Colin Kaepernick reportedly will start over Alex Smith for 49ers

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is not messing around. According to Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, Harbaugh informed Alex Smith that Colin Kaepernick will start at quarterback on Sunday at New Orleans.

Trotter’s report states that the decision was not based on medical reasons. Smith is recovering from a concussion suffered in Week 10 against the St. Louis Rams.

Harbaugh apparently saw enough out of Kaepernick on Monday to decide that the second-year quarterback makes the 49ers better. Kaepernick went 16/23 for 243 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, which amounted to a 32-7 win over the Chicago Bears. The Bears are third in the NFL with just 16.5 points allowed per game.

Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis was among those who felt Kaepernick improved the offense, saying after the win on Monday night that he felt like the handcuffs had been taken off of him.

Kaepernick’s second opponent will be the New Orleans Saints, which have won five of their last six games. New Orleans’ defense is ranked 27th in the NFL with 27.3 points allowed per game. They’re 31st in the league in passing yards allowed per game, so it should be a softer matchup for Kaepernick than the Bears.

ESPN’s Trent Dilfer added to the report. He says that Kaepernick is receiving the snaps with the first-team offense in practice this week, but that Smith has not been definitively told he will be the backup on Sunday. As Dilfer said, this is just a matter of semantics; Kaepernick will likely start.

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  • JamesT32

    Never been a fan of injured players having thier jobs permanently handed to others in absentia, but Kaepernick is very talented and if that’s the way this ultimately works out one must remember that a head coach’s main responsibility is always to do what he feels is best for the team, not individuals.  Doesn’t always go down that way, but the team should always be his primary focus.  Those close to the San Fran QB situation will tell you that the 49ers were not 100% convinced Smith would be a star even on the very day they drafted him and developed serioius misgivings about the choice long before Aaron Rodgers was actively chasing Super Bowls and MVPs in Grenn Bay.  Whether they’d admit as much publicly or not it’s pretty clear that sentiment remains seven years later.  One thing’s for sure, when you watch the 49ers you can’t help but wonder how daunting, and at times impossible, this team would be to play if Peyton Manning had even the least interest in directly battling his brother for the NFC crown.