SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh just named Colin Kaepernick the 49ers starter against the Rams this Sunday. Here’s everything Harbaugh said about his decision.
Q: Have you made a decision as to which quarterback you will start against the Rams?
HARBAUGH: We plan to start Colin Kaepernick. We’re preparing him to make that start this week against the Rams.
Q: What’s the rationale behind that?
HARBAUGH: The rationale is we have two quarterbacks that we feel great about as a starting quarterback. Both have earned it, both deserve it – Alex over a long period of time, Colin by virtue of the last three games. It tips the scales. Colin we believe has the hot hand. We’ll go with Colin. And we’ll go with Alex. They’re both our guys.
Q: Do you ask input from other players, or was it your decision?
HARBAUGH: I talk to players all the time, all day, anybody who wants to talk to me about any topic. This is one of those decisions that you make as the head coach.
Q: Have you gotten any feedback from the players on this decision?
HARBAUGH: You really don’t have the right to know what those conversations are. The players believe in both guys.
Q: Would you consider a bullpen situation between the two quarterbacks?
HARBAUGH: We’re not going to speculate on it. We’re worried about everything and we fear nothing – no moment, no circumstance.
Q: Are you saying Colin Kaepernick is your quarterback going forward, that it’s not a one-week thing?
HARBAUGH: No, I wouldn’t assume anything. I know you probably will, but I assume nothing.
Q: With a young quarterback like Colin, do you have to be prepared from some bumps in the road?
HARBAUGH: Like I said, we worry about everything. That’s part of my job. But as a team, we don’t fear any moment or circumstance.
Q: Are you afraid if one of your players gets a concussion in the future he won’t tell you?
HARBAUGH: That would be something to worry about. I would never want that message sent to our players.
ME: Have you handled things adequately with Alex Smith coach-to-player?
HARBAUGH: By who’s standards?
ME: Do you feel like it’s fair to dangle Alex Smith’s status?
HARBAUGH: Make your own judgement. I’ve explained exactly what the decision’s been made on and how I feel about both of our quarterbacks. I told you how our team feels about both quarterbacks. I feel like there’s nothing more to add.
Q: Emotionally for you, how difficult was it to make this decision?
HARBAUGH: All these decisions are difficult. You think through them the best you possibly can.
Q: How did Alex take the news?
HARBAUGH: Alex is a class act all the way. He’ll prepare as if he were the starter, and that’s what we would expect – be ready to go in and play and get a victory for the football team.
Q: Is there a chance you’d play both of them?
HARBAUGH: Anything’s a possibility. I assume nothing or rule out anything. Again, we’ve plowed that ground about as thoroughly as we can.
Q: You’ve always said you want to get 1 percent better everyday. Is this decision part of that?
HARBAUGH: I feel sometimes that I stand up here and talk to you, and I can read your eyes. Maybe you think I’m holding back or not giving you something that’s not there. I’ve given you everything. I’ve explained it very well.
Q: Did you see Colin close to the gap in practice?
HARBAUGH: I’m not going to compare the two. They’re both good.
Q: Was there something you saw in practice, or did the game show it?
HARBAUGH: I’ve seen it both in practice and in games that Colin is playing good. I’ve seen it both in practice and in games that Alex is a very good player.
Q: Did you tell them Kaepernick will start each week or just now?
HARBAUGH: I think I’ve covered and plowed that ground about as thoroughly as it can be plowed.
Q: Beyond the hot hand, what made you choose Kaepernick over Smith?
HARBAUGH: I think I’ve plowed that ground very thoroughly and told you exactly how I viewed it.
Q: There’s a saying that you don’t lose your job to an injury. What was your thinking there?
HARBAUGH: We have two very good quarterbacks. It’s a unique situation – you have two guys you feel can win for you, have won for you. Two guys that deserve it. Two guys that have earned it.