This year, the ongoing lockout is a learning barrier for
players, especially incoming quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick,
who are barred from meeting with coaches until the lockout is
By Matthew Barrows – Sacramento Bee
When the Rams drafted Sam Bradford No. 1 overall last year, it wasn’t long before the quarterback was studying St. Louis’ offensive system. He sat down with his offensive coordinator to go over the playbook the next day.
This year, the ongoing lockout is a learning barrier for players, especially incoming quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick, who are barred from meeting with coaches until the lockout is lifted.
But there are other methods by which Kaepernick can begin his NFL education.
The Nevada quarterback is in the process of moving from Reno to Santa Clara, near the 49ers’ headquarters. There he’ll be only a 15-minute drive from Stanford’s Andrew Luck, a quarterback who knows 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and his offense as well as anyone. Harbaugh coached Luck at Stanford the past three seasons.
Kaepernick and Luck met over the summer at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La. They remarked on how similar they were — tall, mobile, with big right arms — and became friends who traded text messages throughout the 2010 season.
When Harbaugh and the 49ers moved up nine spots last Friday to draft Kaepernick in the second round, he received a call from Luck. More conversations are sure to follow.
“Especially if the lockout stays on,” Kaepernick said last week. “I’m going to try and pick his brain as much as I can and try to get a jump-start into this offense, and pick up as much as I can from him.”
Moving to the South Bay also will put Kaepernick in proximity with quarterback Alex Smith, a free agent the 49ers want to re-sign, and a dozen or so 49ers who have been training together.
Kaepernick has been communicating with the ringleader of that group, left tackle Joe Staley, and there are plans to get together.
The 49ers’ private workouts have been limited to the weight room, but players soon want to move to the playing field, where they could put Harbaugh’s playbook to use. During the brief time last week when the lockout was lifted, Harbaugh handed the playbook to a number of players, including Smith.
The 49ers drafted Kaepernick hours after the lockout was reinstated. Harbaugh was asked then if he would be disappointed if one of his veterans who received the playbook earlier in the day leaked it to Kaepernick.
“I’m not into hypotheticals,” Harbaugh said.
On Saturday, Harbaugh was asked if there is an advantage to a rookie having the playbook if he has no access to coaches who can explain it to him.
Said Harbaugh, “I think it’s better than not having the playbook, but it does need to be coached, explained. It needs to be interactive, questions being asked, questions being answered.”