Sometimes it takes a while for head coach and quarterback to come into alignment.
Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith clicked right away in San Francisco. Smith has become an extension of the coaching staff, as reflected the way he manages risks.
Smith has zero interceptions in his past 253 attempts, counting playoffs. That is the NFL's longest active streak.
Elsewhere in the NFC West, Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is still working with John Skelton and Kevin Kolb to minimize turnovers. Coaches and quarterbacks in Seattle and St. Louis are just getting started together.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson appeared tentative at times in his first regular-season start Sunday. The Cardinals' defense was one factor with its frequent pressure. I also wondered how coach Pete Carroll's emphasis on ball security, typically heightened for defensive-minded head coaches, might affect Wilson. Two years ago, Carroll and then-starter Matt Hasselbeck needed about half the season to strike a balance.
That balance has already been struck in San Francisco.
Consider this note from ESPN Stats & Information: "Including the postseason, Smith has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions over his last eight games. Prior to his current streak, Smith had never gone more than three consecutive games without throwing an interception. The eight consecutive starts without an interception are two more than the previous franchise record held by Steve Young and John Brodie."