The Cover 4.com presents you with THE “NEW” QB CONTROVERSY (PART 1, ALEX)! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour
An uneducated 49ers fan thinks that the team should have kept Alex Smith because they believe he’s a better quarterback and one that wins games. This same fan has the idea that Colin Kaepernick sucks and his success last year was a fluke.
An unrealistic 49ers fan thinks the opposite ─ although Kaepernick hasn’t looked all that great this year, Smith contributed nothing to the 49ers.
These two schools of though sum up what some 49ers fans believe about the current quarterback situation. Both of these statements couldn’t be further from reality.
Slow (and painful) Rise
Smith had not lived up to the expectations of being a No. 1 overall draft pick, at least not up until a couple years ago. In 2011, he began to play more like a first-round pick. He took the Niners to the 2011 NFC Championship. While San Francisco eventually lost to the Giants in the NFC Championship, the 49ers got to that game after a last-minute scoring drive against the Saints in the week before. That drive, and the ones before it in that crazy fourth quarter, was orchestrated by none other than Smith. He did his best ‘Joe Cool” impression in that game and in many other games that season. He was 50 percent of the way to bound-to-be historic “The Catch 3.″
Jim Harbaugh turned Smith into the quarterback he is today, but Smith still had to become conformable in his role. There is no arguing that he is a game manager. This particular game manager led his team to multiple victories in the Harbaugh era. He won a number of games for the Red and Gold. He never gave up on the organization or the fanbase that gave him so much hatred at times.
To the Bench He Goes
In 2012, Smith looked primed to manage his team all the way to the Super Bowl. The team started out great with him at the helm. They were winning games and Smith was doing what he had to do to win. Then injury struck Smith in the middle of the season and then Kaepernick made his mark. The infamous “hot-hand” Harbaugh debacle began.
Though Smith was healthy after a couple weeks, Kaepnerick obviously had the “hot-hand”. Whether this was simply an opportunity for Harbaugh to make Kaepnerick the new starter or Harbaugh truly believed he was going to go back to Smith eventually, Kaepernick took over the starting spot.
Some fans that already disliked Smith, and many did, including me, (though I did start to like him a lot more during the 2011 season) were pumped that Kaepnerick was the new starter. He possessed so much of the big play ability that the Niners have lacked in a quarterback since Jeff Garcia (Wow, did I just credit Garcia?) Kaepnerick was more exciting than Smith, he seemed to have a better upside, and hell, he was a fresh face.
Because of the unwritten rule that no one should lose a starting position due to injury, you would think
that Smith would be extremely bitter and unresponsive to the coaches and players. That was not the case at all.
Smith was one of the most helpful coaches that Kaepnerick had during his run to the Super Bowl. If you look at old game film from last year, Smith was constantly talking with Kaepnerick. He was pointing out coverages and shifts, helping him with plays and getting him to properly read the defense. Smith was the reason Kaepnerick grew into the quarterback that he became. Harbaugh knew it and acknowledged it, and so has Kaepnerick.
Many players would have turned a cold shoulder. Smith kept preaching that winning is what matters, and Kaepnerick has the tools to add to the win column.
For this reason alone, I have to say that Smith showed so much class. He helped the 49ers and Kaepernick get to the Super Bowl. He showed a ton of respect for the organization and Harbaugh’s decision to place him on the bench. We all know the rest of the story. Smith is a Chief now, and Kaepnerick isn’t looking like a top-five quarterback this year.
Smith gave it 100 percent in his time with the 49ers. He never gave up and he always tried to make the team better. He took all the flak from the fans and still remained positive. Then when his time was up, he respectfully and enthusiastically helped Kaepernick in his transition to become a starting NFL quarterback.
Now that he is gone, 49ers fans should have no true reason to hate Smith. He always tried to make his team and himself better, even when he had no support. He helped the 49ers win the games they won, period.
For that reason, the hate toward Smith is completely unwarranted now that he is the quarterback of the past for the Niners. I wish him good luck with the Chiefs, unless of course they make it to the Super Bowl against the Niners.
p.s. If the Chiefs win eight or more games, the Niners get a second round pick, so it is a good thing they are winning.
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Guest Sports Activist for The Cover 4