SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Following the 49ers’ victory over the Saints in New Orleans with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, coach Jim Harbaugh declined to say who would start Sunday’s game at St. Louis. John Madden told the KCBS morning crew his pick is Kaepernick over former starter Alex Smith.

“The test for Kaepernick was a week ago, and he passed that test, and came back and passed the test Sunday in New Orleans,” Madden said. “I just think you have to go in that direction.”

Smith suffered a concussion in a tie game with the Rams two weeks ago, but was cleared to play Sunday. What about the argument that a starter who is injured should start again when he recovers?

“That’s just an old school of thought, and nothing else,” Madden said. “It’s your responsibility as a coach to put the best players on the field and put them in the best position you can to win the game, and that’s it.”

The former coach said Kaepernick has demonstrated that his success in college can continue in the NFL.

“A lot of (NFL scouts) missed on this guy, and I’m not sure why,” he said. “He was big. He was strong. He could throw the ball well. He had a heck of a spin on it. He could run it. He had speed, (and) he looked like a tough guy.”

Madden said with either Smith or Kaepernick on the bench, the 49ers have the best one-two quarterback combination in the NFL.

“They may be the only (team) in football that, if they were to have one of their quarterbacks go down, they could still play and win a championship.” (8:43)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 a.m. Mondays and Fridays during the NFL season.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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