For those of you who have been here at NN for a while, let me warn you. Have a seat, take a nice long breath, think of something cute and cuddly or whatever calms your nerves, then read forward.
I will be the first one to admit, that I have never been a big supporter of Alex Smith. In fact, I will go so far as to say I have called for everything against Alex just shy of amputating his limbs, and truthfully, might have only kept that possibility to myself. I felt at the time it was well warrented. Hoever, who would've thought, that a power running game, a decent performance by our O-line and a scaled down passing attack would make "Saint" Alex into such a swell game managing QB in the first 5 games of the season? I give Harbaugh his due. I am amazed at the noticeable turn around in Alex as our signal caller. As I watched the game against the Bucs, I no longer had a dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach that Smith would throw the game away with a stupid pass into double coverage. I saw him confidently audible pass plays, into productive, well timed runs. Most importantly, I saw Alex check off his receivers, and find open guys to get the ball to. I saw drives not only sustained, but produce tds instead of 3 point field goal attempts from the parking lot.
Could it be that Alex is finally maturing? That all the talk of his "potential" is turning into "production"? That Alex has actually been instrumental in the respectable 4-1 record, top spot in the NFC West we have this year, instead of the normal 0-5 start that has plagued us since his drafting 6 years ago? I even marvel at his 25th ranked stat line 83-126, 965 yds, 7 tds, 1 int. With a QB rating of 104.1. Who the heck is this guy and what did he do with the clown that I coined "Saint", due to the cacaphony of underserved praise he received on this site? Well, for me...I am happy as all get out to see this new and improved Alex. I won't possibly confuse him for "Joe Cool" anytime soon. However, a comparison to early stage Jeff Garcia I think is appropriate. Not a man who will wow you with tons of yardage and loads of stats. But, what he lacks in those areas, he makes up for in an ideal of playing not to lose, but, playing to win.
Truth be told, I know there will be an aircraft carrier size of people here on this site who will scream "I told you so". Slow down... I am giving Alex his props now. But, this is only 5 games into the seson. There are still 11 games to go, and the best mark of any player is whether he can 1) stay healthy and 2) if he can continue to play at such a high level for the duration. I hope for his sake, the sake of the team, and for the sake of all of us Niner Faithful, he can. I just think that finally, the prayers to the Gods of football, have resurrected the spirit, fire, drive, and confidence of the "Saint" known as Alex Smith. Take a bow young man....through 5 weeks so far....you have earned our kudos.