One of my favorite aspects about yesterday's altogether awesome game was Colin Kaepernick's runs (triple option, touchdown). Dude's got legs that are a combination of giraffe neck and Gumby. He takes a stride, and that's about a first down. Better yet, he knows how to use them. I don't mean just running. Obviously he can put one foot in front of the other with incredible speed. I mean that he utilizes option plays like he came out of the womb in one direction because the DE was crashing in the other direction. How a defensive lineman got into the hospital is anybody's guess.
The reason he is so good on the option plays is because he makes incredible, split-second decisions that are almost always the right decisions. And we should expect this, encourage it, and utilize it. Colin Kaepernick should get a few touches a game so long as the game plan calls for it. Apparently yesterday's game plan was to troll Rex Ryan with his own offensive plans so hard that his fat falls off.
But the notion that Alex Smith should ride the bench while Colin plays is absolutely absurd. Again, let us return to his decision making. In the option play, it's fantastic. When he is throwing a gazillion yards downfield into triple coverage? Eh, not so much. Especially because the underneath route on that play was wide open. If he makes a better read, that play still goes for some serious yardage.
This isn't to say that Colin won't ever be a good QB who makes good reads. In fact, I'm inclined to believe that will just happen. Not now, though. Not at the expense of Alex Smith, who has been playing exactly how we want him to play. This offense thrives on spreading the ball around and limiting mistakes. Almost half the team had the football at some point yesterday. Heck, even Anthony Dixon saw some action.
Alex has his weaknesses. Undoubtedly. There were sideline passes that just missed the mark. And, in a few cases, those marks were wide open. That's pretty inexcusable. I won't fight the criticism there. But that weakness does not even get close to surmounting what Alex brings to this team; his ability to limit interceptions; his ability to spread the ball around; to play sound football on a team that requires a QB to make plays alongside a RB who makes plays and a TE who makes plays and WRs who make plays.
Colin is appealing because we can all see the explosiveness he brings to the table. But, I just don't trust him to carry this offense in the way that Alex does. Maybe Alex doesn't carry this offense like other passers who throw the ball fifty times a game for 300 yards - but let's be honest, that style of football worked for a few years. Defenses have already compensated. What's the Packers' record? The Saints? Sure, the Texans and Falcons are having success with that style of play, but they also have incredibly complete teams. Alex Smith absolutely carries this offense in the way the offense needs. He limits mistakes and is a foundation for everybody else's success.
Is he an elite QB? No. A great one? Probably not. He is a good, sometimes great, QB who thrives on this team. We shouldn't replace the most consistent QB play we've had since Jeff Garcia.
When we find an elite QB just roaming the streets, or when Colin turns into one, then great. I'll be all for benching Alex. Until that happens, though, he's the man.
And that's how it should be.