With quarterback Alex Smith entering his seventh season with the San Francisco 49ers, the issue of trust is still an offseason question for fans to ponder.
Yes, Smith was extremely effective last season leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. That said, he has consistently disappointed fans when an encore performance is expected.
Thus, fans don't trust the signal caller and instead, wait until the season begins to determine whether Smith will have a strong season.
The following are reasons why Smith should be trusted now, as a successful 2012 seems imminent.
Here are the completion percentages for Smith over the last three seasons.
2009: 60.5 percent (11 games)
2010: 59.6 percent (11 games)
2011: 61.3 percent (16 games)
After his first three seasons saw a fluctuating completion percentage, Smith has righted the ship consistently keeping his completion percentage at around 60 percent.
Here are number of interceptions Smith has thrown over the last three seasons.
2009: 12 interceptions
2010: 10 interceptions
2011: 5 interceptions
Smith is trustworthy as long as he continues the trend of completing 60 percent of his passes and reducing his interceptions. The 49ers don't need Smith setting touchdown records. They need him consistently competing passes and not turning the ball over. These two statistics are key in analyzing whether Smith is succeeding in 2012.
The 49ers offseason acquisitions should give fans more reason to trust Smith.
Last season, Smith relied heavily upon studs Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. With little more to work with though, Smith was in need of a few more weapons.
After two signings and a first-round draft pick, the 49ers went from a mediocre receiving corp to one of the strongest in the league.
New additions Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, and AJ Jenkins give Smith a more versatile and reliable receiving corp.
Smith could see an increase in touchdowns as a result of these additions, but once again, the key for Smith is not turning the ball over.
Smith is entering his seventh NFL season and that should mean something.
After a plethora of offensive coordinators and head coaches, Smith finally can rely on coach Jim Harbaugh to stay in town for awhile. And if Harbaugh trusts Smith, than 49er fans should too.
The reality of matter is this—Alex Smith isn't a Pro Bowl quarterback (especially with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton in the NFC). That said, he is a consistent quarterback who can lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Similar to Joe Flacco in Baltimore, Smith's job is more managerial than that of playmaker. Therefore, 49ers fans should trust Smith for what he is, and not hold out hope for anything more.