What Will it Take for Colin Kaepernick to Lose his Starting QB Job?

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers managed another uneasy victory on Sunday afternoon against the Miami Dolphins to stay atop the NFC-West division.

But there lies the problem?

Kaepernick, along with the Niners coaching staff, “managed” another game, just as quarterback Alex Smith had been doing for the first eight games of the season.  In fact, up until the fourth quarter when Kaepernick broke off a stunning 50-yard read-option touchdown run, San Francisco’s quarterback position would’ve been a whole lot more cloudy.

But, the the amazing fourth quarter touchdown play was the single determining factor of why Kaepernick will stay the starting quarterback for San Francisco.  The second-year quarterback brings a knack for the passing on the move and has another added dimension when he tucks the ball and runs, something Smith wasn’t capable of.

Still, Kaepernick didn’t blow anyone away with his overall numbers. Quite the contrary. The 23-year-old slinger only completed 18 of his 23 passes for 185 yards.

So how badly will Kaepernick need to play until head coach Jim Harbaugh returns to Smith?

I’d say, two back-to-back games. And it could be more likely than one might think.

Next Sunday, Kaepernick will be tested against a tough AFC team in the New England Patriots. The idea here is that Kaepernick and the Niners will need to open their playbook and put up points in bunches if they hope to play up to the Patriots hot offense, which ranks best in the NFL in total yards per game.

Then, the Niners will face the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 23. And the game could very well have playoff implications. Currently, San Francisco sits 1 1/2 games atop their division with the Seahawks (8-5) making a push for the first wild-card spot.

So if the Niners lose against the Patriots, it won’t be an easy task to travel to Seattle and beat a team on cruise control with their rookie starting quarterback Russell Wilson playing exceptionally wells. And the Seahawks defense ranks third-highest in the NFL, which will inevitably give Kaepernick a tough time in the pocket.

So while Kaepernick is no longer on a short lease as the Niners’ starting quarterback, two ugly starts (which is completely plausible), could sideline him for the postseason and return to Smith, a quarterback who has experience winning in the playoffs.

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