It looks as though Coach Jim Harbaugh’s quarterbacking gamble is going to put him in the running for Coach of the Year.
Diving headlong into a steaming pile of controversy only to come out smelling like a rose must do that, I suppose.
So now Colin Kaepernick is playing great as the starting QB of the San Francisco 49ers and the competent but unspectacular Alex Smith heads to the bench to become the kid’s mentor, cheerleader and, surely, his very best buddy, if only because that’s what good teammates do.
Early on some media controversy arose because there seems to be an unwritten rule among sportsmen that you don’t take somebody’s job away just because they get hurt.
Of course the reason it’s unwritten is because it doesn’t exist. It’s one of those “gentlemen’s agreement” sorts of things, but professional football is about winning. It’s the bottom line that counts most, not the genteel high ground.
One thing should concern us about this though. Because Smith lost his starting job in such a visible way following a concussion, of all things, how likely do you think it will be that the next guy to get concussed on the field will try his best to hide any symptoms?
I’m not sure we can call that progress, but it does fit nicely into the category of unintended consequences.
49ers at Rams – St. Louis plays well at home, but the Colin Road Show has just started. It could be playing to headlines in February. The Niners sleepwalked through a tie with the Rams earlier this month. The defense ramps up this time and Kaepernick, who can make more plays downfield than Smith, punches a few more numbers on the scoreboard.
Seahawks at Bears – Chicago still has a tendency to overlook certain opponents at the wrong time and I sure get the feeling they are not going to take Seattle as seriously as they should. The Seahawks are still not to be trusted on the road because that’s where their quarterback really plays like the rookie that he is.
Seattle’s defense is more than a match for the Bears’ offensive line, which struggles even when it’s not all banged up and patched together. The key will be whichever team gets its running game going. Assuming both do better with that this week, then Jay Cutler makes up the difference, so it’s a convoluted home team pick (which happens a lot this time of year).
Buccaneers at Broncos – You might as well stick with Manning at home on a bit of a hot streak. Besides, that defense he teams with is pretty complete now. This one will be an old-timey slobber-knocker.
Browns at Raiders – Speaking of slobs, which one would you pick? I don’t know either, and you just gotta know what that means or else why are you reading this?
Bengals at Chargers – San Diego picks a really lousy time to start playing great defense again and finding its offense, but I hope we knew better than to really put any trust in Cincinnati.
Steelers at Ravens – Word is Big Ben will still not be able to play, though he most definitely wants to. Pittsburgh has no chance without him. My pick is being made mostly on that basis. Baltimore at home will be tough for anyone even totally healthy.
Eagles at Cowboys – Finally, Dallas hosts a team playing better brain fart football than them.
Giants at Redskins – So which New York Blue shows up? Coach Coughlin has a habit of getting his team’s attention when the time comes to make a move. Washington doesn’t have the defense to keep the Giants off the scoreboard often enough.