San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith is not surprised by the impact Colin Kaepernick has made at the club.
Smith was first in line for the 49ers during the first nine games of the season, but disaster struck for the 28-year-old when he was concussed against the St Louis Rams in November.
That led to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh replacing Smith in the starting line-up with Kaepernick and the former University of Nevada quarterback has not looked back in making a stunning start to his NFL career.
Kaepernick threw for 1,814 yards and 10 touchdowns in the final seven games of the regular season and has upped his game even further during the playoffs to lead the 49ers into a Super Bowl match-up with the Baltimore Ravens next month.
Smith said he saw signs of how good Kaepernick could be during the pre-season, but it has been the 25-year-old’s consistency that has surprised him.
“It’s the nature of sports. He got an opportunity, stepped up and made the most of it,” Smith told the San Jose Mercury News.
“That’s the deal. That is how I get my start in college. It was no different. The guy in front of me got hurt and I got my first start.
“No question, you see the playmaking ability on the practice field. You saw it in pre-season. The thing I’m shocked by is the consistency.”
Smith admitted to having mixed feelings as he readies himself for a Super Bowl he is unlikely to feature in, but said he will still be cheering his side on.
“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a little bittersweet,” Smith said.
“Yes, I want to be out there. It’s what you work for coming into the season. That was the mindset, the goal for me.
“You go through so much together, especially these guys who have been here a chunk of time.
“If you can’t be happy there is something wrong with you.”