Harbaugh is a former NFL quarterback. He's proven himself a builder of quarterbacks at two college coaching jobs, mentoring Tampa Bay Bucs reserve QB Josh Johnson at San Diego and Heisman Trophy candidate Andrew Luck at Stanford.
Harbaugh knows a great deal more about quarterbacks and quarterbacking than the most outraged and vocal 49ers season-ticket holder. Harbaugh knows more about choosing a quarterback than the most acerbic NFL analyst yapping or pounding a keyboard.
Harbaugh sees past Smith's failures to imagine that the passer can be a winner in the NFL.
For some reason, though, Harbaugh's belief that Smith might still have a productive career doesn't convince 49ers fans that...Smith might still have a productive career.
Those fans know, darn it! They've seen Smith play from the upper deck at Candlestick Park, maybe from the comfort of their living room sofa—on TiVo!
The media types, man, they've talked to...people. They don't care if Harbaugh was an NFL quarterback, a winner at the University of Michigan and a proven quarterback coach. The media folks talked to scouts who heard from players that a trainer said that a former 49ers coach told a guy who was a beat writer that Smith, er...hey, they just know Smith's never going to make it—no matter that Harbaugh might believe otherwise.
If Harbaugh believes that Smith still might be a productive NFL quarterback—then, Smith could well still become a productive NFL quarterback.