After seeing Colin Kaepernick tear through the “best defense in the NFL,” San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has a decision to make.
Will the 49ers go back to Alex Smith when he recovers from his concussion? Or will they move forward with the second-year Nevada product, who led the NFC West leaders to a 32-7 thumping of Chicago on Monday night? Harbaugh wasn’t confirming anything in his postgame news conference, telling the media “We’ll see,” when asked who would be the starter moving forward.
Harbaugh said that he, “usually tend[s] to go with guy who’s got the hot hand,” which would presumably be Kaepernick after his hot start against the Bears. Not so fast though, Harbaugh clarified the remark saying that Smith had been hot before his injury, adding, “we’ve got two quarterbacks that have got a hot hand.”
Kaepernick was 16 for 23 with 243 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball four times for 12 yards. Smith was 6-2-1 as a starter, including the Week 10 game against the Rams which he started but exited with an injury. The 49ers would tie St. Louis in that game. Smith was having his best season as a pro, completing 70 percent of his passes for 1,731 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.
The former No. 1 overall pick has had an up-and-down career, but seems to have finally put it all together under a Harbaugh offense specifically designed to his strengths. Smith does have his limitations though, with critics pointing out for years his limited arm strength and deep accuracy issues. Kaepernick is young, but the 49ers could stretch the field better under his leadership.
Harbaugh’s decision may not be easy, but right now, it looks like it may not matter which side he picks. Kaepernick told ESPN after the game that he hopes he’s starting next week.