Here is the opening to my Sunday column about Alex Smith:


At 2:25 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Alex Smith had not been cleared to play Monday night against the Chicago Bears. I know this for a fact. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman conducted a news conference and said Smith had not been cleared.

Smith wore a black jersey during Saturday’s practice. Although the black jersey bears a feeling of doom, the black is merely symbolic. It means Smith’s teammates can’t whack him during drills, but players never can whack a quarterback in practice. So, the black jersey is redundant. While it may not be a negative symbol, neither is it positive. It indicates, “Injured, handle with care.” And it raises the question: Will Smith be ready to start Monday night?

FYI, Colin Kaepernick, the backup QB, wore a flaming red jersey, the full-speed-ahead, let’s-get-it-on jersey.

To read the full column click here.

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  1. Mark M

    Smith threw a stinker at the Jets as well, nicely hidden by our great defense/special teams and the mop up garbage time running yardage and points that came at the end like an NBA wipe out. It still amazes me every time I see this dude trot out to start a game in our great uniforms. There are no end to the excuses or the excuse makers.

    November 17th, 2012 9:03 pm

  2. Johnc

    If Smith has not been cleared to play as of Saturday then Harbaugh should start Kaepernick rather than risk futher injury to Smith.
    Remember Steve Young and his string of concussions? It ended his career.

    November 18th, 2012 12:41 am

  3. KezarMike

    To unseat Alex, Kaep would have to have a tremendous game, a “WOW” game, not just a good game/win (I think in that case Alex would be back the next game). Similarly, if Alex starts and loses, even having a bad game, I think he stays in. He probably keeps his job all this season, unless he has some bad games in a row.

    BUT, I do think that to stay 49ers QB for next season, he has to get the team into the Super Bowl or be lights out in a losing effort. Any other result, and the job is wide open come next training camp. Which doesn’t mean for sure that Kaep gets the job by the way. I do like Kaep a lot and am excited about his upside.

    November 18th, 2012 6:02 am

  4. Neal

    The Niners defense and special teams carried AS last year, now both are not as good as last year. AS has improved moderately,but he still is inconsistent, with all of these new weapons along with Veron Davis, going to waste. Although Greg Roman is no Holmgren or Shanahan that is for sure.

    November 18th, 2012 7:53 am

  5. Tiburon Dave

    Clearly the NFL’s concussion policy is still a joke.

    alex smith is the green shaded accountant of quarterbacks while “CK” is the gunslinger on the come line. He can run and he’s got a nice fastball but he’s also a turnover machine.

    The 49er coaching staff needs to be made to answer one question…why do they seem incapable of putting the ball in the hands of the best tight end in football?

    November 18th, 2012 9:33 am

  6. Steve

    Going into this week’s action, Smith is the third highest rated QB in the NFL and the Niners are leading their division at 6-2-1. Granted, statistics can be deceiving, but does anyone believe that Kaepernick would have the team in a better position? How many of the so-called stinkers can be tied to unimaginative game plans, lackluster defensive efforts or the coaching staff not having the team ready to play (Minnesota!)? Last year the Niners, despite an admittedly poor offensive performance, were denied a Super Bowl appearance by a no-call fumble. I, for one, am tired of the endless Smith bashing.

    November 18th, 2012 10:23 am

  7. CohnZohn

    Steve, You are right about bad game planning. Greg Roman has not shown much. But you over value Smith. I am not bashing Smith. There is nothing hot about him as a quarterback.

    November 18th, 2012 10:47 am

  8. Steve

    Lowell, I’m not saying that Smith is the second coming of – take your pick. But I don’t feel this year’s version of the Niners is making the most of their personnel and that Alex is an easy target. Let’s not forget that, because of last year’s success, the schedule is tougher and every opponent is taking their best shot at beating the Niners, so a regression, slight or otherwise, is understandable.

    November 18th, 2012 11:12 am

  9. Dennis

    Lowell, Smith isn’t going anywhere regardless of how tomorrow night’s game turns out. The chances of that happening are as good as Harbaugh telling you all about his heart procedure. You don’t unseat a tested veteran in the middle of the season. It just doesn’t happen. The only way Kaep gets to play is if Smith isn’t able to or its garbage time. I am not saying Smith is great and Kaep is bad; I am just saying you don’t replace a veteran unless you are desperate and the 49ers are not desperate.

    November 18th, 2012 12:40 pm

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