When Alex Smith went down with a concussion earlier this year, he never got his job back. That is saying something when you consider that Smith posted a 25-5-1 record as 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh's starter the last two seasons.
"Saw enough really good things (from Kaepernick) that I wanted to have the same faith and trust in Colin that we had shown with Alex," Harbaugh said this week. "It's very well documented how we felt about both guys, one's our right arm, and one's our left arm. Just being in the situations he's (Kaepernick) been in, the way he's handled himself, he's done well."
The case could be made the Packers will take the field Saturday in San Francisco with a 7-0 advantage. Aaron Rodgers has started seven career playoff games while Kaepernick has made just seven NFL starts and none in the postseason.
But Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers says the 49ers offense is suited to help the second year QB succeed.
"When you've got a solid running game the way he has and they play-action pass a lot, and they run the read-option series," Capers said Thursday. "They do a lot of different things to where he hasn't made the critical mistakes that you see a lot of these young guys make."
Kaepernick has something in common with Rodgers heading into this weekend; both QB's will be facing the team they rooted for as a kid. Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee and lived in Fond du Lac until he was 4.
"I was a Packers fan," Kaepernick admitted this week.
This week the San Francisco signal-caller looks to send Green Bay packing with his unique blend of blazing speed (ran a 4.53 in the 40 yd dash at the NFL Combine) and throwing ability. Despite starting only seven games Kaepernick finished 4th among NFL QB's in rushing yards, 4th in passer rating, and second from Week 11 through Week 17 in completions of 25 or more yards.
"He's been throwing the ball well," Packers CB Tramon Williams said this week. "Obviously everybody knows about his running ability. That's the main thing that you watch, but he's been getting it down with his arm. They have a balanced attack so that's what makes them tough to play."
"He's been very impressive," Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's gifted, he can make all the throws, he's a big athlete. You can see why he's playing."
Kaepernick knows a big key to Saturday's Divisional Round playoff game will be his ability to perform in the face of pressure.
"They have a lot of different looks, a lot of different things they can do, a lot of great playmakers on their side of the ball," Kaepernick said of the Packers defense. So they are going to try and cause turnovers and disrupt our offense, we just have to account for that."