San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has not yet named a starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, but he said on Monday that he "probably" would name his starter on Wednesday.
Harbaugh also has some injuries to consider - specifically to wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee) and running back Kendall Hunter (ankle) - but the focus remains on the quarterback situation.
Last week, Harbaugh never announced whether Colin Kaepernick or Alex Smith would start Sunday's game against New Orleans, and apparently did not tell Kaepernick he would the starter until the night before the game.
That may change this week.
"The other situation that I think will probably be different than last week is we'll say who that quarterback is probably Wednesday," he said. "And the biggest reason is so our players aren't all pressured to, 'Who is it?' Everyone hammering them for the information. So, I think in my mind that's the direction we'll go."
Harbaugh said he believes Smith is completely healthy now, and he explained his thought process for choosing a starter, suggesting that it is based, to some degree, on the given opponent.
At the moment, Harbaugh is calling the quarterback position a "shared" spot.
"I think [the decision] starts with this week, this game," he said. "What gives our team the best chance to win this game, like it would at any position. Further, fair question to ask what goes into it. And my answer is this - Alex Smith is our starting quarterback. He has not done anything to lose that job. 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. So, in a unique situation you have two quarterbacks that are playing at a very high level. One's your captain. One's your starting quarterback. The other has played great football the last three football games. Both have a hot hand. So, it's unique and it's not unique to football. It's not even unique to our team. It's not unique that it's shared. This season the quarterback position has been shared. And at the end of the season you'll look back on it and say that was shared. So, I think the thing that's best for us, we've got two good guys."
Harbaugh gave Kaepernick a grade of A++ in his first start against the Bears, and seemed pleased with Kaepernick's effort against New Orleans as well.
"Winning effort in a very, very tough environment," Harbaugh said of Kaepernick's play. "And I thought he made some outstanding plays, as did so many guys on our team."
Harbaugh was a quarterback in the NFL and he understands the difficult situation Smith and Kaepernick are in when dealing with the media.
"You'll go to Colin, you'll go to Alex, 'Should you be the starter,' and he's got no good answer for you. He says, 'Yes I should be the starter,' . . Then you look like you're just building yourself up. And if you say no, then they hammer you. Sends the completely wrong message to me, for any young athlete that's out there or high school athlete or quarterback, where their coach is trying to tell them it's about the team and it's about us all working together. So, that one gets me upset. That's not what our two guys are about. They're great team guys."
Injuries are also an issue.
The status of Hunter is still unclear, but if he misses Sunday's game, Brandon Jacobs' role would probably increase behind starter Frank Gore.
Jacobs was activated for Sunday's game against the Saints and had two carries, but one was called back to due a holding penalty. It was his first appearance in a game this season.
"You saw (Jacobs) in the game," Harbaugh said. "He had two carries, one where he really worked his way for a three- or four-yard first down and we had a penalty on that play as well. Yeah, he's been doing some good things and showing some good things."
Hunter's injury could mean rookie LaMichael James might will be active at St. Louis.
Williams apparently is out for the season with torn ACL in his left knee, although Harbaugh did not acknowledge that status.
"Well, we'll see,"' he said. "We haven't gotten the final report. And we'd wait until we get that before we brief Kyle and some of the others. It was a hard-hitting game. It took a toll."
Williams' injury forces the 49ers to shuffle personnel at multiple spots.
Williams splits return and wide receiver assignments with Ted Ginn, averaging 27.2 yards on 13 kickoff returns and 13 yards on four punt returns. He caught 14 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown working mostly in multiple-receiver packages.