Urban Meyer coached 49ers quarterback Alex Smith at Utah and Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow at Florida, and after watching them have their ups and downs in the NFL, Meyer has come to one conclusion: When Smith and Tebow have been criticized, the criticism really ought to go to their teams.
“I follow the NFL a lot with Alex, Tim and other players,” Meyer told the Sacramento Bee. “It’s amazing to me in the NFL that if you’re on a really bad team – bad offense, bad defense, bad kicking game – then it’s the quarterback’s fault. Alex was like my son. I was real close to Alex. I watched coordinator after coordinator come out of there. The defense was ranked near the bottom every year. It’s a really bad team. And all of a sudden, it’s, ‘Well, Alex can’t play.’ And I’m thinking, ‘What are you talking about? Alex certainly can play.’ It’s the same thing with Tim. So quarterbacks, they get far too much credit and far too much blame.”
Smith has had seven different offensive coordinators in seven seasons, and Tebow is now on his second offense in his second season. Meyer said he thinks quarterbacks need stability, although he said Smith is having his best season this year in large part because 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh knows what Smith needs to succeed.
“From what I understand, he’s very comfortable with the system,” Meyer said.
As for Tebow, he’s in a system with a coach who inherited him from the previous regime and was very reluctant to make him the starter. That’s not a great recipe for a quarterback to succeed. But if the Broncos don’t succeed, Meyer doesn’t think Tebow deserves the blame.