Thank You, Alex Smith

December 13th, 2008
Its difficult to argue that the best development of the Bucs this season was the emergence of wide receiver Antonio Bryant.

It's difficult dispute that the best development for the Bucs this season is the emergence of WR Antonio Bryant.

Clearly one of the bright spots of the season, no matter how it ends for the Bucs, is the emergence of wide receiver Antonio Bryant into an elite NFL player. Bryant, who has a checkered history in the NFL, last played in San Francisco where he was paired with one of the greatest NFL draft busts in recent years, quarterback Alex Smith.

Partially, the 49ers and coach Mike Nolan cut Bryant because of Bryant’s inability to mesh with Smith, as Sean Jensen of Yahoo! Sports writes.

Bryant says Smith operated under a different set of rules and that he was slow to pick up the 49ers offense.

“You go to practice, and you go over something over and over again,” Bryant says. “When are you going to figure this out?”

Then-49ers coach Mike Nolan says he mishandled his receiver and regretted the team’s decision to release him.

“He was the best receiver we had in San Francisco, in the time I was here,” says Nolan, fired by the 49ers in October. “Looking back on it, I actually made a mistake in letting him go. I think I put too much blame on Antonio, as far as his relationship with the quarterback.

“As it turns out, it was not all his doing. I blamed him for more than he should have been blamed for. There’s no question he was making more effort than I was made aware of. I truly regret that.”

Bryant was no angel prior to coming to the Bucs and whether he would even make the team was very much up in the air during the preseason. Thankfully, Bryant proved he was more than capable.

Joe’s not sure if the Bucs would be in the playoff hunt without Bryant.

Of course,  who can forget this catch:

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