Alex Smith Is Unable to Get Medical Clearance and More NFC West News

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterNovember 19, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 11:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers leads teammates out onto the field before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

According to Chris Mortensen on Twitter, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was unable to get clearance from an independent neurologist after suffering a concussion last week. This means last year's second-round pick, Colin Kaepernick, will make his first career NFL start tonight on Monday Night Football

Quite the stage for the 25-year-old from the University of Nevada, Reno. Kaepernick replaced Smith during the first half of last week's game and performed quite well. Pro Football Focus had him completing 60 percent of his passes on 13 drop-backs when he had a clean pocket. 

However, his play wasn't as precise when the Rams blitzed the house. His completion percentage dropped by 10 percent and his quarterback rating dropped five points as well. By game's end, he finished last Sunday's relief effort 11-of-17 for 117 yards and one rushing touchdown.

Chicago's defense will prove to be a much tougher challenge than St. Louis', so it will be important Kaepernick shows progress in terms of decision making and ball security as the Bears are one of the best teams in the NFL at taking the ball away. They currently lead the league with 30 takeaways through nine games. 

Tonight's game will provide us with a glimpse into the future. At some point, Kaepernick will be plugged in as the long term starter—will tonight help him state his case, or will it prolong the process?


Arizona Cardinals

Mike Sando of takes a look at the Cardinals quarterback story a day after Arizona lost its sixth consecutive game of the season.

Andrew Nordmeier of Bleacher Report breaks down the winners and losers from Arizona's Week 11 contest.


San Francisco 49ers

Daniel Brown of the says kicker David Akers is still looking for his 2011 magic touch.

Rafeal Cadet of Bleacher Report reports on Joe Montana's thoughts of quarterback Alex Smith.


Seattle Seahawks

Tim Booth of the Associated Press gives us an in-depth look at rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

Alex Field of Bleacher Report examines the areas where Russell Wilson needs to improve moving forward.


St. Louis Rams

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch criticizes quarterback Sam Bradford and says he took a big step back yesterday. 

Dan Gruchala of Bleacher Report tells us why offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer cost St. Louis the game. 


Follow @TysonNFL on Twitter