We break down some of Jim Harbaugh's comments related to the 49ers QB situation heading into Week 12 against the New Orleans Saints.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Wednesday, and it was not remotely surprising that the vast majority of the questions related to Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick and the quarterback position. Smith has not yet been cleared to play, so he once again wore the black no-contact jersey in this morning's walk-through. The team will hold a practice session this afternoon and release their practice participation report immediately after.
Earlier this morning, Coach Harbaugh indicated on a KNBR interview this morning that he figured Smith would probably be cleared to play at some point this week. When asked about that during the noon press conference, he said that was based on what he had heard from Alex and the doctors. He did hedge by indicating that he is not a doctor, so this would not seem to be guaranteed. I suppose until he actually is cleared, it's never a guarantee.
You could see Harbaugh getting a little frustrated with the excess of QB questions. He does not view this as a controversy because in his mind that deals with opposing points of view. I disagree to a certain extent, but I think that is turning it into a semantics argument. Eventually the press conference did move on to some other topics, including NaVorro Bowman's play, Drew Brees in New Orleans and even Leonard Davis motioning wide in one formation against the Bears.
For now, we sit and wait on the QB question. Coach Harbaugh made an interesting comment in which he said that people who care whether the 49ers win or lose don't need to demand an answer to the quarterback question right now. I do think there is plenty of genuine curiosity, but I personally am fine not knowing for now. I have no problem leaving the Saints guessing until the offense comes out for their first play.
I mentioned this in a comment, but given how this situation is developing, I would not be surprised at all if the team clears Alex Smith later this week, but decides he has not gotten enough "full participation" to be completely ready for the Saints. They could then start Kaepernick, but have Smith active as the backup. Of course, if Kaepernick has a big game against the Saints, that opens the door of this discussion even further.
All that really matters is this not divide the locker room. Kaepernick has mentioned in some interviews today that it's up to the coaches to do what they think will help the team win. He wants to play, but he seems to recognize the situation he is in. I don't think there is a concern for dividing the locker room at this point, particularly if the team keeps winning.
And so, we wait.