Jan 22, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines against the New York Giants during the first quarter of the 2011 NFC Championship game at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

The Harbaugh Gamble

A few years back the Denver Broncos hired Josh McDaniel of the Patriots to be their head coach.  At the time the Broncos had one Jay Cutler as QB.  The rocket arm, multi talented Cutler was going to be the second coming in Denver, and was going to bring them back to contention.  When McDaniel arrived he had just witnessed Matt Cassell have a pretty good year in New England replacing an injured Tom Brady.  McDaniel immediately started courting Cassell to be his QB in Denver.  As in most relationships, once Cutler heard his coach wanted to date someone else…he said fine…take him…I’ll go where they want me.  Off to Chicago went Cutler, and Cassell chose Kansas City, leaving Denver and McDaniel with nothing.

Now, no one is going to mistake any Harbaugh for Josh McDaniel, Peyton Manning is more established and proven than Matt Cassell, and Alex Smith is no Jay Cutler, but the chances of losing all of them is a possibility.  Harbaugh and Alex Smith were said to have a special relationship, one built on trust and belief in each other.  It was said that that was all Alex needed was someone to believe in him, trust him, and give him his opportunity to prove himself.  Harbaugh did all of  the above and the 9ers won 13 games during the regular season and hosted the NFC Championship game last season. Now it seems like Harbaugh is willing to gamble that all away.  Alex Smith has visited the Miami Dolphins and is headed to Seattle for a visit.  Peyton Manning, it has been reported, wants to stay in the AFC for a variety of reasons, including not having to face the Giants and Eli in the playoffs.  I would suggest that San Francisco would be the place to go if you wanted to Guarantee a playoff match-up with Eli, not avoid one.  So, Here are the 49ers, 13-3 last season, with a home playoff win against the Saints, and a very well played overtime loss to the Super Bowl Champions, without a QB on their roster.

Peyton may very well choose Denver or Tennessee….Alex Smith might be so put off that he signs with Miami or Seattle, or Denver.  Matt Flynn could go to the team Smith doesn’t choose, and the 9ers could be left standing when the music stops.  I understand this might be worth the risk, but the result might be disaster for San Francisco and coach Harbaugh.  Even if Alex Smith stays the relationship will always be damaged and may break the team apart.

We will know more Monday or Tuesday as Peyton makes his decision.

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Tags: 49ers Alex Smith Broncos Denver Harbaugh Josh McDaniel Matt Cassell. Jay Cutler Matt Flynn New England Patriots Peyton Manning San Francisco Tennessee Titans

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