Colin Kaepernick made his first career start for theSan Francisco 49ers last night (Monday, November 19th) against the Chicago Bears number 2 ranked defense…and a good start it was. Kaepernick completed 16 out of 23 passes for 243 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Very impressive numbers for a second year quarterback facing a stingy Chicago Bears defense.
Yes, Kaepernick had a very good performance.
So good in fact that the media is already claiming that there’s a “Quarterback Controversy” in San Francisco. I mean, really? After one start? Sure, he appeared confident. He showed great composure and decision making skills. He used his legs when he needed to. He made timely and accurate passes. But I would highly doubt that San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh will just hand over the reins of his highly potent offense to Colin Kaepernick after just one start no matter how impressive the performance was.
Kaepernick, a very talented young quarterback, lacks two things in my opinion. Experience and maturity. Both of those take longer than a season and a half to acquire. Don’t get me wrong…he is well on his way to obtaining those two virtues. But on a night when San Francisco was dominating both sides of the football, it’s easy to look experienced and mature. But how will he handle throwing four interceptions? Or fumbles on a potential game winning drive? We all know it will eventually happen. No quarterback in history is immune to a bad day from time to time. Will he suck it up and get over it and focus on the next play? Or will he crawl helplessly back to the sidelines, sulking and sobbing and pointing fingers at someone who didn’t make a block? Only time will tell. And experience and maturity takes time.
On the other side of this “Controversy”, we have San Francisco’s “other” quarterback, Alex Smith. Smith, on a weekly basis, is just as successful as Kaepernick was on Monday night. His experience and maturity should never be a question. This guy has been in some of the most nightmarish situations known to an athlete. Example…seven different offensive coordinators? I think it was seven. I’ve lost count. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. He lead the 49ers to a 13-3 record and an NFC Championship game in 2011. During the offseason that followed, it was learned that the higher up people in San Francisco were flirting with the idea of signing future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. Now that’s a true slap in the face. Especially after the season Smith had. After all that, one would have to assume Alex wasn’t feeling to welcomed in San Francisco anymore. But Alex has persevered. Over the past three years, he has gained experience. He has matured. He has quietly become one of the NFL’s most consistent, accurate, and effective quarterbacks. Maybe not as flashy but successful nonetheless.
You do the math. Seven and a half years of tried and true experience… or a year and a half of a young, talented, potential superstar who is still just learning the ropes of the NFL? If I were a betting man, I would say coach Jim Harbaugh has already done his math. I am most confident he doesn’t see a quarterback controversy. The only controversy (or should I say, nonsense?) is coming from the minds of the people who are pushing for a quarterback controversy. People who would make a better living at writing for gossip magazines. And it simply isn’t fair to coach Harbaugh, Alex Smith, or that young man named Colin Kaepernick.
For the record, I am a huge Colin Kaepernick fan. I have been ever since I super-simmed the offseason on my copy of Madden 2012 for Xbox, which had my 49ers refusing to re-sign Alex Smith and naming Kaepernick the starter. But in all honesty and seriousness…I am a huge fan of Colin and all of my 49ers players.