Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers' erstwhile backup quarterback, is the latest pothole in Alex Smith's career path. Kaepernick's success dominance, really against the Chicago Bears on Monday night was tonic for fans worried about what the Bears' well-regarded defense might do to an inexperienced sub.
It also guarantees that Smith's position as the 49ers' leader is no longer secure.
The adage that an injured starting player should reclaim his job after recovering is getting little love. Smith, held out Monday because of a concussion he suffered the previous week against St. Louis, by tradition would expect to be back under center when doctors clear him to play. But the idea of replacing Smith with Kaepernick has real support.
While Smith has yet to be cleared to play, there are conflicting reports that coach Jim Harbaugh has decided to start Kaepernick regardless of how Smith is feeling.
If that's true and Kaepernick falters against the Saints, pressure to make him the permanent starter drops, even though his athletic tools look top of the line. If he again excels, he could be The Man by acclamation, regardless of old-school rules of fairness.
Harbaugh is capable of making the switch. He professed his undying fealty to Smith after the 2011 season, then tried to persuade Peyton Manning to come lead the 49ers this season.
Harbaugh's bottom line, clearly, has nothing to do with loyalty to any one player and everything to do with finding the best quarterback available.
Smith might be that guy, but he has to prove it all over again.
What to watch
NFL, Patriots at Jets, 5:20 p.m., Ch. 3: Despite their records, it's always a good game between the AFC East rivals.
Which quarterback should start for the 49ers the remainder of the season?
Depends on who's hot
Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports
Who should replace Jeff Tedford at Cal?
Sonny Dykes: 3%
Hue Jackson: 21%
Greg Roman: 16%
Chris Petersen: 46%
Total votes: 155
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Brian Blomster
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.