Baalke: QB play will help determine NFC West

INDIANAPOLIS — As the combine’s opening day unfolds within the media center, quarterback talk has become an early theme.

Among the teams with more questions than answers at quarterback is the 49ers. While the window appears open for Alex Smith to return, general manager Trent Baalke reiterated the organization’s public stance to “look at every option” in free agency, the draft and trades to find a solution.

Baalke told reporters he’s comfortable leaning on new coach Jim Harbaugh‘s experience in evaluating quarterbacks, and when it comes to the unsettled situations at the position throughout the NFC West (outside of St. Louis), the teams who can best find a solution will be at an advantage.

“I think it’s proven this is a quarterback-driven league, and you need a guy to function at that position to be successful,” Baalke said. “With that in mind, I think whoever does the better job of answering that question and solidifying that position on their team is at an advantage. I think it’s going to come down to who can do that and who can surround (the quarterback) with the best possible personnel.”

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