Alex Smith faces crucial stretch run


Alex Smith overcame plenty to get back into the starting lineup for the 49ers.  Now comes the hard part: proving to the organization that he’s the answer for 2010 and beyond.

Matt Maiocco of Santa Rosa Press Democrat believes Smith is well on his way.  “I think Smith will be the 49ers’ undisputed starter heading into 2010 unless he really disappoints in these final five games,” Maiocco writes.

It’s a topic that everyone has an opinion on in the Bay Area.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks Smith has to keep winning, which should be possible with a soft schedule.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee believes Smith needs more leadership skills, and Smith has been “painfully slow” to take over the last few games.

Smith’s performance has been mixed in his five starts this season, but the numbers aren’t bad.  (6.5 yards per attempt, 11 TDs, 7 INTs.)  He looks more comfortable out of the shotgun than behind center, and numbers back it up

Smith can play cautiously, but the 49ers staff showed confidence in him by calling 29 first half passes against Jacksonville.  That’s a far cry from Mike Singletary’s preferred ground-and-pound approach.

We’re quick to make judgments on quarterbacks, especially top picks.  Smith’s story is yet to be told.  It feels like Smith has been around forever, but he’s only 25 years old — the same age as Brady Quinn.

The 49ers probably won’t make the playoffs, but they have more to feel positive about on offense than any time since Steve Mariucci left. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree have emerged as franchise cornerstones.

Smith’s positive moments this year don’t prove yet he’s ready to join them, but he’s earned every opportunity to do so.

22 responses to “Alex Smith faces crucial stretch run

  1. If he was the guy – then is would be easy to see. All he has proved so far is that he is a viable backup.

  2. Hey. I’m not from an English-speaking country, but you wrote “Alex Smith overcome plenty ” when I think it should be overcame plenty. Just sayin’…

  3. Somebody needs to send this JAG to Vegas!
    “He looks more comfortable out of the shotgun than behind center, and numbers back it up. ”
    Maybe because he played almost exclusively out of the shotgun in college. He can’t read the D otherwise. Even out of the shotgun he does not excel at reading defenses. It’s like having Michael Vick but without the legs or arm.

  4. He’s a young guy and has had a different offensive coordinator every year he’s been in the league. He’s also had a shoddy line every year he’s played (look at the number of sacks).
    That said, I don’t think he’ll make it. If he does, it’ll be a pleasant surprise. If not, we have 2 first round picks we could parlay into a franchise QB.

  5. I’d like to point out that in 2009 offenses have passed out of the shotgun 56% of the time. It’s not just Smith that needs it.

  6. He has improved marginally this year… but I still don’t see him as a franchise qb. Hoping management feels the same way and goes after one for next year

  7. Sunday’s performance tells us virtually nothing about Smith. The Jaguars’ pass defense was a bottom-5 unit going into the game, and Rashean Mathis didn’t play. They had a rookie and some guy named Tyron Brackenridge (who is “just a guy”) at corner. Their undrafted 2nd-year kick returner I think played the nickel position. THESE GUYS MAKE EVERY QB LOOK LIKE A PROBOWLER!

  8. Smith maybe the starter come 2010 at least the start of the season, but might not be by midseason. Recall that along with their own number 1 pick the 49ers own the Panthers first rounder next year, which looks to be in the top 10. That will put them in a good position to pick a top QB in next years draft, even move up to the top in a deal and land the best of the crop.

  9. If only Smith could have the same offensive coordinator and same playbook for 2 consecutive years he might be able to get some work done in the offseason besides learning a new playbook.

  10. Please for the love of god no. I’m not sure i could deal with him and his 4th quarter habits of panicking and throwing away the game. Although to be fair, when he threw for 6 yards in the first half against gb, he lost that game in the first half. Almost always great in the 3rd quarter, beginning of the 4th quarter though. Maybe we could only play him then. The one good thing that has come out of him playing has been jimmy raye actually deciding to open up the offense a little. If only shaun hill had been given the opportunity of the spread. And smith is in his 5th year, and has played in what 40-45 games, who would that be making a quick judgement on him?

  11. This guy has been one of the most unjustly criticized qbs i’ve ever seen. First, not only the number of off.coordinators…and apart from Turner, they were brutal….Second, his first 2 years the surrounding cast was also brutal. Then, Nolan was NOT the guy a rookie Qb would flourish under. Like the man said, the ki’ds only 25…the media down there is way more negative than positive, and even today, with Sing…i only hope Alex gets a real chance to do what he does best. Injuries haven’t helped either. Sounds like excuses maybe, but all are facts.

  12. jumping the gun a little quickly on alex smith, the niners need to improve their offenive line, more depth behind frank gore and another quality WR opposite crabtree and vernon davis, nolan screwed up smith and should have been fired a year earlier, it’s something to remember if anyone ever brings nolans name up again, as a hot candidate to be a head coach.

  13. @this class sucks. He’s not great, but at least he isn’t poison in the 4th quarter, and never scored 24 points for the other team like alex did against tennessee. Btw, shaun hill career qb rating 87.3, alex smith 67.7. Alex Smith arm is much better, but his head is awful. Just because a guy got an economics degree in two years doesnt mean he has football smarts.

  14. btw, here’s a stat i just saw. In the 4th quarter, close games, eg. + or – 7 points, his qb rating is 20.7 . 20.7 freaking 7. Jesus, that has to be a record for least clutch qb of all time.

  15. Blockbuster trade of the offseason – Bears trade Niners: Cutler and Urlacher for Willis and Smith.

  16. no thanks smack…Urlacher is the most overrated LB in the league….although Cutler did look pretty good completing all those passes to the 9ers a couple weeks ago

  17. i really dont care what none of ya’ll say… I’ve been on the Alex Smith bandwagon since he first came in and got fed to the dogs by Nolan… I’m tired of hearing all the neg talks about him. He sucks, he’s a bust, if it was Aaron Rogers… f*ck all that sh!t… He needs to be given a chance… ‘but he already had plenty!’ no… he has been injuried for the past 2 yrs… so basically he’s only in his 3rd yr (in my eyes)… he is going to be a great player and will be the #1 QB for the 49ers… I mean look what happened to Steve Young when he was with the falcons, he sucked, got behind Montana and did WORK… Alex just needed to calm down, relax and think about his future and he did that, and opted to take a PAYCUT & stay with the 9ers… that is straight dedication right there, he doesn’t want to be on any other team, and I personally dont want to see him on any other team… he is MY QB of the future for the 9ers whether or not what anyone things… ya’ll just need to give Smith the chance to actually prove himself, and to be honest I think he has done that thus far this season, half the picks he’s thrown have been tipped or came out of the hands of wide recievers… well basically Crabtree… just give the guy a chance, and let him show you what he is capable of doing, seriously.

  18. @Kevin
    Those career stats are nice but lets be real here. This season alone (5.5 games) Smith has thrown for 5 TDs in the 4h quarter (Shuan Hill has 5 all year) and his QB rating goes up 32.5 from the 1st quarter to the 4th quarter. He also has 0 turnovers past his opponents 40 yard line. Smith’s QB rating when we are losing is 89.4 Hill’s is 79.1.
    Shuan Hill sucks. His stats are also deceiving because he doesn’t have a lot of true “turnovers” but he takes the stupidest sacks: More sack yardage lost (107) and more on 3rd down (10). Alex Smith has had 75 yards lost on sacks and only 4 on third down. And thats throwing more and playing without Joe Staley. When Shuan Hill takes a sack it might as well be a turnover because he can’t pick up long yardage due to a lack of physical abilities. He just doesn’t have the talent to make it as an NFL QB and Alex Smith does. He is gaining confidence and hopefully will keep improving but if he’s not the answer neither is Hill.
    Shuan Hill is not better than Alex Smith and even though he gets credit as being clutch the stats don’t back it up.

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