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REBORN AGAIN
JIM TROTTER
October 24, 2011
A combination of experience and a simpler game plan has—finally—turned 49ers quarterback Alex Smith into a playmaker
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October 24, 2011

Reborn Again

A combination of experience and a simpler game plan has—finally—turned 49ers quarterback Alex Smith into a playmaker

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• Smith has been shaped by his life experiences, including the 2008 suicide of close friend David Edwards. Smith and wife Elizabeth also had their first child five months ago, further helping him to keep his priorities in order.

Mix these factors with the arrival of Harbaugh from Stanford, a high-energy coach with a reputation for developing quarterbacks, and you have the makings of a breakout season for Smith.

"I believe he can go out there and be what everybody thought he was going to be when he was the first pick in the draft, because he's that heavily talented," says Bucs coach Raheem Morris, whose team was burned for three TD passes thrown by Smith two weeks ago. "The last couple of years he had some situations where he wasn't protected, and there were sacks and fumbles. But quarterback is the hardest position in the league. Rich Gannon failed his first time around, too, but he started looking great by the end of his career. Different systems, different players, different coaches—that matters. And he'll get better and better as the season moves along."

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