Wilcots: Familiarity will benefit 49ers’ Smith

To many observers, it’s a make-or-break season for 49ers QB Alex Smith.

When NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche broke out his list earlier this week of players who will be feeling the heat this season, it started with Smith, who appears to finally have things going his way: a strong finish to last season, a second season in the same system under offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, an improved offensive line with first-round draft picks Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis, and rising skill position stars in Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree.

There’s a lot to like, but also a lot of eyes on Smith. NFL Network analysts Solomon Wilcots and Rod Woodson broke down the outlook for Smith with Rich Eisen Tuesday on NFL Total Access.

“I think this should be the year for Alex where he’s understanding it all,” Woodson said. “He has the same coordinator for the first time since he’s been with the 49ers. I think he’ll have a pretty good year.”

Added Wilcots: “I think it’s huge that for the first time in his NFL career, he has the same offensive coordinator for the second consecutive year. He’s out there with some sense of familiarity, where he knows what to expect. That’s everything for a quarterback. He’s going to be surrounded by the best talent, I think, since he’s been there.”

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