Alex Smith: To Bust Or Not To Bust?

-Why I am a Skeptical Optimist regarding everything Alex Smith

As most 49er fans most probably know, Alex Smith is almost certainly coming back for another season in red and gold. And to be honest, I’ve got mixed feelings about this.

 Alex Smith, the #1 overall pick of the 2005 draft, is going into his 7th season with the 49ers. In those 7 seasons, he hasn’t got a lot done, to say the least, with the 49ers highest record during that stretch being 8-8. Yes, Alex has shown flashes of the poise of a franchise quarterback (See: Game Tying Drive Vs. Saints), but he has also had his fair share of plays that make you wonder why he was the #1 overall pick. He’s turned simple sure-touchdown throws into incompletions and thrown interceptions at the most inappropriate moments.

All in all, Alex has shown us more of why he shouldn’t have been the #1 overall pick, than why he should have been.

Yet still after 6 seasons in the NFL, Alex is still garnering the support of a nice portion of the 49ers fan base. Sure there are Alex Smith haters but all in all it seems like the 49er nation, including me, has Alex Smith’s back.

And I ask myself: "Why?"

Why do we, the fans, have Alex’s back? After 6 seasons with the 49ers, he has 51 TDs and 53 INTs. Those stats are good for an "ok" quarterback, but not for a playoff-caliber quarterback, not for a Superbowl-caliber quarterback. During that 6 season time-span, Alex has let the 49ers fanbase down more than surprised it for the better. As a fan I should be cheering for a Superbowl victory, not for a record over .500. When I think about my memories of Alex Smith, I remember cursing him during games and wishing he gets benched already not cheering for him and saying "Oh don’t worry we’ve got Alex."

So again I ask myself, why do I actually have his back?

Most Alex supporters claim that he hasn’t been that successful because of a constant change of offensive coordinators and headcoaches, but I tend to disagree. Alex has had every opportunity to flourish. He has had many offensive coordinators, those who like to throw the ball and those who like to run it, but he still hasn’t succeeded. It’s not the offensive coordinators.

It’s not his leadership either, a trait of his that many claim has evolved during this offseason. I do not believe his 6 seasons of redundancy have been because of his lack of leadership. I believe he is appreciated in the locker room, and I do not believe this so called "next step" he has taken in his leadership ability will help him at all on the field.

Alex’s success hangs on the shoulders of one person, and one person only – Alex Smith. The only thing Alex has been lacking these 6 seasons, in my opinion, is poise. What do I mean by poise? I mean doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, the best way possible.

Alex has the skills succeed in the NFL, he also has the football smarts (as noted by many of his former coaches). All Alex lacks is that trait of throwing the right pass at the right time, of making everything work according to what he plans and not being rattled by failing, but coming back and performing with poise yet again.

Of course, poise cannot be taught. Not by Harbaugh, not by the offensive coordinator Greg Roman, or the quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst. Alex’s poise is about Alex taking a giant step forward and believing he can be the best quarterback in the league, and playing like it.

So is this why I support Alex yet again? Because I believe he can take a huge step this offseason?

Honestly, I’m quite skeptical about Alex Smith’s development. But as a 49ers fan I stay optimistic, because what kind of fan would I be if I moped around claiming our quarterback and team suck.

Can Alex Smith take that next step? Can he finally prove himself after 6 season of mediocrity? Somehow I doubt it, but I sure hope so.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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