In the NFL, nine of the 32 starting quarterbacks have held their jobs since at least 2016. Four have been starters since before 2010. Only three were not among the top 100 picks in their draft years, 15 were among the first 10 players selected in their drafts and seven were the No.1 overall pick.
But according to a story Thursday on Slate, Colin Kaepernick should be a starter in the league, and the reason he’s not is obvious.
“He Doesn’t Know the System. He’s Been out of Football for Too Long” – with a subhead: “They’ve had two years. NFL coaches still haven’t come up with a good excuse for their teams not signing Colin Kaepernick – by Nick Greene took the Washington Redskins to task for passing on Kaepernick after it lost its second quarterback in three weeks to injury last Monday.
“Washington is just one game behind first place in the wide-open NFC East. The team would have a pretty navigable route to the postseason were it not for the fact that its current quarterback plays like a gout-stricken mall Santa,” Greene wrote of Mark Sanchez, the backup and NFL veteran who took over when Colt McCoy, who began the season as Washington’s backup, sustained a broken tibia last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But “Speaking with reporters after Monday’s loss, Washington coach Jay Gruden dismissed an obvious candidate the team might bring in for the position. ‘He’s been talked about,’ [head coach Jay] Gruden said, referring to Kaepernick. “But we’ll probably go in a different direction.”
Kaepernick has been out of the league for almost two full seasons now, Greene wrote, because he “inaugurated the league’s social justice protests in 2016 by sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem.” He keeps in shape and wants to try out for a team, and his stats are comparable – and in some cases better on a career basis – than Sanchez’s, Green wrote.
So when the team says it is passing on Kaepernick for “strictly football reasons,” then “that logic doesn’t exactly pass muster.”
Greene refers to a piece in USA Today headlined “A complete debunking of Jay Gruden’s excuse for the Redskins passing on Colin Kaepernick,” in which reporter Steven Ruiz tries to take on the argument Gruden made later in the week that there was not time to bring Kaepernick up to speed on the Redskins’ offense or put in plays that suit his capabilities.
“On the same day Jay Gruden told the media Washington was not interested in Colin Kaepernick, the team signed journeyman backup Josh Johnson (who last attempted an NFL pass in 2011) to sit behind Mark Sanchez, giving the Redskins, who remain just one game out in the NFC East, a quarterback room that screams ‘We’re giving up on the season,’” Ruiz wrote.
Greene wrote that Kaepernick has spent most of his career in a system that had similar plays and used similar terminology to Gruden’s system in Washington and thus could learn the plays easily if the team didn’t hold Kaepernick’s activism against him.
“It’s obvious why Washington is passing on Kaepernick, and it has nothing to do with football,” Ruiz wrote. “We’re talking about a team owned by a man, Daniel Snyder, who donated $1 million to the campaign of a president who has repeatedly said NFL players who kneel during the anthem should be banned from the sport. The same owner who said this during an NFL owners meeting focused on the national anthem issue.”
Ruiz then used a quote from an ESPN story. “As [Cowboys owner Jerry] Jones spoke, Snyder mumbled out loud, “See, Jones gets it – 96 percent of Americans are for guys standing,” a claim some dismissed as grand overstatement.”
Greene concluded there was little chance Kaepernick would appear on an NFL roster this season.
“According to all these coaches, Kaepernick – and seemingly only Kaepernick – lacks what it takes to learn an NFL offense,” he wrote. “He’s had too much time away. (Unlike, say, Josh Johnson.) Or he hasn’t had enough time to catch up. Either way, you won’t see him behind center any time soon.”
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