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Jim Harbaugh: Quarterback Situation, Coach's Health Both Under Control

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 and head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers talk during a break in play against St. Louis Rams in the first quarter on November 11, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  Smith left the game in the second quarter and the teams tied 24-24 in overtime.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Adam WaksmanCorrespondent IIINovember 16, 2012

There is plenty of noise surrounding the San Francisco 49ers this week as they prepare to host the 7-2 Chicago Bears in a heavyweight matchup Monday night.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh quietly underwent a minor procedure for an irregular heartbeat. Star linebacker Patrick Willis said (according to Gregg Rosenthal of Around The League):

It's one of those things that, like Coach Harbaugh always tells us, he's tougher than a two dollar steak. We know he's going to be all right. We know we have a bunch of great coaches here that keep everything on track, and we're going to practice today as if he was here.

Willis added (via Rob Gloster of Bloomberg.com), "We didn’t know he was having that done until just a second ago."

Harbaugh clearly does not want his players worrying about his health, and that is probably for the best. On that same token, he would not want them worrying pointlessly about their quarterback situation.

For the umpteenth time, quarterback Alex Smith's starting job has been brought into question by the media. Harbaugh has staunchly supported Smith since he came to San Francisco, and he has been right to do so. Calling criticisms of Smith out of date would be an understatement at this point.

Calling Smith only above average would be another understatement. With a whopping 70 percent completions and 104.1 quarterback rating, Smith is having the best season of his career.

With the recent concussion, Smith with have to pass medical tests before he can play. Thus, he could miss Monday's game against the Bears, which would be a temporary blow to the team. Nevertheless, there will not be even the tiniest hint of a quarterback controversy within that locker room.

No matter what backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick does on Monday—assuming he plays—it will not matter. It is analogous to Matt Flynn filling in for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for a game in 2011. Kaepernick can have the game of his life; Smith will still be the starter.

Fans can worry, the media can worry, but Harbaugh knows not to worry. Even if the 49ers lose on Monday night, they know they have Smith coming back soon enough, and they know they are far and away the best team in the NFC West.

So don't worry too much about Harbaugh or Smith, and don't worry about the 49ers this weekend.

 

Adam Waksman is a featured columnist for the Bleacher Report New York Jets community. Be sure to follow Adam on Twitter to receive updates right away.

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