Football fans in San Francisco are well aware of the trevails of Alex Smith.  For those of you who aren’t from San Francisco here is a brief summary.

  • 3 head coaches
  • 7 offensive coordinators
  • Separated shoulder in 2007
  • Broken bone in shoulder in 2008
  • Pay cut in 2009 (in lieu of being released)

Below is an exchange between radio hosts in San Francisco and Steve Young on the development of Alex Smith.  I always hear something worth remembering in these interviews.  Sometimes its about leadership.  Other times its about coaching.  Below are some thoughts on why Alex Smith is succeeding under Jim Harbaugh.

Click here to listen.  Its better to actually hear the exchange but I understand if you don’t have time or desire.

Young: “Alex [Smith] is successful because he has someone calling plays for him, focuses on his strengths and weaknesses.  They are not making mistakes.  Jim came in and saw the ability, saw the ember in him, and got some flame.  How good can he be?  I don’t think even Alex knows.

Host: “Last week you said you’d like to see them do what they ended up doing, which is come out and put this on Alex and see how it works out…and they did exactly that.”

Young: “I think he expanded on what happened last week.  I think he did more.  They trusted a little bit and he responded.  I think he made some throws that really mattered.  I think that they’re building on that…He made some big plays.  Alex is slowly becoming part of the reason that they’re winning.  Some people say ‘oh, he’s a manager.’  That’s 70% of the job!  That ‘s Michael Vick’s problem right now.  He’s not doing the little things.  By the end of the year I’d like to say Alex Smith is the reason why they’re winning.”

Host: “When they do get to Alex, as they have the last couple of weeks, occasionally, I’ve noticed something.  He doesn’t drop his head.  His chin doesn’t drop any more when he’s scrambling.  To me that makes me think he feels more comfortable.  The game has slowed down a bit…he seems to know the rush is coming.  I’m going to move here or here but keep my eyes downfield so I can see what I have in front of me.

Young: “He was a broken guy.  He wasn’t sure.  What Jim [Harbaugh] was saying made sense to him.  You get a guy who understands quarterbacks, game playing, organizations, it feels good…[San Francisco] is a place for quarterbacks again.”

Some other excerpts
Tom Brady: [He is] doing the simplest little things.  It was musical to me.

Tim Tebow is a great competitor.  [He] understands the big pieces of what you have to do to move the football.  Its 11 on 11.  At some level its a matter of will…In the long run, in the NFL, with the speed of the players it is astronomically faster than college, if you tell me you were going to line up and run the spread option solely you will have no chance in the NFL.