Alex Smith’s first game in the new and improved 49ers offense was a throwback, featuring all the same maddening mistakes that we’ve come to know and hate over the course of Smith’s star-crossed career.
Those still on the Alex Smith bandwagon, which has been less lonely this offseason with Jim Harbaugh driving, will say Smith’s poor showing in New Orleans was a meaningless preseason game, against a brutal blitzing defense with a newly installed offense.
In short, there is no cause for alarm.
Unfortunately this optimistically narrow view ignores the six years, 50-plus games and few hundred practices Smith has had to improve the fundamental flaws that were on display Friday in the Big Easy.
In short, there is plenty of reason to be alarmed by his awful first performance.
I understand Alex isn’t going to reverse his negative career arc overnight, but starting this Saturday against Oakland he needs to show he has the potential to start trending upward, or the 49ers need to cut their losses and dump him like a bad stock.
Here are four things we need to see from Smith on Saturday.