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Don’t Lose Heart Yet,

Arizona Cardinals Fans

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Alex Smith, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. Image by Jose Martinez Paviglia and used under the terms of a Creative Commons license.
Losing Out On Alex Smith Is Not The End Of The World Since It Might Be A Better Idea To Wait For The Offensive Line And Running Game To Develop Before A Good Quarterback Gets Pummeled

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By Wayne Schutsky
Special for Modern Times Magazine

March 1, 2013 — Amidst all of the NFL combine fervor, the San Francisco 49ers shipped wayward quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a pretty nifty package, namely a high-second round pick in this year’s draft.

And, once again, the Arizona Cardinals are on the outside looking in. The Cardinals, seen by many as the other serious contender for Smith, are reported to have made an offer that was worth substantially less than their counterparts in Missouri.

So, should Cardinals fans panic? Is this a sign of business as usual for one of the more inept franchises in NFL history?

Yes and no.

The Cardinals still have no viable options at quarterback. The draft is thin and the free-agent market is nearly non-existent at the position. In that light, Arizona is in trouble.

But, on the bright side, Smith is not, and never was, an answer to the Cardinals’ problems. Sure, the team’s front office participated in the requisite inquiries and rigmarole regarding Smith’s availability. He is a better option than anyone currently on the team’s roster, so new GM Steve Keim had to do his due diligence.

However, even if the 49ers would have considered trading Smith to a division rival, and it is very unlikely that they would, Smith is not a fit in new Cards’ head coach Bruce Arians' offense.

Arians has already stated on multiple occasions that he wants a quarterback that can push the ball down field.

Smith is not that quarterback. As sports pundits remind us on a regular basis, he is a “game manager.” He does not have the arm to put it up for Larry Fitzgerald 30 to 40 yards downfield on a regular basis.

But Smith does have his merits. Over the past two years he has shown the uncanny ability to complete a high percentage of his passes and make big throws in crunch time. He also was the primary regular season quarterback on two consecutive playoff teams.

But what Cardinals fans have to remember is, Smith accomplished all of that behind the stellar 49er offensive line, with Frank Gore behind him and Jim Harbaugh in his ear.

The Cardinals offensive line, especially rookies Bobby Massie and Nate Potter, started off horribly last season before making significant strides near the end of the schedule. However, no one will confuse this group for the dominate 49er O-Line.  

The Beanie Wells-Ryan Williams-LaRod Stephens-Howling combo is not Frank Gore. Enough said.

And Bruce Arians is not Jim Harbaugh. That is not to say Arians will not be a successful coach in Arizona, I am simply pointing to the previously stated argument regarding Smith not fitting in Arian’s system.

Cardinals fans have plenty to panic about, but they should not fret about Alex Smith. They have plenty of problems, from no quarterback to breakable running backs to an increasingly tough division, to keep their fingernails freshly bitten.

Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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