In the world of football or any type of sport for that matter, there seems to be a golden rule. That rule is if a starter is injured and misses playing time the player gains the role back as a starter when healthy. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case in San Francisco right now. The 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams in week 10. Smith left the game midway through the second quarter. At that time backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick took the reins of the offense. Kaepernick led the team to a 24-24 tie, which was the NFL’s first since 2008.
After being told he was unable to play the next week against the Chicago Bears, Kaepernick made his first start in his two-year career. Facing one of the most feared defenses in the league, Kaepernick impressed many including his coaches and teammates. Kaepernick went 16 for 23 passing with 243 yards and two touchdowns leading his team to an eye opening 32-7 over Chicago. This is when Smith’s job seemed to be in jeopardy.
Going into week 12 against the New Orleans Saints, 49er’s coach Jim Harbough had to make a tough decision after Smith was released by medical personnel to play. Does he go back to starter Alex Smith or continue playing the electric Kaepernick after his one big game? Harbough chose the latter. Although, he has recently said that Smith is still the starter and there is no quarterback controversy. First of all, this sounds like a controversy to me. Secondly, I don’t think making the switch was the right choice.
I’m not an NFL coach, but I do have an opinion. Does the rule of not losing your spot to injury not apply in this situation and what happened to “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? Before Smiths’ injury, the 49er’s had a six and two record and were sitting atop the NFC West division
So, just because the starting quarter back gets hurt and the backup comes in and does a good job, you should forget about the starter? The last I checked, that is what you want your back up to do. A major drop in production from the starter to the backup is bad for the team if an injury does occur, so why not be thankful for Kaepernick’s performance then go back to Smith? Before Smith’s injury he had completed 70 percent of his passes for 1,731 yards and 13 touchdowns.
No, this isn’t Manning or Brady type numbers, but he was being efficient and getting his team wins, which is all a San Francisco quarterback needs to do. A 49ers quarterback isn’t needed to put up MVP type numbers since they rely heavily on a potent rushing attack along with a stout defense. Another reason a mid-season quarter back change is harmful is the affects it has on team chemistry. If the 49ers’ had been losing and Smith wasn’t producing it would be a different story.
However, they were six and two and heading straight to the playoffs. A change at this point in time in the season can do nothing but harm team chemistry. You end up having half the team on one person’s side while the other half is hoping the other guy starts. It just creates too many problems that don’t have to even exist. Colin Kaepernick came in and did his job.
He is a very well prepared backup that did an excellent job when his time was called. Now it is time to go back to the experienced veteran that has led this team to so many wins the past few seasons including a trip to the NFC championship last season. Nothing was wrong with his performances pre-injury, so why leave him behind now to only cause more problems than necessary?