Alex Smith Should Be the Arizona Cardinals' Next Starting Quarterback

Jonathan Cullen@@jcullen71Senior Writer IJanuary 3, 2013

Alex Smith would solve a couple of the Cardinals' problems.
Alex Smith would solve a couple of the Cardinals' problems.Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith---currently the San Francisco 49ers' backup quarterback---could be the one player that could fix most of the Arizona Cardinals' offensive problems next season.  

Those problems were acknowledged after the Cardinals made the decision Monday to fire head coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves (first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter).

The main reason both men found themselves out of a job was the poor performance of the quarterbacks and overall play of the offense.

Fixing the quarterback position figures to be the No. 1 priority for a new head coach and general manager to resolve.

Smith is in the unfortunate position of having lost his job through injury and not his performance. As well as Smith has played the last two seasons, 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh has always seemed to be on the lookout for someone better.

It's not hard for any Cardinals fan to wonder how this season would have gone if Smith had been under center, something that even Arizona guard Adam Snyder speculates about in this interview with Matthew Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

Smith took San Francisco to the NFC Championship last season and had the 49ers poised to win and advance to the Super Bowl. His record as the 49ers starting quarterback is 19-5-1 under Harbaugh.

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In the past two seasons, Smith has thrown for 30 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions and he has also been able to elude most of the pass rush that he has faced.

In short, he has played like a Top 10 NFL quarterback.

Good, but obviously not good enough in Harbaugh's estimation.

First came the flirtation with Peyton Manning this offseason, detailed in this report by ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Then recently came the switch to Colin Kaepernick. Fair or unfair, Smith has dealt with the situation like a professional, keeping his displeasure with the benching in-house.

Once this season ends, the 49ers are unlikely to bring Smith back for 2013. Kaepernick is clearly Harbaugh's choice as the starting quarterback.

Smith would immediately be the Cardinals best quarterback since Kurt Warner, and would finally allow Larry Fitzgerald and the rest of the receiving corps to be involved in the offense again. 

The competitor in Smith would have the opportunity to face the 49ers twice per season, exacting some revenge for his treatment by Harbaugh.

If the Cardinals make the move to Smith, it allows them to focus the 2013 NFL Draft on fixing the offensive line, adding to the running game and building depth on both sides of the ball.

For a team that needs to improve quickly, this seems like a recipe for success.

Statistics used from