Is it a little cliché to list the quarterback as the player to watch? I don't think it is, there's twenty-two players on any given team (sans special teams) that you should be looking out for and each quarterback is radically different. Some quarterbacks are radically different one week in comparison to the next. This is definitely true for Troy Smith, who lit up the St. Louis Rams en route to 356 yards on 17 completions against 28 attempts, then followed this performance up with 148 yards off of 16 completions against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A combination of a lot of things led to this change, the prevailing probability was the gameplanning; Troy Smith was told to reign it in a little bit and settle down with his perceived "gunslinging," tendencies. More accurately, Frank Gore was the entirety of the gameplan against Tampa Bay and Troy didn't get many opportunities to go deep.
If 49ers head coach Mike Singletary and offensive coordinator Mike Johnson could become obsessed with the Buccaneers 31st ranked rushing defense, perhaps they'll like their chances against the Arizona Cardinals and their 27th-ranked passing defense. They'll like Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker's chances to have big games against a struggling secondary and linebacking core. Michael Crabtree might be primed for a big game, and this all could be supported by Frank Gore, looking for redemption against the league's 28th ranked rushing defense.
The line of thinking is that Troy Smith will be out there with a lot to prove. This is likely his last chance as the 49ers starter to wow the coaches and make his case for another start, if he doesn't perform, Niners fans will likely be treated to a dose of Alex Smith (or dare it be mentioned: Nate Davis?) returning from his injury.
Troy will have every opportunity to make things happen on Monday against the Cardinals on primetime. He may be new to this rivalry between the two NFC West teams, but he won't have to look far for inspiration, won't need to search for reasons to do well and dominate the Cardinals. Arizona ranks middle-of-the-pack in takeaways, and Troy will need to be wary of that, but one has to feel that he's primed for a big game against the Cardinals. Can they contain his arm and a super-amped Vernon Davis?