Originally posted on Shutdown Corner  |  Last updated 10/31/11
Quarterback Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers has finally seen enough of the light after a disappointing start to his career to be among the top half of quarterbacks in the NFL. That's great for Smith and for first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, who rolled the dice on his own ability to help Smith become an above-average pro quarterback. What Smith has been missing is elite and efficient targets in the passing game — while he ranks 17th among qualifying quarterbacks in Football Outsiders' metrics, no 49ers receiver ranks higher than 75th, and that's where supposed someday franchise receiver Michael Crabtree stands.  At least tight end Vernon Davis is in the top 10 at his position! So, as a result, Smith and Harbaugh have had to adopt, adapt, and improve. Against the Browns, the 49ers used a couple of different targets to help facilitate a 20-10 win. In the first quarter, there was this pass to left tackle (an former Central Michigan tight end) Joe Staley: Nice play call there! R...
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