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Jim Harbaugh to make 49ers' QB decision by midweek

A day will come when Jim Harbaugh will throw us -- members of organized society -- a bone regarding the San Francisco 49ers quarterback situation.

The coach said Monday he will formally name a starter for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams by the middle of this week in an effort to end the barrage of questions facing Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick.

Want to take a guess which way he's leaning? Have at this Rubik's cube of a quote:

"Alex Smith is our starting quarterback. He has not done anything to lose that job," Harbaugh said. "In fact, he's playing at a very high level. Also, Colin Kaepernick, you can't categorize him as a backup quarterback, because he's started games and played very well in those games."

You got that? Alex Smith is the starter, but Colin Kaepernick is not a backup. Any more questions?

Harbaugh created this monster beginning with his cryptic "hot hand" comments last Monday night. Kaepernick started and played well again in Sunday's 31-21 win over the New Orleans Saints, adding more momentum to the idea that Smith has lost his job.

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"The guys will be hammered," Harbaugh said. "You go to Colin, you go to Alex, 'Should you be the starter?' He's got no good answer for you. He says, 'Yes, I should be the starter' -- we're talking either one -- and you look like you're just building up yourself. If you say no, then they hammer you because you don't think you should be the starter.

"Then the people, so-called subject matter experts, who talk about, 'You should be making a fuss about it or a stink about it, you shouldn't be that accommodating,' it sends a completely wrong message, to me, for young athletes out there, or high school quarterbacks, where their coach is trying to tell them it's about the team and all of us working together. So that one gets me upset. That's not what our two guys are about."

Then name your quarterback, coach.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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