Kaepernick, Johnson gear up for battle to back up Alex Smith

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After a failed evaluation/pursuit/whatever of Peyton Manning by the 49ers, quarterback Alex Smith is feeling the heat.  Even if neither Smith nor anyone else with the 49ers will admit it.

And while his leash could be long enough to withstand a slow start to the season and an inability to effectively distribute the ball to the team’s impressive array of pass-catchers and ball-carriers who can’t distribute the ball to themselves, the identity of the backup in San Fran becomes critical — if Smith ends up not playing due to injury or due to a decision to move on to Plan B.

It’s unknown at this point whether Plan B will be Colin Kaepernick or Josh Johnson.  Starting Friday, they’ll battle it out for the right to back up Smith.

“I just want to keep working on getting my feet quicker, getting through reads quicker and taking pressure off the offensive line,” said Kaepernick, a second-round pick selected one spot after Bengals Pro Bowl quarterback Andy Dalton, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News.

Johnson, who started his career in Tampa after playing for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, has an attitude that, if backed up by performance, could result in a climb to the top of the depth chart, eventually.  “My mindset is to be in control of theo ffense and run the show,” Johnson said.  “When you’re under center, it’s your offense.  There’s only one quarterback out there at a time.”

The one quarterback to start the season will be Smith.  The one quarterback behind him will be Johnson or Kaepernick.  Though it’s hardly one of the most important story lines for training camp now, come November or December it could end up having been the biggest.

13 responses to “Kaepernick, Johnson gear up for battle to back up Alex Smith

  1. Battling to back up Alex Smith?? They should be battling Alex Smith for the job as starting QB…

  2. I bet Alex Smith is jumping at any chance he can get to caddy for Jim Harbaugh these days. I wonder how long the 9ers will be satisfied with a “game manager” vs. a game winner. I wonder what would have happened if the 9ers had chosen Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith…

  3. Say what you want about Alex, but we wouldn’t have got as far as we did without him. He has been loyal to his team even after all the crap. He finally has the same coordinators for the first time in his career, and a coach that believes in him more than others. He deserves the starting qb gig. If he falters and the team is losing then maybe Johnson or Kaepernick should step in. But at least give him the shot to run this team.

  4. I thought Johnson had a great chance to develop coming out of college. It’s a shame he was stuck in Grudens 17 quarterback depth chart. It’ll be interesting to see what Harbaugh can do with him again after rejuvenating Smits career in only one season.

  5. I always want to stay in full control of theo ffense too. He’s pretty wild so it’s hard sometimes.

  6. From what everyone who actually watch’s the team practice, they all say alex is by far the better qb so the notion that Colin and josh are gonna take his job is laughable..barring injury of course..and of course the backups are working to take the starting job..that doesn’t mean they will..alex played very good considering the lockout and a new system to learn…his stats compare to the top qb’s in the league and that is with a top running game.

  7. The only way for Alex to shut up the doubters is to continue what he is doing.
    He may never be a gunslinger, but he is good enough to win.
    That is all that matters.

  8. bubbager: having sat here in The Bay and watched the Alex saga play out, it is pretty reasonable and logical to figure that Aaron would have suffered the exact same fate (we can’t know about the injury part). Everything else being equal, how could he not have. One thing I read not long ago from a local beat writer was that one of the primary reasons Alex was chosen over Aaron was a difference in attitude (“attitude” was not realy the word used, but since I can’t provide a link, I’ll roll with the noun rather than the adjective).

  9. Alex Smith hasn’t exactly been surrounded by talent, offensively either. People used to rag on Eli all the time now he is a 2x champ.

    Vernon Davis obvious has come around and is living up to his potential, If Crabtree is able to stay on the field next + the talent they brought in should be a great year for him coming up.

    The only flaws I’ve seen in his game is not handling pressure well and doesn’t air it out quite as well as “the best”.

  10. Alex Smith 2011 season: tied Joe Montana’s 4th QB comeback record (who by the way is the greatest of all time), had the least amount of turnovers in history, and went to the NFC championship.

    Pretty damn effective bozos. Now he has a plethora of additional weapons and another year in the same system. Something he’s never had before.

  11. If the 49ers had chosen Rogers over Smith, then Rogers would be in the same situation as Smith has been in. Rogers would have left Frisco screaming “get me out of this cluster***k of an organisation”.

    No one would have succeeded under Mike Singletary and Mike Nolan.

    The interesting question is: where would ASmith be if the 49ers promoted Mike McCarthy from the offensive coordinator position to head coach? They hired the wrong Mike. Twice. While they had the best Mike right under their nose.

    I’m pretty sure McCarthy, as the oc, had a large amount of input on which qb to choose.

    Not to take anything away from Rogers, because he’s awesome, but he is 4, maybe 5 stud wr’s deep with talent on that team. And I’m still not sure about Frisco’s wr’s. It’s better, better than it’s ever been, but there are still a lot of questions.

  12. Say what you will about Mike Singletary…Fact is Harbaugh basically took the same team and made it a winner in part because he has top notch coordinators. You can’t say that for Singletary. The 9ers strength is basically Singletary’s defense. Now you add Harbaugh’s offense and you have a title contender!

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