Harbaugh: Smith is 49ers' long-term QB

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Harbaugh: Smith is 49ers' long-term QB

Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked Tuesday about quarterback Alex Smith's future with the 49ers.

Do you think Alex is the long-term quarterback for the 49ers as a starter?

Harbaugh's answer: "I do."

Earlier this season, we featured a poll question that asked, "If the 49ers make the playoffs, do you want Alex Smith back at quarterback in 2012?"

Your response was an overwhelming affirmation, as 78 voted yes.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You've weighed in earlier this year. Harbaugh made his feelings known in Tuesday's press conference. So we ask you, 49ers fans, do you think Alex Smith is the 49ers' long-term starting quarterback?

Post your responses in the comments section below and vote in our poll. Matt will join the conversation, responding to the most pointed arguments.

Chip Kelly expresses appreciation for Yorks' support

Chip Kelly expresses appreciation for Yorks' support

SANTA CLARA – Coach Chip Kelly, who is concluding his first year of a four-year contract reportedly worth $24 million with the 49ers, has not had substantive talks with team ownership about his future.

He said he would not expect to sit down and discuss the plan for 2017 and beyond until the 2016 season has concluded.

When asked if he has received any formal assurance that he would be back next season, Kelly answered, “No, I have a contract. I meet with ownership. It’s not like we don’t talk. I met with (49ers CEO) Jed (York) earlier today. I hadn’t seen Jed since I got back.”

The 49ers (1-11) are on a franchise-worst 11-game losing streak. Kelly also dealt with personal tragedy over the weekend when his father, E. Paul Kelly, passed away at the age of 87. Kelly expressed appreciation for the York’s support during that time.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the York family for how much they helped me in the last five to six days,” Kelly said. “They were unbelievable.”

The Yorks had a private plane waiting for Kelly in Chicago when the team landed Friday night, he said. Kelly flew to New Hampshire to be with his mother. He was flown back to Chicago the next day for the game.

Also, the Yorks arranged for Kelly’s partner, Jill Cohen, to fly from the Bay Area to Chicago. Both Kelly and Cohen were flown to the funeral in Portland, Maine, after the game and back to the Bay Area on Tuesday evening.

Kelly said he spoke to Jed York face to face on Thursday morning for the first time since he got back, but the conversation only focused on this week's situation entering the team's game Sunday against the New York Jets at Levi's Stadium.

“I’ve never had a conversation in-season about things going on,” Kelly said. “Obviously, at the end of every year, you’ll sit down and evaluate everything. But I haven’t had anything – nor would I expect to have anybody come to me during the season and talk about what’s going to go on.

“The football discussion I had today with Jed was just about injuries,” Kelly added. “Who’s out? What are we doing here? What’s your thought process in terms of the Jets? Just a normal conversation we have on a weekly basis. But nothing from that (contract) standpoint.”
 

Christian Ponder remains 49ers' No. 3 quarterback

Christian Ponder remains 49ers' No. 3 quarterback

SANTA CLARA – Colin Kaepernick will be back as the 49ers’ starting quarterback on Sunday against the New York Jets.

And coach Chip Kelly announced Blaine Gabbert will be the No. 2 quarterback on Sunday. Gabbert started the first five games of the season and replaced a struggling Kaepernick in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears.

Meanwhile, No. 3 quarterback Christian Ponder, who has not suited up for a game this season, will continue to be inactive when the 49ers face the Jets.

Kelly said there has not been any talk about moving Ponder up the depth chart. Only 46 of each team’s 53 players are allowed to suit up for games, and the No. 3 quarterback is typically inactive.

“We haven’t had any discussions about that so far,” Kelly said about Ponder being active.

Kelly had talks with quarterbacks coach Ryan Day and offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins before deciding to stick with Kaepernick, who will make his eighth consecutive start on Sunday.

“Really, it was just who was going to be the starting quarterback against the Jets and then let’s get forward because part of game planning evolves around who’s pulling the trigger,” Kelly said. “So that was our conversation was just about who was going to start and I think both Ryan, Curtis and myself agreed that it was Kap.”

Ponder, originally the No. 12 overall pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2011, earned a spot on the 49ers over rookie Jeff Driskel after a solid training camp. Ponder has not attempted a pass in a regular-season game since appearing in two games with the Vikings in 2014.