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So it looks as though Alex Smith will return to the 49ers for one more season.  I have been against this move from the beginning, but lately I’ve started to see the light.  With the lockout keeping free agents from signing, Smith might be the only option.  It is well known that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh fully expects Smith to be back this season; Smith already has the new playbook.  So, love him or hate him, it looks like Smith will be back for one more stint as the 49ers starting quarterback.  Says Dan Brown of the Mercury News:

“Smith, 26, did not want to be quoted directly but told reporters from the Sacramento Bee and Comcast Sports Net Bay Area they could summarize the gist of his comments. In short, the feeling is mutual between Smith and coach Jim Harbaugh, who has spoken optimistically all offseason about the quarterback’s potential return.”

There is a different feeling this time around though.  When the 49ers drafted Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick last month, the message was clear; he would be the future and a bridge would be necessary.  So why can’t Smith be that bridge?  I’ll be the first to say I was ready to cut ties with Smith for good when the season was done and I stayed true to that up until the draft, until Kaepernick was drafted.  As long as this franchise is not depending on him to be the savior anymore, I believe he can be a nice quarterback for another season or two until Kaepernick is ready to take over.  Let’s face it, there aren’t many options out there much better than Smith right now. 

Smith’s career has been one dominated by inconsistency; whether it has been through his play or numerous coaching changes, Smith has had a difficult career.  He has been provided with numerous opportunities, but has yet to take advantage.  He did put up decent numbers in his last two seasons, when Singletary decided to open up his offense.  He can be a pretty good quarterback, when given time to throw, and has some good weapons to throw to.  He has arguably the NFL’s best tight end in Vernon Davis, a receiver with a great amount of potential in Michael Crabtree and a great running back in Frank Gore.  The strength of this team remains in the running game and though Harbaugh will throw much more passing into the mix, this will still be a running team.

The bottom line is Smith is good enough to keep this team competitive and with the right coaching combined with a weak division, this should be the year the 49ers are NFC West champions again.  All of us critics just need to ease up on him especially now that we need him in order to buy time for Kaepernick to develop.  Hopefully this lockout nonsense will be resolved and there is a season to watch this year. 

Sources:  Mercury News

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Provided is the link to my detailed article on the 49ers draft.

Baalke Reaches for the Stars

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