Liking Harbaugh's approach to QB reps

Jim Harbaugh's decision to let San Francisco 49ers rookie Colin Kaepernick work with the starting offense in the third preseason game makes so much sense.

Making that type of move in a regular-season game would constitute jerking around the starter. That would make little sense in the absence of a performance-based reason.

In this case, Harbaugh wants to see how Kaepernick and other select backups perform against another team's starting unit. That is exactly what a lot of us would like to see for players at various positions throughout the division.

Harbaugh thinks the experience could better prepare those backups for regular-season action if called upon down the line. At quarterback, Alex Smith will start and play perhaps two series. Kaepernick could then come into the game for a stretch before yielding to Smith. Coaches always reserve the right to adjust their approach should circumstances dictate, but I see no real downside for the 49ers.

Smith appears clearly established as the No. 1 quarterback at this point. Giving some first-team reps to Kaepernick should not significantly undercut Smith's short-term job security. Harbaugh, as a longtime NFL quarterback, understands the dynamics of the position.

This seems like a logical move and an example of a coach willing to defy convention when it makes sense to him. And if Kaepernick looks great, we'll have lots to talk about on the blog. I'm all for that, too.