“We have a lot on our plate, as far as what we’re trying to get done,” Kaepernick said.
In a brief question-and-answer session at the 49ers’ practice facility on Thursday, Kaepernick wouldn’t address his comments, saying only that players – himself included – are expected to do a lot within the 49ers’ offense.
Griffin, though, said he was merely trying to praise the Eagles with his statement and wasn’t singling anyone out. He also said he has been hesitant to use too many personal pronouns lest he give the impression he’s putting himself before the team.
“You’ve got to keep pushing forward,” Griffin said. “Once again, never change who you are. Come to work every day with a smile, upbeat, get guys to play and make sure no one ever quits.”
Having coached Steve Young and John Elway during the prime of their careers, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has had the benefit of working with quarterbacks who have dominant, detail-oriented personalities.
Shanahan said Friday that being a quarterback doesn’t always make someone a leader. Often times, those qualities are innate.
“You’ve got to have a lot of physical and mental characteristics to be a leader,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got to perform at a certain level. You’ve got to handle yourself a certain way. … There’s a lot of guys that are very quiet and they lead a certain way. [There are] a lot of different types of leaders – some are boisterous, some are very quiet – but usually to become a leader, you have to perform and perform consistently to get that respect from your teammates.”
Young, the former San Francisco quarterback who is now an ESPN analyst, has followed Kaepernick closely. In an appearance on KNBR 680 AM in San Francisco early last week, he took issue with Kaepernick’s leadership on the field, especially in terms of his inability to adequately push the offense this season.
“We know that that’s not going to happen in five seconds,” Young said. “That’s a process. Is that just too much right now? And people smell it, and know it, and now it’s affecting everything? That’s alarming.”
Kirk Cousins, Griffin’s backup with the Redskins, wrote a book about leadership during the offseason. A three-year starter at Michigan State, Cousins said he believed he won teammates over by trying to get to know as many of them as he could away from football, so adjustments made during practices or games were taken in a positive light.
“You’ve got to have relational moxie, and you’ve got to understand how to relate to people where you’re being yourself, you’re being real, but it comes off to people the right way,” Cousins said. “I think [Indianapolis Colts quarterback] Andrew Luck is only in his second year, and I don’t think it took him very long to be a leader, or the leader, in the locker room because he carries himself in a way that people really gravitate to.”
Wide receiver Pierre Garçon, who played with current Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning for four years with the Colts, said teammates always believed in Manning because of the way he asserted himself.
Cousins, who was not specifically asked about Griffin, said he has studied Manning, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and has noticed they’ve taken a clear top-down, yet supportive, approach to the game.
“I think, to some degree, the top quarterbacks in the league – what shines through for me is that, I don’t know if there’s a better word for it, but they’re anal,” Cousins said. “They’re paranoid. They fear failure in the sense that a guy runs a wrong route, and it’s just unacceptable. There’s no tolerance of it.”