Stop the presses: Harbaugh picks Kaepernick

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Well, Jim Harbaugh had us all on pins and needles.

After waiting as long as he reasonably could, Harbaugh declared moments ago what everyone already knew, that his new starting quarterback is Colin Kaepernick.

“Colin, we believe, has the hot hand and we’ll go with Colin,” Harbaugh said, adding: “I wouldn’t assume anything,” when asked about the long-term ramifications.

The decision comes as a surprise to no one, but also underscores the problem the NFL has with its concussion policies. Because Alex Smith self-reported, he lost his job, his replacement played well, and he could lose millions of dollars in the process.

111 responses to “Stop the presses: Harbaugh picks Kaepernick

  1. If Colin bombs later down the road this season, they’ll put Smith back in and assure everyone they never had any intention of keeping Kaep and letting Smith go.

    Peyton Manning will smirk.

  2. I actually feel bad for smith, I made of fun of him for years for being a poor Qb, but he has finally looked good. He sits out a game with a concussion and im glad he reported it and cared for his health more but its a shame he was having a good season and now is riding the bench again. Hes a class act and i hope the best for the kid and that san fran cut him and let him sign with another team.

  3. let the hate begin. the same people who wills scoff at this move are the same people who said Smith held the 9ers back and the team couldnt win a super bowl without him.

    but go ahead, sound off anyway!

  4. The NFL’s concussion policy has nothing to do with this. It could have been any sort of injury that got Kaepernick into the game. That he made the most of his chance is the real story.

  5. I think Alex is getting the short end of the stick. However, I also felt Bledsoe got the short end when Brady took over after Bledsoe coughed up 2 pints of blood on the sideline.

  6. This sends the wrong message to players.

    I wonder…how long until a player or ex-player attempts to sue for concussion related symptoms they have later due to NOT self-reporting when they are concussed because they didn’t want to lose playing time or their status as starter?

    What a mess this whole player safety thing has grown into. It’s becoming more & more difficult to see tackle football as we know it surviving very long into the future.

  7. Alex Smith has been getting done but the 49ers can do more on offense with Colin. And with Colin in there they 49ers are less likely to have three and outs, giving the defense some rest.

    Good move, although I feel bad for Alex.

  8. There is no problem with the stupid concussion policy. Alex smith didnt get replaced because of a concussion, he got replaced because they think the guy behind him gives them a better shot.

    If Alex (or any other QB) would prefer to lie about their concussion symptoms because they’re scared that it will be revealled that their back up is actually better than them, then they are grown men and can do so at their own health risk.

  9. Harbaugh is out thinking himself. Smith did nothing to deserve this demotion. I hope the 49ers suck the rest of the season.

  10. Not a surprise to anyone. Harbaugh is going with his guy. Smith was good enough while Harbaugh was getting his guy ready. Now that Kaeppernick is ready for prime time, Smith can ride the pine.

    They’ll probably even get great value out of Smith trading him to Kansas City for picks, cause those will certainly be high choices.

  11. Kaep was going to take over sooner or later, might as well give him another crack at the Rams to earn the W. Feel bad for Smith since he had a rough time, with the 5 OCs in 5 years which probably affected his development. Otherwise, can’t wait to see Kaep this week, and especially the showdown with Pats coming up in Dec!

  12. Alex Smith is smarter than most: His long-term health is more important than whether he loses some starts. This is an unusual situation; he just happened to have a potential Super-Star waiting in the wings.

  13. “Because Alex Smith self-reported, he lost his job, his replacement played well, and he could lose millions of dollars in the process.”
    ———————————————

    Not true at all- Kaepernick won the job because he is the better qb. He took advantage of a situation and seized the moment just like thousands of athletes, politicians, sales people, etc etc do every day.

  14. Smith can’t be taking this well. I hope this doesn’t divide our team but Kap CLEARLY has the upside and the biggest difference I see is Smith’s willingness to take sacks and make it difficult to convert 3rd downs while Kap eludes or simply steps up in the pocket (imagine that aspect) and completes throws down the field.

  15. Oh no…. I do like our chance with Kaepernick, but for some reason throughout this whole process I keep imagining myself in Alex’s shoes. Right when things start to go right for one of the most scrutinized players in league history it all gets ripped away. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy. I wish Alex the best for his career moving forward wherever that may be. Godspeed Mr. Smith.

  16. With the amount of money Alex Smith has received from the 49ers in years past, all while putting up sub par performances week in and week out, I doubt he’ll get anyone’s sympathy about potentially losing millions of dollars.

    He has played well under Harbaugh, and you could argue that he should have gotten better treatment from the guy he trusted. You’d probably be right. But after years and years of inadequacy, it’s kind of surprising to see so many fans calling for Alex.

  17. Not saying this is the wrong choice, but, he ripped the New Orleans D. Thats like praising Cam Newton for 4 TD’s against the Eagles D. We’ll see what happens if they play Seattle or someone with a good D.

  18. Like there was ever any doubt. Makes you wonder why Harbaugh kept lying to everyone. Probably just a habit.

  19. Listening to harbaughs press conferences is becoming cringe worthy. He comes across as a complete jackass

  20. Alex is a great teammate and very loyal, he was also smart not to jump over to the Dolphins. His days would have been numbered there as well.

    It should be an interesting few weeks. I’m curious if K-nick does not knock it out of the park, who will get the Patriots game call? This game has to be a statement game. These are the guys we should have faced in the SuperBowl 😦

  21. Alex did choose to stay with San Fran, but it’s not like teams were banging down his door to get at his 17 touchdowns and what, 6 or 7 YPA? Alex Smith in Buffalo or Miami would be sporting a QB rating of 72. The best he can hope for is to have his team win a title for him, Brad Johnson/Trent Dilfer style.

  22. The 9ers owe Alex Smith nothing. He has been paid over 70 mill. Without Harbaugh, he’d be sitting on a couch next to Jamarcus Russell.

    I like Alex Smith, he’s a consistent / good QB, but there is no question kaper is better in every facet of the position.

  23. Always liked Smith and seems like a great guy who’s getting better playing quarterback, but Kaep is the future of the team and makes better throws. Wish we could have both but Smith will have his shot again with another team. Go Niners!

  24. davidpcoelho says: Nov 28, 2012 3:28 PM

    Right move. Much higher potential and won’t cost 8 million next year to boot.

    Alex Smith is a less talented Rex Grossman
    __________________

    Rex Grossman couldn’t hold Alex Smith’s jockstrap FYI.

  25. If I were him I still say I would come down with a headache if they needed me and would be unable to play. if they are going to screw him over then he should do the same.

  26. I’m a big fan of Alex and the results the team has. Colin may have a bright future but this seems a bit flawed. I think that a few more weeks should play out (especially against New England) before Colin is labeled a great QB and not just another Aaron Brooks.

  27. I think this underscores the need for QB’s to slide. Had Alex not tried to take a linebacker head on he’d still have his job.

  28. Not a fan of the way Harbaugh is going about this and do not think it will ultimately be a success. However, if it is, he will parlay draft picks for Smith. Smith, while barely above average, is still better than 40% of the starting QB’s in the league. He’s proven he can drive the bus well enough to get the right team to the championship game round. The risk for gambler Jim is that Kaepernick completely melts under the glare of the playoff spotlight and pressure. That is entirely posssible.

  29. I’ve definitely never been on the Alex Smith bandwagon, far from it actually, but I think that this sets an absolutely terrible example for other QBs around the league. Just one more reason for these guys to play through a concussion. Obviously there’s no way to police the situation to prevent it in the future, coaches always reserve the right to start or sit whomever they like. That being said it sucks for Smith…

  30. How does a guy go 6-2-1 and lose his starting position? I think this goes deeper, I believe there is a personality conflict between Smith and Harbaugh. I wish the 49ers nothing better than an 8-7-1 record.

  31. With that decision, Ravens fans everywhere thank God once again that the real Coach Harbaugh is leading their team.

  32. smith had plenty of time earlier in his
    career to prove he was good enough to
    keep a his job if this happened. He didn’t…

  33. This stinks. Smith was the third rated QB in the conference. He doesn’t deserve to lose his job.

    And you’re right, this sets back progress on concussions 5 years. Hell will freeze over before another player admits to being concussed.

  34. Smith has attempted just 17 throws that travel 21-plus yards in 2012. That’s 31st in the NFL among qualifying starters. Even Blaine Gabbert was driving the ball down the field more often before he went on injured reserve. And even intermediate throws are lacking. Smith has thrown just 37 passes this season that travel 10 to 20 yards, also 31st in the NFL. Yes, he doesn’t have a lot of attempts, but even on a rate basis, he’s not throwing down the field.

    Bottom Line: Harbaugh knows you need a QB that doesn’t go 1/13 on 3rd downs in the NFC championship game, to win a Superbowl ring.

  35. Sucks for Alex Smith, but with a weaker draft class coming up he could end up landing on his feet.

    Hope something’s left of that 6 year/$49 million deal he signed as a rookie because even if he didn’t get benched and made another deep playoff run, he’s not guaranteed to see that kind of money again.

  36. stop with this nonsense that smith lost his job due to injury. the fact is, if the niners thought he gave them a better chance to win, he’d be playing. what we should be asking is why it took this long for kaepernick to get his shot. it’s clear he’s the superior player and should be the starter, period!

  37. rodgers419 says:
    Nov 28, 2012 3:53 PM
    Alex Smith’s 104.1 passer rating not good enough.

    Eli Manning has an 84.3 passer rating. Maybe the Giants will trade him for Alex Smith in the offseason since passer rating is the ultimate statistic in determining the value of a quarterback to his team.

  38. I do not feel bad for Alex Smith. He made his millions already as the #1 overall pick, and underperformed for 80% of his career. The 49ers had to overpay for several years because Smith didn’t hold up his end of the bargain until recently. Let Colin start and trade Smith in the offseason.

  39. Carl Bratananalooski would say: “This doesn’t matter. None of this matters.”

    Bradford is gonna show them both how a real NFL QB throws the rock this Sunday.

  40. this is not the same as bledsoe / brady, if you recall when Blesdoe got hurt, the Pats were in last place and struggling to move the ball. Brady came in and gave them a spark.

    Bledsoe/Brady was more similar to Trent Green and Kurt Warner than it is Smith and Keapernick

  41. Well that settles it, the SF mngmt didn’t have the hot foresight in advance when they thought Alex Smith should have been their starter in the first place by offering him more money than anybody else as a FA. I would be pissed if I was the owner for the wasted money and the poor choice now that it is proven that they either made a mistake then or they are making a mistake now. Although the owner should have vetoed the Smith contract in the first place since it was obvious there were better uses for the money for overall team value.

    So both departments made a mistake, ownership and mngmt.

  42. Since the start of last season – Alex Smith has 22 completions of 20 yards or more. CK7 has 8 in 2 games. There were some plays CK7 turned into gains where as Alex Smith would have taken a sack. I can see the logic with the change.

  43. Throwing a relatively unproven guy in there for less than half of a season when you are a Super Bowl contender has the potential to backfire spectacularly. Kaepernick might win a game for the Niners that Alex Smith wouldn’t, but he also might crush your Super Bowl dreams by imploding in the playoffs.

  44. Alex Smith isn’t capable of getting it done. I’ve been a huge supporter of his, and I still support him as a person, and would love for him to stay on the team in a backup role (with a different contract and with no expectation of him ever starting), but he was never going to win it all.

    This is not a Montana/Young situation, not a Bledsoe/Brady, or really even a Green/Warner.

    What this is a Tebow/Manning scenario. Tebow was getting wins, but everyone knows he can’t do it all.

  45. As a Huge Niners fan i am disappointed in this… Colin has not proven himself, I used to support everything coach Harbaugh did and said but this one cut me and i dont approve. I wish Alex the best this was not fair at all!

  46. Supremekinz said: I’m of the firm opinion that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Alex Smith was not broken…

    In 1924, Wally Pipp came in 14th in the MVP voting after a monster year, but in 1925 after getting beaned a guy named Lou Gehrig stepped in and that’s all she wrote. Not saying Kaepernick is a Hall Of Famer, but sometimes a better player comes along. Business is business.

  47. Alex is a wonderful guy, but…

    lol at all of these fans of the Vikings, Chiefs, Cardinals, Bills wanting in on Alex Smith after this year.

    No disrespect to Alex, but he is a product of Harbaugh and this 49ers team the past couple of years. He has had arguably the best OL, RB group and defense in football and still can’t be consistent on 3rd downs, throw the ball 20+ yards down the field and bring this team down from more than 3 points…

    Not to mention his two worst games were against the Giants. Think about it.

  48. really wont matter when the Manning bros meet in the superbowl anyway.
    Anyone know if Smith will be a free agent after the season?or what’s left on his contract?

  49. Alex Smith will be paid handsomely to ply his trade elsewhere. For Harbaugh’s sake, I sure hope Kaepernick doesn’t turn out to be another Rob Johnson or Scott Mitchell.

  50. mizzouram says:
    Nov 28, 2012 4:27 PM
    Carl Bratananalooski would say: “This doesn’t matter. None of this matters.”

    Bradford is gonna show them both how a real NFL QB throws the rock this Sunday.
    ___________________________________

    ha..this gave me a chuckle. Really? Sam Bradford is going to hope he only played the 49ers once this year after Sunday. Then again, this is your Playoffs this season…he should be ready.

  51. grantgoodman93 says:
    Nov 28, 2012 3:34 PM
    Not saying this is the wrong choice, but, he ripped the New Orleans D. Thats like praising Cam Newton for 4 TD’s against the Eagles D. We’ll see what happens if they play Seattle or someone with a good D.

    ——————————-

    You mean a good defense like the Bears? Uh, yeah, I guess we’ll have to wait until that happens….

    Oh wait.

  52. Actually, I think the 49ers are in a good situation. They have two QBs (albeit with vastly different styles) who have proven they can move the team and win.

    Results will prove whether this is a good move or not. If Kaepernick takes them to the Super Bowl and they win, I doubt that Smith will be too upset as he puts on his SB ring, or vice versa.

  53. I just wonder if Kaep starts to falter and they lose a game or two, does he go back to Alex? Because if he does theres a chance Alex’s confidence is shot by then and then theyre stuck with a qb the league has figured out and the old alex smith. Either way theyd be lame ducks heading into the playoffs.

  54. I like Alex Smith and I feel sympathy for him having to learn so many different offensive systems in his first few years. But between last year and the first few games this year he’s had a chance to show what he can be a solid, and occasionally if not regularly spectacular, QB so he’ll likely get the chance to be a starter somewhere next year and will get the same amount or even more than he would have made with the 49ers if he stayed. So bottom line is it’s hard to feel too bad for a guy that has already earned enough so that his great-great-grankids will never have to worry about income and will most likely continue to pad his bank account somewhere else next year.

  55. Smith signed a contract this summer that included a roster bonus of over 90% of his next year’s salary, non-guaranteed. No agent in the world is dumb enough not to inform him that meant the Niners weren’t prepared to stick with him long-term yet.

    Then Kap comes in and opens up more of a vertical offense in 2 games than Smith has in the 25 since last season’s beginning.

    No one is saying is saying Smith has played poorly to deserve this; people are saying Kap has played better. Which he damn well has.

  56. This has left me quite angry at this coach. I’m afraid that the dice have been rolled in favor of logic.
    I wish Kap the best and hope he reaps the rewards of Smith’s hard work. But I really feel that Kap is in a bad place. If he doesn’t put up all-star numbers and lead the team to all wins, then we’ll see the fickle nature of the 9er fans rear their ugly heads.
    Smith has put up with the fair-weathered 9er fans for years now, and I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s strong and obviously has some serious character and determination to put up with what he’s put up with. And then, just when he thought he finally got a great coach and staff, the bench him for… succeeding!? Bah.
    These people who say “He can’t take us all the way…” Umm, where were you guys last year? Was it Smith who fumbled twice and gave the game away that was pretty much already in the bag? Hmmm… How soon we forget.
    Bottom line here is that the coach is wrong in how he went about this. You let Smith finish what he started and then you cut him loose after the season. All this does is create a cloud of doubt in the back of every 9er player’s mind that asks a simple question, “Am I gonna get benched for doing great?”. And despite what you guys want to say, records don’t lie, and Smith has been a very important piece of the machine that has become the 9’ers.
    In short, I’m pretty disgusted with the way my team’s management has handled this. Very poor coaching decision here.

  57. The 49s had the offensive talent to not have to rely on their defensive talent to win.
    Smith was not losing games for the 49s, but if you have a guy that can win games for you, the team would be foolish not to use him having drafted him.

    Smith was holding that team back since he beat the Saints.

  58. I remember the same thing happening with Troy Smith a few years ago. I really hope the Niners do not get the same results. That being said, there is absolutely nothing in Harbaugh’s past that should make us doubt his decision relating to the QB position. Most everything he has touched has turned to gold.

  59. grantgoodman93 says:Nov 28, 2012 3:34 PM

    Not saying this is the wrong choice, but, he ripped the New Orleans D. Thats like praising Cam Newton for 4 TD’s against the Eagles D. We’ll see what happens if they play Seattle or someone with a good D.
    ———–

    It hasn’t even been 2 weeks. Have you forgotten that he smashed the Bears in his first start? I’ve heard they have a pretty decent defense.

  60. newtons2ndlaw says:
    Nov 28, 2012 4:03 PM
    Smith has attempted just 17 throws that travel 21-plus yards in 2012. That’s 31st in the NFL among qualifying starters. Even Blaine Gabbert was driving the ball down the field more often before he went on injured reserve. And even intermediate throws are lacking. Smith has thrown just 37 passes this season that travel 10 to 20 yards, also 31st in the NFL. Yes, he doesn’t have a lot of attempts, but even on a rate basis, he’s not throwing down the field.

    Bottom Line: Harbaugh knows you need a QB that doesn’t go 1/13 on 3rd downs in the NFC championship game, to win a Superbowl ring.
    ____________________________

    Not sure if you remember, but Smith wasn’t the reason they lost that game and WAS the reason they made it there. Remember what he did to NO? I am sure NO does.

  61. ripster65 says:
    Nov 28, 2012 7:20 PM
    grantgoodman93 says:Nov 28, 2012 3:34 PM

    Not saying this is the wrong choice, but, he ripped the New Orleans D. Thats like praising Cam Newton for 4 TD’s against the Eagles D. We’ll see what happens if they play Seattle or someone with a good D.
    ———–

    It hasn’t even been 2 weeks. Have you forgotten that he smashed the Bears in his first start? I’ve heard they have a pretty decent defense.

    __________________________________

    He smashed the Jason Campbell-led Bears, NOT the Jay Cutler-led Bears. Look at that game, plus the 2nd half of last year to see the huge difference between the Bears with & without Jay Cutler. NOT the same thing at all.

  62. I feel bad for Smith because of everything he has gone through and all he did for us last year.

    But going by last years performance, I say stay with Kaep. Smith hit the ceiling and he does not have Akers making a unbelievable amount of FGs, the defense is not scoring like last year (though still great), and our running game just took a hit and we cannot put more on Gore’s shoulders if we want him strong at the end of the year.

    Kaep opens of the offense and gives the team more options. And I am so tired of not being able to utilize our WRs and TEs to their fullest potential. Like Vernon said, it’s like the handcuffs have been removed.

    I just hope Kaep slides after running, and not crumbling and turning his back on a defender as he is about to lay you out. Smith basically took himself out by not sliding…what did he think he was doing anyway?

  63. Most of the pro-Alex comments here seem to be from people who don’t watch 49er games. The team has been doing great the past 2 seasons based mainly on defense and a great run game. Alex’s best game was against the Saints in the playoffs, and he was helped mightily by turnovers. The next game he did ok but hardly complete a pass to a wide receiver. This year they got him more help at receiver and the offense has still stagnated against better opponents. He takes a lot sacks and cannot or will not push the ball downfield. His stats are helped by completing short passes and not throwing the ball away when he should to avoid a sack. His passer rating is good, but his sacks and total passing yards per game were not. The coaches think Kaepernick is an upgrade. He has been for 2.5 games, but it remains to be seen how he continues to perform. The 49ers think they have a shot at the superbowl, but if they can’t get past the Giants, that will not happen. Alex lost to the Giants the past 2 times and this year’s game wasn’t close. The safe choice is to stick with Smith, but against better teams, they probably would not have an offense to get them over the top. You don’t have forever to win a Superbowl. You have got to take some chances to make it happen now.

  64. While it is true that Alex Smith did nothing to lose his job, Kaepernick displayed a skillset that is better for this team to win The Super Bowl.

    I feel a little bad for Alex, but also think he’ll land on his feet. Greg Roman is going to get an NFL head coaching job at the end of the year, look for Smith to go with him.

    As for my Niners, Bring on the world, this team will win the Super Bowl this year.

  65. This is a good move on Harbaugh’s part. I was getting a little tired of following the Sanchez/Tebow story on the east coast and am now glad I have a qb controversy to follow on the west coast!

  66. funny how people are saying alex has a 104 rating. lol its from checking down 80% of the time. alex the bust cant throw deep or intermediate.
    funny how people are saying alex is 6-2-1. lol the defense and the run game get the credit not alex the game manager.
    funny how people say alex smith got the 49ers to the nfc title game.
    no. the defense and the run game gots us to the nfc title game.
    alex smith shouldve been cut when we fired mike nolan.
    i’ll be glad when smith is gone. i’ve seen toooooo many 3 and outs from alex. every year hes top 3 in 3 and outs. every year top 3 in worst red zone offense.
    ck7 time.

  67. It’s apparent that a lot of you morons think money is a reason to not feel sorry for or at least feel a player had been treated unfairly. He deserves to play and if he then starts playing poorly, bench him for Kaepernick. That’s the way this should’ve been handled.

  68. Stand by for new league rules that state a starter cannot lose his position due to injury if he returns from that injury in a “reasonable amount of time”. This will be the worst rule change in a while, but the league will need to do this if they are giving any merit to the severity of concussions.

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