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Report: Colin Kaepernick set to start for 49ers

9:30 AM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
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A 7-2-1 team would appear to be an unlikely source for a quarterback controversy, but not when Jim Harbaugh is at the helm.

After saying that he would go with the hot hand at quarterback, Harbaugh has informed Alex Smith that Colin Kaepernick will be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, SI.com's Jim Trotter reports.

ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer checked in with Smith, who said that Harbaugh informed him that Kaepernick would take all of the first-team reps in practice this week.

Trotter stood by his report, saying that the decision had been made and was not just a likely prospect, as ESPN's story indicated.

Whatever Harbaugh's move might be, it is unquestionably a bold one. In San Francisco's romp of the Chicago Bears on Monday, Kaepernick flashed the big-play potential that could make all the difference for the 49ers' offense. But he's still a second-year quarterback with one start under his belt.

Smith boasts the league's third-best passer rating and best completion percentage. But after sitting out last week while recovering from a concussion, the eighth-year pro is a forgotten man.

Harbaugh can always come back to Smith if the experiment fails. And Kaepernick is set up to succeed by facing the Saints, who have the NFL's second-worst passing defense. But Harbaugh's decision is sure to shake up a team that already looked like a Super Bowl contender.

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