5 questions on Colin Kaepernick with Niner Noise

Nov 1, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) reacts from the field against the St. Louis Rams during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) reacts from the field against the St. Louis Rams during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns are still in the mix to acquire Colin Kaepernick so we caught up with Peter Panancy of Niner Noise to get his take on the situation.

The Cleveland Browns are looking for a quarterback. Johnny Manziel was finally cut loose last week, leaving Josh McCown as the starter, for now.

Jared Goff or Carson Wentz may be looked at with the second overall pick in the draft, but another option has emerged in the past few days.

Colin Kaepernick has reportedly expressed interest in joining the Browns, although some other reports say he is losing interest.

It is tough to separate facts from planted reports, but the speculation of a trade will remain until a final decision is made.

We caught up with Peter Panacy of Niner Noise to get his take on Colin Kaepernick, and whether he can help the Browns in 2016.

1. What caused Colin Kaepernick to want to leave San Francisco?

Peter: Colin’s demise has a lot to do with the front office and his relationship with former head coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh was Kaepernick’s best ally within the organization. And Harbaugh continues to back Kaepernick to this day. But when the 49ers and Harbaugh “mutually” parted ways, the relationship between Kaepernick and the front office took a big hit.

And all the rumors behind how the front office was going to make Kaepernick a scapegoat while setting him up to fail certainly didn’t help either.

On top of that, I’ve read Kaepernick’s team-friendly contract signed back in 2014 was intended to help the team re-sign a lot of his teammates, who were up for free agency after the season. When the Niners didn’t go that route, it also must have been another stain on the relationship.

So it doesn’t seem too surprising Kaepernick would want out. He wants a change of scenery and it’s hard to blame him.

2. What caused Kaepernick’s struggles last season?

Peter: Kaepernick does have some inherent flaws. I remember Greg Cosell of NFL Films talking about some of his weaknesses on KNBR 680 (the Niners’ flagship station) and saying how accuracy and pocket poise aren’t Kap’s strengths.

However, I don’t think he received the best of help from the coaching staff and former offensive coordinator Geep Chryst last season. San Francisco’s offense was awfully vanilla in addition to the possibility of the league “catching up to Kap.”

He had some moments though — games in which he looked good. But the problem was consistency. It wasn’t as if Kaepernick could have elongated stretches of success occasionally marred by slumps. You really didn’t know what you were going to get game to game.

The reality is probably somewhere between a perceived regression and the poor coaching surrounding him.

3. Do think Kaepernick can still play at the level he played at in 2012 and 2013?

Peter: I don’t know if Kaepernick will ever look like the quarterback he was back in 2012 and 2013. But I do think he can still wind up being a good signal-caller at this level. The league has made some adjustments to his style of play and, like any athlete, it’s up to him to make the necessary adjustments.

But doing so would require the right coaching staff, scheme and weapons to surround him. Heck, you can take a great quarterback and put him on a bad team, and the results may not be so pretty. So I feel if Kaepernick is able to make some notable progress, it’s going to have to be in a different way than what was seen before.

4. What is the talk like in San Francisco with the trade news surrounding Kaepernick?

Peter: Well, Kaepernick is with the 49ers until he isn’t. It’s that simple. I think there’s a mixed bag of feelings regarding the whole possibility of him being moved. Kaepernick fans are still supportive of him, and many would like him to stay. Yet those who aren’t happy with Kaepernick’s tenure in San Francisco wouldn’t mind him being dealt.

The 49ers hold all the cards here. They can sit on Kaepernick and look for the biggest offer on the table, should they so choose. And recent buzz also suggests the Niners are willing to keep Kap on the roster for 2016 anyway if a deal to their liking isn’t made.

5. Do you think Colin Kaepernick could make the Browns a successful team in 2016?

Peter: Should Kaepernick be dealt to the Browns, I do think he’ll be a significant upgrade and a piece new head coach Hue Jackson may be able to utilize properly. He’ll need some weapons — a good offensive line and some reliable receiving targets. And I can’t stress the importance of coaching should Kap find himself in Cleveland this season.

But if the pieces fall into place, I have no doubt he’ll find some success. I just don’t know how much at this point.

Next: Browns facing decision with second overall pick

Free agency is underway and the NFL Draft is on the horizon. Be sure to follow Dawg Pound Daily to keep up with everything the Browns are trying to do while they go through their latest biennial rebuilding project.