San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick needs to prove this season that head coach Jim Harbaugh made the right decision by choosing the second-year player over veteran Alex Smith. People will think that the highlights and the trip to the Super Bowl are proof enough. While those moments were entertaining, did they really prove anything?
Kaepernick got the starting job over Smith because of injury, not because he out played him. In Harbaugh’s first season as head coach, the 49ers made it to the NFC Championship game and lost due to special team fumbles and poor wide receiver play, not Smith’s skills.
Last season, San Francisco went on to lose the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens. The 2012 NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons did not say much about Kaepernick as an individual, but the team as a whole. San Francisco allowed Atlanta to get to an early lead before mounting a comeback, which led to a 49er victory.
The same thing happened in the Super Bowl two weeks later. The Ravens got out to an early lead; the 49ers came back after a layover due to a power outage — but no victory this time for San Francisco.
No team can thrive and win championships by spotting opponents points early. That is something that Kaepernick may have to handle since quarterbacks are considered to be the most important player on any team.
Prior to the infamous Super Bowl power outage, the 49ers were losing to the Ravens and the offense showed no sense of urgency. Kaepernick and the offense were still taking their time in the huddle. Even in the midst of their comeback, they still did not run a no-huddle offense. If this team hopes to win the championship this year, Kaepernick will have to effectively conduct a no-huddle offense.
This coming season will not be a cake walk for San Francisco, but a test of resolve for the team. If the young quarterback’s goal is to win a ring, then he needs to step up not only as a quarterback, but as a leader as well.