Alex Smith is organizing a minicamp for 49er offensive players and yes Michael Crabtree is there. All this may lead to Smith being the 49ers starting QB in 2011. I still think Jim Harbaugh is and always has been smarter than that. Alex Smith is organizing a camp with 49er players for one reason and one reason only: the lockout. The 49ers are stuck with Alex Smith and Alex Smith is stuck with the 49ers. Think about it, who else right now could “lead” the 49ers offensive players in workouts? As great as they are there is no way this would work with Vernon Davis or Frank Gore leading the workouts. You must have a veteran QB and Harbaugh of all people knows that.
Planning for the worst and hoping for the best is solid advice in almost all walks of life including NFL football. Jim Harbaugh has a new offense to install, a rookie QB to teach, a young offensive line that needs practice together as badly as any unit in the league. The 49ers as much as any team in the NFL need this practice time. In a time of uncertainty having Smith in the fold not only allows for some spring practice but gives the 49ers a backup plan if they really do end up needing him to be the starting QB.
Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, and six offensive coordinators have lost their jobs backing Alex Smith. Jim Harbaugh a former pro bowl QB himself and proven QB guru in the collegiate ranks will not be just another head coach that gets burnt backing Smith. Harbaugh has been quoted saying many things praising Smith, enough that the league sent him some hate mail and ordered the 49ers to stop talking about the QB. .
Still when the lockout dust settles the 49ers will make a play for another veteran QB to challenge Smith who will have a clear leg up given his time with the players (and Harbaugh’s playbook). Look for Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselbeck, Donovan McNabb, Josh Johnson, or Marc Bulger in 49ers training camp competing with Smith for the starting job.