I posted from the start of the season that Colin Kaepernick is the more talented QB of the two between Alex Smith. In all fairness, we have seen glimpses of it throughout the year in Wolfpack plays. However, that all changed Monday night when Kaepernick was allowed to fully show what he can do with a week of starting reps with the 1st team, game prep, and top of the line coaching.
At the time earlier in the season, I also stated that the only reason Alex Smith has the start over Kaepernick was due to his game experience and veteran status with the organization for the last 7 years. Certainly, in the Rams game Kaepernick showed that. He had ball security issues and was indecisive in the pocket. But on Monday Night Football that changed. He showed poise, confidence in his decisions, and most important of all the ability to sling it downfield with accuracy.
This game is what the 49ers are very capable every week and in my opinion makes them Superbowl bound. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. This is just one game. And though Kaepernick looked excellent there are teams out there that are more aggressive towards blitzing and pressuring the QB. Despite that, Kaepernick at QB shows what the 49ers offense can do to the top defenses in the league with the balance of throwing and running. Monday night was a pick your poison for Chicago, and typically not many teams in the NFL have that versatility on the Offense. The teams that do that come to mind are the Falcons, Broncos, Ravens and the Patriots (with the emergence decent play of Steven Ridley). There are teams that on paper have it Panthers, Redskins (shaky play of WRs), Cowboys, and Eagles. The difference between the latter teams, has been poor play on the offensive line and injuries. However, with the emergence of Kaepernick, the 49ers are able to arguably put themselves ahead of or at least with those top offensive teams. Keep in mind, this is ignoring all the defenses of these teams.
It is no secret, that when our offense is able to control the clock and have a diverse offensive attack, our defense if very capable of being a lights out, game changing, and scoring defense. Of weeks past, and last year, our defense has carried the load to close out games for us. Most of the time it has worked, but it is not a formula that works every week. Last year, the Cardinals and Cowboys showed that granted those games came down to the wire. This year, Minnesota, St Louis and the NY Giants showed that it will take more than our powerhouse defense to gives us an edge, at least with Alex Smith under center.
I like Alex Smith, in every sense of the word he DESERVES to start for this team. He has paid his dues and allowed this team to win. However, Kaepernick gives this team the best CHANCE to win. And if our history of the NFL and specifically the 49ers comes into play, this league is about WINNING. Harbaugh knows that and has experienced it in Indy and Chicago. Steve Young and Joe Montana knew it, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers know it and all of the in between. All these players are competitors, they all WANT to win. The bias comes in that they all feel they can win with them starting irregardless of the obvious facts of their skill set. From day one, Kaepernick has said he can carry this team. Rodgers has said that, the coaches have said it, and as we saw in Green Bay it is about the QB who gives you the best chance to win despite all the hurt feelings. Mike Singletary knew it but 1) didn't have the offensive knowledge/strategy/experience to do anything about it 2) didn't have a solid option to Alex Smith. And as he did, he cycled QBs who could get the win.
I don't envy Harbaugh, well I do but I also don't. We envy him for his talent, coaching, and experience. We don't envy his decision he has to make on who to play at QB. Flashback to Indianapolis, granted a slightly different situation, does Harbaugh play himself or go with the younger more talented Peyton Manning? Indy made that call before the season started and traded him to Baltimore. But this decision isn't that far off, do you play the guy who is less talented but has paid his dues to the team to get them to a winning, competitive team or do you play the guy who is younger, more talented and can potentially get you to that team elite status and ultimately the Superbowl?
I guess the better analogy would be Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady. Though in my opinion Drew Bledsoe I think, skills wise, is a more talented QB than Alex Smith. Do you give Tom Brady the chance to take this team to the end? Or do you play Bledsoe who deserves it? New England the year before got to the Superbowl and lost. But with Brady won it with Bledsoe backing him up. Alex Smith took this team to the NFC Championship game but was ineffective in getting any passing attack which kept the game close with a loss in OT and a rematch of last year against NY Giants still showed that ineffectiveness to create a passing attack which ended in a 26-3 throttling.
Harbaugh is as competitive as anyone, he knows how the league works, and for all intensive purposes he knows how the position works. He's called the QB Guru for a reason. No, we don't envy the decision he has to make. But depending on whether you as a fan, critic, or a third person looking in, loyalty versus best chance to win isn't a clear choice. Fans of any team are all about loyalty, we preach it, its in our blood and its one of our fan mottos. "Faithful".
But do we stay "Faithful" to Alex Smith or do we go to Kaepernick who gives our team the best chance skills/talent wise to hoist up that 2012-2013 Lombardi trophy?
No, Jim Harbaugh I don't envy your position and the ensuing media and locker room aftermath that will follow.
a 49ers fan 100%. Win, Lose, or Tie