I realize some folks would prefer to avoid another Alex Smith post, but this is something I wanted to post a while back and just forgot. Back during the 49ers post-draft minicamp and OTA, Jimmy Raye had some interesting thoughts on Alex Smith. It was at the bottom of the transcript I posted back then, but it was easy to overlook the comments:
"There's a tremendous change in him from the way he carries himself and walks in and out of the building with an air of confidence, a totally different guy. If you want to digress to when he came here a year ago and he was six or seven weeks into the year, it's a totally different guy. In terms of his confidence, familiarity with what he's doing, his sense of entitlement, I think all of those things are manifesting themselves right now because of the success that he had, even though some people may deem it as minimal or maybe even being a little suspect about it. For him, from what I've seen, there's been a tremendous change."
One of the issues most often cited by the anti-Smith crowd is some kind of lack of confidence or ability to command the offense. I'm not going to conclude from Raye's quotation that Smith now has the necessary confidence to take a step forward. However, I do think this kind of growing confidence makes sense given the continuation of last year's offense. In fact, it seems like now is as good a time as any to look back on an oft-cited Urban Meyer discussion of Alex Smith:
"It's going to be interesting in San Francisco," Meyer said. "Alex is an extremely quick learner. However, he's a guy that, until he understands it, he is nonfunctional. He is a guy that -- I keep hearing how Brett Favre kind of makes something out of nothing and is a person that runs around to make a play -- Alex Smith is not that kind of player. Alex Smith is a person that, once he is taught, has to learn it all. He might struggle early, but once he gets it, he gets it."
"I'm going to be anxious to watch his development with the 49ers. Alex is so careful with the ball. His touchdown-to-interception ratio the last 2 years was phenomenal (47 touchdowns and seven interceptions). That's because, unless he knows exactly what's going on, he won't throw it. He won't just try to guess and take a shot. He has to know.
"That's why, early in his career, and early in our career with him at Utah, he was not an effective passer, because he really didn't understand. Once he understood, there was no one better. He learns quickly, though. But he's not a guy that you throw the ball out there and tell him, 'Go play.' He wants to know what is exactly expected of him and then he becomes a dynamite player.'
These two quotations would seem to go hand-in-hand. Smith probably doesn't have the current offense down-pat, but he's likely miles ahead of where he would be with a new OC. Might we see the development of the "dynamite player" at this point?