Smith has been 49ers' QB for all seasons


Smith has been 49ers' QB for all seasons

There's not much more that could be expected from unsigned quarterback Alex Smith during this work stoppage. He is living up to expectations in March, April, May and June. And none of it will matter one bit unless he also plays well and leads the 49ers to some victories in September, October, November and, June 13SAN FRANCISCO -- When the above paragraph was written at the conclusion of Camp Alex, the idea of the 49ers winning games in January seemed a bit far-fetched.And, now, the same team that went 6-10 a year ago -- and seemingly had no opportunity to get better during a lost offseason -- is just one victory away from extending their improbable run into February, too.Back in those summer months, quarterback Alex Smith did everything in his power to give himself and his teammates a chance to succeed this season.He had no intention of returning to the 49ers after his contract expired. But after spending considerable time with new coach Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff, Smith reconsidered.

When the lockout lifted for one day in late April because of a court order, Smith spent all day at the 49ers' team offices gathering material about the team's offense. He did that despite being unsigned.After studying all that material for a month, Smith held two weeks of seminars at San Jose State for his offensive teammates in which he taught an introductory course in the new offense."It was like the first coat of paint, the primer," Smith said.Nobody could've expected seven months later that the 49ers would be playing host to the NFC Championship Game on Sunday against the New York Giants at Candlestick Park. The winner earns a trip to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis to face the winner of the AFC Championship, either Baltimore or New England.Smith was, without question, the perfect quarterback for Harbaugh in those months of the lockout. And he hasn't been too shabby during the season, either.He posted career-best numbers in every statistical category. Under his direction, the 49ers' passing game was efficient but certainly not prolific.Giants coach Tom Coughlin offered praise of Smith in November, saying he was doing a good job of managing games. New York defensive lineman Justin Tuck said all the 49ers ask of Smith is not to lose the game.Then, the 49ers defeated the Giants 27-20, and Smith was asked about the labels."I just saw the one that I got called a manager or whatever, and this and that," Smith said. "I could really care less, honestly. That is the honest truth. It feels good to be 8-1. I managed myself into a victory that's all I could care about."With Smith throwing just five interceptions during the regular season, the 49ers tied an NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season with 10.Through it all, it was reasonable to wonder if the 49ers could keep pace with a high-scoring team once the playoffs began. Smith provided that answer in the divisional round against the New Orleans Saints.Smith became the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to two go-ahead touchdowns in the three minutes of a playoff game. His 14-yard dart to tight end Vernon Davis in the end zone provided the 49ers with a 36-32 victory over the Saints.Suddenly, Alex Smith is looking as comfortable in the most pressure situations as he appeared during the low-key workouts at San Jose State in the summer.Smith and his teammates appeared unusually calm during the week of the championship game."I think all the guys feel better this week even more than last week," he said. "The bye week and the first playoff game there was maybe a little more anxiety than this week. I feel like this week, obviously guys know the stakes are high, but we're a little more back in the routine of things."

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.

Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.

“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”

Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.

Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.

Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.

”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”

The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.

“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.

“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.