Happy Thanksgiving! Niner Noise is thankful for all the fans that read our website and who support the San Francisco 49ers. We are thankful for the 49ers competing like Super Bowl contenders for the second season in a row and for the San Francisco Giants’ second World Series Championship in three years. And most of all, we are thankful for Jim Harbaugh naming Colin Kaepernick the starter on Sunday vs. the Saints. Going with a second-year quarterback with one impressive career start over the more experienced Alex Smith is the way to go, right?
Jim Trotter of Si.com reported Harbaugh told Smith he was going with Kaepernick by saying,
I’m going with Kaepernick. Alex, I’m sorry.
Smith was at practice on Wednesday wearing a black, non-contact jersey for the second week in a row. There has been no word if Smith has been medically cleared to play. However, the decision by Harbaugh was reportedly not “health-related”.
Whether or not you agree with his decision it is best for the team going forward to know who is starting at quarterback. It is unfortunate Smith is being burned by his third head coach and for the second time by Harbaugh. Believe what you will about Harbaugh’s pursuit of Peyton Manning being just an “evaluation”. Had Manning been willing to sign with the 49ers, Harbaugh would have been fully on board and we would not be talking at all about Kaepernick.
When I heard the news Kaepernick was going to be the starter I didn’t know how to feel. I am kind of torn on who should be starting. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the excitement of the 49ers offense on Monday Night Football and the spark Kaepernick provided. This was the first time all season the 49ers offense looked so in sync and prolific against a very tough defense. And on national TV! But what scares me is that Kaepernick is a one-hit wonder. Not saying for his career, but for just the Bears game. Is it smart to risk going with inexperience at quarterback, especially against the Saints on the road?
Smith has shown this season and last season he can be a reliable quarterback and come up clutch in the playoffs. Everyone remembers the last time the 49ers played the Saints and how that game ended. Also, it was not Smith’s fault the Niners lost the NFC Championship game. This season he has been on point, minus against the Giants, and he has been almost perfect the last two games he has played completing 25-of-27 passes. On the season Smith has 1,731 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.
The 49ers have the luxury of going back to Smith if Kaepernick plays bad. Smith has been there, done that with coaches pulling him in and out of the lineup. He will be ready if he is called into a game. However, what that would mean is that Kap is playing poorly and the 49ers have lost a game or two with him starting at QB. With a tie on their record the 49ers cannot afford any more losses.
But you know what? I can’t get the images out of my head of how well Kaepernick commanded the 49ers offense against the Bears and how he involved Vernon Davis in the offense. Something which Smith has failed to do the last four games he has played. You could never dispute Kaepernick’s confidence, even before last Monday night. He’s always had a fire inside and if anything, in addition to his performance last week, that is why Niner fans should trust him as the starting quarterback. If you thought Kaepernick making his first NFL start on Monday Night Football on national TV was a big game for him, just wait until Sunday against the Saints in the Superdome.