Let the quarterback run. And run some more.
"I would tell him to get to the coaches and say, 'Look, I'm here because this is what I did in college, and my first year I was here you let me do it. Now because I'm making a lot more money, you're trying to keep me in the pocket, you're trying to make me do things,'" Montana, the Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Niners to four of their five Super Bowl titles, told the NFL Network on Friday morning.
"The timing is different. The ball has to come out of your hand, and guys -- not just Colin but you look at guys with big, strong arms -- they want to wait until the last minute. When we talk about touch and things, those are the things that are different from those guys because when they run their offense, they're outside and they're usually throwing to guys who are pretty open. Let him do it. He's big. Tell him just protect yourself, but you have to get him back to doing the things he's comfortable with doing."
Among those things is running the zone-read option. Kaepernick, though, worked with two-time league MVP Kurt Warner this offseason in an effort to improve not only his mechanics but also his game as a pocket quarterback as a whole.
In recent weeks, though, first-year coach Jim Tomsula said the Niners were "not a drop-back team. We're not built that way. We're not built like other teams. We're not comparing ourselves to those teams. We're not built to be, first and second down empty and spreading the ball around all over the place."
Then, after Kaepernick's college coach Chris Ault said he noticed his old quarterback was dropping his elbow, Kaepernick said he was "not huge" on his mechanics.
After a two-game stretch in which he threw five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, without a touchdown of his own, Kaepernick rebounded at the New York Giants on Sunday night. He started out with short, safe passes to get into a rhythm before taking deeper shots. He threw for 262 yards and two TDs on 23 of 25 passing for a season-high passer rating of 107.1.
"Yeah, he says he can play in the pocket -- everybody says that as a quarterback," Montana said. "I'll tell you I can run the read-option. I'm not sure you want me to run the read option but I'll tell you I can, just like he's going to do the same. And it's different. It's completely different.
"So let him do the things that he does well. He'll take that team back and get it winning again, but you can't force him to do something and make him start thinking and then everybody questions every throw he makes. Let him be himself. That's what I would tell him. Tell those guys you want to be Colin Kaepernick, the guy you drafted and who you let me be the first year I was here."