On Sunday, two of the most electric young guns in the NFL will come together to do battle. The San Francisco 49ers, featuring Colin Kaepernick, will be heading to North Carolina to play Cam Newton and the Panthers. The winner will be heading to the NFC championship game while the loser heads home. Both teams are rosters with no gaping problems, but the focus heading into the game will be squarely on the two trigger men.
Visually, Newton and Kaepernick operate in much the same manner. Both men have the ability to make huge plays in both the passing and the running game. Newton makes more big plays on the stats sheet, but then again, he also makes more negative plays as well.
As a team, the 49ers and Panthers are nearly carbon copies of each other. Both teams lack top tier passing attacks while running the ball exceptionally well. Both teams play great defense, winning many of their games in the old-fashion control the clock and play defense style.
Because Newton and Kaepernick are so similar on paper, and their respective teams are equally as similar on paper, we have to resort to considering non-statistical observations when considering which player is better suited to winning their team a championship.
If we start with intangible qualities, there’s no question that Kaepernick has been a rock for the San Francisco 49ers, even when he was serving as Alex Smith’s backup. Kaepernick has been a pro since entering the league. Rarely, if ever, have we ever been able to look at his actions and declare he needs to do better.
The same can’t be said of Newton, but to his credit, he’s turned it around this season. In his first two years in the league, it wasn’t uncommon to see Newton sulking on the bench after yet another late game interception that sealed the Panthers’ fate. He looked like a quarterback with all the talent in the world, but he lacked the mental strength to make it in the NFL.
Maybe it’s because the Panthers have been winning nearly all year, but Newton has turned that perception completely into the past. This year, he’s been a strong leader for his team, but I have to wonder how he’d handle a slow start in a big game. Because of that past instability, we have to give the hat tip to Kaepernick in the intangible areas of the game.
Next, we have to consider athleticism. Although Newton accounts for more yards through the air and on the ground than Kaepernick does, he may not be quite as athletic and quick with the ball as is Kaepernick. Still, the two quarterbacks operate in much the same manner from the pocket, and any difference is marginal at best. Although Kaepernick may be a step quicker, debating which is more athletic is like debating which cheetah you want taking the snaps for your team. It really doesn’t matter, and it’s practically a draw.
Finally, we come to simple skill. As previously mentioned, Newton accounts for more yards and touchdowns than does Kaepernick, but Newton throws the ball and runs more often than Kaepernick. Again, it’s a very close battle, but San Francisco has more weapons surrounding Kaepernick than the Panthers have been able to put around Newton, and despite this, we see more production from Newton. Even if we look at a blanket statistic such as passer rating, Newton’s 88.8 he earned this season is just barely below Kaepernick’s 93.8, and the difference in offensive weaponry likely explains why Newton trails Kaepernick. In short, the Panthers need Newton more than the 49ers need Kaepernick.
So, which young quarterback is “better?” Although they’re extremely similar on paper, Newton is a better quarterback on the field, but his past tantrums also seem to indicate he may not be the pillar that Kaepernick is for the 49ers in the face of adversity. Both players have more than enough talent to lead their teams to a championship, but Newton has been able to better harness his own talent in 2013. He’s limiting his mistakes better than ever while maximizing the players he has around him. Kaepernick is efficient, but he doesn’t bust games open in the same way that Newton does. He allows his playmakers on offense to help him push the 49ers offense up and down the field, and there’s no problem with that. Newton just has to do it without that added support.
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For me Newton is a better QB and eager to prove his worthiness. You see, his sulking was because of his desire to win. As the number one pick his behavior is pointed out more. When you have someone hungry to win prove something and they have been a winner all of his career, watch out! I am going on record today and make this prediction: The panthers will go to the Superbowl and will beat the 49'ers and win in the NFC champion. Why? I just feel it. Why is this important, it's not but when I have had these feelings in the past my friends bet on those games because it has been 98% the correct one.
Colin Kaepernick is a great QB he has already won 3 Playoff games in 4 starts he makes plays when he has to which is why he is in the playoffs and Alex Smith isn't.
Colin Kaepernick is THE most overrated QB in the NFL. Th 49ers are by far the most stacked team with easily the best D in the NFL with the BEST running game and two pro bowl caliber receivers. All of those facts stated, the 49ers have statistically THE WORST PASSING GAME IN THE NFL. Worse than the Jaguars, Raiders, Browns, Texans, Bills, Jets...everyone. And the single, solitary reason that is, is because Colin Kaepernick is not a very good QB. He's quite dumb, can't read a D and is NOT very fast (4.7 40yd dash). Cam Netwon is by far the better QB. The onyly reason Kaepernick is starting is because Harbaugh is an ego maniac that put "his guy" in over Alex Smith solely because he drafted him and found an opportunity when A Smith go injured (btw, A Smith was statistically better in EVERY category [yds, tds, ints, rushing yards] and did more with less on the Chiefs; and in only 15 games). I guarantee Harbaugh will draft a QB high in the 2014 NFL draft and will have a great chance to beat out Kaepernick in training camp.
@ThisGivenSunday I'd say Cam is a smidge better than Kap... a smidge.
@PhilTurnerJr Well, I will be looking forward to telling you are wrong after the game. I will lock you down like T. Brown on steve smith this weekend. 9ers - quest for six continues...past the panthers.
You're wrong cause at the beginning of the season kaepernick wr's were injured. Alex Smith lost his job to a number of qb's and they all did a better job. I thought chase daniels was gonna take his place after watching that chargers game. Smith been in the league 8years plus and kaepernick been in the league 3 and already been to the Superbowl. Alex Smith had maybe 2 good years with the niners.
@lukdukt most overated no, RG3 is. I am cheering on the Panthers as I am a Newtonian. That being said Kaepernick is a wonderful quarterback. Of the young highly touted QB's Luck, Newton, Kaepernick, Wilson and Griffin is how I rank them.
@lukdukt Ok. Complete hater, we will see this sunday how overrated CK is. Just wait. Ill be looking for you after the game. Moron.
@lukdukt - 49ers are one of the lowest producers in terms of YARDS in passing. The 49ers are a run first team which is why they're ranked 3rd in rushing yards. They run the ball 55% of the time, which is second in the league. Don't even bring up Alex Smith. That guy was a waste of salary for five years, he had his chance. He should be kissing Harbaugh's a$$ for reviving his career.
People fail to notice that kaepernick didn't have elite wrs. With Alex Smith Vernon Davis was the number 1 wr for the niners and he didn't reach 1000 yds. Kaepernick help made those wrs. Cam had steve Smith, Greg Olson.