I first started the San Francisco 49ers in 2007. At the time I was just a blogger and gaining access to anything the 49ers did was definitely not on my radar. However, it was exciting for me to cover the team I grew up watching and hoping that the Niners could get back to respectability.
I had a lot of hope in Alex Smith. He as entering his third season with the team and he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders as the top overall pick in 2005. This is where I started focusing a lot of my writing on him and the team. It was some ups and downs in those two years until I finally got credentialed.
Gaining credential access to the 49ers was a big deal for me. The Niners at the time never gave access to online media journalists — the concept was too new and bloggers like myself were an unpredictable unknown. I was just grateful that I worked hard enough and published enough quality content that the team decided that I was worth considering. I was only able to cover a few practices here and there but that was enough for me. That was when I got to interview and meet Alex Smith.
Alex Smith follows the likes of Elvis Grbac, Steve Bono, Steve DeBerg and Joe Montana as former 49ers quarterbacks to end up in Kansas City.
The word is out now. Alex Smith will be on his way to the Kansas City Chiefs. The 49ers have a deal in place to send the eight-year veteran to the Chiefs for draft picks. The report right now is that it’s likely to be a second-round pick this year and a conditional one next year.
Is that a good deal?
The Chiefs traded a second round pick several years ago to acquire Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel. Without a good consistent quarterback for so long, a second round pick at the time seemed fair enough to the Chiefs. Now that Cassel has not worked, Andy Reid has decided that a second round pick is worth it for a quarterback that’s still young (28) and most recently was leading the league in completion percentage.
If the above report is true, then Alex Smith’s tenure with the 49ers is coming to an end on March 12. Even if the report isn’t true, there is very little chance Smith still remains as a 49ers quarterback going into the 2013 season.
With that said, I think it’s time for me to say farewell to Alex Smith. After eight seasons with the 49ers, it’s time for me to really say what needs to be said to the team’s face of the franchise for so many years.
So if this is goodbye, then let this be my goodbye.
Colin Kaepernick’s success came in part by Alex Smith’s willingness to mentor him.
Yes, I criticized Alex Smith for costing himself the starting job due to the concussion. But it was what happened afterward that made me appreciate his attitude towards the whole thing.
Instead of being bitter about not being the star quarterback of the team heading to the Super Bowl, Smith told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports that he’s happy for all that’s happened.
“I’m so happy, man,” Alex Smith said afterward as he dressed alone at his locker. “This is so surreal. It’s such a crazy time, such a crazy moment. Obviously, it’s been a unique year, and it would be great to be in there. But I couldn’t be happier. This is a great group of guys, and they’re all Super Bowl bound. I’m just so happy for all of them.”
As another week of football preparation approaches, we’re stuck again with another week of discussion about the 49ers quarterback situation. Should Alex Smith start again? Or should Colin Kaepernick remain as the starting quarterback? Much like last week, everyone has an opinion.
This will continue throughout the remainder of the season and if the 49ers make the playoffs (which I expect), it will continue.
And I am sure that fans are enjoying this back and forth debate on who should start. After all, it’s in the fan base’s nature. That Joe Montana-Steve Young battle turned into a real controversy that ended with Montana regaining his job, winning two more Super Bowls before injuries caught up to him. Then Young won MVPs and led the team to another Super Bowl.
This isn’t the end for Alex Smith in San Francisco. The 49ers still need him. Colin Kaepernick needs him.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh just announced that Colin Kaepernick will start for the third straight game for the 49ers. That means Alex Smith will once again sit on the sidelines and watch the second-year quarterback lead the team. Smith will have to watch his future with the 49ers slowly disappear.
Unlike a lot of people, I actually don’t think that Smith has played his last snap for the 49ers. The 49ers still need Smith’s presence as the backup. Kaepernick needs his veteran to help guide him. Don’t expect that this is the last time we see Smith under center for the 49ers this year. A part of me feels that this is similar to the 2001 Patriots team. Somewhere down the line, the original Week 1 starter will return late in the season to save the team. It could happen again for this 49ers team.
The team knows that they have two capable quarterbacks on the roster. Players have said that it’s good to have two players that the team trusts to lead the team. And ultimately, that’s a good problem to have. But it’s a problem that could have been avoided and Smith would have never lost his starting job. And Smith knows that he blew it.
After yesterday’s 49ers game, I sat at work pondering what direction this team is going. Despite being 8-2-1, the team may look great with the record but their quarterback situation still has me confused.
Granted, winning solves everything and I am pretty sure coach Jim Harbaugh has that all figured out in his head what to do with it, but is the answer so obvious that we are trying to ignore it?
If you saw the game yesterday, you saw Alex Smith with his helmet on essentially throughout the entire game. Smith stood on the sidelines ready to enter. It was clear that he was physically ready to play. And logic suggests that if your starting quarterback is healthy, you play him. That was the case but Harbaugh decided to give backup Colin Kaepernick another start. Now does that mean Kaepernick is #1 on the depth chart?
This isn’t a generalization of 49ers fans, but I’ve seen enough of this to have an idea of what a portion of them are thinking.
In my three years as a 49ers beat writer, I got a chance to really see how 49ers think. I grew up a 49ers fan but not in the age of social media where everything can be easily expressed publicly. So for me in those three years, it became a learning experience.
I got a chance to see how these 49ers fans react to certain news and really get an idea of how being a fan has evolved over the years.
So when this “QB controversy” between Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick arose, it became quite apparent to me that there are just some diehards out there that need to buckle up their seat belts.
When asked after the 49ers’ 32-7 win whether Colin Kaepernick or Alex Smith would start the next game, head coach Jim Harbaugh was expected to give an answer that would prevent discussion of a quarterback controversy. Instead, Harbaugh likely was not sure how to answer the question. He came up with this response.
“We’ll see [who starts in the future],” said Harbaugh. “I usually tend to go with the guy who has the hot hand. We got two quarterbacks who have a hot hand.”
Thanks, coach. Now you’ve got all the media outlets wondering which quarterback will start the game next week in New Orleans.
But before anyone should start trying to figure out what will happen next Sunday, the 49ers have to at least know whether or not Smith would be cleared from his post-concussion symptoms. It is likely that if Smith has any setbacks during the week, the 49ers will name Kaepernick the starter for the second week in a row.
However, if Smith is healthy, there is no way that Smith loses his starting job to the second-year player Kaepernick. It wouldn’t be fair and make much sense.
Now that I am no longer a full-time reporter covering the 49ers, it’s nice to watch the team again as a fan and really just enjoy the game without worrying about stats and quotes. But after watching last night’s game, I couldn’t help but start thinking as if I was on the beat again.
One thing that stood out to me was that this game was exactly what the 49ers wanted to do the remainder of the season. The 49ers defense set the tone by shutting down the Cardinals. On offense, the running game opened up the 49ers quick strike passing attack. The three touchdowns Alex Smith threw put the game away early and the Cardinals had no chance of coming back.
The ironic thing is that this is what Mike Singletary envisioned for the team when he was the head coach. The defense was strong enough to hold Larry Fitzgeraled to an unimpressive five-catch performance. The offense for the 49ers was fueled by the running game and the quick passes would also be in the mix. With that, the 49ers took the early lead, then pretty much sat on the ball for the second half. The Cardinals had no chance of winning.