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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.

Vernon Davis: No question Alex Smith is still ‘the man’

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis is one player who seemed to really thrive with Colin Kaepernick running the offense in a blowout win over the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Davis had a season-high six receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown, and he raved about Kaepernick after the game.

Jim Harbaugh also praised his second-year quarterback and all but admitted that the Niners have a quarterback controversy on their hands. However, Davis now says San Francisco’s offense still belongs to Alex Smith.

“(Harbaugh) is going to play the hot hand,” Davis told KNBR in San Francisco on Tuesday. “Alex has the hot hand and Kaepernick has the hot hand. Alex, you can’t forget, Alex did break the franchise record.

“They’re both great players. Kaepernick played last night and happened to do a good job but Alex is still the man, no question.”

Smith has frustrated Niners fans in the past, which is likely why they have been so quick to forget that he has completed 70% of his passes this season and had a passer rating of 150.5 in the two games before we went down with a concussion. Kaepernick filled in admirably against an incredibly tough defense on Monday night, but Smith has played well for San Francisco this season and done enough to win them a lot of games over the past two seasons. I wouldn’t necessarily rush him back, but I certainly wouldn’t count him out or crown Kaepernick just yet.

Thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for transcribing the interview
Photo credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Alex Smith had no idea he was close to completion percentage record: ‘We’re not a stats team’

Alex Smith was one passing attempt short of qualifying for the NFL’s single-game completion percentage record by a quarterback, and he said after Monday night’s win that he had no idea about being so close to the mark.

“To be honest, I didn’t have any idea,” Smith responded when told about the mark on ESPN’s postgame show.

As if that wasn’t enough, he added that he didn’t know because “we’re not a stats team.”

“I don’t want to think about my stats or incompletions or anything like that,” Smith explained after the game. “I was kind of in a good rhythm, the whole offense was.”

Smith was 18/19 for 232 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions in San Francisco’s 24-3 win over the Cardinals. You can question whether or not he was being truthful when he said he didn’t know about the stats, but if you’re a 49ers fan, you have to love that the team winning is the No. 1 focus in San Francisco.

Smith said in an interview with Lisa Salters that he probably should have thrown away more balls instead of taking sacks, and that that would have lowered his percentage. That acknowledgment doesn’t necessarily mean he was trying to protect his numbers; it could just mean he knows there were things he could have done better despite appearing to play a nearly flawless game.

Even though Smith says the team isn’t about stats, coach Jim Harbaugh apparently is. He is campaigning with the league to get the stats changed to give his quarterback the record. In the meantime, we’ll just be happy that the strong night from Smith led to the quote of the year from Harbaugh.

Photo credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Jim Harbaugh on Alex Smith doubters: It’s just a lot of gobble, gobble, turkey

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is already in the mood for Thanksgiving. He had turkey on the brain following a dominating 24-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night, but it had more to do with his quarterback carving up a defense than someone carving a bird.

Alex Smith looked as sharp as he has all season, torching the Cardinals for 232 yards and three touchdowns. He completed an astonishing 18-of-19 passes and finished with a near-perfect passer rating of 157.1. The performance inspired one reporter to ask Harbaugh if a game like this helps lay any confidence issues Smith may have had to rest.

“I don’t think there was ever a question there,” Harbaugh responded. “I think it’s just a lot of gobble, gobble, turkey.”

I beg your pardon?

“Just gobble, gobble, gobble, turkey from jive turkey gobblers,” he continued. “I think that paints a pretty good picture of it. He’s a very confident guy.”

Harbaugh has backed Smith since the day he took over as head coach in San Francisco, even vehemently denying that the Niners ever had any interest in Peyton Manning this past offseason. Like last season, the Niners have arguably the best defense in the NFL. Smith has done a solid job of protecting the ball and is completing nearly 70% of his passes. If he continues to play well, all the jive turkeys out there could be questioning him all the way to the Super Bowl.

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Alex Smith says he had no idea he was close to the record

Photo credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Bruce Bochy wears 49ers hat to support Alex Smith (Video)

The pro teams in San Francisco are loving each other right now. After it was revealed on Wednesday that the NFL threatened to fine Alex Smith if he wears his San Francisco Giants hat to anymore pregame or postgame press conferences, Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided he would lend his support for Smith and the Niners.

“This is our way of supporting him for supporting us,” Bochy said while proudly sporting a red and gold hat on Thursday. “And we’re all 49ers fans here so this is in honor of Alex. I’m glad he didn’t have to pay the fine. That’s good news.”

Bochy said he has been a Niners fan since he came to San Francisco and praised Jim Harbaugh for what he has done with the organization since taking over. When asked if he was going to get fined for wearing the Niners hat, Bochy said what a lot of us have been thinking.

“I don’t think so. I hope not,” he said. “We’re having some fun with this. This is what it’s about. Sometimes we take things a little too serious, I think. (Smith) comes out here and supports us and we do appreciate it so this is our way of saying thanks.”

Endorsement deals are endorsement deals, but it’s nice to see Bochy repaying the favor. As we know, the NFL can be pretty unreasonable when it comes to having fun.

H/T Pro Football Talk

NFL threatens to fine Alex Smith if he wears San Francisco Giants hat again

Last season, Alex Smith enjoyed showing his support for San Francisco’s baseball team by wearing a Giants hat to some of his postgame press conferences. Although professional athletes didn’t necessarily grow up in the area where they are playing and have allegiances to other teams, fans like to see the symmetry — hence why Tom Brady heard so much grief over this wardrobe selection. However, the NFL has warned Smith that he will be fined $15,000 if he does it again.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the NFL’s dress code mandates that players wear sponsored gear during the 90 minutes before and after games. Since a Giants hat is non-sponsored gear, Smith is not permitted to wear it.

“Yeah, can you call (Giants chief executive) Larry Baer for me?” Smith joked when reporters suggested that he ask the Giants to pay the fine.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports that the NFL actually did fine Smith $15,000 for wearing the hat last year but decided to rescind the fine and leave him with a warning. Smith also let reporters know that he is aware of the Giants’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot and didn’t sound like a man who intends to change his postgame wardrobe. And that, my friends, it what loyalty is all about. And wealth…

H/T NBC Bay Area
Photo courtesy of @SFGiantsFans

Aaron Rodgers: Alex Smith is more than just a game manager

Alex Smith played well enough in 2011 to bring the 49ers to the NFC Championship game, but he received little credit along the way. In a league where throwing for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdown passes has become the standard, Smith put together a modest stat line of 3,144 yards and 17 touchdowns. He threw only five interceptions all year, which has resulted in his being labeled a “game manager.” Aaron Rodgers thinks that’s unfair.

“I think that term is a condescending term for quarterbacks,” Rodgers said according to USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t think he’s a game manager. I think he’s a guy who takes care of the football and makes a lot of plays. I don’t think he got the respect that he deserves.

“I’ve been friends with him since we were 21 and I’ve followed his career. I definitely pull for him and enjoy watching him play.”

Fans and players around the league like this one have said on numerous occasions that Jim Harbaugh and the Niners simply try to put Smith in a position to not lose games. Harbaugh, on the other hand, says he believes Smith is an elite NFL quarterback.

Rodgers is right in the grand scheme of things. In many ways, a quarterback who throws for 17 touchdowns and leads their team to the NFC Championship has done a lot more than one who lights up the stat sheet but misses the postseason. That’s not to say the outcome of every game is solely in the hands of the quarterback, but the goal of NFL teams is to win games. If you do that, you’re doing your job whether you’re a Pro Bowler or simply a “game manager.”

Photo credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE