49ers unsure if Smith is the man in 2010
Posted by Michael David Smith on December 15, 2009 1:35 PM ET
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith didn't have a particularly good game against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. But he has played fairly well since getting the 49ers' starting job back midway through this season.
The question now is whether he's played well enough to enter next season as the starter. And 49ers General Manager Scot McCloughan tells Peter King of SI.com that question hasn't been answered yet.
"He's making progress,'' McCloughan tells King. "Is he for sure the guy yet? I don't know. We've got three more games after tonight, and he needs to end the season strong. But we're encouraged. We're seeing more and more maturity, and he's growing in this system.
"He's had the benefit of working with Mike McCarthy and Norv Turner in their systems, and now with [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye in his system, and he's got much more talent to work with than he did when he first got here. We don't need him to be a superstar. We just need him to play within the system, which he's done recently.''
For McCloughan to say "We don't need him to be a superstar" indicates that the 49ers have accepted the fact that Smith will never be the kind of player the 49ers thought he'd be when they chose him with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft.
But five years later, they might be willing to settle for Smith as their starter -- even as something less than a superstar.