The San Francisco 49ers endured a disappointing season in 2014 as they finished with an 8-8 record and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era.
It was a season during which the 49ers lost to the Raiders, one of the worst teams in the NFL over the last few years, which just about sums it all up.
Bad to worse
While the season was filled with fan outrage towards the organization's hierarchy, the coaching staff, and some of the players, no one expected the offseason to be as painfully eventful as it was.
Harbaugh and the organization parted ways "mutually" at the end of the campaign which only caused more uproar amongst the 49er faithful, but this was only the beginning of the nightmare.
Linebacker, Patrick Willis, undoubtedly a future Hall of Famer, decided to hang up his helmet after missing the majority of the 2014 season through injury. The news came as somewhat of a surprise as Willis would certainly still be able to offer a lot to the team not only on the defensive side, but also in the leadership role he had occupied throughout his career.
However, as hard as it was to accept this reality, there was a brief moment of hope after the young Chris Borland had impressed while filling in for Willis the past season. This hope was very short lived as just a few days later, Borland announced that he too would be retiring from the NFL.
Football fans everywhere were shocked to hear about these two talented players retiring early compared to most, but many understood their reasoning for doing so. Now not only were the 49ers coach-less, but they had also just lost two of their most promising talents.
Along came Free Agency, and the 49ers lost a number of players who had been extremely influential over the years including; Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, and Dan Skuta. Immediately after this, it was announced that Justin Smith was too, considering retirement.
Many 49er fans were already giving up on next season. However, there were some encouraging signs such as the appointment of new head coach, Jim Tomsula and the capture of Torrey Smith, Darnell Dockett, and Reggie Bush during Free Agency.
Despite these small steps towards hope for the future of the organization, there was still a lot of negativity surrounding the team as a whole.
Kap takes over
Then, Colin Kaepernick decided it was his time to shine. After a season during which fans would boo him, the franchise quarterback was determined to improve in order to show the rest of the NFL that he deserves the hype that he was initially surrounded by.
The 27 year old, University of Nevada alumnus has been working harder this off season than anyone could imagine. He was been training with ex-NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, and ensuring he is in top physical shape for the beginning of the season. If there is one player in the NFL who has something to prove, it's Colin Kaepernick.
The seemingly freakish athlete has come up short in the past three seasons as starting quarterback, and more and more people have begun to doubt him.
He is fully aware of this, which is why he's going to lead his team to the playoffs this season despite having a "lesser" group to play with.
New teammate, Torrey Smith said the other day that he and Kaepernick were clicking very well, and that it was a match made in heaven. The new wide receiver went on to say that Kaepernick was doing things he had never seen anyone before.
There's no doubt the 49er Quarterback was motivated by not only the lack of success from last season, but also by the crazy offseason in which his team suffered numerous blows.
The talent that Colin Kaepernick posses as a natural athlete is undeniable. Over the past few years, his style of play may have seemed unorthodox at times, but with the amount of hard work and time he has put into this offseason there is no doubt the 27 year old has polished everything about his game.
This is the season that the 49ers number 7 will show that he is an elite quarterback, and he will lead his team to a playoff run while diminishing any doubt there is surrounding him as a top class NFL quarterback.