Regardless of who they have faced, the 49ers are off to an incredibly good start. A team with poor quarterback play would not be 7-1, which means Alex Smith has been surprisingly efficient for San Francisco. The question is has he helped them win, or has he helped them not lose. Yes, there is a difference. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Justin Tuck believes Smith is only being asked to not lose games.
“He is a guy who they are trying to keep out of position to win the football game,” Tuck said on Thursday. “Obviously, with a back like Frank Gore and the O-Line keeping them in third-and-short situations, and even if it is third and 6 or 7, they still feel that they can pick it up running. I think they are asking Alex not to lose the game.
“He is playing decent with 10 touchdowns and two picks. He is not putting them in situations where they are going to be pinned back or their defense is not going to be put in bad situations. If they get in field-goal range, they are going to run the ball and make sure they come away with some points. If they are not in, they are going to run the ball and make sure they punt to put their defense in good positions to stop the offense.”
Whether Tuck means that as an insult or not, Smith and the Niners are not going to take offense. The fact that Smith is on pace to throw for less than 3,000 yards and only 20 touchdowns in a pass-happy league reflects what Jim Harbaugh is trying to do. He may claim he views Smith as an elite quarterback, but in reality the less the Niners need to lean on him the better off they will be.Google+