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Ten-Point Stance: 49ers not contenders as long as Smith dinks and dunks

by | National NFL Insider

Here at the Ten Point Stance headquarters, we don't like to put a damper on a good story. We don't like to poop on parades. But all of this Alex Smith smooching, this sudden urge to declare him as the 21st century Steve Young, is absolutely over-the-top ridiculous and driving us bonkers.

Smith is a game manager, and in today's NFL, game manager is a four-letter word. This is the harsh truth: The 49ers are managing Smith, containing him, putting him in a protective bubble of dinks and dunks, because they know that if they open up the offense like, say, the way the great teams with the elite quarterbacks do, Smith would implode like a dead star.

You're a hater, Mike. You just don't want to give Smith credit. Shut up. Go root for Tim Tebow.

No, Smith is a nice person, and a class act. He just isn't an elite quarterback and I'm not going to allow Jim Harbaugh or anyone else to bully me into believing so.

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But Mike! He was 18 of 19 against Arizona!

His passes averaged just over five yards. Five. Yards. This is not elite-ness. This is petite-ness. The 49ers are playing small ball and that can work against scrubs like the Cardinals, but the reason San Francisco has difficulty sometimes against the true elite like the Giants is because New York has a real quarterback who can sling the ball anywhere on the field with great accuracy. And the Giants allow him to.

Look at the great throwers in football. Eli Manning doesn't game manage. Drew Brees doesn't game-manage. Tom Brady? Nope. Peyton ... no manage-y game-y. The great ones are ballers. They throw it everywhere, because they have the confidence and accuracy to do it.

Mike, you're full of gobble gobble turkey.

No, this is the truth, and I'm not sure what coach Jim Harbaugh even meant by "gobble gobble turkey." There is no great thrower today that runs an offense the way Smith does. There is no great thrower in history that runs an offense the way Smith does. Not one.

This fact will bite the 49ers in the ass when the playoffs hit and San Francisco starts playing the league's better teams. You'll say the 49ers did just fine in the playoffs last year but they lost to New York in the conference title game. Close contest, sure. Freak happenings in the game, sure. But they still lost.

And the Giants spanked the 49ers' rears this season with, again, Manning tossing the ball all over the field.

The Giants' Super Bowl wins against the Patriots happened because the Giants weren't afraid. They play aggressive football in a league set up to reward aggressors, not the dink-and-dunkers.

Again, love what the 49ers have done to rebuild this franchise. Like Harbaugh a lot (even though he's sometimes a bully) and having the 49ers good again is great for the NFL.

Yet anyone that believes the 49ers can game-manage their way to a Super Bowl title, I have some gobble gobble turkey for you.

2. There has been extensive communications between teams as the trade deadline approaches. One personnel man said the trade talk has been extensive but, as usual, teams are afraid to make major deals. Unlike baseball or the NBA, pro football franchises despise trades, mainly because the salary cap makes them difficult.

There is another, more subtle reason. The ego factor among NFL personnel types is much larger than in other sports. They hate to admit mistakes and trading a player you drafted or acquired through free agency is an admission a mistake was made.

One last thing. The Carolina Panthers have fielded a number of calls about wide receiver Steve Smith (as first reported by Fox Sports). The response Carolina gave one team is interesting, with the Panthers saying that Smith remains as good as any receiver in football and -- this is really interesting -- has been the most stabilizing force in the locker room this season. Not one of. Not second or third. But the most. Period.

3. Why football players get screwed, example No. 4,128: Denver basketball player Ty Lawson will reportedly get $48 million from the Nuggets. All guaranteed. That's $30 million more in guaranteed money than Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning. No one should feel sorry for Manning -- he'll make up that cash just from Papa John's commercials alone. But day-um. Much of the league doesn't make Manning money. They're grunts, and of all the professional athletes (except maybe fighters), NFL players are the ones that deserve guaranteed money the most.

4. New Orleans player on Mike Cerullo e-mail, in which he basically offers to sell out the Saints: "More sad than anything. People in this organization considered him someone who could be trusted. We were wrong."

5. The NFL continues to review the case involving DeAngelo Hall, who last week cursed at an official and removed his helmet. Hall, basically, lost his mind. A hefty fine is definite, but a source close to the situation said there remains a solid possibility Hall will be suspended. The source also said the union has become involved, so this could get interesting.

"Looking back on it, you'd obviously change everything, you know what I mean?" Hall said in a radio interview with Washington's 106.7 The Fan. "That's kind of how it works in society. If you could go back and change things, you would. But there's nothing I can do to take that particular play back or what happened after the fact. All we can do from my point of view and from the referee's point of view, and the NFL and NFLPA, is try to figure out a solution so that problem doesn't happen again.

"It's not a system in place where ... they're the good cops and we're the criminals. It has to be an even playing field, a level playing field. If they want us to go out there and respect them, they have to do the same thing. They have to give us the same kind of respect that I feel like we've been giving them as players and as referees that ultimately control some of the calls in these games. Nobody is going out there trying to bully the referees and likewise, they shouldn't be out there trying to bully us."

The current thinking among some in the NFL (and this could change) is that Hall must be suspended since a league cannot tolerate its players abusing officials the way Hall did.

But there's another side to this. One union rep said the problem with some officials is that they think they're bigger than the game and it's not unusual for a small number of officials to actually taunt players. The source said this is what Hall wants to tell Commissioner Roger Goodell in a meeting. Again, this will be interesting.

6a. Champ of the week: Everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. Another example of resilience over tragedy.

6b. Chump of the week: hurricanes.

Tweet of the week: Absolutely awesome.

7. It looks like New York wide receiver Victor Cruz will get a new deal soon. Another smart move by an organization that continues to make an abundance of them.

8. If you think only fans and media are obsessed with Tim Tebow, you're wrong. One of the most common questions personnel people asked when speaking to them: "Think Tebow starts soon?" And yes, I do.

9. Some Eagles players don't think Andy Reid has the guts to bench Mike Vick. They are wrong.

10. And one last word, this one on Randy Moss. I've said he would blow up that 49ers locker room. So far, at least, I was dead wrong, and I don't think it will happen. I'm hearing he's been nothing but a professional. Now, that can change in an instant. Moss is incredibly difficult to decipher, but for the moment he's been a solid teammate.


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