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In an interview with USA Today Sports, Montana offered some advice to Kaepernick, who is on the verge of leading the 49ers to their second straight Super Bowl appearance.
“I like his mobility and that he’s getting the ball downfield,” Montana told the newspaper. “But sometimes he needs to be more accurate in the pocket with pressure.
Kaepernick still needs to get better at that. He’ll look and then he’s off and running.
— Joe Montana, on the importance of a QB finding consistency from the pocket
“The game is changing. Nobody wants to throw with pressure anymore. But the guys who can win in this league are the ones who can make throws from the pocket.”
Montana, considered by many to be one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, led the 49ers to four Super Bowl titles during the 1980s and is the only player to win three Super Bowl MVPs. During his Hall of Fame career, Montana was known to buy time in the pocket with his footwork while also excelling at sprint-out passes in the West Coast offense.
Kaepernick, whose 49ers take on the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, has been known more during his young career for his elusiveness as a runner. He ranked third among quarterbacks with 92 rushes this season, behind Cam Newton (111) and Russell Wilson (96).
That leads Montana to maintain Kaepernick’s game won’t come full circle until he finds consistency from the pocket.
“Kaepernick still needs to get better at that,” Montana said. “He’ll look and then he’s off and running. I still think the thing is the pocket and making those tight throws from the pocket.”
As for tight throws, Montana says that Kaepernick needs to improve his accuracy.
“He’ll make some,” he said, “but a lot of times guys are wide open and he misses them.”
During the regular season, Kaepernick completed 58.4 percent of his passes and posted a 91.6 passer rating, down from 62.4 percent and 98.3 in 2012.