49ers: Smith accepts being second-stringer

By From page B7 | November 30, 2012

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback guessing game is over for this week, and possibly for the extended future.

Colin Kaepernick is 49ers’ starting quarterback for their game against the Rams Sunday. This will be his third straight start, and this should mean an eventual seeming good-bye to former No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith’s starting career in San Francisco.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said in his Wednesday press conference that Smith took the news with grace.

“Alex is a class act all the way,” Harbaugh said on Wednesday. “He’ll prepare as if he were the starter, and that’s what we would expect – be ready to go in and play and get a victory for the football team.”

Smith put in his own two cents on Thursday, telling reporters that all he felt he’s done to lose his job is get a concussion. He pretty much told the world he wasn’t pleased with Harbaugh’s decision. Reports have Smith saying he didn’t stand up to Harbaugh and demand to have the job back.

If Smith doesn’t feel the need to speak up to have the starting job, then he should never ever start again. Any person who feels they’ve been wrongly terminated from a title or job they should rightfully have will speak up for themselves, and don’t just accept it for what it is.

Smith has been in the NFL since 2005. Maybe he’s tired of the back-and-forth of a quarterback controversy, but who wants an offensive leader who didn’t want tell the boss he is the rightful starter? Would you want a person like that on your team?

That’s not a sign of leadership.

Many fans are adamant the team won’t win a Super Bowl with Smith, and to a point they may be correct. Kaepernick seems to have the trust of Harbaugh to make big play decisions on his own, as where Smith was more than likely told to play it safe and not risk too much. How many other quarterbacks throw five interceptions in 16 games while trying to make big things happen?

Maybe Smith’s been sold on the idea of being a team player. If that’s what it is, more respect to him. He accepts that complaining about the situation may not get him anywhere.

He probably accepts the fact that Harbaugh is perhaps one of the best quarterback coaches in the NFL. He turned around Smith’s career from being mediocre to being one of the most accurate passers in the league , and has Kaepernick blossoming into a very good quarterback.

Smith could have also accepted the fact that this is his team forever. If he’s second now, it won’t be as a good as being No. 1 elsewhere. He’s not OK with being No. 2 at a job he’s been No. 1 at for so long, but no complaints from him to the coach about it.

Either way, as long as he’s a 49er, which could be through the end of this season or for two more years with this contract, he should accept the fact he will be No. 2 if Kaepernick keeps playing with his “hot hand” that Harbaugh says both of his quarterbacks have.

Smith’s hand just happens to be missing the heat necessary to be the man.

Reach Peter Fournier at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/p_fournier.

Peter Fournier


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