Jim Harbaugh is always doing what he thinks is best for his football team.
In the case of starting quarterback
Kaepernick played in the first quarter of San Francisco’s 34-14 preseason win over the Minnesota Vikings. His counterpart, Christian Ponder, played into the third quarter.
When Harbaugh was asked about Kaepernick’s playing time in the third week of the preseason compared to someone like Peyton Manning (34 pass attempts in the first half alone), the 49ers coach didn’t feel as though the third preseason game was a league-wide template in terms of determining a quarterback’s playing time.
PHOTOS: 49ERS VS. VIKINGS
Harbaugh was asked about Kaepernick’s playing time compared to someone like Manning who saw a lot of action in Denver’s third preseason game.
“Just feel like it’s what is best for our team,” Harbaugh said. “They (Denver) probably feel like it’s what’s best for their team. We’ve pretty much always kind of done it that way… There’s no emphasis on any other game, the third game is no magic third game.”
Magic or not, Kaepernick displayed his special attributes in limited work against Minnesota.
In three drives, he finished the night 7-of-13 for 72 passing yards, with one touchdown and a 95.7 quarterback rating.
“I think when you get out there and you finally get in rhythm, that’s how you want to be playing,” Kaepernick said. “It wasn’t perfect to start. We started to create our rhythm; we started to get in a groove.”
Kaepernick’s groove-like outing came in the form of an 11-play, 84-yard scoring drive where he completed his first preseason touchdown, a 5-yard pass to rookie wide receiver
“He’s someone that’s easy to have chemistry with, he knows where windows are in defenses, he knows how to get open,” Kaepernick said of Patton, the emerging rookie, who led the 49ers with four catches for 35 yards in his first preseason action.
Harbaugh, too, noted that San Francisco’s third offensive possession was the turning point in the game.
Despite having the ball at Minnesota’s 11-yard line after to a Ponder fumble, the 49ers went three-and-out and settled for a 30-yard field goal. On the next series, Kaepernick was hit on his right throwing arm on a third-down pass. The 49ers were forced to punt.
The offense, however, turned things around on the third possession. Kaepernick engineered an impressive series, one that saw him complete six consecutive passes, ending with the 5-yard touchdown strike to Patton.
“There were a lot of things that were clicking,” Harbaugh said of Kaepernick’s best drive of the preseason.
“He had the opportunity to make plays on that third drive,” the 49ers coach continued. “When he was able to have a good chance at making the play he did.”
Harbaugh said Kaepernick would likely get the chance to continue his rhythm in the team’s fourth preseason game, a road matchup in San Diego.
“Yeah, don’t hold me to that,” Harbaugh said before pausing slightly to raise his voice. “Subject to change! How about that? He will play next week; it will all be subject to change.”
As for Kaepernick, when asked if he was comfortable playing in the preseason finale, the 49ers signal-caller gave the reporter a blank stare and answered:
“I’m good for playing every week.”