5 Ways Alex Smith Can Still Help San Francisco 49ers from the Bench

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIINovember 26, 2012

5 Ways Alex Smith Can Still Help San Francisco 49ers from the Bench

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    Alex Smith may or may not be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Regardless, the veteran passer has a valuable role with the only NFL team he has ever known.

    You never want to see a guy lose his job due to injury, but Smith has handled his current backup status gracefully. Whether he’ll be named San Francisco’s Week 13 starter remains to be seen (ESPN.com’s Mike Sando reports that the choice will be made by Wednesday). However, Colin Kaepernick has played well enough that it would be a surprise if Smith wasn’t on the sidelines on Sunday.

    Here are five ways that Smith can still help his team from his current post.

5. 49ers Can Get Comfortable with Colin Kaepernick

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    Alex Smith is a mobile quarterback, but Colin Kaepernick is a different kind of mobile.

    The second-year quarterback is just flat-out fast. With him on the field, the 49ers can open their playbook up, giving them opportunities to score in ways that were previously either unavailable or not attempted.

    Knowing Smith is in the bullpen, Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers can feel more secure in going with the big-play guy in Kaepernick.

4. Consistency from the QB Position

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    Young players tend to have ups and downs in the NFL regardless of their level of ability, just ask Cam Newton. Conversely, San Francisco knows exactly what it has in Alex Smith.

    Call him a game manager if you want—he’d prefer that you didn’t—but there’s something to be said about consistency from the quarterback position. That’s especially true when Smith’s offensive-coordinator situation has been anything but consistent during his NFL tenure.

3. An Experienced Set of Eyes for Kaepernick

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    If you’re Cam Newton and you’re having trouble under center, do you go to Jimmy Clausen—who has three career TDs, nine picks and one more year of NFL experience than you do—for advice?

    Probably not.

    This is also the same guy who wouldn’t give up his jersey number to the No. 1 pick.

    If you’re Colin Kaepernick and you’re having trouble under center, do you go to Alex Smith—who has 30 TDs and 10 INTs in his last two seasons—for advice?

    Yes. Yes, you do.

2. Resilience Prepares Him for Service at a Moment's Notice

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    Alex Smith has probably grown tired of what seems like a consistent effort by the San Francisco 49ers to replace him. Prior to Kaepernick’s injury-induced ascension to the starting role, Smith had to deal with news that the team was doing its due diligence with regard to acquiring Peyton Manning’s services.

    While it’s likely true that football fans and analysts alike would say Smith might even want to look at Manning to quarterback his team, Kaepernick was a largely unproven commodity before he began starting for the 49ers.

    Despite the summer saga, Smith came into the season and completed a career-high 70 percent of his passes for 1,731 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions in nine games.

1. Smith Gives the 49ers the Best Backup QB in the NFL

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    As long as he’s a clipboard-wielder, Alex Smith is the best backup quarterback in the NFL. In that position, he’ll be compared to a lot of guys that are unknown to the average fan—with recent resume entries that shame those of most of his contemporaries.

    Smith has started 25 games under Jim Harbaugh. He knows the offense and has been productive within it. He’s compiled 4,875 yards on 425-of-662 passing with 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

    Smith’s passer rating in the last two seasons: 90.7 in 2011 and 104.1 in 2012.

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