July 26, 2011
RATTO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEO
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Jim Harbaughs first act of true annoyance is about to happen, as he is asked for the third, 30th or 300th time if he is interested in Matt Hasselbeck, the newly defrocked quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks.He has repeatedly put himself in the position of defending Alex Smiths reputation against any and all detractors, since the day he got the job. Smith is his quarterback. Smith is the man for the job. Smith is all the Smith the 49ers can ever use.But his power to bend peoples minds apparently stops at the end of 4949 Centennial, because he is going to be asked about every new quarterback that hits the bricks. That means Hasselbeck, and to a lesser but still vibrating extent, Cincinnatis Carson Palmer.RELATED: Bengals won't trade Carson Palmer
Harbaugh will be placed in one of two positions -- either actively and repeatedly denying that he is interested in either of them, or look like a prevaricator on the subject of Smith. And you know how coaches react when they are caught in a fibout-of-date opinion.Poorly.
Harbaugh is no different. His M.O. at Stanford was that of the players guy who didnt really enjoy any of the give and take of the outside world. At a school that has always been publicity shyresistantdisinterested, he was the perfect fit, always willing to tell a whopper when he needed to, never reluctant to keep information to himself and always scaly when called on it.Well, this isnt Stanford, this is the 49ers, a place where the quarterback position creates an unhealthy fixation in both the paying customers and the reporters who attempt to serve them. Harbaugh has always defended Smith, even though common sense told anyone willing to listen that he would be Smiths guy until something better came along.MAIOCCO: 49ers' deal with Alex Smith 'pretty well set'
Now maybe Hasselbeck is that guy. And maybe not. If he is, Harbaugh will have to reinvent his story line on Smith. If he isnt, Harbaugh will have to re-re-re-re-repeat his defense of Smith as though his word wasnt good the first 70 or 80 times. Either way, hell get chapped at the very suggestion that he was either changing his mind on Alex Smith, or not changing his mind on Alex Smith.Either way, he cant win. He can barely break even. And the level of his irritation will help us understand the level of interest he pays to the chattering classes in TV, the Internet and the papers. We think he is very interested in all of them, and we will find out soon enough, as soon as the 10th Hasselbeckian inquiry is raised.In other words, by Wednesday mid-afternoon at the latest.