If I’m Colin Kaepernick, I wouldn’t say a peep if I get my bell rung because I know I may never get my job back. That’s the message Jim Harbaugh is sending - if you get hurt and your back up plays well, you might be watching from the bench.
We wonder how the players really feel, like Patrick Willis, Dashon Gholdson, Frank Gore and the other guys who play hard and get banged up? There’s your message, don’t get hurt. Tony Sparano, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2008 told his team, “anyone who says they are hurt will get cut.”
Well, it worked that season as the Dolphins went 11-5 and made the playoffs, then they began to drift away from their HC; ultimately Sparano was let go a few year later. Players know when a coach has their back, and losing your job due to injury is always a sore spot.
However, Harbaugh now is extending this as an opportunity to show the world how cunning he is, but this isn’t Stanford, and professional football players don’t like being in the dark. Alex Smith was cleared late in the week, but by then it became a not too well kept secret that Kaepernick would be the starter, at least the next game, if not for the rest of the year.
It’s a dangerous game for Harbaugh now. Smith knows he’s not Harbaugh’s guy, and if he's called upon to come in for Kaepernick due to injury or bad play, does he really have an incentive to play hard? Kaepernick will still be Harbaugh’s darling, and he’ll give him every opportunity to take back the starting job. A no-win situation for Smith.
Do you think Smith’s agent isn’t making some behind the scenes phone calls, sizing up an off-season trade? Bill Parcells once said one of his greatest coaching mistakes was in 1983 when he inserted the quarterback he ultimately wanted, Phil Simms for Scott Brunner.
Simms was injured in the same game, and Brunner had lost confidence that his head coach had his back. Parcells and the Giants went 3-12-1 that year. Harbaugh would be wise to make his choice. This isn’t college, and 2 quarterback systems don’t work in the NFL.
Going with the hot hand? When was the last time you have seen two, let alone one that works. The 49ers have a Super Bowl caliber team, and it would be a shame to lose that chance by being cute.