With quarterback Alex Smith confirmed by San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh as the team's starters for 2011, the emphasis now turns to who will serve as his backup this season.
With the release of veteran journeyman Josh McCown, the Niners will now rely on rookies Colin Kaepernick and newly signed Scott Tolzien to possibly fill in for Smith should he go down or be benched for poor play.
While neither player has had a great deal of playing time (neither player has thrown more than 50 passes in their debut preseason), here are the background and preseason numbers for the two backups.
Colin Kaepernick, the rookie out of the University of Nevada, came on to the national scene as the Wolfpack beat then-undefeated Boise State to end their BCS title hopes.
Was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 43rd round of the 2009 MLB draft.
Drafted: fourth pick, second round
Scott Tolzien (pictured):
Scott Tolzien made his name as a two-year starter at the University of Wisconsin. Impressed in his senior year by cutting his interception rate by more than half from his junior season to his senior season (16 to six interceptions).
In addition to taking the Badgers to the 2010 Rose Bowl (which they lost in a close game to TCU), he also notched tough wins against the University of Iowa and the Ohio State University.
He was named the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Winner, which is given to the top senior quarterback in the country.
He was originally signed by the San Diego Chargers but was released Sept. 3. The San Francisco 49ers picked Tolzien up the following day.
Funny YouTube clip: Tolzien was left hanging while looking for a high five in Wisconsin's game against Ohio State.
Colin Kaepernick led the 49ers passing attack as the team overall struggled against an aggressive New Orleans Saints defense.
Kaepernick completed 9-of-19 passes for a total of 117 yards, but poor blocking also resulted in him getting sacked four times. He also threw two interceptions.
The best part of Kaepernick's outing was his rushing ability. He finished the game with 47 yards on six carries.
Tolzien's late fumble led to the Seahawks winning score.
Kaepernick improved his passing in his second outing, completing 6-of-8 passes for a total of 52 yards and a passer rating of 91.7 and had no turnovers. Kaepernick was also sacked twice.
Scott Tolzien played limited minutes in his second outing and completed 4-of-5 passes for 12 yards. Tolzien finished with a passer rating of 79.2.
Colin Kaepernick performed poorly as the team's offensive line struggled against the Houston Texans defense. Kaepernick was often under heavy pressure and threw an interception on his third pass of the game. He was also sacked once for a six-yard loss.
He ended the game completing 6-of-16 passes for 52 yards and a passer rating of 20.8.
Tolzien did not play in the Chargers' preseason Week 3 game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Kaepernick, splitting time with quarterbacks Josh McCown (who was later cut), Alex Smith and McLeod Bethel-Thompson (also cut), struggled against the San Diego Chargers defense to complete three of his seven passes for the game.
He also threw two interceptions to finish with an underwhelming 19.6 passer rating.
Scott Tolzien carried the load for the San Diego Chargers offense, completing 16 of his 23 passing attempts.
He threw one interception to 49ers rookie cornerback Chris Culliver but also completed his lone touchdown pass of the preseason to receiver Seyi Ajirotutu.
Colin Kaepernick- 257 yards
Scott Tolzien- 305 yards
Colin Kaepernick- 48.0 percent (24-of-50)
Scott Tolzien- 62.5 percent (25-of-40)
Colin Kaepernick- 67 yards (nine rushes)
Scott Tolzien- 24 yards (four rushes)
Colin Kaepernick- 0 touchdown
Scott Tolzien- one touchdown
Colin Kaepernick- five interceptions
Scott Tolzien- one interception