Posted November 29, 2012

Alex Smith: Losing 49ers starting job to concussion ‘sucks’

NFL

Alex Smith suffered a concussion on a hit by the Rams’ Jo-Lonn Dunbar on Nov. 11. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Alex Smith addressed his demotion to backup quarterback with the media Thursday for the first time since 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh named Colin Kaepernick the team’s starter.

“I mean, it sucks,” Smith said. “I don’t know what else to say. “I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion.”

Smith was knocked out in the first quarter of the 49ers Nov. 11 game against the Rams, and diagnosed with a concussion. In his absence, he lost his starting job to second-year backup Kaepernick, despite producing a 19-5-1 record since Harbaugh was hired in 2011.

Smith went on to say that he does not regret telling doctors that he had blurred vision and other concussion symptoms.

“No, I’m not looking back on that — no, no.”

Does he think his demotion will cause other players to conceal concussion symptoms?

“I don’t know. It’s a good question. I’m not sure. I mean, that’s kind of the deal with all injuries. The thing with the concussions and the brain, I think we’re going to be finding out a lot more in the years to come.”


18 comments
makecash33
makecash33

Article on last years playoff game.  Strangely not one thing in the article saying Smith couldn't play or it was his fault for the loss.  It does talk about 49ers lack of receivers, Muffed punts...

 

Rapid Reaction: Giants 20, 49ers 17 OT

By Mike Sando | ESPN.com

Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' 20-17 defeat to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park: What it means: The 49ers missed a chance to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVI thanks largely to two critical miscues in the return game, both by second-year backup punt returner Kyle Williams. Their defense played heroically at times but was unable to capitalize on several opportunities to force turnovers. With the offense struggling on third down, the 49ers simply couldn't persevere. This game will haunt the 49ers for years. How many times will San Francisco get to play a 9-7 team at home for a berth in the Super Bowl?

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Williams’ indecision on a punt return cost the 49ers when the ball bounced off his knee with San Francisco holding a 14-10 lead and 11:06 remaining in the fourth quarter. Williams, subbing for injured veteran Ted Ginn Jr., couldn’t get out of the way after deciding at the last moment to bail on the return. The Giants took over at the San Francisco 28-yard line, then scored the go-ahead touchdown on third-and-15 from the 17. …

Then, after the 49ers' defense held in overtime, Williams fumbled during a punt return. The Giants recovered and kicked the winning 31-yard field goal.

 

Early in the game, the 49ers couldn’t get pressure on third down, giving Manning ample time to find open receivers and sustain drives. Manning completed eight passes for 125 yards to Victor Cruz in the first half. … San Francisco played conservatively on offense shortly before halftime, letting the clock run down and settling for predictable runs. The Giants got the ball back and scored a field goal to take a 10-7 lead heading into halftime. … The 49ers had no third-down conversions in the first three quarters. Their wide receivers were generally poor to invisible. …

 

The 49ers’ usually hard-hitting secondary struggled to get clear shots on the Giants’ receivers. That made it tougher for San Francisco to force turnovers. When the pass-rush improved in the second half, the 49ers missed an opportunity to pick off a pass when defenders collided, injuring cornerback Tarell Brown. “X” factor a no-show: Those figuring the 49ers might need receiver Michael Crabtree to step up kept waiting and waiting, without results. Giants cornerback Corey Webster shut down Crabtree. The 49ers have been thin at wide receiver without Josh Morgan (injured reserve), Braylon Edwards (released) or Ginn (inactive due to injury). Crabtree, an occasional force for the 49ers late in the regular season, did not make an impact in the passing game.

 

Interesting decision: The 49ers opted to punt on fourth-and-inches from the Giants’ 47-yard line while holding a 14-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. They were running the ball well, but their defense was also gaining the upper hand at that point in the game. Punting and playing for field position showed the 49ers thought their punting and defense could hold. The decision paid off for the 49ers when Aldon Smith’s sack helped limit the Giants to a three-and-out. But the defensive stop also precipitated Williams’ muffed punt.

 

…….

 

Coach H is coach H.  Polarizing!  Hate him or like Him, no other choice.  I think he is a jerk the way he has handled this.  Not the first time the 9ers have had controversy at QB.  Montana and Young is you are a long time 9er fan.  (Don't jump on this saying crap like Smith and Kaep are not Montana and Young. Didn't say it didn't imply it!)  Bottom line is it is the coach's decision who plays and who doesn't.  I've played and coached and mistakes are made.  I don't agree to how this was done.  I thought we had the best chance if Smith. (even with a limited play book as some would say. But that is what you do as a coach on any level if you are any good. You run the team with what you have and adjust accordingly.  Hope he made the right decision, otherwise he has just thrown Smith and Kaep under the bus. Coach H will spin it so no matter what he comes up smelling like roses.  Never liked him as a player either. He always thought he was smarter than the coach. Chicago loss to Minn when he defined Ditka.  He is playing the media for all it is worth.  His choice.. right or wrong.  But he is still a jerk!   There is no loyalty in sports for those of you wishing there were.  There is just win or lose.  You win you keep your job.  Same as at the office. Sell more keep your job.. you always here footsteps. It is up to Smith to win it back.  He needs to get some fire back and take it!  Coach H is saying all the right things to keep his backside covered.  If Kaep stumbles he will hope he hasn't damaged Smith to much and hope he will save his back side. Then he will spin it to something like .... We got 2 good QBs who are both our guys...  Most other teams would hope to have the problem we do of who do you start... Smith has the hot hand now so we will ride him ... I won't name the starter until Wed...   (even though I know now, but if I tell you now you won't interview me again this week) or I did this to get some fire into Smith so he could lead us to a SB victory!!!  He is full of it.

He will spin it to the players too…Kaep I threw you out there to get the experience you need for the future son. You know .. You remind me of me…  (Run Kaep because he is no Hall member!)  To the rest of the team he will say he did it to make everyone play harder.  We were getting soft so we needed to step up.  Alex I always knew you were our guy but you needed to get more fire in your belly.   I just wanted to show you guys we could win with either of these guys and bring together as a team. I hope this lesson was well learned and we all play with the same toughness every week. Now lets get out there and win us a SB!!!!  Oh and Akers you hurt your pelvis so if the new guys kicks a few extra point and doesn’t miss a field goal we are going to go with the hot foot, sorry guy!

jhymas25
jhymas25

I think we're a little early on saying Kaepernick is going to be able to lead the team for the rest of the year. He has played 2 full games so far. The first game against the Bears was impressive, but the Bears D had little info with which to game-plan for him. The second was against a horrible Saints D in which he was good but not great. Yes he brings different skills to the game than Smith, but Smith was almost perfect for the way this team is set up. Smith rarely turns the ball over, is good enough to keep a defense honest, and is very efficient. That type of QB works well with a dominant D and a good running game.

 

I'm not saying that Kaepernick can't do well or won't do well... I'm just saying I am not yet convinced and would like to see Harbaugh not burn bridges with Smith. 

 

I'm an Alex Smith fan. Hated seeing him struggle through so much bad coaching and change, but he finally looks like he's comfortable in the league. He'll have a starting job again soon enough, whether for the 49ers or somewhere else. (Could be a great fit for the Chiefs)

Dana2
Dana2

When and if the Kaepernick-model 49ers get knocked out of the playoffs, it will be fun watching Harbaugh melt down after the game and at the post-game presser.   Nothing against Kaepernick, he's a talented kid,

but Harbaugh just friggin rubs me the wrong way.

 

Obnoxious, arrogant, constantly throwing tantrums at the officials - a world-class jerk.

Smith needs to demand a trade during the off-season, and refuse to report if he doesn't get it.

 

MrJoe77
MrJoe77

I've been a big 49ers fan all my life, loyal to the team through ups and downs.  So I've seen Alex get drafted, I've seen him play great and I seen him play like crap.  For 7 years I've seen him go through his struggles with all different coaching changes and now he's found a coach and a system that Alex thrived on.  

After the 2010 season Alex was ready to move on, shoot I was ready to on, and start a new.  But when Jim Harbaugh took over, he personally asked Alex to come back.  He told him that he believed in him and that he would be his quarterback.

Alex goes on and has a great season and a half, took the team to NFC Championship Game, and now they're on their way to another playoff appearance, but not so fast "Alex... Um you have a concussion and you were still feeling some symptoms 8 days ago, I think you ought to sit this week as well, but you can suit up and we'll see next week." 

Colin Kaepernick has 2 very good games and Jimmy boy is saying "I'm going with the guy with the hot hand"  WTF does that mean?  Why doesn't he just stop playing these stupid mind games with people and just say Colin Kaepernick is my starter for the rest of the season.  

I like Kaepernick and he seems like a very good and smart kid and I believe that he is the future of this team, but I don't understand the decision to start him now, if it was earlier in the season and Alex was stinking up the place then I would be all for it, but that is not the case. Alex is playing great and he's gotten the team this far and for someone that claims that he believes in Alex, takes it away from him and for someone else to claim the glory if they win it all... is just B.S. 

I don't understand the reason why they resigned Alex, if Jim knew all along that Colin Kaepernick is the future of the team.  Alex has been through some tough times with this team but he been loyal to the 49ers and for the team to treat him like this. I know that this a business but still doesn't make it right.

I believe Alex deserves to finish this season as the starting quarterback and then in the off season they want to with Colin and part ways with Alex, then so be it.   Go Niners... 

 

MichaelHuff
MichaelHuff

I was loving the Alex Smith redemption story, and I'm convinced it would have played all the way out to a Super Bowl victory.  Would've been a great story.  Harbaugh prematurely ended it.  It was an inspiring story, but Harbaugh--for all his passion--is not a sentimental guy.  But we'll win the SB with Kap too.  Whoever the 49er QB is, they'll ride this big machine (best D in the league, best running attack in the league) to a Super Bowl victory, and--as is always the case with QBs--will get ridiculously disproportionate credit.

thepumpkinking1992
thepumpkinking1992

It's unfortunate that he lost his job this way.  Alex Smith is an efficient quarterback, only a fool would question it.

57chamorro
57chamorro

I feel for Alex.  However, after 7 years, should've at least produced an NFC Championship.  It certainly sucks too when we face a team like the Giants and don't carry the same confidence as when Joe or Steve were playing.  I'm sorry but I really think the young gun should have the same opportunity at taking this team all the way.

jhymas25
jhymas25

 @Dana2 Haha and then all the fans will be calling Smith the world-class jerk. Sad how that works out.

southaustin
southaustin

 @MrJoe77 Alex Smith suddenly became "good" because they limited the playbook to plays where he can get rid of the ball quickly and avoid pressure. The fact is that Alex Smith does not throw the deep ball consistently and more importantly because those deep throw plays take longer to develop they expose his glaring flaws because history shows that he panics under pressure and makes bad decisions. Dinking and dunking when you have a great D and great running game does not make a great QB. The Houston Texans won in the playoffs last year with their 3rd string QB using the same formula that the 49ers use to hide Alex's shortcomings. Bottom line is that like the Texans 3rd string QB, Smith is just a good game manager.  The  league has changed, it's no accident that the last team to win a SuperBowl without an elite QB (Tampa Bay) was 10 years ago. The 49ers have a great opportunity to go all the way but they won't be able to compete against the Giants pass rush and with Eli Manning throwing 50yd bombs to Victor Cruz in the playoffs with Alex Smith as their signal caller. Harbaugh knows this and that's why he went after Peyton Manning and that's why they traded up to get Colin K. By benching Alex Smith now, Harbaugh is actually doing him a favor. He could have thrown Alex out there with an expanded  playbook that would have exposed his glaring weaknesses and ultimately lowered his perceived market value.   As it is now Alex's market value is much higher than it really should be because of Harbaugh's manipulation of the playbook to hide Alex's warts.

southaustin
southaustin

 @MichaelHuff It's not redemption. It's smoke and mirrors. They simply limited the playbook to plays where Alex Smith gets rids of  the ball quickly and relied on their D and running game. This won't get it done in the playoffs especially against teams that are capable of big plays (like the  Giants).

MichaelHuff
MichaelHuff

 @thepumpkinking1992

 Very, very similar to Bob Griese, but that's not at all fashionable these days.  (I blame Fantasy Football!)

syndromezed
syndromezed

 @57chamorro I don't know what game you were watching last year, but the "lack of confidence" that cost SF the game had nothing to do with Smith, it was inexplicably coming from Harbaugh and showing up in a series of bizarrely passive play calls that resulted in what the sports announcers call "taking your foot off the gas".

 

Kaepernick will get his chance, but I don't agree that Smith should lose his starting job because of an injury any more than a woman who goes on maternity leave should lose hers.  Just because Smith was slow to get going doesn't mean he's not playing at a high enough level to keep starting.  Drew Brees spent his first 4 (or 5) years here in SD as a slightly-better-than-average QB, then exploded into "DREW BREES, Super Bowl Champion -ion -on -on".   QB's don't play in a vacuum any more than the rest of the team, and a good QB coach or head coach can do wonders for any of them...look what happened to Cassel when he left Beli and the Pats, or Brees when he found Sean Payton.  Smith worked under a series of bad coaches for most of those 7 years, so it's no surprise he never could make any progress.  I loved Singletary the player, but Coach Singletary just didn't go too well, and he was the best one of the lot during Smith's tenure until Harbaugh-West came along.

 

Smith deserves better, even though the SI guys are saying it's been to the coach's advantage to make this kind of switch in the past.  And I feel for him too, since I just got notice my job is ending at the year's end too.  But as someone who studies brains for a living, I can say that Alex made the right choice by a mile - he'll gain a lot of decent years later on in exchange for a sucky few months.

Dana2
Dana2

 @jhymas25   And Smith will get a big payday from his new team, while Harbaugh gets laughed at.

Funny how that works out, eh dummy?

jhymas25
jhymas25

 @MichaelHuff  @thepumpkinking1992 Everyone expects all the teams to have a QB on the level of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, etc. That is just not realistic. Fans need to be satisfied with a good QB on a contending team and not expect a HOF, huge stats type.

57chamorro
57chamorro

 @syndromezed

 Nothing to do with Smith?  Really?  Did we watch the same NFC Championship Game last year?  May I ask how many recievers caught a pass and how many total yards they made?  May I also ask how many third downs were converted?  Me thinks your memory is what you should worry about more than what you think Alex deserves.  The team has been extremely competitive since the arrival of Mr. Harbaugh.  What happened is performance based and it appears Colin was able to do certain things that Alex couldn't.  I'm sure even you can agree with this.  Nothing wrong with Alex except that there is another player on the team with the same potential.  And when this is evident, you must state your case on the field.

jhymas25
jhymas25

 @southaustin  @jhymas25  @MichaelHuff I think you have a broader view of elite than I do. I do not think that either Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning are elite QB's of this generation. I know that may not be a popular opinion just now. Their Superbowl runs relied on a staunch defensive effort and QB efficiency, not prolific stats from the QB.

 

I'm not saying that you can win a Superbowl with Arizona-type QB play, but I think with a good defense and running game, a team can win with an efficient but not elite QB.

southaustin
southaustin

 @jhymas25  @MichaelHuff  It's been 10 years since a non elite QB won a SB. That's no accident.  Being satisfied with a  non elite QB means being satisfied  with not winning the SB

MichaelHuff
MichaelHuff

 @57chamorro  @syndromezed

The problem in that game (and all that season--in spite of 13-3), was that we had the weakest WR corps in the NFL.  It was glaring, and Harbaugh and Baalke recognized that and addressed it in the off-season.  Brees, Brady, P. Manning--none of them would have done much better with that group.  We were 13-3 because we had the best D, the best running game, great special teams, and--for the first time in years--good coaching.  It's fashionable to give all blame and all credit to QBs, but just because everyone does it doesn't mean it's not stupid.