Archive for November, 2011

21
Nov
11

Alex Smith:Training Camp Perseverance

With Niner fans yearning for new blood at the QB position, turning the position over Colin Kaepernick appeared quite reasonable.  Excited by his phenomenal NCAA career at Nevada, and non-committal to a potential Alex Smith return, we assumed with little doubt that the job was Kaepernick’s to lose.  However, Alex Smith, who was trusted by the new coaching staff, but not us fans was immediately handed the starting job following the end of the NFL Lockout.  This led us to believe that Harbaugh was not about to welcome another training camp QB battle. However, He was slightly behind after missing the first initial six practices of training camp because the new labor rules for free agents delayed when they started their workouts.

Smith preformed well throughout his first week of practice under Harbaugh’s new offensive system.  However, he had issues converting his practice performance into game time consistency.  This inconsistency brought back bad memories of recent years and forced Harbaugh to allow a QB competition.

In an effort to tone down the anticipated QB competition, Harbaugh decided to announce to reporters that every position on the Niner’s roster were in an open competition.  Veteran players such as Vernon Davis saw right through the smoke screen and decided to give his input regarding to Kaeprnick “He’s a good player. He has a lot of potential, a very good future. I don’t think there’s too much competition at the moment.”  This comment by Vernon was not intended to shoot down the morale of Kaepernick, but instead to raise the moral in Smith.

Fast forward a few weeks, and we saw that both QB’s have not produced efficiently throughout the preseason games, yet Smith would consistently have great practices and Kaeprnick continued to share time with the first string offense. “If you were going by today, yesterday, there’s some separation there, and Alex has done a fine job,” coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday night after practice. “But Kaep is doing a phenomenal job. He is going to be one heck of a talent and one heck of a player.”  These mixed messages did come with a surprise with Harbaugh later acknowledging that Smith has in-fact widened the lead at the QB position.  The video below will reveal the beginning point of separation in the competition.

At conclusion the conclusion of the training camp position battles, Smith with little shock towards the end of the competition, came out victorious.  While raising the confidence between him and his teammates through strong practices, he did little to improve the hope of the 2011 season after performing sub-par in preseason games.     Readers, you will find out in my next blog if going with Smith over the rookie Kaeprnick was the right decision to make.  I’ll give you  little hint, it was!

If you are interested in seeing Kaepernick Highlights from Nevada, then watch the video below:

14
Nov
11

In Smith We Trust

Alex Smith, originally a #1 draft pick selected by the San Francisco 49ers, has revitalized his career this season.  We all were so sure of his departure by the season’s end last year, that a first round QB investment seemed fairly reasonable.

However, the newest member of the 49er’s Coach Jim Harbaugh, was not ready to give up on Alex.  After a controversial offseason, Alex Smith, shining with newborn confidence, re-signed with the 49ers and isn’t looking back.

Harbaugh was not ready to take over as the new Head Coach without meeting with the team’s, now free-agent, QB.  Before watching any film on Alex, Jim asked Alex to meet for the day with him.  Alex, most likely confused by this request, accepted the offer to meet with the new head coach.

Jim now says that he wanted to make sure Smith was still willing to compete as their QB, before he invested time in watching film.  It appeared that their meeting went well, once reporters had spotted Jim and Alex throwing the old pig skin around at the 49ers training facility.

Harbaugh, being an ex-NFL QB in the league for 15 seasons, knew the struggles it took for a QB to get into rhythm.  Taking himself 7 years to evolve into a Pro Bowl QB, he was aware that it was not time to quit on Smith.

Throughout the 2011 offseason, the NFL was in a nasty lockout, which lasted until July.  This meant that players and coaches could not meet, or contact each other.

This could of destroyed Harbaugh’s latest push to become best pals with Alex, but as we see throughout this current season, Jim had a trick up his sleeve.

Since Jim was not able to make comments about players ON his team’s roster,(Alex Smith was technically a free-agent).  Jim would constantly make interview appearances, giving praise to Alex Smith for his toughness, accuracy, and competitiveness.

Week after week, we would here how great Alex was, and were quick to judge Harbaugh as delusional.  Even the NFL became sick of Harbaugh’s consistent praise, and demanded that he speak no more about Smith, while the lockout remained.

NFL Analyst Paul Barker, speculates the 49ers QB situation a few days before the NFL draft in the video posted below.

Flash-forward to Day 1 of the NFL draft now, the 49ers are on the clock at #7 on the draft board.  The moment of truth to call Harbaugh’s bluff arises and the 49ers select Smith!… Aldon Smith, a defensive end out of Missouri.  However, with this defensive pick, it showed fans that the Niners had in fact gone with Alex Smith at QB as well.

By investing in the defense and not with a rookie first round QB, Alex remained in their QB picture.

Moving on to Day 2, Fox Sports news reporter, Alex Marvez, summarized; “A federal judge on Monday granted players an injunction to lift the NFL lockout. Judge grants injunction to lift NFL lockout; owners appeal.” This NFL lockout lift meant that players could now resume contact with their coaches.

(To follow the rest of the article by Alex Marvez, click this link.

Quickly jumping on this lift, Alex and a few current 49er players at the time, picked up Harbaugh’s playbook from the facility at Santa Clara.  Within hours after Smith picked up his playbook, the 49ers drafted QB Colin Kaeprnick, with their second round draft pick.

Now this really confused us 49er fans.  Smith just picked up a playbook, while we just drafted a QB to potentially start the 2011 for us.

Smith did not seem discouraged, as he conducted his own mini-camp, which reporters called “Camp Alex.”  With no coaching assistance for the team’s new West Coast style offensive playbook, Smith took over as an interim coach.  Conducting private offensive meetings, and on the field practices at San Jose State, Smith was starting to build confidence and respect of his fellow players.

This camp in late May, was a huge confidence booster for Alex as he showed his fellow future teammates, that he could lead them as their captain.  After a few weeks into his self-run training program, Smith’s teammates constantly praised his performance similarly, to what Harbaugh’s claims were.

At the end of the lockout, the Niners instantly offered Smith a new 1-year contract, and what seemed to be, the keys to the QB position.

Stay posted for my next blog, which will feature the 49er’s potential training camp QB controversy featuring Smith and Kaepernick.

Preview of next weeks blog topic: