Jim Harbaugh watched how Colin Kaepernick handled himself when things didn't go right for the San Francisco 49ers, and that told the coach plenty more about his second-year quarterback with all of three NFL starts to his name.
Enough that Harbaugh is sticking with Kaepernick under center for now, anyway as his team gears up for Sunday's home game against the Miami Dolphins at Candlestick Park.
"Just a winning quarterback performance in tough circumstances," Harbaugh said Monday. "In the evaluation, I thought Colin played well, did a lot of really good things, made some good decisions. ... I thought some real positives to take away from his performance."
Yet former Utah Ute Alex Smith isn't out of this mix yet, either. Another sub-par performance by Kaepernick could have Harbaugh going back to the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick for the final December push toward the playoffs. The reigning NFL coach of the year is leaving every option open down the stretch.
A day after a 16-13 overtime loss at St. Louis, Harbaugh accepted the blame for the fourth-quarter pitch that was fumbled by Kaepernick and led to Janoris Jenkins' 2-yard fumble return for a touchdown and ensuing 2-point conversion that tied the game. Harbaugh didn't call the play, but relayed it through the headset to Kaepernick.
Around the league
Eagles • Coach Andy Reid says rookie Nick Foles will be Philadelphia's starting quarterback even when Michael Vick returns from a concussion. Also Monday, defensive line coach Jim Washburn was fired, the latest shake-up for a team that has lost eight straight games.
Raiders • Coach Dennis Allen will miss Oakland's game against Denver on Thursday as he visits his ailing father in Texas.
Jets • Coach Rex Ryan is undecided on his starting quarterback for New York's game at Jacksonville on Sunday. He benched Mark Sanchez in favor of third-stringer Greg McElroy in this week's win over Arizona. Tim Tebow was inactive with two broken ribs.