Alex Smith can win in San Francisco, but will he be given the chance?
I am here to caution 49ers fans to be careful what you wish for. If you root hard enough for David Carr, you just may get him. While that makes you happy now, once you watch him play, you won't be. David Carr is not the answer at quarterback. Carr is damaged goods from getting hammered all those years in Houston. Carr has already shown an inability to read defenses, make good decisions and be an effective quarterback. He has a career QB rating of 75.2 and five more interceptions than touchdown passes in his career. We know what David Carr is as an NFL quarterback, which is why after leaving Houston, he has been a career backup. He is no longer a young QB, and the 49ers are his fourth team.
I know what the naysayers are thinking: you are going to be quick to comment and point out that Alex Smith has 43 TD and 52 INT in his career and a lower QB rating of 69. However, Smith's numbers are very deceiving considering his rookie year he threw one TD and 11 INT. If you took that season away, Smith has 42 TD, and 41 INT; I know, still not great, but definitely much better. If you take his rookie year away, he has 42 TD in 38 career starts. Again, not great, but it is better than Carr.
The point of this article is not to convince you that Alex Smith is or ever will be a great quarterback. Honestly, I don't know, Smith hasn't had much of a chance to play so far in his career, and when he has played, it has been mostly for a team that had so many other problems, you could not really fairly evaluate him. However, I do know one thing for certain: He is the best QB on the 2010 San Francisco 49ers, and he should be the starter all season, regardless of their record.
As an Eagles fan, I laughed when the 49ers fans were chanting "We Want Carr" during the 49ers-Eagles Sunday night contest. I thought for sure that those chants would ruin Smith like boos have ruined so many other promising young players. However, I actually was surprised when Smith came back out and led a great drive for a touchdown. Even though I was an Eagles fan, I thought to myself: good for him. Then I realized what had happened. Alex Smith showed poise, confidence and showed he could deal with adversity. In other words, his home field turned into a hostile environment, yet Smith excelled and got his team back in the game. If not for an Eagles defensive player hitting his arm on the last drive, he may have led his team to their first win.
I know Smith has not been great so far this season, but the 49ers fans need to be patient with this young quarterback. He does have a lot of great tools, and he is still young enough that he could be a player in this league. Even though San Fran is 0-5, that record is not nearly as bad as it looks. When you consider San Fran's five losses have come against teams that are a combined 15-8, their record doesn't seem as bad. Also, San Fran's three road losses have come against three teams that are all undefeated at home. Their two home losses (both by three points or less) have come against teams that are a combined 4-1 on the road.
Most people laughed when their owner said they would still win the division, but I didn't. In fact, I definitely believe it is possible. San Francisco's remaining schedule consists of only four games against teams that made the postseason in 2009, and two of them are against Arizona, who are drastically different without Kurt Warner. Their next five games are against Oakland, @Carolina, Denver (in London), BYE, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. With three of their next five games at home and one in a neutral site, it is definitely reasonable to think San Fran can go 4-1 over their next five games or maybe even 5-0. Do you see an automatic loss in those five games? I don't. Also, you have to consider they play in the NFC West, and eight wins will likely win that division.
San Francisco could easily be playing to move into a tie for first place on Nov. 29th against Arizona, and they will have Alex Smith to thank for it. That is, if they give him a chance. I know one thing for sure: If San Francisco turns to David Carr, then they are acknowledging their season is over. They are basically saying Smith can't get it done. I think that would be an extremely poor choice. Smith can lead this team to wins; all he needs is a little bit of patience and loyalty from the coaches and fans. If they beat Oakland this week, then Smith will likely keep his job. If they don't, I expect Carr to start Week Seven. Luckily, I see a San Francisco victory on Sunday and a solid game from Smith to boot.