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Cohn: 49ers need to woo back Alex Smith

  • San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) is hugged by coach Jim Harbaugh after scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

This whole thing — who will play quarterback for the 49ers next season — is all about Jim Harbaugh. It is not about Peyton Manning, who won't be playing in San Francisco.

And it is not even about Alex Smith, who may or may not be playing in San Francisco.

It is about Harbaugh, pure and simple. And right now he gets a failing grade.

Before I get into Harbaugh's performance, let's make something perfectly clear. Now that Manning is with Denver — appears to be — Smith is the 49ers' best quarterback option. Don't delude yourself that someone else can do better than this flawed quarterback — we know all about that. Smith did, after all, take the Niners to the NFC title game.

Don't delude yourself that Josh Johnson is the answer because he played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego. Johnson is a nonentity.

And don't delude yourself that Colin Kaepernick is the answer. He is not, not at this time. He has virtually no experience in the NFL and he hasn't played a real game in two years.

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