49ers Quarterback Situation: Will Jim Harbaugh Regret Starting Kaepernick?

S. DixonContributor IIIDecember 14, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 25:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers speaks with head coach Jim Harbaugh during a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 25, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The 49ers are currently the NFC’s number two seed heading into the final three weeks of the regular season. However, the next two months will define Jim Harbaugh and his decision making as a head coach.

The 49ers are in realistic danger of losing not only a first round bye but also a home playoff game all together. The Seattle Seahawks are currently breathing down the 49ers' necks. Only a game-and-a-half separates the two teams from the NFC West division title. The 49ers have two difficult road contests at New England and at Seattle. New England looked unbeatable on Monday Night Football against the Houston Texans, while Seattle is undefeated at home coming off a 58-0 trouncing of the lowly Arizona Cardinals.

Seattle also has two winnable games at Buffalo and vs. St. Louis. If this all comes to fruition and the 49ers lose their division race or a playoff game, will Jim Harbaugh regret handing the reigns over to an inexperienced Colin Kaepernick?

Jim Harbaugh won’t ever publically regret “his” decision to replace a concussed Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick. Harbaugh is no different than any other NFL head coach. He is stubborn when it comes to decisions on personnel. He will stick with Kaepernick because Kaepernick is “his guy.” Kaepernick is his first NFL quarterback project, and the potential is obvious with every 50-yard touchdown run and incredible throw.

Who knows, he could prove the doubters wrong and lead the 49ers to bigger and brighter things, such as a Super Bowl.

However, Kaepernick still has not proven that he can beat elite teams. He is 3-1 as the starter for the 49ers. The two most impressive teams the 49ers have beaten in the last four games are the Saints and Bears. Those two teams have a combined 2-6 record over the past four weeks, looking dismal in the process. Fans and the media must also remember the Rams game in St. Louis where a lack of offense and a few too many mistakes cost the 49ers a game against an inferior team.

The 49ers have the most talent position by position in the National Football League. They are among the elite and are once again contending for a first round bye and a shot at the Super Bowl.

However, they are the only team among the elite Super Bowl contenders without a solid foundation of success at the game's most important position: quarterback. Colin Kaepernick has the potential to run for 100 yards and throw for 300 yards. He also has potential to throw away a Super Bowl with a costly turnover.

Colin Kaepernick is a young quarterback with a bright future on a fantastic team. However, Alex Smith is the better option for a shot at Super Bowl XLVII because he has proven himself capable in big games. Harbaugh will regret his decision to bench Alex Smith for Colin Kaepernick if he’s looking at a close loss in the NFC title game decided by a late interception thrown by a young but very talented Colin Kaepernick.