Niners running back Frank Gore, like many of his teammates, found himself in an awkward position when the quarterback switch occurred. The players believe in Smith -- he has earned that trust -- but Kaepernick's gifts are undeniable. It didn't take long for Gore to notice.
"When he first got here," Gore told The Dan Patrick Show, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "We always knew when he got here that he was taking up the offense pretty fine, so he loves to compete and he just loves the game."
Gore dismissed the notion that Smith's concussion, which launched Kaepernick, was a blessing in disguise for the 49ers.
"I won't say that, you know. I thought Alex did a great job also," Gore said. "It just went that way, and Kaepernick got an opportunity and took advantage of it."
It's hard to debate coach Jim Harbaugh's thinking now. Kaepernick gives the 49ers a multithreat weapon who makes all the throws and kills teams on the ground. The 49ers, under Harbaugh and coordinator Greg Roman, love to throw multiple looks at defenses, and the team's ability to deceive only has increased with Kaepernick in the lineup.
Smith will have another chance in this league, but it's hard to fault Harbaugh's thinking after how far this team has come.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.