San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh made a move six weeks ago that will define the 2012 season. By yanking Alex Smith from the 49ers line-up he signaled a changing of the guard for a franchise hungry for a winner. In going with Colin Kaepernick, Harbaugh showed his cards for the 2012 season….In Kaep We Trust.
The problem is that his starter, Smith, was performing brilliantly. Leading the 49ers to a 25-1 record over his last 26 starts. It is obvious that Smith was not the long-term answer for the franchise, they were practically salivating and falling over themselves talking about Kaepernick, but it would have better served this franchise to hand the keys to the car to Kaepernick for the 2013 season.
Kaepernick looked solid and seasoned in the 49ers win in New England, he looked like a rookie in Seattle. I concede the fact that the rabid fans in the Emerald City make it tough on everyone, but still, in a big games, where ancillary factors matter, clutch play and veteran leadership is most assuredly needed….Kaepernick didn’t have it. Someday he will, but not now. Do you honestly feel comfortable having Colin Kaepernick take these 49ers into Lambeau Field to play Chico’s Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs ?
I never compare football to auto racing but the analogy fits. Harbaugh was leading the race, he basically pulled over the to side of the track, told his driver to get out of the car, and gave the keys to his future star. Never mind that Kaep hadn’t done anything to get the 49ers to this point, and, also never mind the fact that Kaepernick is probably a better driver…..for this race, for this season, Alex Smith was the choice.
If the 49ers make it to the Super Bowl, Harbaugh is off the hook. His decision will have worked and regardless of how the Niners fare in the big game, it will have worked. But, if this 2012 49er team falls short. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of their head coach…..who tinkered where no tinkering was needed.