Here is the opening to my Friday column about Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith, and it’s based on Thursday night’s game:


Colin Kaerpernick is a more gifted quarterback than Alex Smith. Not a better quarterback. More gifted.

Eventually, Kaepernick also will be a better quarterback than Smith — it could happen this season.

On Thursday night in the fourth exhibition game — the one that means almost nothing — Kaepernick once again demonstrated his gifts. Call them prodigious.

To read the full column, please click here.

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  1. Hank

    And the real Lowell Cohn emerges from his Dark Age. Call it “The Awakening.”

    The professional journalist who cheers for no man, for no team, because to do so would invalidate him in his work, and he had far too much integrity to be an invalid. No, Lowell is a journalist, and a professional.

    But he is also a man, a man who once loved another man, in a mannish way. The man he loved was known to many as the Silver Fox, and the Silver Fox was as smooth as his name promises. The Silver Fox earned Lowell’s man-love, but he was not alone, for in his perennially chilled company he had the perfect cooler, a guy whose name was Cool, Joe Cool. The Silver Fox and Joe Cool, how could Lowell Cohn not cheer for them. We had to. Their chemistry made magic, and their magic changed everything.

    Tonight, emerging from his longest Dark Age, Lowell Cohn experienced his awakening, The Awakening. Will Lowell allow himself to once again be charmed as he was by the magicians of the 1980s? There is certainly the option for him. What do we call the hard case angry man who could assume the Silver Fox’s mantle? How do we refer to his bazooka-armed protégé?

    Hopefully Lowell allows himself to succumb, even to these two improbable heroes, and if and when that happens, perhaps Lowell will provide us with their names.

    August 31st, 2012 12:38 am

  2. Eric Janssen

    Kaepernick. My spell-check keeps lighting up his name. Couldn’t agree more Mr. Cohnzone. Looks like he’s living up to all the hype of the past couple years. I think they’re teasing us, slowly building this guy, – when do we get him? But back to his name- I’d vote for just Nick. Or, for a little more: Nick the Knife. Just saying…

    August 31st, 2012 6:07 am

  3. Streetglide

    Wow! Can’t top that for an opening salvo. I will say this: it is only a matter of time before there is a switch at QB. Colin was a tremendous player in college. He will be even better in the pro game.. He will most definitely be the starter next year – from day one.

    August 31st, 2012 7:04 am

  4. Dennis

    I continue to be surprised by how much you read into preseason games. Kaepernick was great. So was Josh Johnson. It’s preseason. They both found their acorns, interestingly, against the same defense. It means they had good nights and we might be able to relax a little bit if Smith is slow getting up from a hit when the games count.
    Kaepernick has a better arm and faster feet then Joe Montana did in his prime, no question. But that doesn’t make him the second coming of Joe Montana. In my book, he hasn’t done anything to suggest that he is close to Smith. Now if Smith goes down for a few games and Kaepernick comes in and has similar success under real game circumstances, I might start to come around to your way of thinking. But until then, as you like to say, please.

    August 31st, 2012 7:30 am

  5. Tommy CostaRica

    I’ve got this feeling about Harbaugh, he’s going to dump Smith so fast it will make your head spin. I see Smith on the bench by the third game of the season.

    August 31st, 2012 7:48 am

  6. MJ

    Its…wait for it, wait for it….preseason. Performances here are no way indicative of how a player will play in the regular season. If so than Anthony Dixon wouldn’t have been fighting for a roster spot this season, the niners wouldnt have drafted Hunter and James in back to back seasons, Nate Davis would be the starting qb and Brett Swain would be lining up next to Crabtree. Did Kap look good, yeah he did, but so did Tolzien last season in the 4th game.

    And an absolute no to switching qbs. Never with a team thats on the verge of making the sb. Never ever. If you have 2 qbs, you have none. That worked for Walsh because, get this, the Niners were a bad team. They were working toward average, and eventually toward greatness, but they were not a playoff, super bowl contenting team.

    And why can’t Smith take the Niners to the SB? He had them there last year. Everyone acts like the loss to the Giants was a blow out. They lost by 3…in overtime, and DEEP in overtime. Its not as if Eli and the Giants offense were having great success, they benefited from two huge turnovers and one non-turnover (bradshaw fumble). They won by 3 points. Smith threw for 5 TD’s, ran for 1, had 0 interceptions and had a rating well over 100 in the playoffs. What more does he have to do? return punts? play cb? I mean seriously.

    August 31st, 2012 7:59 am

  7. chris

    nice short story by Hank………but to compare Bill Walsh to Kapperneck in 49er lore………uh……….no.

    August 31st, 2012 8:21 am

  8. Dr. Feelgood

    Last evening the unthinkable occurred- I exited the stadium with time left on the clock. But allowing how the 49ers so overwhelmed SD, the fun and excitement had long since been sucked out the experience.
    Surely today’s buzz will center around CK, and rightly so. He put together a fabulous performance, displayed his god-given gifts, and even pulled of a Montana-esque TD play. Fans will clamor for him to start. Here’s why he won’t: Because the ball was dropped, he was not charged with an INT, but he put the ball right into the hands of a defender. Alex does not make that mistake. He doesn’t have Colin’s skill set but he, at this point in time, is the better quarterback, which entails so much more than throwing a ball.
    The coaches have done great work with CK, and when they’re done, watch out, but they’re not done yet.

    August 31st, 2012 8:43 am

  9. lameduck

    I still think that Cavanaugh kid was more gifted than Montana, too. My grandfather used to say that all the time…it was one of those annoying statements every Sunday…

    I’m glad the preseason is over for the 49ers. I enjoy baseball’s spring training but the NFL preseason always seems like a waste of time.

    August 31st, 2012 8:52 am

  10. Larry Rowe

    For the first time I can say I was amazed at a game. The 49ers did everything at will. I see now Scott is going to be let go. Josh and the Kap were down right impressive. But Alex ran a great series, he never looked like a dear in headlights..

    I can not wait for the opener.

    August 31st, 2012 8:54 am

  11. Mark M

    Colin has a woefully slow delivery. And he has that tall man’s big step that also gives defenders time to react. He needs to quicken things up before I can have any regular season faith in him. Obviously, he’s a great athlete, but I’m still not convinced he’ll ever be THE guy here. You seem to disagree which is fine and I hope you are right.

    As much as I’m sick to death of Alex’s presence on our team, it’s clear he needs to remain the starter for now. I’m certainly open to some sort of specialty package to get Kaep’s legs into the game plan. But as a passer, I feel he remains far away from NFL caliber.

    August 31st, 2012 9:44 am

  12. Alex

    I agree; Kaepernick showed a great deal in this game.

    At the end of the day, it’s not about “can he play the system,” it’s “can he play football?”

    Alex Smith just doesn’t seem to GET IT. Kaepernick does. He doesn’t panic in the pocket like Smith does. When he takes off to run/move, he keeps his eyes downfield. It’s all about making plays, and Kaepernick understands this.

    Playing quarterback isn’t about bringing a checklist with you into the huddle on how to play the position, at some point it comes down to instinct, guts – intangibles. If everything about the position could be documented and measured physically, then every strong-armed QB would be elite.

    Lowell, this is probably the best article i’ve ever seen you write. Cheers.

    August 31st, 2012 9:47 am

  13. Giantsfan

    Why all the anti-Smith sentiment all of the sudden? Kap is definitely more physically gifted, short of Cam Newton is anyone in the NFL as gifted? No, but neither was Joe, but he has 4 rings. Can’t wait for Smith to get his, hopefully then he gets some love. I swear you wrote something after Smith beat Brees (twice) about how you won’t disparage him anymore…did I dream that? He can’t make throws like Kap, but he can make all the throws. Just watch.

    August 31st, 2012 10:20 am

  14. Tiburon Dave

    Mike McCarthy and Vic Fangio have had a good long time to get ready for each other…

    That Green Bay game sets the tone for the first third of the season for both clubs…

    This 2012 group goes as far as their defense takes them…

    CK has a cannon…so did Jim Drukenmiller…

    August 31st, 2012 12:04 pm

  15. Brandon Conway

    “Why all the anti-Smith sentiment all of the sudden?”

    All of a sudden? Lowell hasn’t liked Smith for at least five years now.

    August 31st, 2012 12:08 pm

  16. Streetglide

    Sour grapes on Colin by some of you dudes. If you cannot see the difference between him and the others mentioned, I cannot help you.
    Being a sourpuss doesn’t make an expert; Kaepernick not only has the tools, he has the intelligence, the street kind, school kind and most importantly the football kind. He’ll struggle some the first four or five games he plays for real but after that, watch out…

    August 31st, 2012 2:28 pm

  17. Streetglide

    Oh yeah, Mark M, you are so wrong on the “woefully” part…

    August 31st, 2012 2:29 pm

  18. JM

    Dear Mr. Cohn,
    Please stop hating on Alex Smith.
    He has only experienced such well rounded support and leadership as he has now for but one season.
    And look what he was able to accomplish with this access.
    The team seems to still believe in him and just as importantly, Harbaugh believes in him.

    September 1st, 2012 11:40 am

  19. CohnZohn

    JM, I do not hate Alex Smith. I personally like Alex Smith. I am not convinced he is an adequate quarterback for the 49ers. That has nothing to do with hating. I hope you see the difference.

    September 1st, 2012 10:34 pm

  20. Johnc

    Lowel, great to read your entertaining column from Columbia, MO where I will be the next couple of weeks. I am a big fan of Kaepernick
    I took in the Cardinal/Met game yesterday at Busch Stadium. I was impressed by Met pitcher Dickey and even more impressed by his biography which I checked later on the Internet. He is a very interesting man…he ventured to say that he would be an English Professor if he was not playing professional ball.

    September 6th, 2012 12:46 am

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