January 14, 2013
We all saw San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick destroy the defense of the Green Bay Packers in the 49ers’ 45-31 victory in the NFC Divisional Playoffs on Saturday night. Kaepernick accounted for 444 yards of total offense(261 passing yards and an NFL QB record 183 rushing yards)as he ran circles and passed all over the cheeseheads. Of course, I’m very happy to witness all of this seeing how I’m a huge 49ers fan. All of the media outlets suggest head coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to replace previous starter Alex Smith has been justified by Kaepernick’s performance. While I’m happy the move was made, we can’t be too quick to say the move has been justified. Don’t get me wrong, I believe Kaepernick is the man who can take the 49ers to that Super Bowl level and I give a lot of credit to Harbaugh for making such a tough decision. We must remember Smith was playing pretty well when he went down with a concussion in a game against the St. Louis Rams and he did nothing in particular to lose the job. So for Harbaugh to make that decision takes a lot of guts. But the fact remains Smith, regardless of what I have said about him in the past, did lead the team to the NFC Championship Game last season. The 49ers still have to play in this year’s NFC Championship on Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons. If the 49ers are able to beat the Falcons and make it to the Super Bowl, that’s when you can come out and officially say this move has been justified. The reason why is because the 49ers, at that time, would have gone a level above where they were last season. When you make changes, especially at the quarterback position, you don’t make them to stay at the same level you were a year before. You make changes because you feel like it will help you get to the next level. If the 49ers don’t beat the Falcons on Sunday, the question of whether or not this was the right move will be asked just for the simple fact the team would not have improved their overall position from last season. Just ask the Denver Broncos how that process is working out for them at this moment. We all remember how the Broncos made it to the AFC Divisional Playoffs last season under the direction of QB Tim Tebow, only to get smashed 45-10 by the New England Patriots. The Broncos this season compiled a 13-3 record and had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with new QB Peyton Manning leading the charge, only to lose on Saturday to the Baltimore Ravens in the same round. There’s no doubt Manning is a far better QB than Tebow, but you have those people who will ask if the move was worth it because the team went out in the same round two consecutive seasons. While I am a big fan of the move to Kaepernick, I do understand this is the step the 49ers really have to take. This team is built to win a title right now, and the Super Bowl is within reach. The only question about the team was if the quarterback position was on par with the rest of the roster. With Kaepernick, the believe is the answer is yes, but only time will tell.
By Charles Taylor