After Colin Kaepernick electrified the NFL on Monday Night Football as the 49ers trounced the Chicago Bears 32-7 behind stellar defense and Colin’s excellent play, speculation began to run rampant as to who would start this Sunday’s game in New Orleans. At this point it really depends on who you ask. Initially Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated reported from within the organization that it would be Kaepernick indeed getting the nod over incumbent Alex Smith on Sunday. But Jim Harbaugh was telling a different story, refusing to name a starter for the game.
So at this point it’s really anyone’s guess who’ll be under center in New Orleans on Sunday. My gut tells me they don’t really want to alienate Alex Smith by benching him when he’s healthy enough to play, but if they do go with Kaepernick they are best served to stick with him for the duration of the season.
It’s been no secret that the 49ers have tried to replace Smith before, their flirtations with Peyton Manning during the offseason undoubtedly took place, no matter what Harbaugh and co. want us to believe. It’s been my personal feeling that the 49ers success of these 2 seasons was made possible by the incredible defensive play and Alex’s newfound ability to not screw it all up. They are winning in spite of Alex, not because of Alex. Kaepernick can change that. But it may not be the most prudent move.
It may be the best course of action to appease Smith and name him the starter for this game against the Saints and moving forward. But that does not mean they can’t expand Kaepernick’s role in the offense. The Saints are firing on all cylinders now, and it will take an incredible performance by the defense to shut them down. As dominant as they were against Jason Campbell on Monday, Drew Brees is not Jason Campbell and he can hurt you like hardly any other QB can. This game could turn out to be a shootout of sorts, much like the NFC Division Playoff game last season was. If that’s the case, Kaepernick’s ability may come in very handy for the 49ers.
Overall the team is in good health right now, so they will head to New Orleans at full strength and feeling good about themselves after their big win over Chicago. A win in New Orleans will badly damage the Saints’ playoff hopes, they’re currently on the outside looking in for and NFC Wild Card spot at 5-5 with a number of 6-4 teams in contention. The 49ers sit at 7-2-1 and are solidly in the driver’s seat for the NFC West crown, another win will make that one step closer to being a reality.
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