One is at a rehab facility in Florida; the other’s a little busy in New Orleans, prepping for the Super Bowl. But when watching San Francisco’s offense, run by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it’s hard not to compare it to Washington’s, run by Robert Griffin III.
They both like to run. They both run from the pistol formation and use the zone read option. And they both can pass. They’re not exactly the same player, however. Nor do the offenses run the exact same plays.
The 49ers aren’t afraid to have Kaepernick run the ball. In his nine starts, including two in the postseason, Kaepernick has run the ball 68 times for 506 yards. In Griffin’s first nine games he rushed -70 times for 476 yards. A big difference here: Kaepernick is nearly two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier.
That’s one reason the 49ers can, and will, run him more up the middle on a designed run than Griffin (excluding a quarterback draw). The Niners like to run an inverted veer, in which the running back takes the outside path and if the quarterback doesn’t hand off the ball, then he keeps it inside and follows a pulling guard. Griffin’s designed runs off the zone read option all took him outside with the running back going inside.
“RG3 is a little faster and a little quicker,” one longtime NFL defensive coach said. “But Kaepernick is taller, more rangy and a sturdy quarterback.”
In his two playoff games, Kaepernick had very Griffin-like passing numbers, completing 33 of 52 passes for 496 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Griffin will throw more on the run. Kaepernick, in the Niners’ offense, throws more from the pocket.
“Kaepernick has a bigger arm,” said former Redskins safety Matt Bowen, now a columnist with the National Football Post. “But both can make every throw that you want them to. Robert has more touch on the ball.”
Who would he rather have?
“If it’s a movement offense, I’m going with Griffin,” Bowen said. “If it’s a drop-back offense, I’m going with Kaepernick.”
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