San Francsico 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick rolls out to pass against… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)
Colin Kaepernick will start for the San Francisco 49ers against the New Orleans Saints over incumbent starter Alex Smith, Niners safety Donte Whitner said Friday in comments on "The Dan Patrick Show," according to NFL.com.
Although 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh hasn't officially named Kaepernick the starter for Sunday's game -- opting to keep the mystery alive -- Smith hasn’t taken snaps with the first team in practice or been cleared for contact.
Kaepernick came in for the injured Smith (concussion) against the St. Louis Rams in Week 10 -- a game that ended in a tie.
However, in his first career start under center, Kaepernick led the 49ers to a victory, 32-7, over the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears on "Monday Night Football."
The second-year pro went 16-of-23, passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions against a stingy Bears defense that has racked up an NFL-best 19 picks this season so far.
Kaepernick also ran for 10 yards on four attempts.
Smith has completed 152 passes for 1,731 yards and 13 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He's been a reliable component for the 49ers (7-2-1), who sit at the top of the NFC West.
In his absence, Kaepernick will be expected to maintain the team's winning ways. If he does, he might be able to hold on to the starting role.
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