Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Alex Smith had an outstanding game against the Packers
Alex Smith opened the season with an excellent game in Green Bay against the Packers. It was easily his best game of the season. Since then, he has been slightly above average, at best.
Smith has completed 76-of-113 pass attempts, a very solid 67.3 clip. His yards per game is a pedestrian 179.3, but he has thrown five touchdowns against only one interception. Smith's passer rating is 98.1, which places him seventh in the league.
The one thing we have not seen much of is Smith throwing the deep ball to Randy Moss. Even if the pass is incomplete, a few attempts at this would move the safeties back, giving the 49ers more room to operate in the 10-15 yard range, where Smith is much more comfortable.
With the arrival of head coach Jim Harbaugh, one thing cannot be minimized. Smith has improved dramatically and in the 22 games he has started, the 49ers are 17-5. It may not always be pretty, but Smith is doing enough to keep the 49ers on the winning track.
Smith has shown excellent leadership and has a strong grasp of the 49ers' offense. He has learned not to force the ball and risk interceptions, instead taking what the defense gives him. This conservative approach by Smith can be frustrating, but with the 49ers' defense, it does win games.
Smith worked with former MLB pitcher and throwing guru Tom House on his mechanics and delivery this offseason. While this has helped his accuracy, there is still room for improvement in this area.
The 49ers have also utilized Colin Kaepernick very effectively in certain situations. Playing mostly in a wildcat formation, Kaepernick is able to use his outstanding athletic ability and has already made some excellent runs.
Although he has thrown only one pass, an incompletion to Randy Moss, Kaepernick gives opposing defenses something else they need to prepare for. He has 67 yards on six carries, including a long of 30 yards and one touchdown.
I look for continued creativity from offensive coordinator Greg Roman and we should start seeing more of Kaepernick in certain packages. He is still a far less polished quarterback than Smith, but Kaepernick's athleticism and running ability gives the 49ers another excellent offensive dimension.
Quarterbacks Grade: B+