Trent Dilfer, the former quarterback turned ESPN analyst, has already warned Alex Smith.
If Smith plays badly in 2010, Dilfer is going to let him have it on the air.
“I think this is the first year we can fairly evaluate Alex. That sounds weird going into his sixth year. But he’s been through so much in terms of coaching turnover, personnel turnover, injuries,” Dilfer said.
“That said — and I’ve told him this — I am going to be much harder on him. My expectations are much higher because this is his sixth year and it should all come together.”
With that as the backdrop, Dilfer is a believer. He was on a conference call with reporters this morning and I asked him if Smith was capable of taking the 49ers to the playoffs.
”If they don’t (make the postseason), then Alex is going to be criticized very harshly and I think that’s probably fair,” Dilfer said. “Now, saying all that, I believe he will meet the expectations. I believe he’s a different man after watching him the last couple of years grow up.
”He’s playing with a harder edge. He definitely has more command to his personality and he has complete ownership of this offense. I would argue he has more ownership of this offense than the people calling it. He knows where everyone is supposed to be at all times, all the nuances of it.
”He is ready for the moment. He feels like it’s his time to run the show and get things done in San Francisco like they haven’t been done.
”I think that’s going to happen. I think they’re an 11-5 football team that can get in the playoffs and win a game in the playoffs. If it doesn’t happen, it’ll probably be (Smith’s) last year in San Francisco.”
Dilfer spent 13 seasons in the NFL, finishing up with the 49ers in 2007. He won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000, thanks mostly to a terrific supporting cast. A fearsome Ravens defense that season held opponents to just 10.3 points per game.
If the 49ers make the playoffs in 2010, it might be with a similar recipe. The team is counting on a top-tier defense and an offense that does just enough.
Dilfer said the pieces are in place. He went so far as to say that new personnel chief Trent Baalke is “arguably one of the top five personnel guys in the league.”
“They should easily win the West. They have by far — by far — the best personnel in the West, from top to bottom,” Dilfer said.
“Living in the Bay Area, seeing it day in and day out, they are a very, very talented football team. So it should come together for Alex. He should have a good year, he should go to the playoffs and I would even argue they should win a playoff game.”
I agree with Trent, this is the first year we can fairly evaluate him. And me being a supporter, if he fails, I too will be there to rip him and hope the team looks elsewhere for a QB.
[ Edited by GBNinerFan on Sep 8, 2010 at 9:48 AM ]