The NFL lockout may or may not end tomorrow depending on the decision of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Until then NFL players and more importantly 49er players have conducted workouts with teammates to circumvent the lockout. Unsigned free agent Alex Smith is taking actions as if he is a signed 49er which is good for him and his teammates. Smith realizes what everyone else does, he will be back next season, if there is a season, and most likely be the starting quarterback for the 49ers. Tim Kawakami’s Talking Points blog reported that Smith is planning an upcoming minicamp.
“I’ve got a playbook. I’ve had it for a while,” Smith said in a transcript on Kawakami’s blog. “I’ve worked extremely hard getting into it, immersing myself into it. And I really think that’s, as far as the quarterback, the most important thing. And now I really feel I have a decent grasp of it. Enough to really be helpful to these guys. We’re going to get everybody together and I’m really, as much as I’ve learned about it, going to give it to them.”
Smith conducting a minicamp is a sign he has a grasp of the offense however he does not have enough knowledge to have the offense lining up against a defense. Smith has talked to everyone on the offense about the workouts but we will see if all will show up. Most importantly Frank Gore said he will attend the workouts which will be his first workout with teammates since injuring his hip.
The two biggest things in my mind that has doomed Smith for most of his six-year failed career are confidence and leadership. Smith has shown he does not have the confidence of a franchise quarterback which in part is because of the two Mike’s, Nolan and Singletary, and the carousel of coordinators he has endured. If Smith does not have the confidence he certainly will not show leadership. If there is a positive with the NFL lockout for the 49ers it would be that Smith has gained confidence in his ability to be a starting quarterback which in turn has given him leadership qualities. Smith is acting like he is a 49er and the starting quarterback. I think a lot has to do with Jim Harbaugh and Smith talking to each other even though now Harbaugh is forbidden from mentioning the quarterback. Confidence and leadership is great in player conducted minicamps but the 49er Faithful only care if the confidence and leadership shows up when it matters in the regular season.