Here we sit, the 49ers 1.5 games up on Seattle, a recent pounding of the Bears in their rear-view mirror, and an apparent first round bye if they keep up the strong play. The offense is clicking along, the defense has been getting tons of pressure (Aldon Smith leads the league with 14 sacks), and the special teams (minus a couple fake punts) has been getting better. All these great feelings however have taken a back seat to a seemingly self-made quandary which has the airwaves burning, and the bloggosphere absolutely incendiary. The quandary of course is the instant QB controversy that sprung up out of the concussion to Alex Smith in the Ram game, and the subsequent dismantling of the supposedly impregnable Chicago defense by Colin Kaepernick.
The stupid thing to me is this could have been averted by Jim Harbaugh. All he had to say was Smith is getting one more day off to make sure he’s good to go down the stretch. Cappy gets the NO start, and things go back to normal. But Harbaugh seems to be the one holding the gas can at this point. He has baited the fans by calling them drooling idiots who don’t care if they win or lose, called the press liars, and left it to his starting SS Donte Whitner to say Cappy was starting. Which Harbaugh then denied. Alex Smith’s status is still unclear at this point, although it seems that he’s good to go. That his health even matters is up for debate. Cappy played a great game, but it was one game. OK, 1.6 if you include the 2.5 quarters of the Ram game. Even still, based on that, you usually don’t make a quarterback switch based on a handful of quarters.
The point being, there was a whole shitload of unneeded thrash around the team this week. Now if this was Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, I’d certainly understand the impetus to get one’s team in the news by any means. But for all intents and purposes, this is the buttoned-down San Francisco Forty Niners. The classy team finding its way back to relevancy and the top of the football pyramid. Not a grandstanding hottdogging look-at-us kind of team. Harbaugh is really alienating everyone who is a fan of the team, and has made a chilly press relationship even more cold with his recent statements. For no other reason than apparently to leave the Saints in the dark regarding who starts.
So, I don’t get it. I also don’t expect the Saints to be pushovers as some think, due to their poorly ranked defense. They show a bunch of different looks, disguise blitzes, and have been playing better in recent weeks, and are always tough at home. Besides, the Niners are the agents of a lot of their recent problems. The Niners beat the Saints in the playoffs last year in one of the best games in NFL history, Gregg Williams was fired for his singling up on VD in crunch time in the playoffs, Williams was then suspended indefinitely for statements he made (knowingly taped) prior to that playoff game, and the whole Bounty-gate deal.
So, there’s certainly enough on NO’s plate to want to knock the Niners off. Who knows? Maybe this is Harbaugh’s way of getting the pressure off the players. Then again, what do I know. I’m a drooling idiot.