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2011 NFL Lockout: QB Alex Smith and Jim Harbaugh's 49ers Playbook

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh conducted his post-draft press conference and certainly seemed to get excited about the draft class. There are plenty of questions still to be answered, but there is no doubting the fire in Harbaugh. When you get a moment, I've embedded a chunk of the press conference after the jump courtesy of CSN Bay Area.

One of the more interesting comments Harbaugh made was that Alex Smith had been given a playbook before the lockout was reinstated. For approximately a day, NFL players were allowed to meet with coaches and discuss football as if everything was normal. During that time coaches quickly handed out playbooks, knowing that a stay of the lockout could be imposed. Indeed a temporary stay was imposed, but not before those playbooks were distributed.

For the San Francisco 49ers, getting that playbook out was a huge step in the right direction. The team has a new coach with a new offensive philosophy. Harbaugh made the comment that everybody will have the same amount of time to get ready for the 2011 season whenever this lockout ends. Of course, the problem with that comment is the fact that teams like Green Bay, New England, and Indianapolis, among many others, already have an offensive philosophy in place. More importantly, they have offensive philosophies that have been in place for several years. On the other hand, our 49ers are starting fresh for the most part.

Alex Smith is technically going to be a free agent when the new league year begins. In most years an impending free agent would not be allowed to take a playbook with him. Of course, this is not most years, which makes this development not too shocking. Additionally, I have to think this is the clearest sign yet that Alex Smith will return to the 49ers in 2011. It may only be a one year deal, but would anybody really be surprised if Smith was not a member of the San Francisco 49ers in the coming season?

Jim Harbaugh Press Conference