Donte Whitner says Colin Kaepernick will start for the 49ers

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Even with the return of Alex Smith from a concussion, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is still going to start Colin Kaepernick for the second straight game.

According to a tweet from Pro Football Talk, 49ers safety Donte Whitner has confirmed that Jim Harbaugh will start quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints instead of Alex Smith.

Smith is returning from a concussion suffered in his last start two weeks ago. In his last full start, Smith completed 18-of-19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Arizona. Kaepernick then started the following game and went 16-for-23 for 243 yards and two touchdowns in a rout of the Chicago Bears on Monday night.

According to Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter, the decision to start Kaepernick over Smith isn't based on health, though it does seem like the quarterback controversy is being self-imposed by Harbaugh due to Smith not doing anything worthy of a benching.

Not too many quarterbacks with 1,731 yards, 13 touchdowns with only five interceptions, a 104.1 passer rating and a 70-percent completion rate are getting benched nowadays.

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