapon is his speed, and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has certainly used him as a deep threat. But Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t possess a particularly strong arm and has fired short on multiple occasions this season when Anderson had beat his man downfield.
Bryce Petty is starting Sunday, though, and that’s good news for Anderson. Petty loves throwing the deep ball and displayed a rapport with Anderson in the second half of Monday night’s 41-10 loss to the Colts. The duo hooked up for a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Petty was targeting Anderson on a high percentage of all his throws. Jets fans are hoping that touchdown connection was a sign of things to come.
— Daniel Popper
JETS INJURY REPORT
S Antonio Allen (concussion), T Breno Giacomini (back, calf shoulder), WR Jalin Marshall (concussion), LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle), DT Steve McLendon (hamstring) and RB Khiry Robinson (lower leg) are OUT. DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE
49ERS HOT READ
WR Jeremy Kerley: The Jets drafted Jeremy Kerley in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, and the wide receiver out of TCU showed promise in the early stages of his career. His best year came in 2012 under offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. He caught 56 passes for 827 yards, both of which remain career highs.
But Kerley slowly regressed over the next two seasons. And after Todd Bowles replaced Rex Ryan for the 2015 season, Kerley became an afterthought. He was relegated almost exclusively to a punt return role. He caught just 16 passes all season and left for the 49ers in the offseason.
It wasn’t a very amicable divorce, and Kerley will be playing with something to prove on Sunday in Santa Clara.
Kerley already has 43 catches this season for 466 yards. He posted his first 100-yard game since 2012 when he hauled in eight receptions on 13 targets for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals in Week 5. Sunday’s game is meaningless for both floundering teams. But Kerley’s shot at retribution will be an interesting storyline to watch.
49ERS INJURY REPORT
T Joe Staley (hamstring) is DOUBTFUL. DT Quinton Dial (elbow) and LB Aaron Lynch (ankle) are QUESTIONABLE.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News