Harbaugh's QB decision all about playoffs, Super Bowl


Harbaugh's QB decision all about playoffs, Super Bowl

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Watch Jim Harbaugh's Wednesday press conference live on CSNBayArea.com at 11:55am. He is expected to announce who will start at QB this Sunday vs. the Rams.

Coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday is expected to supply the answer to the question, Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick?In order to answer that question, though, Harbaugh first had to ask himself something else.Which quarterback gives the 49ers the best chance to advance in the playoffs this season and win the Super Bowl?That's it. That's all that matters.This is not about which quarterback gives the 49ers the best chance to win Sunday in St. Louis or the following week against the Miami Dolphins. This is all about winning the Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February.
Oh, sure, there are smaller parts to the puzzle, such as . . . Which quarterback can make all the throws? Which quarterback is a better decision-maker? Which quarterback can keep plays alive with his feet? Which quarterback can make the better pre-snap reads to get the offense into the best plays?But it all comes down to whether Harbaugh believes Kaepernick, with another five regular-season games as a starter, will be better able to lead the 49ers into the playoffs than Smith.Perhaps, there's no wrong answer.Perhaps, there's no right answer, either.RELATED: 49ers' Walker expecting Alex Smith to start Sunday
This is not about what's fair. If that's the case, Smith would get his job back after being sidelined with a concussion. This is not about loyalty. This is not about building for 2013 and beyond. This is not about making sure the 49ers get some return on their investment to trade up in the second round for Kaepernick.It's all about the cold reality of winning football games.It would seem that Harbaugh telegraphed his intentions after Kaepernick's breakout performance against the Chicago Bears. The coach who all along had stated Alex Smith was his guy, was suddenly noncommittal about declaring Smith as his starter when he got healthy.Even with the answer for today, it does not mean that things will not change before the playoffs begin. (And the 49ers are definitely going to the playoffs with a 2 12-game lead in the NFC West.)If Harbaugh goes with Kaepernick, he must be prepared for a bump or two in the final five regular-season games. After all, he's a young guy with tons of potential who is still learning on the job. But if Harbaugh sticks with the veteran, Smith will be on a short leash after Kaepernick had his opportunity to show what he can do.

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”