One back up quarterback, Jason Campbell is not a career 2nd stringer as he's been the starter for numerous teams including the Redskins and Raiders. Colin Kaepernick on the other hand had never started a professional game before yet he outplayed the veteran by a landslide. Nobody and I mean nobody has done what the second year QB did to the Bears defense last night all season long. Not just Kaepernick but the Niners ran all over that Bears vaunted defense. It was an embarrassment for Da Bears.
But the big question coming out of last nights game is will Colin Kaepernick now be the full time starter over Alex Smith? As a matter of a fact head coach Jim Harbaugh even hinted at the possibility when prompted to answer the question of the future of the 49ers quarterback position. Harbaugh said the he "likes to go with the hot hand." Well Kaepernick's right hand was hot last night, more specifically his right arm which threw for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. He went into that game the same way he played it and came out of it - with confidence and ultimate ability. One big factor weighing in Colin's favor is that coach Harbaugh hand picked this kid and some say he want's Kaepernick to be the starter now.
So if Alex Smith his cleared to play next Sunday, do the Niners go back to him or stick with the hot hand? I've been told one of the unwritten rules in football is that you don't lose your job to injury especially if you're a quarterback. But what about losing it to a better player? Well that question remains to be answered. Let's not forget that Smith QB'd San Fran to a (13-3) record last season and was (6-2) before getting injured against the Rams last week. Smith has thrown 13 TD's this season against 5 INT's and is currently 3rd in the NFL in QB rating. So if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Now Colin Kaepernick may indeed be a better quarterback than Alex Smith and could possibly be the 49ers QB of the future. But let's not jump the gun here fellas. It is quite possible that the lack of tape and film study on Kaepernick may be a big variable in why he was able to tear up the Bears defense last night. Alex Smith has ran this offense to perfection by completing high percentage passes and not turning over the ball. He understands that as long as he doesn't screw up then his team will most likely win behind that amazing defense and solid run game. But here's the thing...can Smith win them a ball game when the defense and run game aren't going well?
That may be the thing that separates Colin and Alex. Kaepernick has a rocket arm and can run like there's no tomorrow. Smith happens to be a very good athlete but nowhere near as fast as the sophomore and certainly can't throw it as far as him. So it seems Kaepernick has the bigger upside and the ability to create plays when things break down. But Smith has been great for the Niners since last year, finally having continuity at head coach and offensive coordinator.
So for now I'm sticking with Smith because he's proven he can handle the load. He and the Niners were an overtime and a couple of horrible fumbles away from a 6th Super Bowl appearance last year. Maybe Kaepernick would have been able to lead the Niners to a game winning drive in the NFC Championship which Smith failed to do after being given multiple opportunities. Knowing you have Kaepernick at back up sitting on the bench with confidence, experience and the ability to play this game, it's a safer move to leave Smith as the starter and not destroy a quarterback that has finally had success in this league and is following it up by having his team in first place and considered a title contender again this year. Leave it alone for now and if things go bad then you know you have an ace in the hole.