Even though 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh named 25-year-old Colin Kaepernick the starting quarterback heading into the team's game against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, the argument hasn't subsided. As a matter of fact, the grey cloud hanging over the 'controversy' hasn't disappeared either.
At times during Harbaugh's press conference yesterday afternoon, he looked and sounded entirely uncomfortable, almost as if he wasn't completely sure he fully believed in the decision he was making. What's not to believe?
It isn't hard to rationalize Harbaugh's choice. Kaepernick, selected by the Niners in the second round of last year's draft, has the 'hot hand.' How hot? Fiery. In his last two starts against the Bears and Saints, Kaepernick has 474 yards, 4 total TDs, and 1 INT. With these stats averaged over a 16 game season, he would have 3,792 yards and 32 TDs.
Not including the game he left with an injury in the calculation, Alex Smith would have 3,318 yards and 24 TDs over 16 games.
But regardless of who was the right choice, both quarterbacks at least deserved a firm announcement from Harbaugh, not a wavering question mark. If there are really "two quarterbacks that we feel great about" in San Francisco, why not let the two battle gladiator style on Candlestick's 50-yard-line?
The most awkward, unsettling moment of the conference- when Harbaugh ended with "We'll go with Colin," then paused and added "and Alex." There's no point in patting Smith on the back after benching him, especially when he was having a superb season prior to taking a hit to the head.
And there's no point in sounding openly skeptical. You've made the decision. Now stand by it. Show some backbone.
The only reason Harbaugh has taken these shifts in tone is because if Kaepernick doesn't lead the team to a Super Bowl (something that he is somehow expected to do), he will still look like a reliable decision maker.
But what the 49ers need right now is not a dependable decision maker.
They need a good coach.