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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Out of Bounds: Alex Smith

49ers quarterback Alex Smith drops back to pass in warmups. (John Martinez Pavilga/Wiki Commons)

I tend to root for the underdog, especially one that gives 100 percent and does everything to the best of his or her abilities. I also don’t like when people get screwed over.

I defend San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau whenever people are down on him, which, quite frankly, is all the time. As bad as former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington was, he was unfairly used as a punching bag by fans and the press when they should’ve realized quarterbacks go to Detroit to die. Hell, I still say Samuel J. Tilden won the presidential election of 1876, but that’s for another column.

San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith fits in the category of underdog and someone who received a lot of unwarranted criticism.

Look, I realize most people don’t want to hear about Smith.

Many of you see him as a bust who was given a number of chances to prove himself and never did. The 49ers haven’t made the playoffs since the 2002 season and Smith, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005, has failed to give San Francisco anything substantial.

Whenever someone tries to defend Smith, fans and NFL experts think he’s just being protected with a bunch of excuses that have nothing to do with his below average play.

But those people are dead wrong.

There are a number of legitimate reasons why Smith has struggled, and there are just as many reasons why he will succeed with the 49ers in 2010.

I could focus on the fact that Smith had five offensive coordinators in as many seasons, or that he had mediocre talent around him until 2009, or that former head coach Mike Nolan unreasonably called him out publicly over injuries Smith couldn’t control. Nolan was never really on Smith’s side, and the quarterback competition before the 2008 season was a complete sham (anyone who thought J.T. O’Sullivan was a better signal caller needs their head checked).

And if you don’t think these are legitimate reasons for a quarterback’s struggles, would the suicide of a close friend possibly affect someone’s play? Maybe the self-proclaimed pundits and bloggers should ask Smith.

What separates Smith from other unsuccessful quarterbacks in the NFL is that he is committed to winning and becoming a good player.

Look at former Arizona Cardinals QB Matt Leinart. Leinart, the No. 10 overall pick in 2006, lasted only four seasons in Arizona and was benched a number of times. He always acted like the starting job should be handed to him, that he deserved it just because he was Matt Leinart.

And now Leinart is battling for the backup role behind starter Matt Schaub in Houston.

Smith is the complete opposite.

Smith restructured his contract with the 49ers, taking less money, just so he could prove himself to the team and prove that he could help San Francisco win. His work ethic and intelligence, combined with his willingness to never give up, give him an edge.

Not to mention he has a talented group of receivers and running backs and an above average offensive line protecting him (a first in his career).

You’re right in thinking that Alex Smith hasn’t done a lot in the NFL. But there’s a reason why coach Mike Singletary named him his starter. Smith has the talent to succeed, and if he stays healthy, he will lead the 49ers to the playoffs this season.

Call it blind faith if you want, but there’s a lot more fact to support my belief in Smith than you might think.


Contact Jonathan Roisman at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Roisman
Jonathan Roisman, Editor-in-chief
Co-editor-in-chief, fall 2010.

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Out of Bounds: Alex Smith