Alex Smith and Michael Vick sustained concussions on the same day, November 11. Smith’s came in the first half against the Rams following a hard hit by linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar; Vick’s in the first half against the Cowboys after being thrown down by linebacker Ernie Sims.
Neither has seen the field since. Vick because he has yet to get medical clearance, Smith because head coach Jim Harbaugh has decided to roll the bones with second-year signal-caller Colin Kaepernick.
“I mean, it sucks,” Smith said. “I don’t know what else to say.
“You state your case with your play, and I felt I did that. I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion.”
Through nine games, Smith was completing a career-best 70 percent of his throws while averaging a career high in yards per attempt (8.0). The 49ers were 6-2-1 with him as the starter.
Last season, San Francisco went 13-3 and advanced to the NFC Championship game, where they lost to the Giants 20-17 in overtime following a special teams fumble. Smith completed just 53 percent of his throws in two postseason games last season but threw five touchdowns to no interceptions and also had a memorable rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Saints in a divisional-round victory.
Including those two playoff outings, Smith has thrown 35 touchdowns to 10 interceptions over the last two seasons. Not coincidentally, both seasons have been played under Harbaugh.
The knock against the 28-year-old is that he is an unspectacular game-manager who is a product of both the system he plays in and the beneficiary of a stout defense and effective ground game. His supporters will point to the playoff game against the Saints in particular as evidence that he is able to lead the charge when called upon.
Smith signed a three-year, $24 million deal this offseason and is slated to make around $8 million next year. If he continues to sit on the bench, chances are he will ask out of San Francisco. Philadelphia could be a logical landing spot, depending on how the front office and the head coach are looking at things.
The Eagles have the ability to get out of Vick’s hefty contract if they cut ties this offseason. But then what are they left with? Nick Foles could be the answer but has not shown that he is as of yet. Do you keep Vick (perhaps convincing him to restructure his contract), put your faith in Foles or go with a third option via the draft, free agency or trade?
With no clear-cut stud in the draft and the free-agent market pretty barren, going the trade route makes sense. And if you believe the Eagles should rely on a ground-and-pound, turnover-light offensive philosophy as they transition into a new era, then Smith could be an attractive option.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.