This is the year that will define the career of QB Alex Smith. The San Francisco 49ers had a fantastic season in 2011, largely due to the play of the defense and special team, but credit had to be paid to Alex as well. Alex had a career year throwing for 17 touchdowns, rushing for an additional 2 touchdowns, and passing for 3,144. Alex’s confidence grew as the season progressed and had many great clutch performances, none more fabulous than his performance in the divisional playoffs against the New Orleans Saints. We as Niner fans all remember what happened, Alex lead his team to two fourth quarter drives to win the game. I remember watching the game at my local sports bar and Niner haters during the game were screaming, “Alex is a bum, and he’s a high school quarterback!” When Alex had his remarkable drives, I could not help but to scream back, “Not bad for a high school quarterback!” Alex finally had his breakout season last year, now it is time to take it to the next level.
A distraction that has been circling the Niner organization is the Peyton Manning situation. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has been telling the media that the Niners were never pursuing Manning, they were just evaluating. It is easy to call BS on that statement. Why was it that Alex Smith was not signed until Manning worked out a deal with the Denver Broncos? Harbaugh is doing all he can to ensure that Alex believes that he has his full support. Hopefully Alex’s head is in the right place and has put the Manning situation in the rear view mirror. I do not believe this will be a problem when the regular season begins.
With the Manning thing not be that big of a deal (at least should not be), Alex has to have his best season in 2012. His coach has trust in him and has now surrounded him a great deal of offensive weapons. The defense and special teams will continue to give him short fields to work with; there is very little excuse not to be a potent offense. At the least Alex, along with the rest of the offense, need to be more efficient in the red zone. With additions like wide receivers Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, and rookie A.J. Jenkins; expect Alex’s numbers in or out of the red zone to improve.
The foundation of the Niners offense will continue to be the running game. With an aging Frank Gore, the Niners made sure to have great depth at the running back position. Kendall Hunter emerged lasts season as a rookie and the Niners added Brandon Jacobs and Oregon running back LaMichael James. Expect all these running backs to contribute to the passing game, only exception being Jacobs. Again Alex has many toys to play with. And let’s not forget that is he has a solid offense line protecting him.
In 2011 Alex Smith took many sacks due to the fact that he did not want to force any passes. In 2012 he should look to take a few more shots down the field with his newly acquired recievers when the blitz is staring him in the face. This will be the season that will prove is Alex will be our quarterback for the years to come. If he struggles or has a mediocre season, do not be surprise is Colin Kaepernick becomes the signal caller in the near future. I hope that will not be the case. I am a Alex Smith fan, he has gone through lots in his NFL career. He has shown grit and composure through the hard times.
Let me recap; at wide receiver we have Moss, Manningham, Crabtree, Jenkins, and tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. At running back we have Gore, Hunter, Jacobs, and James. To top it off we have great offensive linemen such as Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, and Anthony Davis. Alex has the pieces to become a pro bowl quarterback. The only way I see Alex having a bad year is if he gets injured of his teammate get hit by an injury bug, otherwise he should be great. DAMN I am excited for the start of the season. Its June so we are almost there. GO NINERS and ALEX!!!!!!!!!!!
Niner fans let us know. Yay or Nay on Alex? Please leave comments.