It was one game. Colin Kaepernick had one bad game. But, it is emblematic of the bigger picture to what is happening to the Read-option/running quarterbacks.
The main young threats are Kaepernick, RGIII, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. And, each of them now is relying more on pocket passing than the previous season (or seasons for Newton).
Can teams have it both ways? This is not a question of whether these quarterbacks can develop into great pocket passers because they are talented enough to do so. But, the threat of the run and the options to go with it are faded out.
So, then, what was the point to having the Read-option if a running quarterback is no longer going to be running?
Are NFL teams headed towards dual quarterback systems in which a read-option type combines with a pocket passer type to alternate downs or drives?
If so, then, trading Alex Smith was a mistake by the San Francisco 49ers.
Running Read-option quarterbacks might only have a shelf life of two or three seasons and teams may end up plugging the hole every two or three years with another young gun. If this is the case, then, Alex Smith could have stayed with the Niners and could have been that stable force that is partnered up with Kaepernick until his running days come to an end.
Defenses are picking up quickly on how to hit the read-option quarterback after they have handed the ball off. It was demonstrated best in last year's Super Bowl by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs on Kaepernick.
If teams don't want to run the read-option for fear of losing a quarterback, then, what was the point of it to begin with?
It's a new NFL, as Chip Kelly and Michael Vick are proving out in Philadelphia. More plays are getting done than ever before per game in the NFL's history by the Eagles offense. Michael Vick has been through all of the above when it comes to pocket passer development and now he's back doing what he did best.
I always argued that Michael Vick could have won a Super Bowl with Atlanta back in the day had he had some kind of Wishbone style option. At the time, the Read-option hadn't been developed yet.
And, isn't that what all of this is really about, Super Bowl titles? If Kaepernick, RGIII, Newton or Wilson were to win just one Super Bowl in their careers, like Kaepernick almost did last season, wouldn't it all be worth it?
Of course, just one championship is plenty fine. Not ideal, but better than none.