“Yes, Colin Kaepernick. (It) will be our plan to start Colin, and prepare him to make that start this week against the Rams,” he said.
Then the San Francisco 49ers head coach was asked what led to this decision to start Kaepernick over Alex Smith.
“The rationale is you’ve got two quarterbacks that we feel great about as the starting quarterback. Both have earned it. Both deserve it,” Harbaugh said. “By virtue of the last three games and what tips the scales, Colin we believe has the hot hand and we’ll go with Colin. And we’ll go with Alex. They’re both our guys.”
The assembled media then asked question after question, trying to glean any interesting quotes about the quarterback situation. Harbaugh wasn’t biting. He responded to a question from a certain Press Democrat blogger by saying, “Your words are dangling, and in your mind fair.”
To the rest of the QB queries, Harbaugh responded with some form of this:
“Anything is a possibility. I would assume nothing or rule out anything. Or we would want our opponent to rule anything out. I think, again, we’ve plowed that ground about as thoroughly as it can be plowed.”
Harbaugh said some sort of variation on ground being plowed thoroughly three different times, and told everyone to “assume nothing” about the future of the quarterback position for the 49ers just as frequently.
And so ends (we think) a pretty funny situation, this whole QB controversy. Harbaugh’s method of delaying the announcement, then batting away questions like Tarell Brown tipped that fourth down pass to Joe Morgan on Sunday after making the announcement has been fascinating in its own strange, stilted way. And naming Kaepernick the starter now is about as surprising as when Anderson Cooper came out of the closet.
The only thing that isn’t amusing is something ESPN’s Mike Sando brought up, how this will affect how players report (or don’t report) concussion symptoms:
In this case, however, the move also meant sending an unfortunate message regarding concussion disclosure. Had Smith not reported the blurred vision he suffered against St. Louis in Week 10, there’s a chance he might have remained in the lineup, preventing Kaepernick from seizing the starting job. Even if Smith could not have kept playing, any player watching from the outside can see the potential short-term costs associated with concussion disclosure.
The events of the past three weeks could end Smith’s career as a starting quarterback in the NFL. They could cost him millions of dollars. Smith seems to have his priorities in order. He made the right decision regarding concussion disclosure and probably would act the same way again in the interests of his growing family. He’s banked millions already. But what about the less-established player seeking to keep his job for a shot at earning financial security for his family? The message to him is clear.
Sando brings up an interesting point, but Harbaugh’s job is to coach the team and win championships. If he feels starting Kaepernick now gives his team the best chance to reach the mountaintop, taking a stance on concussion treatment doesn’t really fit into the equation. And after all this talk about who has the “hot hand” since the Monday night game against the Bears, now we know. Or do we?
Harbaugh is a fan of players who show versatility…