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Colin Kaepernick Obliterated By Vikings’ Harrison Smith

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The debate rages on. On the one side, you have the NFL purists. They believe that the only way to win in the NFL is with a pocket passer who can dissect defenses and get the ball out to offensive playmakers. Even Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who was mobile a big proponent of the winning from the pocket theory. On the other, you have futurists, who appreciate the value of a dual-threat signal-caller. If your quarterback can make off-schedule plays, run or throw from outside the pocket, they’re indefensible. So who’s right? We might have seen a defining point in the debate. During the Monday night game between the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota, Vikings safety Harrison Smith absolutely obliterated Colin Kaepernick with a big hit alongside the 49ers sideline. Kap was trying to get a first down but is the play worth the pain?

Kaepernick Too Valuable to Take Big Hits

You’ve probably heard several NFL reporters, analysts, and even coaches and executives say quarterbacks who run too often puts himself in too much jeopardy for a franchise to afford the risk. But is it true? While injuries from plays outside the pocket certainly derailed the career of Robert Griffin III, pocket passers get injured too. Drew Brees suffered a career-defining injury to his shoulder as a member of the San Diego Chargers. Carson Palmer suffered a horrible knee injury in a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers from a low hit in the pocket. Palmer has never fully recovered from the hit.

As it relates to Colin Kaepernick, over the past two seasons, Kap has started and completed every game the 49ers have played. In 2013, he rushed 92 times for nearly 600 yards and four touchdowns. He also passed for nearly 4,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. In 2014, he followed up his impressive ’13 season with over 600 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns through the air. Was it a big hit by Harrison? Yes. But Kaepernick showed plenty of toughness by popping right back up. He did leave the game but eventually returned. The reaction on Twitter about the Harrison Smith hit on Colin Kaepernick was almost instantaneous. Mark Schlereth, former Denver Broncos offensive lineman, and ESPN analyst posted:

What About the Game

The good news for the Niners and the Commissioner of our league, ‘Kap’ returned to the game and led his team to a 20-3 win. New Niners No.1 running back Carlos Hyde carried the offense with 168 yards on the ground and touchdown runs of 17 and 10 yards in his first career start. In a rather sloppy game that featured missed field goals, Colin Kaepernick threw for 165 yards as well.

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