"The Only Yardstick for Success is Being a Champion" - Bill Walsh

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Smith Sandwich Leaves Bad Aftertaste

Shaun Hill, 49er Quarterback

Between the solid play of Shaun Hill, who played ten (10) plays, completing 2 for 2 for 41 yards, both to TE Vernon Davis, and scrambled for nine yards showing poise and leadership, and the 7 for 9 passing for 98 yards and a TD by solid veteran QB Damon Huard, came the meat of the sandwich, Alex Smith. I was very hopeful that the reports out of camp were true and that Alex was really making strides. Unfortunately, that was before he took the field when the 49ers opened the 2009 season with a preseason victory over the Denver Broncos.

It has always been true that he possesses a strong arm, however, against Denver he showed the same lack of poise and confidence that has hung over his head his entire pro career. Alex takes too long to make decisions, way too long -- whether it is making up his mind to to pass, to whom to pass, or when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. He simply makes slow decisions. His amateurish attempted jump pass to Glenn Coffee was a perfect example. To say I was thoroughly disappointed in his performance is an understatement. This guy with all the physical talent in the world, simply lacks the natural instincts for the position. It's a conclusion that is inescapable. When Alex first came to the 49ers, Jerry Rice took a long look at him and said, "He is not the answer". Jerry was right.

Yes it is true that Smith has had all kinds of disadvantages -- multiple offensive coordinators, a lack of talent at the wide receiver position until this season, injuries, etc. However, each time he takes the field the same problems exists. His college coach hit the nail on the head when he said that the only way Alex learns the position is to repeat things over and over again. That is an admission that the position is not instinctual, and that he simply lacks the natural instincts so necessary for success. Natural instincts cannot be taught. You either have them or you don't. Unfortunately, Alex doesn't.

It was very clear that Shaun Hill has the poise and game management skills that Alex so sorely lacks. Mike Singletary's decision is really not a hard one. Shaun Hill will be the 49er QB for 2009.
"He's great at managing the game," Singletary said of Hill Friday night. "You know he can manage a game, but he can also throw the ball downfield. … How consistent, and on what basis? That's something we still have to look at, but we pretty much know what's there."

Copyright @ 2009
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  1. Hmm... you left out the part where Hill was indecisive and was sacked twice for big losses. I think you need to keep it objective. Smith looked okay for the amount of time off he had. Hill looked a bit rusty as well. I am a big Hill supporter and I am sure he will start. But, I don't think we need to bash Smith for being an upright guy and trying to help the team out. He may not end up being a quarterback, but to take a paycut and comeback to "finish what he came to do" is worth us being respectful of his attempt.

    At least he isn't acting like Crabtree. I would be bashing Smith if he had the Crabtree mentality. I can envision the following statement: "Smith: I just want to be paid what I'm worth. I havent' played like a superstar, but I could still be one... so I should be paid like one... after all I havent' had a fair chance!"

  2. Other than that poor attempt at a screen pass, he wasn't that bad. I don't understand why you'd go out of your way to depict his performance as bad.

    He made a couple of pretty nice throws, and the TD wasn't as ugly as it first looked. Miller was so open because Alex drew just about every defender with a pump fake.

    Hill took a sack because he held the ball too long, yet a see no mention of this in your hasty writeup.

  3. I think Hill should start. But he was holding on to the ball for too long on those sacks. Smith blew it on the screen to Coffee, but made a nice pass to Morgan on the 3rd and 15.

    People need to stop bashing Smith and come to realization that Hill is not that good. Everyone will see that the NFL defensive coordinators will now catch up to Hill this year make him look less than ordinary.

  4. The SF 49er ObserverAugust 17, 2009 at 6:53 AM

    I had read all the hype about the new Alex Smith in camp and I was excited to see his maturity. Instead, the old Alex Smith was there and I felt like I had been sold a bill of goods.

    Both Hill and Huard showed veteran poise and confidence. Alex still holds on to the ball too long and makes slow decisions. I don’t care about the stats, it’s what I saw in his development that convinced me to finally realize that this kid just doesn’t have it.

  5. Great summary. Hill showed poise and confidence while Alex looks like he is moving in quicksand. I was also looking forward to the new and improved Alex and all we got was the same old kid looking like he is way out of his league. Huard showed much more poise and leadership.

  6. the good news is they FINALLY split Duke Davis out in the slot

    they have wasted his talent too many years

    he has the ability to be a bigger, faster, stronger version of Shannon Sharpe

  7. The SF 49er ObserverAugust 18, 2009 at 4:12 PM

    I completely agree. Raye has a history of using his tight ends to great advantage and Hill's accuracy can only make that duo that much tougher.


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