Back in April of 2002, the newly-formed Houston Texans selected promising young quarterback David Carr out of Fresno State. Selecting Carr was logical. The team had to make a splash and needed a player to market as the face of the franchise. In hindsight, maybe the team should have selected Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney, or maybe even Bryant McKinnie. All three players I just mentioned were picked in the first round of the 2002 Draft and have had formidable careers up to this point. But, the team would have been ridiculed by the city and countless others for passing up on the quarterback. NFL fans saw that there was really never a proper framework around David Carr in Houston to develop his skills. He had no protection from the offensive line and besides Andre Johnson, the offense lacked playmakers. Carr lasted five long seasons in Houston before making stops in Carolina and in New York with the Giants before ending up in San Francisco.
Carr’s time with the Panthers and the Giants were brief but I believe it allowed him to grow and develop. It allowed him to learn the rigors of the game and what it took to succeed. In Houston, Carr was thrown to the lions right off the bat and that hampered his ability to find out what it really took. He never had a mentor at his position. His backups during his time there were Tony Banks, Dave Ragone, and Sage Rosenfels. David Carr had almost nothing to learn from them and had no choice but to deal with the cards that were handed to him.
Now, Carr finds himself back in California in the Bay Area. Does he being closer to home mean that he will play better than he has in the past? Not necessarily. At the same time, it should not hurt him any bit. While Carr is expected to be a backup to Alex Smith, he should expect to lead the team at any moment’s notice. The 49ers are a team that are expected to make the playoffs next year and a quarterback injury to Alex Smith should not be an excuse for them failing to make it.
So, personally I expect Carr to push Smith on the field even though it is clear that Smith will be the team’s starter. Carr should not settle and just go with the flow. I know that Smith has gone through his fair share of troubles so far in his short career, but he should know that he has somebody in David Carr that he can go through when the times get rough.
David Carr is a former first round pick who will only be turning 31 in the coming days. Should Smith get injured or not perform well on the field through the first half of the season, the 49ers should feel comfortable to insert Carr and expect him to do more than just manage games.