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Jim Harbaugh sees no advantage to naming quarterback

Chicago Bears v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

All signs point to Colin Kaepernick starting at quarterback for the 49ers this Sunday against the Saints except the one held by coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh continued to decline opportunities to name this week’s starting quarterback at his Friday press conference. Harbaugh said that reports that he’s told Kaepernick he’s starting are “not factual” and offered no comment when asked if the quarterbacks knew who the starter would be.

“We feel like there’s no competitive advantage for us to release that information for our organization and our team,” Harbaugh said, via the team’s website. “Like any position, we don’t get into what the roles going to be and how we’re going to use it.”

When asked if he felt there was a competitive advantage to the other team if the 49ers named their quarterback, Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that Harbaugh said “one percent” and that he’s willing to chase that one percent in this case. If Kaepernick isn’t the starter, the 49ers have run a pretty excellent misinformation campaign this week. Having said that, it is hard to imagine that the Saints haven’t prepared for both Kaepernick and Alex Smith.

Speaking of Smith, Harbaugh said that he will be cleared to play on Saturday as long as he doesn’t show any concussion symptoms between now and then. He’s listed as questionable on the team’s injury report and that’s the best you could say about his chances of starting in Week 12 as well.

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27 Responses to “Jim Harbaugh sees no advantage to naming quarterback”
  1. superputman says: Nov 23, 2012 5:56 PM

    I’ve heard a lot about the good relationship between Smith and Harbaugh that I’d be surprised if this WASN’T a misinformation tactic.. As an unbiased fan of neither team I’d personally like to see Kaepernick play from here on out as he’s more fun to watch than Smith.. but Smith has been winning under Harbaugh, and if their relationship is strong.. I don’t see how he could, aside from medical reasons, start Kaepernick over him without creating locker room drama of some kind.

  2. ninerswilldominatelikebefore says: Nov 23, 2012 5:56 PM

    the rest of the league is holding their breath because if kap puts anything close to resembling the dismantling of the bears against the cheating pretender saints, its going to be a long season for NINER haters hahaha!

  3. endzone says: Nov 23, 2012 5:59 PM

    I feel for Alex Smith. I would bet he’s thinking a lot of other QBs around the league have got it “better than” he does.

  4. shaggyjeff says: Nov 23, 2012 6:01 PM

    very smart of Harbaugh..Let the Saints prepare for both..lol@ the media being driven nuts by it.. well done Harbaugh ..

  5. ripster65 says: Nov 23, 2012 6:01 PM

    BOOM! another useless story on the SF QB situation…..see 10 more just like this before the game on Sunday

  6. goldrush36 says: Nov 23, 2012 6:04 PM

    So please do write another 6-8 articles about it before Sunday and another 5 or 6 once he announces his decision

  7. jikkle49 says: Nov 23, 2012 6:06 PM

    Regardless of who starts forcing the Saint’s to prepare for two QBs is mission accomplished.

    A minute spent prepping for the guy not starting is a minute wasted that could’ve been spent on the guy actually starting.

  8. worldchampsbaby says: Nov 23, 2012 6:10 PM

    WRONG, Harbaugh will start the QB that gives him the best chance to win.Just that simple!!!

  9. Nevis says: Nov 23, 2012 6:15 PM

    Smith is a product of Harbaugh and trust me, even with a couple bumps in the road, Kaep will ensure no one will remember Smith.

  10. garyman1 says: Nov 23, 2012 6:17 PM

    There is something about Harbaugh I don’t like. With that said, he is absolutely correct. There IS not competitive advantage to him releasing that information. Not sure it helps much but it sure doesn’t hurt.

  11. Haute Couture says: Nov 23, 2012 6:21 PM

    Harbaugh wasn’t kidding – you go with the hot hand.

    Giving Smith another week of recovery makes the whole team stronger.

    If start 2 for Kaepernick backslides a little bit, they can bring a healthier Smith back and pretend he needed an extra weeks rest. If start 2 is another top performance, you keep recuperating Smith.

    By the time the playoffs arrive, defenses with need to prepare for so many possibilities that they’ll be a little handcuffed.

  12. samapoc says: Nov 23, 2012 6:41 PM

    If you need to do this to beat the saints, you have problems.

  13. imaduffer says: Nov 23, 2012 6:41 PM

    Doesn’t matter who the Niners start. They lose.

  14. gades22 says: Nov 23, 2012 6:55 PM

    People are going to lose their minds when Harbaugh takes a third option and starts Scott Tolzien… who proceeds to absolutely annihilate the Saints.

    Seriously though, Harbaugh is a former quarterback, the former coach of Andrew Luck, and an all-around genius when it comes to coaching QBs. Say whatever else you want about him, you can’t deny he’s a great QB coach.

    I believe the 49ers should start Smith, because you’d be crazy to replace the starting QB of a winning team just because the backup had one good game.

  15. oaktown49er says: Nov 23, 2012 7:46 PM

    It’s not just about one game. Harbaugh knows what he has with this team. If he says Kaep, so be it. As a long time 49er fan, I’ve learned not to doubt coach. I doubted Mooch, Erickson, Nolan and Sing but not Harbaugh. This is not like starting Troy Smith.

  16. norcalmafia says: Nov 23, 2012 8:03 PM

    Hmm lets see….yup..either way Saints little comeback comes to a crashing hault against either QB..Saints are not on the Niners level…period.

  17. itsonlyaspeedbump says: Nov 23, 2012 8:07 PM

    A lot of people are against starting Kaep because he only had ‘one good game.’ While that is true, I still believe starting him is the right decision. We’ve seen Alex Smith. We know what he’s capable of. He is an average to slightly above average QB in the NFL. Unfortunately, average to above average is not good enough to win a super bowl in todays NFL. The rules are weighted so heavily against the defense that the niners cant expect to run frank gore and hold everyone under 14 points in the playoffs.

    Really, if we judge QBs on what they do in the playoffs, Smith has only had ‘one game’, last year against NO. The game against NY the next week was much more typical—he didnt really make mistakes, but he just didnt have the talent to lead them to victory (I think 1/10 on third down in that game)

    Is Kaep any better? Only time will tell. He is certainly more explosive, but that type of explosiveness will also lead to more turnovers that Smith doesn’t make. Risky move. Its possible he falls on his face. But I’d rather see them make a risky move that could lead to a championship then be limited by the safeness of Smith.

  18. ripster65 says: Nov 23, 2012 9:02 PM

    Who cares what Harbaugh says/doesn’t say, Donte Whitner told me earlier right here on PFT that Kaep will start.

  19. joeychargers says: Nov 23, 2012 9:58 PM

    Can I leave him my personal email then? I won’t tell the Saints, I’d just like my Fantasy team to Win with the help of Kaepernick!

  20. kingcrusher says: Nov 23, 2012 10:52 PM

    Sadly, the damage could already be done. You’ve created a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for both QBs. The bottom line is, you don’t bench the 3rd highest rated QB on a winning team for the backup because of one good game. If this happens, then the coach is truly an idiot. It’s creates a no-win situation for the team. How many other players will be looking over their shoulder, worried they will get benched, even when they are having a great year? Kaep will be doing the same whether he starts or not now. It’s just bad coaching and bad team management all the way around.
    As a coach, it is your responsibility to make your players feel safe. Win or lose, you gotta give them hope. All this nonsense will only server to undermine the great season we’ve had so far, and honestly, I don’t think the rest of the season is going to go very good.
    This whole situation smells bad. If we knew it was going to be like this, why didn’t we sign Owens back? He’d fit right in.

  21. hawks1124 says: Nov 23, 2012 11:05 PM

    Smith has been winning on a consistence basis, and has the 49ers on the way to the playoffs. He shouldn’t lose his starting job because of injury, but as a seahawk fan I want Harbaugh to start the rookie at the Saints. Lets see him do it again. Worst thing that could happen is you guys KEEP winning

  22. blinky83 says: Nov 23, 2012 11:30 PM

    This monkey tricks of hairbow is gonna back fire soon.

    I bet we will see many more articles on how Hairbow could have started Smith and his team wouldn’t have lost so bad.

    Bring it on 69ers…

  23. jimmyshultz says: Nov 23, 2012 11:53 PM

    I wouldn’t say that the Saints aren’t at the level of the 49ers. If Alex starts I don’t think he would be able to keep up with Breese and Co.

    If an untested Kaep gets the nod as JHs signal caller. Lets be honest here and realize 1 game doesn’t put him in the HOF or this years super bowl. Kaep is the wild card, the X factor, that could go either way.

    So to say a veteran laden team like the Saints are over matched for this contest is an outlandish comment to say the least. On several accassions this year I have seen the defense show some weekness against physical O-lines with smash mouth between the tackles running plays. There were 3 games this year that the 49ers D was gased at the end due to this approach.

    This game will be played on the carpet in New Orleans and this is a new year San Fran isn’t getting all the turnovers and bounces they did a year ago. The Saints will win this game out right by making big plays down the field and a physical running game with Ingram possibly having a big game. 30-24 Saints

  24. roop26 says: Nov 24, 2012 1:50 AM

    aint even worried…in harbaugh I trust

  25. surferbum01 says: Nov 24, 2012 1:52 AM

    It’s laughable that people think this shows Harbaugh is crazy or “out of his mind”. For those that haven’t had the benefit of gaining some perspective about human nature Harbaugh has it dialed in. If people think JH is going off of just one game’s production in leaning towards Kaep is absurd. JH knows what’s at stake and is also a perceptional contrarian. He chooses to see success and opportunity where others just see hardship and potential failure. Those same people are the ones who also think Smith deserves to remain the QB, etc. Those same people likely have their own lives governed by fear and esp the fear of change. The one thing that is a clear difference between Kaep and Smith is the with Kaep you can attack defenses…….while with Smith you can only mimic an attack. That’s a huge advantage to have over a defense especially when it’s married to the #1 rushing offense in the world.

  26. 4ever19 says: Nov 24, 2012 7:19 AM

    There’s one advantage to naming quarterbacks: They know who you are talking to during meetings, practices and games.

  27. warikahill says: Nov 24, 2012 11:59 AM

    from the janitor going upwards knows that kap is starting so please tell me where is the advantage.

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