Earlier today, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said that he is going to stick with second year quarterback, Colin Kaepernick over eight year quarterback Alex Smith. Did Harbaugh make the right call in sticking with Kaepernick over Smith?
The closest comparison we can make to a quarterback taking over for an injured quarterback is when Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe in 2001. Brady went 11-3 the rest of the season, and Bledsoe remained on the sidelines. Bledsoe didn’t come back until the AFC Championship game when Brady got injured, and went 10 for 21 for 102 yards and touchdown to help lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl. However, Brady was back for the Super Bowl and led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win.
By no means I am comparing with Colin Kaepernick with Tom Brady, but it is similar. San Francisco is 8-2-1 and coming off two wins with Kaepernick. Kaepernick in two starts is 32 for 48 for 474 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interceptioin. He has completed 64.0% and 69.6% of his passes, and has a quarterback rating of 90.6 and 133.1 in the two games he has started.
Coach Jim Harbaugh has a lot invested in Kaepernick, as he took him in the second round two years ago. Kaepernick is an athletic, dual-threat quarterback that is poised and his confidence is sky high right now. He has displayed a cannon of an arm, can make throws on the run, and can run when no one is open.
Could that be why he is sticking with the 6’4″, 230 pound quarterback out of Nevada?
Meanwhile, Alex Smith, the former first-round draft pick out of Utah, who led the 49ers the NFC Championship game, did nothing to lose his job. He just got a concussion. Now, he gets to hold the clipboard.
Smith is 20-6-1 under Harbaugh since 2011. With Harbaugh, Smith passed for over 3,000 yards, threw more than 15 touchdowns and completed more than sixty percent of his passes for the first time in his career.
Is Smith getting the short end of the straw?
Smith is an eight year pro that has had his chances. He just hasn’t had a steady coach since Harbaugh. Meanwhile, Kaepernick is the young gun and is on a tear.
It’s one thing to damage a team’s cohesiveness and a quarterback’s confidence, but it’s another thing to potentially halt a team’s hot streak. That’s why Kaepernick is the right guy for the job, for now and potentially for the future.