San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith very clearly laid out his feelings after losing his starting job to second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick and being benched since the last three weeks.
"I mean, it sucks. I don’t know what else to say,” expressed Alex Smith on Thursday. “"I feel the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion.”
Alex Smith was benched in the second-quarter of the San Francisco 49ers’ 24-24 overtime tie with the St. Louis Rams after experiencing blurred vision from a concussion, despite throwing a touchdown pass on his final drive. Colin Kaepernick relieved Alex Smith in the game, and then started again the following week in a blowout 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears. Although Alex Smith was given the medical clearance ahead of last Sunday’s game, Colin Kaepernick earned his second start with the San Francisco 49ers in a 31-21 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Following his impressive first few NFL starts, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman admired Colin Kaepernick’s "natural progress" and expressed that the quarterback has a a "more efficient" throwing motion.”
Again on Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh favored Colin Kaepernick and his “hot hand” at the starting spot this week. Suddenly it looks like a long uneventful season for Alex Smith, despite leading the NFL with a 70.4 completion percentage and ranking fifth among all league quarterbacks with a 104.1 passer rating.
However, Alex Smith expressed "no resentment" towards Jim Harbaugh for his decision to start Colin Kaepernick again and stated that the coach explained his choice in a prior lengthy discussion over the issue.
"We sat down and talked. It wasn't a one-sentence thing," said Alex Smith. "He explained where he was coming from, felt it was a difficult situation but wanted to go in this direction.”
The timing of the benching comes at an especially bed time for Alex Smith, who earned his first NFC Offensive Player of the Week award just a week before the concussion. Alex Smith completed 18 of 19 passes in his last full outing, which resulted in a dominating 24-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Additionally, by the end of halftime during an 18th October game with the Seattle Seahawks Alex Smith had completed 35 of 38 for 385 yards with five touchdowns and one interception, setting dorund for a 13-6 win that night. Alex Smith claimed he’s made his case along with supporting stats to Jim Harbaugh but the coach has “made up his mind.”
"It's tough,” said Alex Smith. “You state your case with your play and I feel I've done that.”
What’s particularly eating at Alex Smith, who’s by far endured a lot coaching changes and lost his starting job several times since being drafted 1st overall in the 2005 drafts by the San Francisco 49ers is that the 8-2-1 NFC West leading team may currently boast one of their best rosters to-date and he’s missing out on it.
"It's such a great team, a great group of guys in the locker room and something special is going on here," said Alex Smith. "It's a tough pill to swallow."
Still, Alex Smith doesn’t regret revealing his concussion symptoms to the team and applauded the NFL’s recent safety measures as "a good thing." However, Alex Smith acknowledged that injuries such as concussions are increasingly becoming issues for players on losing their staring jobs.