In fact, the coach told the Kansas City Star on Thursday that he felt there were none better.
“Ultimately, every team has to have a quarterback. I think we have the best in the league, he told the Star. “There are a lot of great ones, but over time, Alex has proven he can get it done. He’s a sharp guy, he brings a wealth of knowledge, he’s experienced, he’s a proven winner the last couple of years, and he needs a team to embrace him.”
There’s a lot to that brief statement.
In saying that he needs a team to welcome him, Pederson is implying that the 49ers didn’t. In his first several seasons after being drafted No. 1 overall out of Utah, Smith had to endure a coaching carousel where nearly every year, he had to learn a new offense and adjust to new coaches. That wore on him until head coach Jim Harbaugh came to town, expressed confidence in him and gave him the opportunity to succeed.
He had his best season under Harbaugh and was on his way to another strong year until Colin Kaepernick emerged as a superstar and won the job from him in practice after Smith suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams in 2012. Still, Pederson is correct that Smith will get a fresh start and a chance to prove his coach either prophetic or idiotic.
Smith is 19-5-1 as a starter over the last two seasons and has shown promise as a passer. However, it will be a tall order to live up to the lofty expectations of those in the Midwest if they buy what Pederson’s selling.
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