This week's second edition of our NFL Google+ hangout -- "NFL Slam with Mark and Sam," starring Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer and Mark Thompson of "Mark and Brian" radio fame -- will start at 12:30 p.m. today and cover a host of topics.
"The NFL is a business.
"Easy to say. Hard to swallow.
"Nowhere was that more evident this week than in San Francisco, where Alex Smith officially lost his starting quarterback job to Colin Kaepernick, who had filled in for him after Smith suffered a concussion last month against St. Louis.
"In the eight quarters that preceded that injury, Smith completed 32 of 35 passes for 385 yards with five touchdowns, a pass intercepted, and a passer rating of 140.2. In other words, he had more touchdowns than incomplete passes.
"Smith vented to reporters this week — as much as this good soldier vents — conceding, "It sucks, I don't know what else to say."
"But he was able to find more words.
"You state your case with your play," he said. "I feel like I've done that. I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion."
"Smith didn't lose his job, per se. It was pried from his grasp by Kaepernick, a physical specimen who was too sharp to ignore in directing wins over Chicago and New Orleans.
"Whereas Smith is very solid, doesn't make many mistakes, and puts the team in the right positions to win, Kaepernick has more mobility, an outstanding arm, and has greater potential for explosive plays. That's something the 49ers lacked last season, when they got to the doorstep of the Super Bowl before their offense ground to a halt in the NFC championship game against the New York Giants.
"NFL Slam with Mark and Sam" is usually held every Monday and Friday at 11:30 a.m. You can watch it on this blog post. If you have questions for Mark and Sam, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to get them answered live during the chat.