By Jerrell Richardson
After Colin Kaepernick’s second straight impressive performance, the quarterback controversy in San Francisco was officially underway. Immediately after the game 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was asked who would be the starter for the next game and he didn’t have an answer. He said that Alex Smith has not done anything to lose his starting job, but also pointed out that Kaepernick is no longer in the category of a backup as he has not only started games, but has played well in them. Unlike the week before, when Kaepernick was told Saturday night he was starting, Harbaugh did say that the team would make a decision by Wednesday this time around. Despite establishing a timeline for making a decision, he has still received some criticism for his handling of the controversy. For those who feel that he is mishandling the situation can look at his playing days to put their minds at ease.
He Is A Former Quarterback
Who best to handle a quarterback controversy then a former quarterback? Harbaugh understands the psyche that makes up not only those who play the position, but specifically the psyche of these two players. On one hand there is Alex Smith, who Harbaugh transformed from a draft day bust to a potential Super Bowl winner. There is no way that happens without Harbaugh really knowing the make-up of the former number one overall pick. On the other hand is Colin Kaepernick, who caught Harbaugh’s eye while in college. Harbaugh was so impressed with Kaepernick that he had the team move up in the draft to get him, and would not do that if he didn’t know who Kaepernick is. Since then, Harbaugh has obviously spent countless hours with Kaepernick preparing him for his starting role.
So while some look at his responses as vague or misleading, and some have gone as far to say that it will split the locker room, who can really question Harbaugh’s approach? The team is playing its best football of the season as of late, demolishing the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears, two playoff contenders. Clearly, Harbaugh has a handle on the mindset of his quarterbacks and the rest of the team. While some think a definitive answer is the best solution, Harbaugh knows there is a possibility that the team will need Alex Smith at some point, and if so, he will need Smith to know that he never lost confidence in him.
All He Does Is Win
Since taking over the 49ers in 2011, Jim Harbaugh has won football games. This is the ultimate measuring tool for a coach’s success. The team has returned to relevancy in the NFL and is considered by some to be the best all-around team in the league. Some of this has to do with drafting the right pieces, developing the current players, and even some luck, but there is no denying that Harbaugh is the driving force between the teams quick turn-around. He has had a plan from Day One and has shown nothing that would warrant critics to think otherwise. He has earned the freedom to handle things as he feels is appropriate and should not be second guessed. So when considering his response to whom the starter will be, everyone should look at what he has done on the field and as a coach and realize he knows what he is doing.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.