San Francisco 49ers: Will Jim Harbaugh Go with Alex Smith at QB?

Ronnie HampstonCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 2:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers passes against the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on January 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California.(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

This offseason the San Francisco 49ers hired hot coaching commodity Jim Harbaugh. Like all new hires, this is a move that is expected to turn the franchise around. Jim Harbaugh is expected to make an immediate impact in the bay area. A steady roster playing in a weak division makes it more than a possibility for the 49ers to make the playoffs this upcoming season.

Like many teams, there are holes on the roster. The most important hole on the roster is at the quarterback position. For the past few seasons fans have become tired of the play on field from Alex Smith. During Smith's tenure he has shown flashes of potential, but to be a quality NFL quarterback, you have to show consistency more than anything.

Smith is a free agent, but will likely remain with the 49ers this season.

Smith and Harbaugh have developed a relationship this offseason. Smith is organizing team workouts during the NFL lockout period. This is commendable on Smith's part, but is he really worth the trouble?

Rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick was drafted to replace Smith, but since the lockout started, it may have slowed his development. The 49ers may be in need of a veteran quarterback so they can allow the rookie to ease in rather than being thrown to the fire.

Alex Smith is not the answer. Yes, he has potential and all the tools to be a great quarterback, but this is not a competition for a flag football tournament. It would be best if the 49ers were to invest their time with Kaepernick while allowing a veteran quarterback take over the reigns at until Kaepernick develops.

Coach Harbaugh may be stubborn by thinking that he can improve Alex Smith, but it is easier said than done.

There is not one thing that Smith cannot do with a football. He can make plays throwing as well as running the football. Attributes such as heart, leadership and intangibles cannot be taught. The intangibles, leadership and heart make a huge difference in how a player shapes up. Ryan Leaf had all the skill in the world to become a great QB, but he lacked all the other attributes.

Alex Smith has caused a lot of pain to the 49er faithful. When a new coaching regime comes to an organization, they are suppose to make their stand right off the bat. It will be tough for Harbaugh to win over the fans if he sticks with Smith.

Smith may need a change of scenery to endure success as a NFL quarterback. Harbaugh and Smith may have become buddies over a few cups of coffee, but if Jim Harbaugh wants to last as an NFL coach, he will have to go another route when selecting a starting QB.