Colin Kaepernick has twice ended the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl dreams. But now he could be their hero.
The NFL is a cruel, heartless place for quarterbacks. One year, you’re a hero. You nearly lead a team to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. A few years later, nobody wants you and it might have nothing to do with your skill level. For all intents and purposes, Colin Kaepernick is an outcast in the NFL.
With Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone injury on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl dreams were temporarily crushed. Unless Brett Hundley improves immensely from his abysmal 18-for-33 and three interceptions, the Pack are done. That is, unless, Kaepernick, the same man who famously tortured the Packers in consecutive postseasons, finds a home in Green Bay.
People have been crying for the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to get a chance. Likewise, people have been yelling that he doesn’t deserve another one. Kaepernick isn’t going to swoop in and replace Rodgers. But maybe the former 49ers star has enough left in the tank to be the hero the Packers need to save their season.
Signing Kaepernick makes a lot of sense for Green Bay. First of all, Hundley is still young. But on Sunday, he made it painfully clear he’s not ready to be the starter. The Packers have Super Bowl aspirations. Even if Rodgers can return in Week 14, the season would probably be over by then with Hundley at quarterback.
Kaepernick is no Discount Double Checker, but he’s proven he’s still a serviceable starter. At the very least, he’s capable of leading a team on a magical run. The Packers know this all too well. That’s much better than what Hundley is capable of at this stage in his career.
Secondly, Kaepernick is a unique, but solid, fit in Green Bay’s system. The one thing Rodgers does best is make up for the Packers’ abysmal offensive line. But even with his quick release, lightning-fast reflexes and underrated mobility, he’s been sacked 19 times in six games this season. Over a full 16 games, Rodgers is on pace for getting sacked over 30 times for the third consecutive year. Kaepernick’s best asset is his speed and mobility. He might do it in a different way, but Kap has what it takes to do what Rodgers has done for most of his career: survive a brutal offensive line.
Another thing Rodgers is very good at: not throwing interceptions. Kaepernick isn’t the elite quarterback number 12 is, but he’s very good at not turning the ball over as well. Green Bay would have to tinker with their offense a bit to make him a better fit, but it’s something that’s at least worth considering for a team with big goals.
Thirdly, the Packers have nothing to lose. What’s the worst case scenario? Kaepernick isn’t good enough to save Green Bay’s season. And what will the Packers have lost if this happened? Nothing. They’re in no better or worse place than they likely will be without him. You could argue draft positioning, but when’s the last time the Packers have cared about that?
But let’s suppose justice happens. Kaepernick signs with the Packers. He’s able to keep Green Bay in a playoff spot until Rodgers returns. Inspired by the return of their franchise quarterback, the Packers go on a magical playoff run, culminating in a Super Bowl win.
(Tony Romo is another option. However, he likely isn’t interested. Mostly because Romo’s body is already broken from a complicated, injury-ridden career with the Dallas Cowboys. He probably wants nothing to do with the Packers offensive line at this point. And who can blame him?)
After Sunday, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to see Hundley being able to save Green Bay’s Super Bowl dream. Maybe it’s not possible with Kaepernick. But he might be the only available option who could give the Packers a shot.