Kaepernick stepped in during the second quarter of this week's game against the St. Louis Rams after starter Alex Smith suffered a concussion. Even though Kaepernick could not find a way to will his team to victory (the game ended in a rare tie), he had an impressive performance.
The second-year player out of Nevada went 11-of-17 on his passes for 117 yards and also picked up 66 yards and a touchdown on eight rushing attempts.
The 49ers clearly had high hopes for him after picking him in the second round of the 2011 draft. While Smith has firmly established himself as the starter in San Francisco, Kaepernick will still see the field.
Jim Harbaugh has made use of his impressive running ability this season, even with Smith on the field. Kaepernick had run the ball 13 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns prior to being featured in a starting role against the Rams.
Due to Harbaugh’s willingness to consistently use him in gadget plays, Kaepernick will not bolt to another team in search for a starting job. Being next in line to the 49ers' starting quarterback and having a few of these plays each week will provide him with enough reasons to stay in San Francisco.
This is an ideal situation for the 49ers, as Kaepernick has the potential to develop into their ideal signal-caller. The team’s identity is built around their defense, and the offense’s primary responsibilities are to control the tempo of the game and avoid turnovers.
The running game will remain the focus of the team’s offense, and Kaepernick can make meaningful contributions to its production with designed runs. He also proved with his passing efficiency against the Rams that he is capable of patiently executing the offense like Smith has over the past two seasons.
Kaepernick gives the team versatility and depth at quarterback right now, and as he continues his career in San Francisco, he will become increasingly more comfortable throwing the ball.
He is a perfect backup for the team and will eventually become the next starting quarterback for the 49ers.