49ers Offseason: QB Commitment

As you may be well aware of, the 49ers are on there hottest season start since 1997, with a record of 5-1.  After being called out as underdogs, mostly due to the NFL lockout, they are now sitting as the ‘top dogs’.

Due to the NFL lockout, players were not allowed to have contact with any NFL teams this offseason. Players and the Commissioner were stuck in negotiations from March until late July.  This period of not contact with players made gave teams with new head coaches, like the 49ers a disadvantage.  During the offseason events such as free agency, NFL draft, and mini camps were jeopardized for the 49ers, as well as every team in the NFL.

Alex Smith, the current 49ers QB, finished the final season of his contract last season, and was almost certain of a fresh start on another NFL team.  After completing a less than stellar season in 2010, with a fired head coach and offensive coordinator, Smith only assumed the worst for his future with the team.  However, Jim Harbaugh was not gonna let that happen.  With almost every fan and front office member giving up on Smioths future with the Niners, Harbaugh gave praise to smith for his accuracy and toughness.

Within weeks of being signed by the 49ers as Head Coach, Harbaugh invited Smith to have a pass around, with the former QB and current Head coach.  What seemed like a random event by Harbaugh, turned into constant weekly shout outs to the Media, giving praise to Smith.  Lets face reality, we all thought Harbaugh was going crazy with his praise of Smiths accuracy and awareness on the football field.  When I heard these type of comments, I, as many, assumed Jim never saw footage of the Smith we knew.

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With the NFL draft coming up in April, and Smith not signed with the 49ers, NFL analyst had concluded with the Niners ending up with a rookie QB in the first round.  Although Harbaugh had insisted that Smith was their guy,  Analyst believed that this was just a smoke screen to help the Niners snatch a QB early in the draft.  However, they opted for a linebacker instead and drafted highly touted QB Colin Kaepernick instead in the second round.  With a random turn of events, the same day a judge declared the lockout to be invalid, so the NFL temporarily aloud NFL teams to have contact with their players.  Quickly, Smith, who was not even technically on the team, was given a playbook by Harbaugh.  Later that same day the lockout was back on, and left Smith with the Playbook, with no coach to teach to him.

Entering May, Smith, equipped with his playbook, decided to organize his own minicamp with his future 49er teammates.  Ironically the majority of players who attended were defensive, leaving smith with very few offensive players to build chemistry with.  After a rough attendance level the first week, a surge of players started attending the camp that was being called ‘Camp Alex’ by NFL analysts.  Smith every morning would hold a receiver meeting with his teammates, and would go over plays from the playbook in his own interpretation, with no assistance from a coach.

During ‘Camp Alex’ superstars such as Vernon Davis, declared Smith’s rise in confidence during their offseason camp.  This self held mini camp must have allowed smith to demonstrate his control on the offense without having a defensive minded coaches, such as Singletary, criticizes his skills.

The leadership demonstrated by Alex during this camp, has allowed him to conquer issues that have plagued him throughout his NFL career.

With Smith starting the offseason with a sense of uncertainty for his future with the Niners, Harbaugh quickly made it his job to win over Smith in order to obtain him once the offseason lockout ended.  With instilling his confidence in Smith through the usage of media, Smith was able to find confidence within himself.  Smith confidence shined during ‘Camp Alex’ and has never stopped.  Every week, during this season we are reminded of Harbaugh’s geniusness for keeping Smith as QB, by being rewarded with Smiths constant improvement every week.

After overcoming adversity with a new offensive system, head coach, and no official offseason, the Niners have shown their toughness and commitment to Harbaugh and his reborn QB, Alex Smith.


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