The NFL has been and always will be a league solely focused on “what have you done for me lately?”. A short-term, business-like production where the idea of winning a Super Bowl is the only motivation. No one understands this more than San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. While Smith has struggled at the NFL level, his growth in these last two seasons is being glossed over with the emergence of Colin Kaepernick. In my mind, Smith is the best option for the 49ers to return back to the Super Bowl in 2012.
We are naturally drawn to the new, shiny and unheard of. In Colin Kaepernick’s case, the entire league has taken notice of his veteran-like poise and production in sparing time. Had it not been for a week ten concussion, this conversation would be non-existent. Before being injured Smith, led the NFL with a completion rate of 70%. This is not the first nor the last time where an opportunity that opened due to injury has been exploited. It is the nature of the beast that is the NFL.
Furthermore, in just two games Kaepernick has thrown for 474 yards and scored four touchdowns all the while defeating two formidable NFC opponents in the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints. A week ago, San Francisco was on pins and needles as to what kind of quarterback would replace the increasingly reliable Alex Smith. Now 49ers fans are proclaiming Kaepernick to be the QB that will win in New Orleans in February just like he did on Sunday. Lets wait just a few more weeks for statements like that.
A look at Smith’s production in last years unexpected postseason run shows why coach Harbaugh has such a tough decision. Smith threw for 495 yards, five touchdowns passes and one rushing score in two games last winter against the historic bounty fueled Saints and the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Kaepernick was not featured in last years playoffs. Now, Smith has proven himself at the NFL level. Granted it took longer than many had hoped for, but Alex Smith has arrived as a formidable NFL QB. Is now really the time to turn to a quarterback with just 79 passing attempts under his belt?