AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Smith made several predictable rookie mistakes giving away plays with his eyes, lingering too long on covered receivers and making a handful of inaccurate throws in his 9-for-23 performance. He completed just one pass to a wide receiver, and his porous offensive line never allowed him to get comfortable. Smith has a 12.5 quarterback rating after his rocky debut and two previous relief appearances for Tim Rattay. The rookie has completed just 44 percent of his passes (15-of- 34) for just 108 yards while getting sacked seven times. But his debut still was better than John Elway’s first game at least according to Colts coach Tony Dungy, who coached against the Broncos in the Hall of Famer’s first game. Rookie quarterbacks are supposed to struggle, particularly when they’re just one part of a franchise makeover for a club that won only two games last year. “He will have bad days in the future,’ Nolan said. “I’d like to see him improve each week, but it would be dreaming for me to think that he’s not going to have a bad day as we go forward. I know the strengths he gives us, and I like the composure he has.’ Nolan sounded several optimistic notes on Monday a marked contrast to the aftermath of the 49ers’ first three losses in their four-game losing streak. The coach sees potential everywhere, even if fans can only see the four losses in the standings. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The ugliness was obvious, but San Francisco’s progress also is evident to the players who haven’t lost faith in coach Mike Nolan despite a 1-4 start. “I don’t think it’s bad to be frustrated or disappointed,’ Smith said. “I know the situation I’m in, and there’s a long road ahead of us. … You watch the film, and it wasn’t that bad. I did do a lot of good things. It was hard, but obviously there’s a lot to be excited about.’ SANTA CLARA — Alex Smith already knew he made plenty of mistakes in his first NFL start. While watching the film on Monday, he was surprised to see just how many errors he didn’t make. Though the No. 1 draft pick threw four interceptions and struggled throughout a 28-3 loss to Indianapolis, he could see progress between his first play a 6-yard pass to fullback Fred Beasley and his fumble on the 49ers’ final offensive snap.