Remember Steve DeBerg? He was one of the many former 49ers quarterbacks who came to Kansas City in the 1990s. He has been in the same situation Alex Smith - the veteran quarterback getting pushed by the young quarterback. He did it in San Francisco with Joe Montana and he did it in Denver with John Elway.
DeBerg was on 610 Sports with Carrington Harrison this week and talked about the dynamic of being the veteran guy with a younger player looking over your shoulder.
“I’ve been in that situation that Alex Smith is in,” DeBerg said. “Myself, I always had a great relationship with the quarterbacks that I worked with. I had a great relationship with Montana and I had a great relationship with Steve Young.
“But when Steve Young went to San Francisco, it doesn’t always work that way with everybody. Steve Young and Joe Montana hated each other. It was a lot of animosity and I’m sure it did create a problem the locker room.
“Alex Smith, he’s a class act. I think he’s going to communicate information and really help the young rookie quarterback. That’s what you hope for as a coach and as a team. That’s the best thing for the team is for the quarterbacks to get along and try to become the best that everybody can be.”
This situation could be a lot uglier. I don’t expect any of that from Alex Smith though. I actually haven’t worried about that at all. I’m sure we would be if it was someone other than Alex.
A few other notes from DeBerg’s interview:
Joe Montana didn’t play until his third year (he led the league in completion percentage and won 13 games).
I did not remember DeBerg was in Denver when Elway was:
“I was traded to Denver and I was starting QB for the Broncos and John Elway came along. Actually, John Elway started the first regular season game of his rookie year and he was horrible. They started him for the first four games of the season and he struggled and they put me in and we went 6-0 (Editor’s note: It was 4-1). I got hurt and then Elway went back in the game later in the season.”
I found this interesting on how Elway played when he came back in later that season:
“He was much better prepared. He had a chance to see how I prepared, how I used the system and all that kind of stuff. The fastest way for a quarterback to learn is to get thrown out there. Usually what happens is they struggle and then they if they have a veteran that is on the team that can then show the way how you use the system and it makes everything so much easier as a quarterback if you use the system and you’re not just looking at one guy and taking off on a run.”