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Jim Harbaugh has not named starting quarterback

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08:36 AM ET 11.24 | A wise man once said, no starting player can lose their starting job to an injury. If this is the case, San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith will start when he is cleared by doctors Saturday. However, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh probably would not have revealed his true decision if Smith was cleared earlier this week for the sake of a competitive advantage. Harbaugh established in his press conference Friday that his decision to start backup signal caller Colin Keapernick Sunday against the New Orleans Saints (5-5) is not finalized as he awaits an answer from team doctors to clear the first overall draft pick from 2005. "No. We feel like there's no competitive advantage for us to release that information, for our organization or for our team," said Harbaugh. When asked if there was a competitive advantage in releasing information concerning of team, Harbaugh stated: "Possibly."

NFL Spin Zone

Jim Harbaugh, Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images Jim Harbaugh, Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
November 24, 2012  10:25 AM ET

This is because Hairbag can't remember who is hurt

November 24, 2012  10:27 AM ET

It will be even more interesting to see what they do with these two guys after the season. Could be some interesting horse-trading going on.

November 24, 2012  10:42 AM ET

I like how they posted the same topic twice, just from different writers.

November 24, 2012  11:14 AM ET

Ask Bledsoe and Maddox about that old maxim.

November 24, 2012  11:55 AM ET

I hear Jeff George is available...

November 24, 2012  01:13 PM ET

In college, when coach promised the kid he would get to play so the scouts can see him and he can maybe earn a pro contract, then the player doesn't lose his starting job due to injury. The NFL isn't college. Players lose their their starting job due to injury, whim, coach wanting to shake up the lineup, or whatever. That is (partly) why so many guys play hurt--they do not want coach to find out how good the backup is, 'cause coach may just like the other guy better.

November 24, 2012  01:13 PM ET

Colin Keapernick is their Quarterback of the future. And the future is Sunday. Alex has never lived up to being drafted #1. Too much pressure being drafted so high. Better to be drafted in the 6th round. Right Tom Brady?

November 24, 2012  02:27 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

This is because Hairbag can't remember who is hurt

I'm not really sure Hairbag is so much an insult as it is just putting two words together.

November 24, 2012  02:51 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Colin Keapernick is their Quarterback of the future. And the future is Sunday. Alex has never lived up to being drafted #1. Too much pressure being drafted so high. Better to be drafted in the 6th round. Right Tom Brady?

He might be the QB of the future, but it's hard to argue how Smith has perfomed under Harbaugh...19-5 I think is the number wins/loses. They're also going into a very hostile environment in the Sueprdome agaist a very hot SAints team. not exactly the best time to give Kaeps his 2nd start if Smith is healthy. Kaeps cooled off a lot in the 2nd half last week, and the Saints have a little bit of film on him now too. If Smith is healthy he's gotta be the guy. He showed against the Saints last year in the playoffs that he can run and gun to if you let him.

November 24, 2012  04:12 PM ET
QUOTE(#9):

He might be the QB of the future, but it's hard to argue how Smith has perfomed under Harbaugh...19-5 I think is the number wins/loses. They're also going into a very hostile environment in the Sueprdome agaist a very hot SAints team. not exactly the best time to give Kaeps his 2nd start if Smith is healthy. Kaeps cooled off a lot in the 2nd half last week, and the Saints have a little bit of film on him now too. If Smith is healthy he's gotta be the guy. He showed against the Saints last year in the playoffs that he can run and gun to if you let him.

Good post.

November 24, 2012  04:38 PM ET

How many team over the years have had the backup take over and perform significantly better? Steve young comes to mind. Tom Brady of course. Can't think of too many others who truly outperformed the incumbent.

Point number two is the Niners could probably win with any type of game manager QB which Smith is. Frank Gore and the best defense (defense and running) make it easy on them. Harbaugh may see Kaepernick as the future, but he gets paid to win games not play the guy with the best stats. Smith wins week in, week out and so if he's healthy than there is no reason to change a running system unless something is broken. Whats broken as long as SMith is healthy?

Comment #12 has been removed
November 24, 2012  10:44 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Colin Keapernick is their Quarterback of the future. And the future is Sunday. Alex has never lived up to being drafted #1. Too much pressure being drafted so high. Better to be drafted in the 6th round. Right Tom Brady?

smith did a great job and if not for 2 mishaps that had nothing to do with smith, the 49ers would have been in the super bowl instead of the giants. i do like CK's upside and the 49ers have the luxury of testing him one more time, resting smith and still have a fairly good shot of winning. you can't say the same thing with the steelers, eagles and chiefs...

November 24, 2012  10:48 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

really cant argue with that and i cant stand the panty liners!!!!!!!!!!!!!

let's see brady & belichick win a super bowl post videogate

November 24, 2012  11:14 PM ET

And the media wreathes in agony!! I guess that sells stuff!

November 25, 2012  03:55 AM ET

Harbaugh is a bit of a tool, but is a very good football coach. If he cannot see that the 49ers are vastly better with Kaepernick, and have a much higher upside, then he will not be their coach for long.
Not to be unkind, but Alex Smith is essentially a "Wally Pipp" in waiting. The 49ers are much better off with Kaepernick. Nothing else matters. If the 49ers are going to be smart about their succession at QB, and I believe they will, it means that Kaepernick is the full time starter, and Alex Smith will be available for trade in the offseason.
No disrespect to Alex Smith either, but he has had so many opportunities, and is essentially a "game manager" or a "don't make a mistake" type of QB. Kaepernick has vastly greater upside. And this comment from a Cowboys fan. Why couldn't all this have been avoided by having the Cowboys draft Kaepernick? Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

November 25, 2012  03:56 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

It will be even more interesting to see what they do with these two guys after the season. Could be some interesting horse-trading going on.

No there will not. Alex Smith will be available for trade. Kaepernick will be the QB of the future for the 49ers. Nothing interesting about that.

November 25, 2012  04:00 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Harbaugh is a bit of a tool, but is a very good football coach. If he cannot see that the 49ers are vastly better with Kaepernick, and have a much higher upside, then he will not be their coach for long. Not to be unkind, but Alex Smith is essentially a "Wally Pipp" in waiting. The 49ers are much better off with Kaepernick. Nothing else matters. If the 49ers are going to be smart about their succession at QB, and I believe they will, it means that Kaepernick is the full time starter, and Alex Smith will be available for trade in the offseason.No disrespect to Alex Smith either, but he has had so many opportunities, and is essentially a "game manager" or a "don't make a mistake" type of QB. Kaepernick has vastly greater upside. And this comment from a Cowboys fan. Why couldn't all this have been avoided by having the Cowboys draft Kaepernick? Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

Kaepernick has started all of what, one game? Let's not pretend like we have a real good idea of how he's gonna play every week.

We do know, however, that with the oft-besmirched Alex Smith at QB the 49ers were a muffed punt away from representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

November 25, 2012  04:03 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

No there will not. Alex Smith will be available for trade. Kaepernick will be the QB of the future for the 49ers. Nothing interesting about that.

Only if the people running the 49ers are as short sighted as some fans.

It's been one start. One.

 
November 25, 2012  04:03 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

And the media wreathes in agony!! I guess that sells stuff!

Wreathes are christmas decorations.
The media writhes in agony.
What exactly is the media selling here?

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