The San Francisco 49ers were arguably one wide receiver away from advancing to the Super Bowl in 2012, so the organization added Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and rookie A.J. Jenkins.
However, giving quarterback Alex Smith more weapons is not going to turn him in to something he simply is not — especially if his head coach is still Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh was not helpful in confirming Smith’s presumed new role as a quarterback that will throw at will now that he has more weapons with greater ability.
Harbaugh called Smith an “expert in this offense” last month, after a season in which the overall consensus suggested that Smith was simply managing the 49ers’ offense to a 13-3 record.
As long as Harbaugh is head coach of the 49ers, Smith will never have free rein to throw the ball at will or control the game anywhere near the status of a Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers.
Harbaugh is controlling, but he is controlling this 49ers team into a position where they can be competitive for years.
Until that situation changes, Smith will continue to be limited.
Even 49ers legend Jerry Rice voiced his opinion on the depth of Smith’s quarterback status to USA Today.
“I seriously think they got to take the diaper off this guy and let him play,” said Rice. “Let him be a grown man.”
The reality of it is that is not the way Harbaugh’s coaching style works, and it will never change.
He needs his input on everything, limiting Smith at times and letting him go when the situation permits.
We saw it in the final minutes of the 49ers/Saints playoff game last season.
But those thinking that now with the additions of Moss, Manningham, Jenkins and LaMichael James that Smith will now be able to have the freedom he never had the opportunity to use are sorely mistaken.
As much as the roster has changed for the better, Smith’s role on this team has not.
Managing the game is simply what Harbaugh wants and needs — anything more would not be Harbaugh’s way.