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Jim Harbaugh wants Saints guessing about starting quarterback

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09:22 AM ET 11.24 | Jim Harbaugh's not saying who will start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in New Orleans. He's also not saying if he's even informed Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick of the decision. What the 49ers coach is saying is that his veteran quarterback is close to being cleared to return to action. Smith passed his final contact test on Friday and will be officially cleared for contact by the team's Medical Director, Dr. Dan Garza, if he shows no symptoms on Saturday. Harbaugh also said Smith has felt no concussion symptoms since Tuesday. Smith suffered the concussion on Nov. 11 vs. St. Louis. "That's a real positive," Harbaugh went on to say. As for naming Smith or Kaepernick as Sunday's starter, Harbaugh felt there was no benefit to releasing the information in the days leading up to a big NFC matchup. "We feel like there's no competitive advantage for us to release that information for our organization and our team," the 49ers coach explained. Harbaugh didn't get into the specifics of the situation much more than that. "Like any position," he said, "we don't get into what the roles going to be and how we're going to use it."

49ers.com

Jim Harbaugh, Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images Jim Harbaugh, Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
November 24, 2012  09:29 AM ET

Alex Smith will start on a really short leash and if he screws up he'll bring in Kaepernick for good. It's the gentle break up....Harbaugh doesn't want to crush Smith. If Smith plays his butt off to keep his job or he goes to Kaepernick either way Harbaugh wins.

November 24, 2012  09:29 AM ET

Maybe it's time for Kapernick to take over permanently?

November 24, 2012  09:33 AM ET

So what Hairbag is saying is "yes kape pracyised all week withthe first string, but we may put in the bum to get hurt again so I don't have to hurt his ego"

Comment #4 has been removed
November 24, 2012  09:47 AM ET

The Saints have the number 32 ranked defense but Harbaugh says that is misleading? How so ?

November 24, 2012  10:03 AM ET

Smith has done no wrong so far if he's ready to go HC will play him.

November 24, 2012  10:08 AM ET

Just Don't Fool Yourself, Bro.

November 24, 2012  10:18 AM ET

Instead of playing head games about who his starting quarterback is....he better be more concerned about his defense getting lit up by Brees and Co....Niners fall behind quick in this one it could get real ugly for them....

November 24, 2012  10:20 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

The Saints have the number 32 ranked defense but Harbaugh says that is misleading? How so ?

TThey have have played very well the last 3-4 weeks.....check their take away / give aways....very dangerous team right now...especially at home...

November 24, 2012  10:37 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Maybe it's time for Kapernick to take over permanently?

One game does not a starting qb make.

November 24, 2012  10:39 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

The Saints have the number 32 ranked defense but Harbaugh says that is misleading? How so ?

The Eagles defense is worse.

November 24, 2012  10:40 AM ET

I know! That picture reminds me of Marty Feldman!

November 24, 2012  10:46 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

One game does not a starting qb make.

The funny thing is that Alex Smith has been playing fine this year.

Yet everyone still wants to crucify the man for how he played three years ago.

November 24, 2012  11:27 AM ET

The 49ers have treated Smith pretty poorly in the past. Not that anyone can blame them for going after Manning, but a clear vote of confidence here would have gone a long way towards patching things up.

There isn't any situation where announcing your starters is a "competitive advantage". It doesn't matter, you're not doing it for the other team. No matter how well they are playing, it's not like it makes a big difference to them who the starter is... what is this, Vick and Foles? Boy Harbaugh, you sure are slick. No one will *ever* guess what you're up to over there.

What a tool. Just say your guy is your guy and get on with it.

November 24, 2012  12:04 PM ET

Drew Brees Baby!!! We Know He's starting and will Probably Finish as Well!!!

November 24, 2012  12:20 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

There isn't any situation where announcing your starters is a "competitive advantage". It doesn't matter, you're not doing it for the other team.

I disagree. If San Francisco announces their starter then New Orleans knows which QB to gameplan for.

But if they leave it as a "game day decision" New Orleans has to gameplan for both quarterbacks.

It makes all the sense in the world to delay the announcement.

November 24, 2012  01:24 PM ET
QUOTE(#9):

TThey have have played very well the last 3-4 weeks.....check their take away / give aways....very dangerous team right now...especially at home...

Good point. Also, high scoring offenses put their defense back out on the field a lot, which can tire them out. Knowing that NO is likely to put up a bunch of points, other teams don't try to sit on a 3 point lead and win with their defense, they pull out all the stops to score.

Additionally teams do not play the same schedule; NO has played some pretty high scoring offenses.

Comment #18 has been removed
 
November 25, 2012  12:50 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

I disagree. If San Francisco announces their starter then New Orleans knows which QB to gameplan for.But if they leave it as a "game day decision" New Orleans has to gameplan for both quarterbacks.It makes all the sense in the world to delay the announcement.

That was my point. Making the announcement is never giving yourself a competitive advantage, it's sending a message to your own personnel. Telling the locker room who's going to get the nod isn't the same thing as standing on the podium and announcing it to the whole world.

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