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Harbaugh: Quarterback competition isn’t “clear cut”

Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh AP

Alex Smith is considered the heavy favorite to open the season as San Francisco’s starting quarterback.

Coach Jim Harbaugh made it clear on Saturday, however, that the decision hasn’t been made.

“We’re evaluating daily and really it’s a mindset of letting the guys compete for it,” Harbaugh said on a conference call Saturday via CSNBayArea.com. “So far, it hasn’t had a chance to be clear-cut yet.”

Hmm.  The Associated Press seems to be treating the matter like a breaking news alert and the words do seem intended to convey a message.

With that said, it’s really not so different than what we’ve heard from Harbaugh all along.  It’s Smith’s job to lose, but his track record shows that’s rather possible.

The difference here is the timing of the words.  Smith struggled badly on Friday night against the Saints.  Kaepernick wasn’t any better against backups and third-teamers, although his terrific running ability at least helped move the chains more often.

Harbaugh also said the team may add a veteran to the mix. Again, this isn’t a big surprise considering there are only two rookies behind Smith, and one of them is undrafted.

“I don’t want those guys worried about it. I want them practicing and working and not worrying, and it’ll unfold,” Harbaugh said.

Smith is bound to worry anyway.  49ers fans certainly are worrying too.

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41 Responses to “Harbaugh: Quarterback competition isn’t “clear cut””
  1. drgfri says: Aug 13, 2011 7:44 PM

    When they all suck this bad, it’s hard to know who’s worse.

  2. vbe2 says: Aug 13, 2011 7:49 PM

    Maybe he should have made a run at Kolb when he was on the block.

  3. zen6969 says: Aug 13, 2011 7:49 PM

    If they don’t fix their O line problems, it won’t matter who their quarterback is, unless they find one who can levitate.

  4. blackgold4life says: Aug 13, 2011 7:52 PM

    Alex Smith equals BUST!!! PERIOD!!!

  5. zen6969 says: Aug 13, 2011 8:00 PM

    I know who survive behind that O-Line, I know the only being that could possibly survive, his kryptonian name is Kal-El. Anyone else will just be putting their life on the line, it is way to dangerous for a mere human.

  6. wherezwaldo says: Aug 13, 2011 8:01 PM

    as a Niner fan, I say Harbaugh should suit up.

  7. andyreidisfat says: Aug 13, 2011 8:06 PM

    Willis for VY !!!!

  8. ronaldmexico says: Aug 13, 2011 8:15 PM

    The front office geniuses have assembled a horrible offensive line that boasts 3 first round picks. Harbaugh is finding out the hard way that the best QB in the Bay Area is still playing at Stanford.

  9. footballfanatic3431 says: Aug 13, 2011 8:20 PM

    Kyle Orton is available…

  10. edukator4 says: Aug 13, 2011 8:20 PM

    just dont blitz them because that might help decide who is an actual nfl qb

  11. trbowman says: Aug 13, 2011 8:36 PM

    Why didn’t they bring back Troy Smith? Better than Alex.

    How the hell is T Smith still unemployed, anyhow?

  12. nomoreseasontix says: Aug 13, 2011 8:37 PM

    What can you say? They’ve painted themselves into a corner by not having a viable starting QB on the roster. Maybe they should go all in with Kaepernick and see if he looks like he can do the job. Everyone on the planet has seen what Smith has.
    How much worse can the kid be?

  13. brasho says: Aug 13, 2011 8:37 PM

    When he says he wouldn’t rule out a veteran, he only means if he is somehow able to steal Josh Johnson away from the Buccaneers.

    Those of you that don’t see the obvious connection are idiots. Orton, VY, Kolb, etc… Johnson played for Harbaugh for as long as Andrew Luck did and arguably had even greater results (43 TD to 1 INT in his senior year)…Plus, he’s a vet with great running skills, terrific arm, experience, but he’s still only 25 years old. Only a fool would suggest all the other names without first thinking of Johnson.

  14. nomoreseasontix says: Aug 13, 2011 8:39 PM

    “Why didn’t they bring back Troy Smith? Better than Alex.”
    ______________________________

    Troy Smith is a punk that isn’t very good.

  15. maximus50 says: Aug 13, 2011 8:41 PM

    Harbaugh will do just fine, the niners will be just fine…who the funk is hitting the panic button already. The Saints have had the same coaches and scheme for years…niners for days…it will be all good. I hope they meet in the playoffs at Candlestick and the Saints can be sent home 2 years in a row by an NFC West team.

  16. kuantan97 says: Aug 13, 2011 8:45 PM

    One can only imagine how putrid they’d be if they took Aaron Rodgers over Smith.

  17. customer909 says: Aug 13, 2011 8:56 PM

    The Bucs aren’t giving up Johnson. No way.

    The O-line was horrible!

    Alex is not the answer.

    I’d take CK over Alex any day! We know all too well what Alex brings, CK is as good s (or better than) Alex and CK has no (little) NFL experience.

    Smith’s first pass to Davis… too low… uncatchable… we’ve seen this story before…

  18. opie333 says: Aug 13, 2011 9:02 PM

    I don’t know about Harbaugh getting fired yet. But one thing I do agree with Jamie Dukes somebody will fired this year because they did not get Ryan Mallet or Vince Young. If you look at all these questionable qb’s Ryan and VY have looked better than all of them. These guys are not running for political office there football players. What I mean is If you have the right guy coaching the team (Belichick) the troubled past doesn’t bother you. I just think Harbaugh, M.Lewis, T. Sparano, Pete Carroll, should have gotten out there and picked up something better than what they got.

  19. dgforreal says: Aug 13, 2011 9:19 PM

    I’m scared guys.

  20. oxnardcalif says: Aug 13, 2011 9:42 PM

    tank the season….luck and harbaugh…if you think kap is a starting qb in the NFL…please

  21. dolfancg says: Aug 13, 2011 9:45 PM

    Trade him to the Dolphins…. We will give you Chad Henne.

  22. opie333 says: Aug 13, 2011 10:03 PM

    Alex Smith must be one hell of a nice guy! Everyone who has landed there he wins them over about the first week of practice. He would be a great used car salesman! He may also be the smartest in the nfl because somehow he’s still drawing a check!

  23. decon49 says: Aug 13, 2011 10:03 PM

    bring back jeff garcia

  24. bdawkhit20 says: Aug 13, 2011 10:09 PM

    That’s logical, sabotage the season so they can be reunited. Alex Smith always sucked ass!

  25. socalboy08 says: Aug 13, 2011 10:26 PM

    damn people relax its just the first preseason game…geez…kaepernick is the man and the future…he looked great..its just our o-line needs to get up to speed..u saw what ck can do…kinda reminds me of young and im so stoked…go niners…trust me peoples this is our year…..look at the packers last preseason 0-4 outscored 113-28…what did it lead to..superbowl baby….

  26. pacificnw7722 says: Aug 13, 2011 10:35 PM

    “Alex Smith is considered the heavy favorite to open the season as San Francisco’s starting quarterback.”

    BAD IDEA!

    Go with YOUR future QB you drafted and let him make his mistakes and learn the position.

    You already know what you have with Smith :-(

  27. trickybastard says: Aug 13, 2011 11:12 PM

    @socalboy08

    Hahahahaah! That’s awesome. You’re about as delusional as the guy who keeps giving Alex Smith a shot or the guy who drafted him over Aaron Rodgers

    If by “this is our year” you mean finishing in last place then you are right

  28. theothers09 says: Aug 13, 2011 11:40 PM

    Growing up watching the Niners dominate for years with Montana and Young. It’s very sad to see the train wreck that is the Niners of today. Smith sucks and still finds away to stay is the NFL and steal a pay check.

  29. goldrush36 says: Aug 14, 2011 12:06 AM

    “The Bucs aren’t giving up Johnson. No way.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    They really aren’t going to have a choice. He is a free agent after this year and has already publicly stated he wants to go to San Francisco. Hometown kid……. Bucs may as well get what they can for him now

  30. duncanthecat says: Aug 14, 2011 1:19 AM

    The offense needs a handful of talented leaders, and it would be helpful if one could play QB.

  31. 4evrnyt says: Aug 14, 2011 1:57 AM

    @trbowman
    “Why didn’t they bring back Troy Smith? Better than Alex.

    How the hell is T Smith still unemployed, anyhow?”

    Dude seriously cant hit the broadside of a battleship. The most inaccurate QB that I’ve ever watched.

  32. 4evrnyt says: Aug 14, 2011 2:12 AM

    @theothers09
    “Smith sucks and still finds away to stay is the NFL and steal a pay check”

    Yep, he’s a crafty one that Mr Smith. He’s managed to dupe multiple coaches, scouts and coordinators into believing that he’s better then what an average no nothing joe such as yourself thinks about him. He’s also used his jedi mind tricks to get them to offer him another multi-million dollar contract so that he can continue to “steal pay checks.”

    Sounds like you’ve got it all figured out.

  33. lshmsfoaidmt says: Aug 14, 2011 2:36 AM

    @trickybastard

    “! That’s awesome. You’re about as delusional as the guy who keeps giving Alex Smith a shot or the guy who drafted him over Aaron Rodgers”

    The guy who picked Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers..I think that would be Mike McCarthy, head coach of the green bay packers.. 49ers oc in 05 and 05 Alex Smith lover and supposed man on Mike Nolans back whispering that Smith would be the real prize…. Talk about full circle and blessing in disguises for some people….

  34. icantblvit says: Aug 14, 2011 2:47 AM

    Let’s make sure we ground ourselves first … A preseason game against a team who wanted to make a statement… after a demoralizing loss to the Seahawks in round 1 of last years playoff… and who practiced on their own during the lockout… they played all their cards. Stupid if you ask me, blitz on almost every down. Takeaway – yeah you won, but you have no idea how to evaluate individual performance… was it the blitz or good individual defense. That’s why you hardly see that kind of play in preseason. The #1 priority is to evaluate. That said, I know there is a ton of AS haters out there. Trust me, Dan Marino combined with Joe Montana, Fran Tarkentan and throw in a little M Vick and the blend of great QBs would’ve sucked behind the OL and the blitz pkg. Give it some time. I am sure Harbaugh hates to lose, so I trust he will play the best man… not the person with the highest paycheck.

  35. zillabeast says: Aug 14, 2011 4:41 AM

    How in the hell did Smith manage to get an $8 million dollar deal out of the 49ers? That really boggles me.

  36. marcus158 says: Aug 14, 2011 4:53 AM

    HAHA!

    I’m a Cards fan @socalboy08. I know all about crappy OLines. We had the second worst OLine in the league last year.

    All the Cards fans were like “All we need is the OLine to step up and we’ll be good” during pre-season.

    Didn’t happen.

    So you can honk on about you OLine being good “once they step up” and Alex Smith teraing it up but it won’t happen. Smith and Kaepernick will get sacked 56 times and you’ll end up with a 4-12 record.

    Then Luck will get drafted by the Bengals and you’ll be f*cked for another 10 years.

  37. screamingsheep69 says: Aug 14, 2011 7:44 AM

    Veteran=Jake Delhomme

  38. richm2256 says: Aug 14, 2011 10:08 AM

    Breaking News: The Niners just traded Smith to the ‘Fins for Henne, both teams claiming “this is the shot in the arm we’ve needed”.

    Expect a San Fran/Miami Super Bowl, in which neither team completes a pass.

  39. madrid517 says: Aug 14, 2011 10:10 AM

    It’s funny that this time last year when San Fran was doing so good in the preseason everyone was so quick to say, “it’s just the preseason, don’t get too excited”. Now this year we have had one game, after the offense has only practiced all together in five practices, in a brand new system, and everyone says our seasons over. I thought there was actually smart football people that read and comment on this site, but after reading some if these comments I guess I was wrong.

  40. thepythons36 says: Aug 14, 2011 4:48 PM

    you guys are idiots… number one its preseason, the saints blitz every damn down…
    number two… its not alex’s fauly or ck’s fault, the oline sucked so bad, no qb can do well when they have a free rusher coming at them every other down, need an oline before you blame the qb. and its a new system and they have only preactice together learning it a handful of times,
    i am a huge huge huge huge niners fan and i strongly believe they need another cb before a qb,

    let them get more practice and learn more and wait till the third preseason game to see how they perform, its called patience, i believe they will be a competitive team this year, when the regular season starts…

  41. loungefly74 says: Aug 15, 2011 12:34 PM

    would Cincy let Carson Palmer go for a 2nd or 3rd+4rd round picks? If I was the 49er front office, i’d look into that.

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