49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

December 11, 2006
Will Alex Smith be great?

Question: I don't see Alex Smith lasting as a starting quarter back beyond next season. I am wondering why everyone think that he is going to be a great quarterback? So far he is unable to show qualities great QBs possess.

- JoJo, Fremont

Answer: I'm not sure even the 49ers expect Smith to become a great quarterback. What they're looking for is a 'good' quarterback, someone who will manage a game, who won't throw a lot of interceptions and who will, when he sees an opening, make a big play or two. I hate to sound like a Smith apologist, but the guy's only 22 years old, is already on his second offensive coordinator and has almost an entirely new receiving corps from last year. Is he going to play like John Elway, Dan Marino or Brett Favre? No, his nature is that of a play-it-safe quarterback, and that's precisely why Nolan drafted him.

Nolan was asked whether he would consider replacing Smith with Trent Dilfer. He said "no," because he thought benching Smith at this point in the season would be doing far more bad than good bad as far as Smith's development. Remember, last year Smith threw only one TD, and it came during the very last game of the season against the Houston Texans, the league's worst team. If he progresses as much from Season Two to Season Three as much as he did from his rookie season, he won't have as many doubters.

- Matthew Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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