Quarterback controversy is nothing new to the NFL; there always seems to be a healthy dose of it flying around the league and the San Francisco 49ers have caught the fever of having two quarterbacks who are capable of starting but only one can.
During the 49ers 32-7 blowout victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football second-year, back up quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a coming out party showcasing to the entire world in prime time that he is ready to be a starting signal caller in the NFL. Kaepernick passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns while completing 16 of his 23 pass attempts and racking up a passer rating of 133.1 along with a total QBR of 97.5.
Kaepernick made his first NFL start due to Alex Smith being sidelined with a concussion and I am one who feels that a player should never lose their starting position due to injury but this situation is a bit different. Smith has a rocky career in San Francisco and despite the fact that he has played better since the arrival of Jim Harbaugh, Smith has never truly captured the hearts of the 49ers faithful.
Throughout Smith’s eight-year career the former number one overall pick has passed for 14,274 yards, 81 touchdowns and 63 interceptions with 4,875 of those passing yards, 30 touchdowns and just 10 of the interceptions coming in the past season and a half since Harbaugh has led the Niners. Those numbers are much improved but Smith is still looked at as a game manager who is asked not to lose the game rather than a quarterback that can will his team to victory.
Sure Smith is a good athlete who is mobile and can extended plays with his legs but Kaepernick is a great athlete who can not only extend plays with his legs but can also make plays with them as well. Sure Smith has a decent arm with very good accuracy but Kaepernick has a cannon for an arm and is also pretty accurate as displayed by his limited performances at the NFL level (64.8%) and college career at Nevada.
Following his first NFL start Kaepernick was beaming from ear to ear during his interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, “It’s everything I could’ve ever wished for, it feels great just to be out there,” in regards to his feelings on the game.
Harbaugh came out on Tuesday and said that his 49ers would “go with the hot hand” in Sunday afternoon’s match up with the New Orleans Saints which isn’t truly saying much. Harbaugh then followed that statement up with the following, “I usually tend to go with the guy that has the hot hand and we have two quarterbacks that have a hot hand. So I thought Colin did an outstanding job. I thought he did a great job, poised in the pocket pushing the ball throwing with accuracy, did a nice job running the game plan. Everything he did was exemplary and really acquitted himself great, very proud of him for that.”
It will be interesting to see which direction that Harbaugh goes in during the next few days, but the time is now for Kaepernick.
Smith has proven that he can help the team get into the playoffs and even to the NFC Championship Game; but can he win the big game for them? I personally don’t think he can but a dynamic playmaker at the quarterback position such as Kaepernick could not only get the 49ers back to the Super Bowl for the first time in almost two decades but can also bring the franchise their sixth Vince Lombardi trophy.