Found November 25, 2012 on
Bay Sports Nut:
There are so many attributes that make 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh successful.
One of them is going with his gut when it comes to decision making.
Harbaugh had a quarterback controversy to deal with after Colin Kaepernick filled in nicely for the injured Alex Smith on Monday night. The 49ers backup quarterback threw two touchdowns and 243 yards in the Niners’ 32-7 victory against the Bears.
The 49ers coach made a decision quickly. He will reportedly have Kaepernick start today against the Saints at Mercedez-Benz Superdome.
It’s something Harbaugh had to do. He can’t be wishy-washy in making a decision like this. The sooner he made it, the better off everyone was going to be. It was a tough decision, but that’s what he is being paid to do.
Smith doesn’t have to like what Harbaugh did, but the coach did not let it fester.
There’s no turning back now. For better or for worse, Kaepernick is the guy to lead the 49ers to a championship. Smith is done as a 49er, especially with him being in the last year of his contract.
The 49ers drafted Kaepernick to be the quarterback of the future, and Harbaugh put in so much work with the young quarterback since the first day of minicamps last year. It was going to be a matter of time until he started. That time is now.
Smith did fine last year, but he has his limitations. He is a game-manager at best. It’s a credit to Harbaugh and Niners offensive coordinator Greg Roman for putting the 49ers quarterback in a position to succeed by not making him do too much. All he had to do was throw short passes and give the ball to Frank Gore.
That’s good enough to win regular season games, but that’s not enough to win a championship. This is why it was the right move to make in changing quarterbacks.
Harbaugh knew that, so he tried to look for different options at quarterback.
If the second-year 49ers head coach had his way, Peyton Manning would be his quarterback. The 49ers did everything they could to convince Manning that he is the difference maker in helping them win a championship.
That did not happen as Manning decided to sign with the Broncos. He felt that team was good enough to win it all, and he appreciated John Elway pulling all the stops to get him.
That should have been a clue for Smith that he shouldn’t be comfortable despite proving himself last year.
Smith had another good season. He has 13 touchdowns, and his quarterback rating is 104.1. He also threw for 1,731 yards. Still, he had nine turnovers, and that’s a problem. When he went up against a great defense, he struggled.
The Giants knew what to do in stopping Smith last month in their 26-3 victory over the Niners. That stood out for Harbaugh.
There is a good chance the Niners have to go through the Giants if they want to go to the Super Bowl. Harbaugh does not think Smith is the right option, and that’s why he has been waiting to see if Kaepernick can be that guy.
Smith having a concussion gave Harbaugh an opportunity to see what Kaepernick can do. That first game was enough for the 49ers head coach to make a decision.
It’s crazy to be excited about one start, but Harbaugh has a good feel on quarterbacks being that he was a quarterback himself in his playing days. It’s not something where he made a decision out of the blue. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of Smith and Kaepernick. His convictions have always made sense.
It’s hard to rip the second-year 49ers head coach when it comes to this decision.
Harbaugh will live with it if Kaepernick struggles. If his rookie quarterback’s struggles mean payoff for next year, it’s something the head coach can deal with.
It will be interesting to see what Kaepernick does, especially when the defense makes adjustments on him. This is what makes the quarterback change intriguing.
There are going to be second-guessers if Kaepernick struggles. That comes with the territory.
Harbaugh is willing to deal with it. He couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t find a better option that would help the Niners win a championship. He wouldn’t be doing his job.
Now, it’s up to Kaepernick to make his head coach smart.
He can start this afternoon by performing an encore from Monday night.
The post Give Harbaugh credit for being decisive on Kaepernick appeared first on Bay Area Sports Nut.
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