Colin Kaepernick's Mindset Heading into Training Camp Is Encouraging for 49ers

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers likely won't admit it, but Colin Kaepernick's physical and mental development from 2012 to 2013 is certainly high on their list of concerns as training camp begins.

Fortunately for the Niners, their starting quarterback is saying all of the right things and appears to have the ideal mindset for a player under the microscope who's set to begin his first full NFL season as a starting signal caller.

Kaepernick met with members of the media on Thursday and had some interesting things to say. But what stood out the most was the 25-year-old's focus and desire to get back to what he does best, win football games.

As if reading off a script written by head coach Jim Harbaugh, the third-year dual-threat quarterback admitted to having team-first intentions ahead of his squad's first summer practice, per San Jose Mercury News' Cam Inman:

To me, it's football. Football is football, regardless. I'm here to work, to make sure I get better, to make sure I'm ready to help this team.

Kaepernick's talent, potential and ability to lead an offense all shone bright a season ago after he took over starting duties for Alex Smith. But 2013 will be a test of focus for the emerging superstar.

After winning the NFC and coming within just a few points of winning the Super Bowl, the 49ers enter the new season with a massive target on their backs, none bigger than the one stretched across No. 7's jersey. 

After all, Kaepernick's is the hottest-selling jersey this summer, per ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell on Twitter:

What a difference a year makes.

A year ago Kaepernick had three regular-season appearances, just five pass attempts under his belt and was the 49ers' relatively unknown backup quarterback. Fast forward 12 months and everyone wants to wear his jersey and draft him to their fantasy football team.

Thus far, the newfound star status hasn't negatively impacted Kaepernick's play.

That's why San Francisco has to be encouraged by what they are hearing from their starter this summer heading into training camp. Sure, he did and said all of the right things a year ago. But expectations were low.

His first full season as an NFL starter is sure to bring never-before-seen challenges on and off the field. 

Therefore, Kaepernick's poise will be his most important asset. Unless the 49ers run the table, there will be downs as well as ups. It'll be interesting to see how Kaepernick handles both, but as long as his No. 1 focus continues to be football, his skill should take care of the rest.

Harbaugh and the Niners will have to wait until the team's first preseason game to see how much their quarterback has truly grown since last season. But for now, the reigning NFC champions can kick off training camp with confidence knowing that the face of the franchise is focused on winning football and nothing else. 


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