The great quarterback debate in San Francisco will end on Wednesday.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he will announce the team’s starter – something he has been unwilling or unable to do the last week-plus – on Wednesday after he has had an opportunity to inform the team of his decision.
Colin Kaepernick has provided a spark to the Niners in the last two games, victories over the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, as he filled in for Alex Smith. But Smith was cleared to return from a concussion to play against the Saints. Now that both quarterbacks are healthy, Harbaugh has to pick.
On Monday, Harbaugh was “diplomatic” in how he handled the situation, according to Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News.
“Alex Smith is our starting quarterback. He has not done anything to lose that job. In fact, he's playing at a very high level,” Harbaugh said. “Also Colin Kaepernick, you can't categorize him as a backup quarterback because he's started games and played very well in those games.”
The hunch here – and it is just a hunch – is that Harbaugh goes with Kaepernick. He’s brought more life to the 49ers offense and he has the ability to make more plays with his legs. Harbaugh has never been completely sold on Smith, either. The team drafted Kaepernick in the second round after re-signing Smith a year ago and then the club pursued Peyton Manning before going back to Smith this offseason.
It's brutal and cold reality in the NFL that Smith could complete 70 percent of his passes through nine games and lose his starting job because of a concussion.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune