Jim Harbaugh’s not saying who will start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in New Orleans. He’s also not saying if he’s even informed Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick of the decision.
What the 49ers coach is saying is that his veteran quarterback is close to being cleared to return to action. Smith passed his final contact test on Friday and will be officially cleared for contact by the team’s Medical Director, Dr. Dan Garza, if he shows no symptoms on Saturday.
Harbaugh also said Smith has felt no concussion symptoms since Tuesday. Smith suffered the concussion on Nov. 11 vs. St. Louis.
“That’s a real positive,” Harbaugh went on to say.
As for naming Smith or Kaepernick as Sunday’s starter, Harbaugh felt there was no benefit to releasing the information in the days leading up to a big NFC matchup.
“We feel like there’s no competitive advantage for us to release that information for our organization and our team,” the 49ers coach explained.
Harbaugh didn’t get into the specifics of the situation much more than that.
“Like any position,” he said, “we don’t get into what the roles going to be and how we’re going to use it.”
Harbaugh fielded several questions about the decision and its potential impact on the locker room, but with each inquiry, Harbaugh avoided diving deep into the topic.
“Again, it’s not something we think is an advantage for us to talk about.”
When asked about several national reports that came out this week discussing the quarterback decision, Harbaugh said all of them were “not factual.”
So while the football world, and more importantly the Saints defensive coaching staff continues to wonder who will play under center for San Francisco come Sunday, Harbaugh is focused on the task at hand and not at the outside world’s opinion on his two, hot-handed quarterback conundrum.
“It’s going to be a hostile environment,” Harbaugh said of the challenge of playing in the Superdome, one of the league’s noisiest stadiums. “We prepared with the noise all week long, darn near every snap had noise.”
The team cranked up stadium noise and loud music throughout the week of practice in preparation for what figures to be a rowdy atmosphere.
Harbaugh closed his press briefing by sharing his respect for Sunday’s opponent and how New Orleans’ No. 32 ranked defensive standing can be misleading.
“This is a team playing a high level of football on offense, defense and special teams,” Harbaugh said. “It’ll be a difficult challenge for us, I have a lot of respect for that that team.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh
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