If Jim Harbaugh announces Wednesday, as expected, that Colin Kaepernick will start in St. Louis against the rams Sunday, he will do with his deeds what he could not possibly manage with his words.Declare the end of the 49ers nascent quarterback controversy.If Kaepernick is the choice rather than Alex Smith, as most people assume it will be, Harbaugh will have made a clear preference for one over the other, and only Kaepernicks ineffectiveness or an injury will change that. Smith becomes one of those rare examples of a man losing his job because his superior play doesnt measure up to his new rivals potential.RELATED: Mariucci believes Harbaugh will stick with Kaepernick
And if you see a parallel between this and Harbaughs own struggles with Mike Tomczak back in the day, so be it. Well leave that to the lab coats and 145-hr couch fees.But if Kaepernick is the choice, one can only assume that he will remain so, circumstances permitting, which means we dont have a controversy any more, but a job change. Kaepernick has Smiths, period.It would, however, be helpful to the entire process if Harbaugh could keep from speaking on the subject because, well, he keeps trying to reinvent the universe with his tongue and just makes the issue worse.A quarterback controversy, you see, is when a coach cant make up his mind. This is not that. This is what happens when a coach cannot sensibly explain why he has made up his mind, and while that may be a controversy, it isnt of the quarterback variety.When Harbaugh announced at Mondays weekly What-Was-That? Fest that Smith is his starting quarterback, we were on to something. And when he followed that with Kaepernick not being a backup, wed hit the motherlode of convolution. Harbaugh was trying to redefine terms that everyone else in the universe has agreed upon since the language first developed.RELATED: Alex Smith game logs Colin Kaepernick game logs
Smith is not the starting quarterback because he is not starting. In fact, he isnt playing at all, which makes him not only not the starting the quarterback, but also not the playing quarterback. Whatever Harbaughs motivations may be for trying to change the meaning of words, he isnt allowed to do so just because he is worried someones feelings will get hurt, or because he enjoys poking the media with a stick.
He can change his quarterback, and he has, because he has the job and nobody else does. And hey, it may be a stroke of brilliance. Nobody knows that yet, because the only way this works is if they beat the New York Giants in the postseason, or get to the Super Bowl by avoiding the Giants entirely.But while Harbaughs gift for decisiveness is not in question, what he seems to have trouble doing is explaining it. Mondays performance was a tour de force in nonsense, made worse by the idea that he thought he the quarterback job is no different than a running back or a defensive endpass-rushing linebacker.It isnt. You cant share the quarterback job. The last guy to try, Red Hickey of the early 60s 49ers, ended up fired within a year. It is meant to be a job for one, and making it a job share only means that the 49ers have no quarterbacks rather than two.RELATED: Mailbag -- 49ers' depth will be tested
This seems not to be the case, so it is up to Harbaugh to say, clearly and concisely and without reinventing terms with which the rest of us are already in agreement, that Kaepernick is the starter. Or, if he wishes to have a quarterback controversy rather than a quarterback cornucopia, that Smith is the starter again.I mean, the only way he could have done a worse job was to have Vernon Davis do it, seeing as how he has already declared the job is fit for both Kaepernick and Smith.Or maybe thats a job that can be outsourced down the chain of command. Greg Roman, maybe. Or Jed York, who could use something to do these days. Or maybe even mayor Ed Lee, who could explain it in no less than 45 minutes.But Wednesday looks like the day that the problem will be put to rest. That is, if Harbaugh doesnt persist in declaring that he has two starting quarterbacks and no backups. Or that he doesnt get plankfaced on multicolored Nyquil spritzers and blurt out, SCOTT TOLZEIN!Or better yet, given his alternate penchant for revisionist history as well as revisionist vocabulary, PEYTON MANNING! Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com