|Written by Michael Amato|
|Saturday, 08 December 2012 09:04|
Aren't quarterback controversies fun? Well, I suppose they are for everyone except Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith. Just about every writer, analyst, and fan has weighed in on who should be starting for the San Francisco 49ers over the past few weeks.
Smith had been having another solid campaign until a concussion forced him to the sidelines in an early November game against the St. Louis Rams. Enter Kaepernick, who rallied the 49ers to, of all things, a tie. From there, coach Jim Harbaugh has been enamored with Kaepernick's raw athleticism and ability to throw the deep ball. Something that the 49ers passing game had been lacking in recent years.
Kaepernick has since started the next three games and will get the nod again this Sunday when the 49ers host the Miami Dolphins. If you're looking at it from a purely fantasy football perspective, then Kaepernick owners are surely hoping Harbaugh continues to go with the hot hand. However, if you think about it logically and look at who gives San Francisco the best chance to win right now, then Harbaugh should go back to Smith.
Just consider how the 49ers are built to win. And believe me they are built to be a Super Bowl contender right now. San Francisco arguably relies on its defense more than any other team in the NFL. They have the league's second ranked rushing attack at 162.1 yards per game, and as long as their offense doesn't turn the ball over, then the 49ers are going to have a great shot at winning every week.
Kaepernick has given the 49ers an added dimension of explosiveness in recent weeks, but he still possesses the dangers that all young and experienced quarterbacks do. The propensity for mistakes. Take San Francisco's loss last week at the Rams for example. St. Louis won 16-13 in overtime and earned ten of their points off of mistakes from Kaepernick. The young quarterback was called for intentional grounding in the end zone which resulted in a safety, and then later in the game he botched a pitch that led to a defensive touchdown. If you subtract those mistakes the Rams wouldn't have even been close in that game. Their offense was completely stifled.
Smith had only fumbled the ball four times and lost one in the entire season before his injury. Kaepernick on the otherhand, has already fumbled four times and lost two of them. Smith may not win you too many games with his arm, but he has made a reputation on not losing them either. His completion percentage sits at 70% which is tops in the NFL, and usually ensures the 49ers stay ahead in the down and distance while avoiding negative plays.
In no way is this an indictment on Kaepernick's future as a quarterback. All young players need to go through a growth period in the league and learn from mistakes. The fact is, he certainly has all the tools to be a solid starter in this league for a long time. If you were starting a franchise from scratch and needed to choose between Kaepernick and Smith, it would no doubt be Kaepernick. The problem, however, is in the postseason there are no mulligans. The 49ers have to think about the now and not the future. One slip up or mistake can cost you the season. And in the 49ers case, maybe even a Super Bowl.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 08 December 2012 12:54|