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Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason

Posted: 12/15/2012 8:46 AM

Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


Harbaugh benched Alex for one reason.  He decided that Alex Smith WILL NOT WIN THIS SUPER BOWL, ...and, Kaepernick "MIGHT".

Alex may go deeper into the playoffs but won't go all the way.

Kaep may make us miss the playoffs but we have a chance to win it all with him.

Harbaugh is going for the Gold.  Silver and bronze are for losers.
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Posted: 12/15/2012 3:19 PM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


plus 1
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Posted: 12/17/2012 7:22 AM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


Maybe. With Smith all season, there is no way we lose/tie the Rams and would probably be in 1st place right now. But do we win in Foxboro with Alex? Who knows? It isn't like Alex hasn't won us big games. Either way it was a risk to bench Smith, considering he was playing better than any QB in the league at the time and had a 6-2 record to boot. It looks like it may pay off, but still CK makes these little mistakes that Alex just doesn't make any more that has already lost us 1 game this season which shouldn't have lost.

Personally I think we could win the SuperBowl with either of them. Alex has improved a ton over last season and the proof was in his stats. CK has had the luxury to sit back and learn the offense for a season and half before taking over, which is why he is having such big success right now.

The pay off will only be a Super Bowl win and if that happens with CK, unfortunately Alex will be released in the offseason. Alex Smith to me is the Charlie Brown of the league. Even when he wins and plays great, he is still losing. Hopefully he ends up on a team that respects him a little more and he does great things for them as well.
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Posted: 12/17/2012 7:29 AM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


I don't buy that and here's why.

First, last year Alex Smith did everything he needed to, to win the game against the Giants.    12 - 26 for 196 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.  He didn't play us out of that game, special teams did.

Second, I believe that Kaepernick is playing because you owe Alex Smith $8M dollars in March, and the differences between Smith and Kaepernick aren't so extraordinary that you should just stick with Smith.  So if you're not going to keep Smith in the off season why not see what the guy you traded up in the 2nd round can do while you have a chance.  So far he's made Harbaugh look like he made the correct choice.
sierragold wrote: Harbaugh benched Alex for one reason.  He decided that Alex Smith WILL NOT WIN THIS SUPER BOWL, ...and, Kaepernick "MIGHT".

Alex may go deeper into the playoffs but won't go all the way.

Kaep may make us miss the playoffs but we have a chance to win it all with him.

Harbaugh is going for the Gold.  Silver and bronze are for losers.
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Posted: 12/17/2012 8:09 AM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason Post Rating (2 votes)


Really plann? love how you omit the 3rd down conversion percentage of that game... lol. alex gave no indication that he would make one single play in the waning moments of that game. Dead on sierra, alex is safe but he's reached his ceiling. kaep brings a different element and harbaugh is looking for a ring... great move.
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  • MattBaldy
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Posted: 12/17/2012 8:10 AM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


Who are the two QBs Hargbaugh tried to recruit to Stanford? Luck and RGIII. Both of those guys are pretty dang good, to say the least. He has an eye for QBs and knows what he wants in one. I will trust his judgement on this, he's much better than I am when it comes to scouting talent!! I was and am for the switch though, so I might be biased slightly.
"What's your problem?" - Jim Harbaugh to Pete Carroll after demolishing USC. 
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  • Stokes83
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Posted: 12/17/2012 10:59 PM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


Harbaugh is sticking with Kapernick because he offers a couple of things Alex Smith doesn't.

for one, an accurate deep ball.

Smith is awesome in short and intermediate passes, but horrible with the deep ball.

two, Kap uses his legs whereas Alex won't really do that even though he could.

third, with Kap at the helm, the entire 49ers offense opens up. Crabtree is having a career season, Randy Moss retired himself out of the league a year ago and now he's playing pretty solid and we've got the triple option-pistol offense now as a weapon.

for me, i don't care who is the QB, i just want to win.

---------------------
With pick No. 36 in the 2011 NFL, the San Francisco 49ers select...Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada 

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Posted: 12/18/2012 6:54 AM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


I love how you come at me with the 3rd down conversion rate when I said he didn't play us out of the game.  I am curious though in your vast amount of knowledge of the game what do you consider to be a manageable 3rd down?  

The mark we us 5 yards or less on third down.  In the game with the Giants, the 49ers had 9 of 13 3rd down attempts that were 6 yards or greater.  Of those 9 we converted actually 2 because of a penalty after an Alex Smith scramble and Delanie Walker fumbled another conversion away.  Couple that with the failed 3rd and 1 with two extra offensive linemen in the formation when Anthony Dixon danced around in the backfield and you have three attempts that should have been converted that have nothing do with Alex's lack of play making. 

Then after throw out some random stat with no context, you restate exactly what I said like I was wrong.  If you're going to throw stuff out at least try to remember everything that I said.  Go back and re-read what I wrote. I've said in several different threads that Kaepernick is the better option because he's Alex with more upside.  Not my fault if you're not reading it. noidea
madaboutniners wrote: Really plann? love how you omit the 3rd down conversion percentage of that game... lol. alex gave no indication that he would make one single play in the waning moments of that game. Dead on sierra, alex is safe but he's reached his ceiling. kaep brings a different element and harbaugh is looking for a ring... great move.
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  • guy03
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Posted: 12/18/2012 11:05 AM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason Post Rating (4 votes)


Plann23, its a good thing that you're not a head coach, or else we would be stuck the the Nolan, Singletary era.  You give good, cogent reasons for all of the above but you forget one thing: Harbaugh wants Kaepernick because he thinks he has what it takes to win the SB, not Smith.  Remember, last year we had essentially the same defense but our special teams have definitely suffered.  We had to depend on the defense a lot more to create turnovers but we often failed to take advantage of it because of a number of things, but a lot had to do with Smith's accuracy in the red zone and his unwillingness to go downfield.

Kaepernick is a lot like his head coach, he's got fire in the belly, a relentless desire to be competive and beat the snot out of you.  I was convinced of this when an analyst reported after Kaep completed a key 3rd down pass against the Saints and said, Yeah, you motherfu**ers." I can't imagine Smith with the same reaction.  

Look at Tom Brady.  In the Sunday nights game, did you see the fire in his eyes, the rage, the warrior.  Kaepernick, much like Brady, comes across as a mild mannered reporter, but underneath lurks the beast, the drive to win.  My only complaint against Kaepernick, and this goes back to the UNR days, is that he gets sloppy with the ball at times.  This is correctable and not really see this as a liability.
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Posted: 12/18/2012 3:50 PM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


I would like to know what qualifies me as being like Nolan or Singletary?  noidea

For a comment that Alex wasn't the reason that we lost the game to the Giants.  If you can find me something that would sway me in that regard I'd love to hear it but my analysis of this ins't flawed and until you show me something otherwise I'm going to staunchly defend that.  confused
guy03 wrote: Plann23, its a good thing that you're not a head coach, or else we would be stuck the the Nolan, Singletary era.
I have not once said that I think that this move was a bad move.  I have not once said that I don't understand the move.  What I have said and I don't understand is the manner in which it was done, because if you believe for one minute that Kaepernick was going to play over Smith if he didn't get hurt you're fooling yourself.  That wasn't even a consideration.  One he got in and played as well as he did the question was then asked, do we really need to go back to Alex.  The answer obviously was no.  As I've said several times previously, I believe that this has as much to do with Kaepernick being more ready than they thought and that his being more ready now meant an $8M dollar savings to the franchise because now they don't have to hold onto Alex. noidea
guy03 wrote:  You give good, cogent reasons for all of the above but you forget one thing: Harbaugh wants Kaepernick because he thinks he has what it takes to win the SB, not Smith.

As for depending on the defense more, I'm not sure what you're using for your argument here but you're clearly missing the game plan that the 49ers are using in every game.  In the 6 games that Kaepernick has been in he's thrown for an average of 200 passing yards a game.  Nothing has changed with the insertion of Kaepernick with regards to how we're running our offensive and nothing is going to change becasue that's the strategy of the head coach.

As for the comment about Smiths accuracy in the Red Zone you've clearly not done any research and you're just making things up to bolster your argument.  Alex Smith has a 124.4 passer rating in the red zone with 30 career TD's and just 1 INT as of 2011 (Only stat I could find). The press democrat in fact says that Smith’s red zone productivity is 13.8% better than Kaepernick’s. So forgive me if I don't take you at your word because between the two of us right now I'm feeling more and more like you're the one that doesn't know what you're talking about.  ohlord

guy03 wrote: Remember, last year we had essentially the same defense but our special teams have definitely suffered.  We had to depend on the defense a lot more to create turnovers but we often failed to take advantage of it because of a number of things, but a lot had to do with Smith's accuracy in the red zone and his unwillingness to go downfield.
This is great.  I love fiery players, in fact I'm recruiting a QB right now who I believe is every bit the same player that Colin Kaepernick mentally because I want a QB who is going to tell people what to do, and when he steps into the huddle he tells people to shut the hell up.  That's who I am and I like that as an extension of me on that football field.

I also agree you would see nothing like this from Smith. 
guy03 wrote:Kaepernick is a lot like his head coach, he's got fire in the belly, a relentless desire to be competive and beat the snot out of you.  I was convinced of this when an analyst reported after Kaep completed a key 3rd down pass against the Saints and said, Yeah, you motherfu**ers." I can't imagine Smith with the same reaction.  
Again, this is something that you don't see from Smith in my opinion.  This is why I say you have to really look at the good and the bad and weigh them against each other.  Kaepernick is going to make some rookie mistakes like he did in the Rams game that will cost us games and from a coaching and fan perspective they'll be infuriating.  But his upside is huge.noidea
guy03 wrote: Look at Tom Brady.  In the Sunday nights game, did you see the fire in his eyes, the rage, the warrior.  Kaepernick, much like Brady, comes across as a mild mannered reporter, but underneath lurks the beast, the drive to win.  My only complaint against Kaepernick, and this goes back to the UNR days, is that he gets sloppy with the ball at times.  This is correctable and not really see this as a liability.

Last edited 12/18/2012 3:55 PM by plannb23

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Posted: 12/18/2012 4:31 PM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 



guy03 wrote:  Remember, last year we had essentially the same defense but our special teams have definitely suffered.  We had to depend on the defense a lot more to create turnovers but we often failed to take advantage of it because of a number of things, but a lot had to do with Smith's accuracy in the red zone and his unwillingness to go downfield.
So, if the team relied so much on the defense to create turnovers last year and the special teams is worse this year, how did the 49ers get to a 6-2 record before the first Rams game with Smith at QB? The defense was not creating turnovers through the first 8 games like they did a year ago. They were having to drive longer fields than before because they weren't getting the TO or winning the field position battle the way they did in 2011.

Smith's efficiency as a passer (and improvement as a passer over last year, as his 25+ point QBR improvement indicated), had a lot to do with that. The point that anybody who has chosen not to bash Smith has made is that Smith was more than just a competent QB. He was far more than just a Trent Dilfer living off the exploits of the defense. Was he Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers? No.. but no one has ever argued that he was.

I think most everybody in here agrees that Kaepernick is a very good looking young QB. Everybody is excited about his future. But just because Kaepernick looks good doesn't mean Smith was crap. That's merely the point being made.
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Posted: 12/18/2012 8:22 PM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


plann i agree with you the switch would not have been made just to make the switch. harbaugh  would have stayed with alex as long as he was healthy. while i fully expected colin to start against chicago and new orleans when he got the start against the rams i felt harbaugh had been looking for an opportunity and the smith era was over. while colin makes more dynamic plays(imo)the overall passing game hasn't changed much. crabtree's improvement this season has been the biggest improvement with the offense,while his average is down this year he seems to make one or two big(yac)receptions per game.

Last edited 12/18/2012 8:23 PM by stepnez

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Posted: 12/19/2012 8:27 AM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


I agree with all of it except that they felt Kaepernick was ready.  I feel like this was more of an approach of we'll start Alex this year and then try to have an "Open" QB competition next year.  I feel like the coaching staff has always felt that the difference between Kaepernick and Smith isn't glaring, just that Kaepernick has a larger upside.
stepnez wrote: plann i agree with you the switch would not have been made just to make the switch. harbaugh  would have stayed with alex as long as he was healthy. while i fully expected colin to start against chicago and new orleans when he got the start against the rams i felt harbaugh had been looking for an opportunity and the smith era was over. while colin makes more dynamic plays(imo)the overall passing game hasn't changed much. crabtree's improvement this season has been the biggest improvement with the offense,while his average is down this year he seems to make one or two big(yac)receptions per game.
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Posted: 12/19/2012 9:13 AM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


I don't think that the quarterback change can be summed by one simple sentiment like "Smith can't win the Super Bowl but Kaepernick can." The 49ers could have reached the Super Bowl last year with a couple fewer miscues and the way the defense as playing, beating New England was a distinct possibility. The 49ers could win a Super Bowl with Alex Smith.

I think it came down to a few factors: believing that Kaepernick wouldn't lower the team's floor significantly (in defiance of what many media and fans--myself included--thought), that he would make an already-diverse offense even more diverse and, yes, that Kaepernick was the future of the position for the team and if he didn't reduce the team's chances this year appreciably, if that was Harbaugh's belief, then why not get him big game experience this year to speed up his development for next year and beyond?

Harbaugh saw Kaepernick every practice day, he knew where Kaepernick was with the offense. He just had better information, he wasn't making a crazy gamble. We're now seeing play out in games what Harbaugh knew from working with Kaepernick every day.

Smith is a fine quarterback. I don't feel that quarterback was a team weakness with Smith at the position. I do, however, think that Kaepernick adds more explosiveness to the 49ers' offense, which is one more facet to the offense and plays well with a strong and creative running game. The selections of AJ Jenkins and LaMichael James signaled that the team wanted to incorporate more explosive plays, in my opinion. Kaepernick was just part of that movement. I've made the comparison of Smith to Phil Simms before and I still think that's appropriate (far, far moreso than comparisons to Trent Dilfer) and Simms is a guy who had an excellent career (and won a Super Bowl as the starter), so it should illustrate my regard for Smith.

Last edited 12/19/2012 9:24 AM by Minstrel

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Posted: 12/19/2012 10:13 AM

Re: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


Funny you should make that comparison, because Simms was the guy that Mike Nolan originally compared Smith to way back when he was drafted. Here's what he said, as quoted by Peter King:



"Like Simms, Alex proved himself by being the hardest worker on the team and by being a leader in every sense of the word," said Nolan, a friend of Simms's. "I couldn't get off that. Then there were a bunch of little things. Like when Alex talks to his mother, he says, 'yes, ma'am.' and [how he handled] what we put him through in his workout at Utah."



That article also brings up one of my favorite anecdotes about why Nolan chose Smith over Rodgers. Nolan ran them through some drills to see how they took 'coaching.' One of these was a jump rope test, which Rodgers apparently gave Nolan the stank-eye over. Nolan saw Smith's willingness to do whatever and compete at any task as a positive (and, to be fair, I think that's a decent conclusion -- the problem was not Alex's willingness; it was the coaching he received).

Smith's strength has always been his analytical nature, but it's also been his detriment when things around him were simply not adding up. He doesn't have the skill of improvisation like some do, and that hurt him at times. Harbaugh has referred to this in Kaepernick as "Football Instincts." He spoke of Manning having these instincts, and he praised Kaepernick for having them, too. Go back to his days at Stanford, and that phrase came up when describing Luck. He never used it, however, with Alex.


........................

To Minstrel's point about Smith's ability to win. Harbaugh would not have installed Smith as the QB at the start of the year if he didn't believe he could win with him. Remember that Kaepernick got the starting job not because Harbaugh suddenly had a change of heart. He got it because Smith got hurt.

The problem is that, when discussing these types of changes, many people like to have a clean "either/or" situation. They believe if one player is good, the other must be bad. I don't think the coaches think like that, though. In fact, I know they don't. Harbaugh didn't go out of his way to call both of his QBs "my guy" simply to keep Smith from feeling hurt. There may have been some politicking in the comments, but I think he did believe that both were more than competent. One was simply better, and he chose to take on the risk of his inexperience because he felt the upside outweighed that.

I said, when this move was made, that I trusted the coaching staff to make the decision. They have proven that they have a good handle on their players development, and if they felt Kaepernick was ready, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt on that call. So far, they have, once again, proven that they seem to know how ready their players are.
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Posted: 12/19/2012 11:56 AM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason Post Rating (2 votes)


IMO this situation is more or less clear as day by now, and could be somewhat easily explained.
First off, I don’t think for a moment Alex’s contract was anywhere near the driving force leading to a switch. It probably fully comes in to play now with “Alex the starter vs. Alex the backup money” discussion. Also one of the primary reasons on the Niners part why he probably won’t be kept around (along with Alex’s reasons why he probably wouldn’t want to stay beyond this year either).
As to the switch itself, it’s a culmination of gradual development consistent of several elements along the way.
We will never know whether Harbaugh genuinely believed or not believed in Alex from the moment he took over. One thing he must have clearly understood is he can trust Alex to a point, if he restricts his offense to what Alex can and can’t handle. Either way, with the lockout there was nothing else he could do, other than design the most effective “bullet proof vest” for Alex and use the opportunity to draft his future replacement. Back then it was a “no loose” proposition anyway. Harbaugh’s seat was secured and he was fitting what was advertised (based on his reputation as QB guru) “newly reborn” with the team that was not expected to make any serious hey.
But then the team out of the blue skyrockets, mainly due to its defense, strong running game and special teams. Give Alex credit for his contribution in managing the system well and not screwing it up. Alex actually goes on to hit the jackpot with NO. But then something happens in the NFC championship game that may have planted the seed. No, Alex didn’t lose the game. But he did not WIN it either by stepping up. Perhaps a better skilled QB, given all the chances Alex had to drive the team for a mere FG, would have insured it didn’t come down to a special team loss.
Harbaugh had tasted NFC championship game, his entire defense and ground game back, he is fully aware now those elements and his coaching staff are ready for prime time. His only weak link is QB. It’s understandable such opportunity to win one may change from year to year. With the expectation bar set to the max, Harbaugh is not eager to take a chance on “Russian roulette” with Alex. With the ownership’s back, he chases the moon to insure fully maximizing the odds. Doesn’t get the moon, there is no one else on the market who is better than Alex with a year of experience in his system. CK yet not grasped the game to where he has to be as relative to what’s at stake. After song and dance and some PR damage control, he has to bring Alex back, while Alex himself has nowhere to go in terms of a better financial or his own comfort situation.
Again, give Alex credit for his play and his hand in a few quality wins. But overall it doesn’t change who maxed Alex is, and he is greatly enhanced by defense and the running game. But what happens if defense or running game has a bad game? Harbaugh witnesses 2 games (Min and NYG) first hand, where it is precisely what had happened. Alex “drops the ball” in both, when he had to step out of the box. In the process reiterating to Harbaugh the risks with Alex in the playoffs, if his defense can’t shut the opposing team down. He sees CK’s work and progress on the daily basis. Somewhere he realizes CK had reached the certain level in grasping the game, which together with his superior physical tools was enough to leapfrog Alex. I know Harbaugh couldn’t care much in what the fans or the media thinks. But he still couldn’t pull the trigger on the healthy Alex because the team continued to do so well and rest of the team may not have understood the move, be puzzled by it, maybe even rocked some. He needed the legit excuse for his team, got one with enough time to somewhat season CK in the starting role, and did what he ( and his coaching staff) may have been already convinced had to be done to enhance the odds of winning everything.

Last edited 12/19/2012 4:02 PM by tal57

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  • guy03
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Posted: 12/20/2012 11:23 AM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


As far as red zone offense, Plann you gave me some interesting stats.  However, it seemed to me that the offense was relying on Akers to score field goals rather the putting 6 pts on the scoreboard.  Anyway, that is what it appeared to me.  Don't get me wrong, I like and appreciate what Alex has done for this team although I still thought they made a major mistake taking him over Rodgers. It's time to move on: Kaepernick is our man and lets hope that he is the one hoisting the SB trophy over his head at Miami.
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Posted: 12/20/2012 8:22 PM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


I must say that I love what Smith was doing for us before Kaep took over. Now Kaep is showing he has what it takes and makes me feel like if we have him over the next 10 years we will always be in the game. Also the game is definitely more exciting to watch. I definitely feel for Smith and I will root for him wherever he ends up. Just hope it is not with the Cards.
One analogy of the situation would be like you have this girlfriend that you been dating a little while. You like this woman a lot, but run into another woman by chance and sparks fly. Do follow your instincts and go for this new woman which might be the one or do you stick with the one that you are getting comfortable with. They both can't be your starter lol.
If you think back it is not that hard of a decision. Could you imagine if they had all the internet, twitter, and what have ya back when Montana and Young were going back and forth starting in I think it was 88. Or when Montana left after 91 season. I think the only time I ever rooted against the Niners was the Chiefs game when Montana played us. Well I shouldn't say rooted for the Chiefs to win, but rooted for Montana to do well against us.
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Posted: 12/20/2012 8:28 PM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason 


On a quick side note. Have any of you ever seen the video where Walsh (or maybe it was Young) was talking about how they were going to give the starting job permanently to Young over Montana in 88 during the Cards game. We were smashing them 23-0 I think at half and they said it is time to move forward with Young. Then things fell apart in the 2nd half and we lost 24-23 and Montana took over again after that and no looking back for 2 more Super Bowls. As excited as I am about how this can be, things can change fast if Kaep falls to pieces in a game. I sure hope not though.
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Posted: 12/21/2012 9:20 AM

RE: Harbaugh is starting Kaep for one reason Post Rating (1 vote)


Here's the bottom line for me.  There's no question that CK brings huge playmaking ability. Yes his mobility is a huge plus but he makes throws that Alex never would make.  BUT my issue is when we go back to running the same offense we had with Alex.  If you're going to play very conservative then there is no reason to make the switch.  But, if we are going to open up the offense like we did against Chicago, NO, and NE then it's an easy decision.  I 100% feel like we are in better shape with CK when Harbaugh/Roman remove the handcuffs.
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