Much ado was made of Colin Kaepernick working with two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner this offseason in Arizona. Especially with the San Francisco 49ers quarterback having such a different skillset than that of Warner.
Kaepernick is the hybrid, the cannon-armed quarterback with the nimble feet of a deer, while Warner, a Hall of Fame finalist in his first year eligible, was more of a lead-footed technician in the pocket.
And when the Niners attempted to make Kaepernick more of a pure pocket passer after he signed a seven-year, $126 million contract last summer that was fully guaranteed in the event of injury, the results made you look the other way.
Sure, his completion percentage was better than the previous season (60.5 versus 58.4) and his 3,369 passing yards were a career high, and he did rush for 115 more yards than in 2013. But he never looked comfortable as his touchdown passes were down (from 21 to 19) while his interceptions were up (from 8 to 10).
Oh, and his Total QBR plummeted from 68.6 (sixth in the NFL in 2013) to 55.9 (17th).
"There's always things you can tighten up," Kaepernick said late in the season.
"It's hard to break habits in season. You don't want to completely try to change something because it can throw off everything else you're doing."
So with his old position coach, Geep Chryst, now in line to become the Niners' offensive coordinator and his new position coach, Steve Logan, having last worked in the NFL in 2011 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running backs coach, what, exactly, is Kaepernick working on with Warner?
"We're early in the process," Warner told the Bay Area News Group this week in Arizona. "We've only worked together a few days so far. But it's a full process. To play quarterback, there's a lot of different things.
"Start with the physical part of it," Warner added. "We're trying to teach him ... what 'normal' looks like for a quarterback. Not an athletic quarterback. Not a guy that you've thrown in there and allowed to live on his athletic ability. It's about getting balanced and being in a situation where your technique is so good, that it drives how you throw the football. So we're starting there."
Sounds like Warner believes Kaepernick is still a major work in progress.
"Then the second part is going to be seeing how far we can push him from a mental standpoint, to understand the whole game," Warner said. "And I've been very impressed so far with what he knows mentally. We've been on the [chalk] board and we've talked about it. Been very pleased with where he is at. But you know, the whole thing is, you have to be able to decipher what 22 guys are doing, or at least 11 guys on the other side, in three seconds, know where to go with the football, know how to get there and technique-wise, be able to get it there. So we're going to push the envelope in all those areas and see how far we can get him."
With Kaepernick, though, as with every other quarterback, it begins with technique.
"Because if you don't have technique, you'll never have consistency," Warner said. "And then from there, we'll go to the mental side of it and see how far we can push the envelope and how good he can be."
The Bay Area News Group also asked Warner how long he figured to work with Kaepernick.
"From my understanding, he's going to be here until April," Warner said. "I'm not working with him exclusively, so I'm not sure how many sessions there will be but I want to work with him as much as I possibly can. My hope is to get two or three days a week whenever he's here and hopefully that's through April."