NFL: Who Is the Best Quarterback in San Francisco?

Posted: August 29, 2011 in Alex Smith, Jim Harbaugh, NFC West, NFL, San Francisco 49ers

The National Football League has a timeless proven theory that stable, strong-armed passers with leadership will grace an organization with Super Bowls. Unfortunately, that theory is easier spoken than executed.

One of “The League’s” most historic franchises is struggling, to say the least, in executing a plan they wrote. Back in the 1980s Bill Walsh designed a heavy passing game with Hall of Fame quarterbacks at the helm. Joe Montana and Steve Young helped San Francisco’s finest win titles in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989 and 1994.

Since Young placed his helmet in his locker for the last time, the quarterback play in Candlestick Park has been dreadful to present day.

Jeff Garcia was the most successful of the signal-callers in the Bay Area, but even he struggled to win playoff games.  Garcia led to Tim Rattay in the gun. Then came Ken Dorsey, Alex Smith , Cody Pickett, Trent Dilfer, Shaun Hill, Chris Weinke, Hill—again, Alex Smith—again, and finally Troy Smith.

Alex Smith was drafted as the next great San Francisco 49er gunslinger. With the revolving door of team leaders has been far from executing the plan of developing prosperous quarterbacks to be crowned Super Bowl champions.

The first good move was made in the offseason by hiring former Stanford coach and Pro Bowl quarterback, Jim Harbaugh. As a former player, Harbaugh knew what it took to be successful in the professional ranks. Although he never raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy, his desire as a coach has not wavered since he hung up the pads.

Thus far in the preseason, the 49ers have still struggled at the quarterback position. There are plenty of areas on the gridiron where less than stellar players can avoid the spotlight, but when a quarterback struggles, the entire stadium witnesses the rough day at the office.

Alex Smith has gotten the nod from Harbaugh at a 17th or maybe even an 18th opportunity at owning the starting position for San Francisco. In three preseason games, Smith has yet to pass for a touchdown, while tossing two interceptions and conceding four sacks.

His career numbers look relatively similar, drawing relentless concern from the Niners faithful. Anticipating another collapse by Smith, Harbaugh opted to draft Colin Kaepernick, a 6-foot-4, 230 pound mobile and “heady” quarterback with mobility.

Steve Young had plenty of success with mobility, and a better than above average arm in the 90’s. Kaepernick is a taller, right-handed “poor man’s” version of Young.

Kaepernick has looked comfortable in two preseason games, including a 6-for-8 passing performance against the Oakland Raiders. On the rookie’s two offensive possessions, both drives ended with touchdowns.

That might look like a solid indication on what the future holds for the former Nevada star, but the preseason can be deceiving. As of this moment, Kaepernick looks to be the more superior, and polished, passer in the 49ers crop.

If Smith picks another injury—which over his seven year career as been predictable—Kaepernick will get a shot at the starting job.

Hopefully injuries don’t become a problem, because Jim Harbaugh might be the next best option under center. He is only ten years removed from his last plays in the NFL.

And in the end, who knows the offense better than the Head Coach?

Published on August 29, 2011 

“Kris Francis On Sports”


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