Of course, even Kaepernick is difficult to make sense of during these uncertain times in San Francisco. Kaepernick failed to progress in his second full season as starter, a contributing factor in the Niners' disappointing 8-8 finish in 2014.
New 49ers coach Jim Tomsula expressed confidence in his quarterback during a sitdown with NFL Media's Steve Wyche at the NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona.
"When we go back to the criticisms on Colin -- look we were 8-8 last year. Everyone takes a big bite out of that sandwich," Tomsula said in comments that can be seen tonight at 7 p.m. ET on NFL Total Access. "Colin touches the ball every play. He's the guy when we win, he gets a little bit more than he probably should, and when we don't win, he gets more than he should.
"Statistically and all that kind of stuff, people throw those out there -- Colin had his best year, OK. Colin is working down in Arizona. He's a great dude. He's a real good dude. He's a good teammate. He's a neat cat. Colin's going to do real well. Colin's a great football player and even better person. We're really excited about Colin."
Tomsula's pushing it when he says Kaepernick is coming off his best year from a numbers perspective. The quarterback threw less touchdowns and more interceptions compared to 2013. He also posted career lows in yards per attempt and passer rating. Kaepernick did post a career high in passing yards, though that stat isn't necessarily the best indicator of a quarterback's growth.
Much will be riding on Kaepernick' shoulders in a transition year for the Niners. The 49ers gave him a new weapon in free agency with the signing of deep threat Torrey Smith. Kaepernick will also be without the help of Frank Gore, the team's leading rusher and one of the game's best pass-blocking running backs.