Selection in San Fran: start the man in form

(Photo by ESPN)
Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick have been in competition to start as the San Fransisco 49ers quarterback since week 11,
when Kaepernick led the team to a eye opening victory over the Chicago Bears while Smith was out with a concussion.

The question of starters and replacements is always an issue that sparks a conversation. However, actions speak louder than words, regardless what string the player is supposed to be. Before stating my case, I would just like to point out that it doesn’t really matter who starts at quarterback for the 49ers because that team’s success this season has clearly ridden on the back of the defense, as it did all of last year as well. Also, the 49ers defense can be credited with that big 31-21 win over the Saints in which they held them to a mere 59 yards rushing, collected five sacks on Brees and provided two defensive touchdowns.

After watching Kaepernick play the past two weeks, he is clearly the better decision at quarterback for the future. Those Smith fans must not have been watching the same games that I was when I witnessed Kaepernick shred Chicago’s number two ranked defense with ease and hold his own against a red hot New Orleans Saints team in a rough environment in the Super Dome. I have already seen enough out of Kaepernick to know that the 49ers offense is much more explosive with him behind center.

This is the NFL we are talking about, not high school or college ball. In this league, the best player plays, even if the starter gets his spot taken because of injury. I don’t know if you remember this, but the only reason Tom Brady was named the starter of the Patriots in 2001 was because Drew Bledsoe got injured in the second game of the year against the Jets.

Just like Alex Smith, Bledsoe had been the long time starter for the Patriots and was playing great football at the time, coming off a season in which he threw for over 3,200 yards. I’d say the decision to stick with Brady turned out pretty well for the Patriots, wouldn’t you? In two games as the starter, Kaepernick averaged 237 yards per game, which is over 40 yards more than Smith’s average, completed 65 percent of his passes, had three passing touchdowns along with a rushing score, had a quarterback rating of 102.3, and most importantly, had two wins and zero losses.

Not that the actual numbers matter that much, I figured I’d just hit you with some knowledge. What really matters is how he actually produced those numbers. If you watched the games, you saw a second year quarterback that looked more like an experienced veteran. Avoiding pressure, making difficult throws outside the pocket across his body, bouncing back from mistakes and showing poise and the ability to win a hectic road game was more than enough to convince me that he’s the real deal. Not to mention that both of those wins came against two teams have a combined 10-4 record since week five.

Yeah, legit. The only reason the 49ers offense is so rush oriented is because they haven’t had a polished passer since the 90s when they had Steve Young, and they know that. Why do you think they were pushing so hard to get Peyton Manning when he was on the market? The 49ers know Alex Smith isn’t going to win them a championship and they want change, and quite frankly, I don’t blame them. In this league, you need an effective aerial attack to win championships.

The successful teams of recent have all been able to pass the ball effectively and make plays in open space. The past five super bowl teams all had quarterbacks capable of slinging the ball all over the field: Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Alex Smith doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with those guys, and he’s in his eighth season.

I’m not saying that Kaepernick deserves to be compared to them either, but he has certainly shown the same potential that all four of those quarterbacks did in the beginning of their illustrious careers.

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