Conventional wisdom last offseason said that it was only a matter of time before Colin Kaepernick started games for the San Francisco 49ers.
Conventional wisdom did not expect the 49ers to make the NFC Championship game with Alex Smith starting every game.
Kaepernick spent the year on the bench, which probably wasn’t a bad thing for his development. The second round pick admits that the shortened offseason and learning an NFL offense were huge challenges.
“I learned a lot of things and got my eyes opened to the playbook, the length of the season and how complex the schemes are. There were a lot of things to take in,” Kaepernick told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
The Nevada product says he plans on trying to take the starting job from Smith next year and that he believes it will be a “fair fight.” That’s assuming Smith, an impending free agent, is back with the 49ers.
That’s probably a safe assumption. Smith will spend Thursday caddying for coach Jim Harbaugh at Pebble Beach. Smith was unable to play the whole weekend because of a prior engagement, so he’s helping out his coach for a day instead. They carpooled on their way to golfing together on Tuesday, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
“Obviously Alex is as high a priority as anyone on our team,” Harbaugh said after coming off the 18th green.
Yes, Smith will be back. And it probably won’t be a fair fight with Kaepernick, at least initially. Smith has earned some rope to back up his 2011 performance in the 2012 regular season.