Reading between lines on Jim Harbaugh

Highlights and interpretations from coach Jim Harbaugh's conference call Saturday with reporters covering the San Francisco 49ers:

  • Colin Kaepernick is the No. 2 QB: We all know Kaepernick isn't quite ready to start for the 49ers if called upon this early, but Alex Smith is healthy and Josh McCown wasn't good enough to keep at the expense of someone else. The 49ers are "rolling the dice" a little bit, as Harbaugh conceded. They would rather keep young players such as rookie defensive linemen Ian Williams and Demarcus Dobbs than keep a mediocre third quarterback for the sake of having one. If Smith gets hurt, the 49ers can reevaluate then. McCown could even still be available.

  • Kendall Hunter is the No. 2 running back: The rookie has outperformed Anthony Dixon to this point, but Harbaugh said the team will continually evaluate the situation. Whichever back is playing better at the time will have the edge as the primary backup behind Frank Gore. This is the go-with-whoever-is-hot approach, logical in the absence of an established No. 2 back. Gore will be the main man, of course.

  • Gore and Patrick Willis are team captains: Players voted on it, Harbaugh said. It's tough to argue with those selections. Gore is the 49ers' best player on offense. Willis is their best player, period. The team elected only two captains. These two were the logical choices.

  • Defensive linemen have value: The 49ers kept seven on their initial 53-man roster, one more than they kept on their Week 1 rosters last season and in 2008. Scouts know big guys with the ability to move well are tough to find. Williams and Dobbs come to mind.

Those were the key subjects Harbaugh touched upon. The Seattle Seahawks are planning to announce their cuts at 9 p.m. ET. Back in a bit.