Should Alex Smith remain the starter for San Francisco?
Matt Williamson: I have been a Smith backer -- especially since he just has not had ample opportunity to give up on him. I would say a few more losing games/terrible performances would be enough for me, though. The problem in the big picture is that the staff and most of the offensive personnel is designed to have a power downhill running game. But the "franchise QB" is a soft-throwing spread guy who needs to operate out of the shotgun and have real defined reads. Bad combo.
Mike Sando: Perhaps I'm not giving David Carr enough credit for what he showed with the New York Giants, but I just don't see viable alternatives on the 49ers' roster. Troy Smith arrived too late in the game and hasn't gotten enough practice reps. Nate Davis? The 49ers would have to be in give-up-the-season mode to go that route.
The circumstances in San Francisco have put Smith at a disadvantage. The situation is far from ideal now. I think the 49ers are the victims of a rough early schedule. I suspect their head coach lacks the experience and emotional stability to navigate a team through tough times. No matter. Smith has never been in better position to succeed. He showed something in the New Orleans game. He needs to show much more, but I wouldn't make a quarterback change before the Week 9 bye. That would be the time to re-evaluate.
What I'd say to Matt Williamson is this, why does it have to be a "bad combo", or are you even sure that it is? Honestly, have we really seen this offense ever thrive in the grind it out style? No, we've seen three yards, a cloud of dust, and a punt. The only time we've really seen this offense work is when it is spread out and Smith is in the shotgun. We've seen it against the Saints this year, and also sporadically throughout the season. We also saw it work well last season. Assuming our eyes aren't deceiving us, I think it is safe to conclude that our personnel is overall better in a spread formation than in any other.
And for those saying, "If we had a better QB than Smith we could grind it out." I'd respond with, why would you want to do that? We do have a QB, Alex Smith, and he can move this offense through the air when he is in shotgun. So instead of being stubborn, or wishing we had a QB we don't have on our roster (and what is funny is so many of you would take Brady in a second, even though he lives in the shotgun), lets just go with what works. Lets do what we did to the Saints on the final drive. Our receivers got the ball, our TE got the ball, our RB got the ball, and Smith was able to scramble when he couldn't find anyone. On that drive we moved with great effectiveness and efficiency. We saw our offense thrive, and then we went away with it.
....hopefully we see it Sunday, and for the rest of the season after that. And before you write, "That offense doesn't work in the NFL." I'll say watch a game not involving the 49ers, and pay attention to how often opposing QBs are in shotgun. It might be eye opening for you. It is 2010, not Joe Montana's rookie season.
[ Edited by Kilgore_Trout on Oct 6, 2010 at 4:41 PM ]