Time to panic about Colin Kaepernick?

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

This is becoming an all-too-familiar look for Colin Kaepernick. (USATSI)
This is becoming an all-too-familiar look for Colin Kaepernick. (USATSI)

Two field goals. That's what the 49ers have to show for Colin Kaepernick's seven preseason drives.

Time to panic? No. But it will take a while for San Fran's offensive line to resemble the powerful unit we've seen the last couple years. Kaepernick, and by extension Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, could be in for slow starts this year.

The Chargers hit Kaepernick four times on the first three series in Sunday's dress rehearsal game.

Two-time Pro Bowl left guard Mike Iupati got beaten badly on the biggest hit, a blindside sack-strip by defensive end Corey Liuget. Iupati does not look fully recovered from the broken left fibula he suffered in the NFC Championship Game.

The rest of the line isn't rock solid either. Right tackle Anthony Davis (shoulder surgery) is supposed to be ready for Week 1 but hasn't played yet. Right guard Alex Boone is holding out for a new deal, and there's been “no movement” on that front, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Like Jonathan Martin filling in for Davis, Joe Looney has been competent replacing Boone. They're still downgrades.

Even All-Pro left tackle Joe Staley wasn't sharp Sunday. He allowed linebacker Melvin Ingram to hit Kaepernick's arm on an early deep throw, causing an incompletion.

In three preseason games, Kaepernick has hit 12 of 22 passes for 115 yards and no touchdowns with one lost fumble. He's run twice for 13 yards.

Dave Richard has seen enough from this O-line to drop Kaepernick from fifth to 10th in his quarterback rankings. Jamey Eisenberg has Kaepernick ninth.

The 49ers' ground game hasn't been nearly as bad as the passing game. Rookie Carlos Hyde continued his strong preseason by rushing six times for 38 yards (6.3 ypc) against San Diego. (Frank Gore got one carry).

Fortunately for Kaepernick and his receivers, San Fran opens the regular season against soft defenses: at Dallas, vs. Chicago. And the 49ers' starters get one more chance to establish momentum -- maybe even score a touchdown -- when they visit Houston in Thursday's preseason finale.

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