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On Comcast Thursday night, Jim Kozimor made a comment that caught me up short. He said on air Alex Smith had a “great” year last season.

I vehemently disagreed. I said Smith benefited from a great defense but neither he nor his offense was “great.”

“Great” is a vague word but surely you and I know what it means. Joe Montana had great years and so did John Elway. Peyton Manning, whom the Niners coveted over Smith, had great years. Alex Smith may have a great year in the future but he has not had one yet.

Tim Kawakami, also a guest on the show, said Smith had a good year. Kozimor said he would compromise at very good.

Jim and Tim, if I misrepresented you in any way, I apologize. That’s how I remember our animated discussion.

Personal aside and then back to the blog: I like Jim Kozimor very much. He had big shoes to follow taking over for Greg Papa who obviously is terrific. But Jim has put his own mark on the show and he keeps a spirited dialog going and he challenges the guests to back up their positions. I enjoy working with him to the max.

Back to the blog: I don’t know if Jim really believes Smith had a great year or if he was trying to force a discussion. Either way, he did well.

So, here’s what I ask you, if you care to play this word game. Did Smith have a great year?

I say he had a serviceable year, a year in which he improved, a year in which he showed he’s an acceptable NFL quarterback, but certainly not a great one. Those are my words to describe him: serviceable, improved, acceptable. If he had a great year, he would have gotten voted into the Pro Bowl. He did not.

Please understand. I am not putting down Smith. I am trying to evaluate him in a fair way. I would like to know how you evaluate him. What words would you use?

One caution: Please do not write in and say I’m an “Alex Hater.” That is beneath the level of discussion on the Zohn. I do not hate him. And I am not trying to engender hatred. I am trying to start a spirited discussion, just like my friend Jim Kozimor did last night.

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