Analysis: 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Hints Towards Colin Kaepernick Starting Next Week

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE /
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE /

As we stated late last night, the San Francisco 49ers have a quarterback controversy brewing and it seems head coach Jim Harbaugh is in absolutely no rush to put out the raging fire of speculation. After San Francisco’s thumping of the Chicago Bears on Monday Night, and Colin Kaepernick’s amazing performance against one of the best secondaries int he NFL, Harbaugh simply stated he would “start the hot hand” next week against the Saints.

“I usually tend to go with the guy that has the hot hand and we have two quarterbacks that have a hot hand,” Harbaugh said after Monday’s win. “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.”

Alex Smith is still suffering from that concussion he suffered last week against the Rams, and Harbaugh’s quote heavily implies that Kaepernick may see his second consecutive NFL start next week.

If Smith is truly as valued as the 49ers say he is, then starting him next week when Kaepernick is clearly the hot hand would be insanely stupid. There doesn’t need to be a full-on change at quarterback, but the need to rush Smith back evaporated as Kaepernick obliterated Chicago’s stout secondary on Monday.

Plus, the Saints have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, and if Kaepernick carved up Chicago, Harbaugh would be doing the world a disservice by benching him against New Orleans thus robbing us of seeing what the young man can do against a secondary that clearly looks like it can’t handle him let alone anyone.

But, whenever the backup comes in and impresses the way Kaepernick did, a controversy like the one we reported on last night always ensues. When asked if Smith had lost the starting job, Harbaugh managed to to yes and no at the same time.

“We’ll make that determination as we go, but there’s no rule,” Harbaugh said.

That’s what ‘experts’ define as cryptic and what we’re pointing out as early evidence that Kaeprnick is clearly the favorite to start next week. But anyone with eyes and half an NFL brain can see that, hopefully the 49ers do too.