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49ers 'strip' back playbook for Colin Kaepernick

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Colin Kaepernick raised eyebrows Wednesday when he said, unsolicited, that he was now “being asked to be myself this year,” as opposed to the past, when he was “asked to do things outside of my character.”

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback then didn't take a follow-up question and simply walked off the podium.

Was Kaepernick talking about on the field under former coach Jim Harbaugh or off-the-field issues, how to handle the huddle or how to handle the media?

Surely, Niners offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, who was Kaepernick’s position coach since he entered the league in 2011, could elaborate?

“The luxury of being around Kap for as long as I have, I think he is a consistent person,” Chryst said Thursday. “And so, I don’t see swings in moods or in personality. He’s a pretty consistent guy. He’s a hard worker. He attacks every day.

“So, in terms of maybe finding his groove, we talked about last time we talked, maybe how much he’s improved from his rookie year, his 10th game in the Super Bowl, pretty amazing. And now you look at this game as maturing. And I think that’s part of being a quarterback is also handling, in reference to on the field, off the field, I don’t know…we’re trying to build stuff around his strengths.”

Last year, the Niners said they simplified the offensive playbook. What about this year?

“You know, a playbook is something that you build upon based on confidence,” Chryst said. “And I think that over the years with Kap, because he’s handled things at such a young part of his career, you naturally add on to his contributions. And at some point in time you’d probably hit the reset button. You kind of clear it out and hit the reset button. So this was a great opportunity.”

Chryst said new coach Jim Tomsula approached Chryst with the idea to “strip” back the playbook “to some of the things that he’s most comfortable with.”

Kaepernick appeared more comfortable Sunday in the pocket Sunday, throwing for 274 of his 335 yards in the second half at Pittsburgh. However, the 49ers trailed 29-3 at halftime.

“We’ve just gone down with a little bit of reset button hit here to maybe try to play back to Kap’s strengths ... of which are many,” Chryst said. “We’re willing to have him run the ball. You saw that Sunday. And I think that’s a complement to his unique skill set.

“We’re not trying to make him anything other than Kap. And what he did, especially in the second half, pass-game wise, was really encouraging and I think we can build off of that moving forward starting this Sunday.”