Question: Matt, love your 49er coverage; thanks for the hard work. I'm curious about Alex Smith. I have followed him since college and have always been very impressed. Many analysts and writers write him off as mediocre, but those who have actually worked with him and follow him closely say he can be just as good as any young quarterback out there. Do you see him as ever putting up big numbers or making any Pro Bowls, or should we expect to see modest but consistent performances throughout his career. Specifically, what do you see from him this year? Thanks!
Christian, Morgan Hill
Answer: I think Alex Smith will start to get recognition when the 49ers start winning again. I'm not sure he will ever put up massive numbers, mainly because the 49ers are such a run-oriented team. What he will do, and what Mike Nolan et al. drafted him to do, is manage the team, put it in a position to win and not make mistakes. As far as this season, if Smith's pro career mimics his college career, he will have a very good year indeed. As I wrote in a previous response, I believe his ability to connect with his receiving corps will be a critical factor as far as the 49ers making the playoffs this season.
- Matt Barrows