More on the Nolan/Smith Fiasco

Let’s clarify a few points of emphasis here on the Nolan/Smith situation from earlier this week:

1) We do not have any allegiance to Alex Smith. Most of us feel that he has been largely disappointing. If we could get a better quarterback then I’m sure most of us would go for that idea.

2) However, any player deserves their fair shot. Has Alex Smith had that shot? With 3 offensive coordinators, one of whom shouldn’t even be coaching in the NFL in any aspect whatsoever (Hostler) in 3 years, and a carousel of WR hopefuls (none of which have really panned out) the answer would be a no. And who deserves the blame for that? The man in charge of drafting Smith…Mike Nolan. When you stand there and declare this man as the face of your franchise, we assume that you have a plan and an ability to develop that player. But what has Mike Nolan done with Smith in the past 3 years? He has just delegated Alex Smith to an offensive coordinator, never really showing any substantial plan to develop Smith on Nolan’s terms in case you know…those offensive coordinators don’t pan out or leave all of a sudden (Which, by golly, happens in the NFL!)

3) However Smith handled himself or made himself out to be by going to the media, the fact still remains that there was/is a huge communication breakdown between Nolan and his star player. If Nolan did not know that Smith was legitimately hurt, then he has to be more inept than even we give him credit for because you can see through that regardless of medical clearances or what the player himself is going to say. Julian Peterson even commented that he could tell that Alex Smith shouldn’t be out there. And yet again, in another show of arrogance, Nolan simply said “Well if Julian was a doctor maybe I’d value his opinion.”

 HELLO, Alex IS a young player after all. The last thing he wants is to be perceived as “weak” so he will go out there and play until he realizes that he can’t. That’s what most NFL players do. And with news of Smith being undermined by Nolan, that notion that Smith must prove himself only grows. So we’re not surprised that Alex suggested he’s ready to go a week in advance. But a coach also needs to step in and make that assessment. And it’s fine to try it for one week, but Smith was playing hurt for a lot longer than that. With every week and every bad performance mounting, he probably did cave in and tell the truth — that he was hurt. But to undermine your player and make comments suggesting that he isn’t tough as a response to that isn’t something a coach should do, regardless.

4) Nobody is assuming that a coach cannot talk down to his player. There are moments where that happens and it is necessary to take the hard line. But alienating a player and undermining that player in snide ways is unacceptable and unprofessional. Period. Especially when that player hasn’t really done anything wrong except try to work his way back from an injury thus proving the whole notion of “Alex Smith is not tough” to be false. This is the quarterback who endured one of the worst offensive lines in 2005 and took a beating, with virtually no help on offense for 2 years, and still played.

5) Again, Nolan and Smith are attached at the hip. The fact that there is friction between the so called “New Genius” and his “Boy Wonder” further suggests that that rosey picture most 49er fans had envisioned when Nolan took over for the Donahue/Erickson debacle isn’t so nice anymore. Players usually go to the media and speak about locker room type issues when they don’t have other outlets within the locker room. Nobody really knows what is going down behind those walls in Santa Clara, but it isn’t good. And in light of all of the negativity against Nolan, it only seems reasonable that if Nolan managed to tick off his “face of the franchise” and was so incompetent that he could not realize that a player was legitimately hurt and just trying to force himself out there, then that further demonstrates why the man must be replaced.

And once again, we at FireNolan simply ask this question: If a player is hurt, how does the head coach not see that? It is the head coaches responsibility to talk to his players and get a feel for what they are and aren’t capable of. Yes, you can skirt medical reports in the NFL. You can shoot up players with pain injections and allow them to play. But if other players on the opposing field can sense that a player shouldn’t play then shouldn’t the head coach of his own team realize that “Well hey, this guy is woefully ineffective and wincing after every throw, maybe he’s too hurt to play?” Instead, after a few valiant but failed Alex Smith efforts, Nolan turned to the media and made suggestions that Derek Smith and other players are hurt and could play with injuries so Alex should too. Now Alex Smith is out for the year with season ending surgery…

One Response to “More on the Nolan/Smith Fiasco”

  1. let them both go

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