Colin Kaepernick won two games in seven days as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers but Jim Harbaugh isn’t ready to commit to him as the man just yet.
It sets up an interesting and potentially dangerous situation for the 49ers as they prepare for the stretch run and a return to the playoffs without a defined quarterback situation. After trouncing the Chicago Bears on Monday night, the 49ers went to New Orleans and grabbed a 31-21 victory.
Kaepernick completed 16 of 25 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown. He also ran in a score and provided a spark to the offense that might have been missing under Alex Smith. Where it goes from here? Who knows. Smith was medically cleared to return from a concussion and he served as the No. 2 during the game.
“Obviously I want to play, I want to start,” Smith said, according to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “I think I should. It's not my decision.”
Kaepernick said “that would be the coach's decision” when it comes to the club picking a starter.
And Harbaugh isn’t doing much to bring clarity to the matter.
“Colin played well and, in a tough environment, he acquitted himself very well,” Harbaugh said.
When he was asked to name a starter for this coming Sunday’s game at St. Louis, Harbaugh said that would come at “a later date.”
How much later? Well, Harbaugh never publicly selected Kaepernick for this most recent game, informing the team in a meeting Saturday night. The danger he runs here is pretty clear. There could be a locker room divide and players want to know who the leader is. As long as the starter plays well, though, Harbaugh cannot go wrong.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune