Originally Posted by thePhoenix
Let me give you guys some insight on Alex from someone who has watched every snap he has taken in his career since I haven't missed a snap of a 49ers game since 1990.
First Ill say that Alex is a far better option than Montana at the end of his career, or Bono or Grbac. Montana had already lost the just adequate arm strength he had in his prime due to the elbow injuries. Bono was always just a middle of the pack QB and Grbac was never a legitimate starter to begin with he had great deep touch but that was it.
If you want to Compare a former 49ers to Chiefs QB It would have to be Steve Deberg (even though I think Smiths ability is much greater) Deberg was a young QB with the 9ers but was ushered out of town because in Bill Walshs own words he wanted Joe to take Control of the team and that couldnt happen as long as there was another young talented QB with more exp on the roster. Bill just wanted his guy in there. The story came out this week that Jim Harbaugh told his father that Kaep was his favorite player in that draft..... He was going to get His guy in no matter what. It has nothing to Do with Smiths ability It was about Kaeps super ability and the prize pupil of a QB guru who wants to change the NFL. personally I think Smith play and the fact that the 9ers were looking like superbowl favorites only pushed him to make the switch earlier before management and the fan base wouldnt let him anymore.
The Physical comparisons between Cassel and Smith are not even in the same ball park. There is this thought that is being spread around that Alex has a noodle arm which is totally false. I think it mainly comes from the fact that people hear he is a Game manager (also completely false but ill get to that later) and he was replaced by a QB with a stronger arm. The fact is that Kaep has John Elway, Brett Favre type arm strength and just because Alex doesn't throw as hard as that doesn't mean he has a weak arm. Id venture to say its still in the top 1/3 of the NFL. Where as Cassel is easily in the bottom 1/3. As far as running ability goes just watch the two play and you will see a vast difference. Arm strength in general to me is the most overrated aspect of QB play, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady,and Steve Young off the top of my head all just have or had Adequate arm strength. The catch here though is that even though in real life accuracy and smarts are more important than arm strength there is a minimum threshold to truly be effective, you have to be able to throw skinny posts and deep out patterns to keep the defense honest. I believe that Smith is some distance above that threshold (Scouts agree with me thus the 1st round selection) also he makes thees throws on a consistant basis and Cassel is below it. He just cant make every throw that needs to be made consistantly and so he must be protected by the scheme. Ill also mention that Smith is considered to be one of the smartest and most accurate QBs in the NFL Cassel is at least not nearly as accurate.
Just briefly another Smith myth is that his small hands are troublesome and the cause for so many fumbles the media got hold of this and ran with it (tony kornheiser to this day still call him ol small hands) when the truth is this his hands measure at 9.375 inches which is pretty average for an NFL QB and Colin Kaepernick for instance is smaller at 9.25. Since the early part of his career he has learned how to take care of the ball not only when throwing but also in the pocket he has been pretty amazing at not fumbling in the last 4 years for instance he has been sacked 115 times ( the 9ers O-line is all world at run blocking but just average at best pass blocking) and has only fumbled 17 times! thats thats not lost fumbles its all fumbles including in flubbed QB center exchanges. Harbaugh even commented on it several times how remarkable it is that he has such a grip on the ball in the pocket and how even when defenders get their hand right on the ball they cant rip it away.
Everyone knows that Smith didnt exactly have the best circumstances early in his career but most fail to see the extent of those
2005 His Rookie season He is 21 years old and the youngest to ever play QB in the NFL due to the fact that he graduated with an Econ degree in just 2 years. Because he already had his degree the NFL waived their normal rule that a player must be at least 3 years removed from their HS class to enter the draft. The best WRs on the team were Brandon LLoyd (5 years before he ever did anything decent in the league) and Anaz Battle lol. As far as the OC it was McCarthy who is obviously very good but Alex had him at the wrong time in his career. when you consider he was trying to learn a very complex offense when he had never taken a snap under center in college playing exclusively in the spread for Myers Utes. The result a Rate of 40.8.......gag..... obviously terrible people are already calling him a bust he should have never played this season, but there's pressure to play your #1 overall pick no matter the situation.
2006 McCarthy got the Packers job and the 9ers made a good hire in Turner he isnt a QB guru like someone on this forum stated he is more of a RB guru if anything but he is one of the worlds best play callers none the less. Alex had to start over learning NFL offense because turner runs coryell system compared to the WCO system McCarthy does totally different style and all new terminology. But by the end of the season Alex was showing lots of progress Turner bragged about him constantly and a couple times called him the best deep ball thrower he has ever worked with. Many were predicting big things for him in the future. His top WRs for the 06 year were Antonio Bryant and Anaz Battle lol. the result a rate of 74.8 considering what he had to work with and how much he had to learn and how he played near the end of the season it was pretty successful
2007 The first year of big expectations Pundits everywhere were picking the 9ers to have a big season Norv turner left to coach SD "Go ****your self San Diego"-Ron Burgandy and Mike Nolan made the decision that imo killed his job when he hired Jim Hostler as the OC he was the worst OC I had ever seen. He really hadnt a clue how to call a game or even how to layer routes in the passing game. Every play was all deep or all short and the next time that "hot routes" will be introduced while Alex is QB is when Harbaugh is hired. In 07 season 4 different QBs play none of them break 250 pass yards the high water mark is 237 yard in an OT win vs the Cards. 14of17 games they failed to reach even 200 yards passing and 4 times they failed to reach 100 yards passing
The big story this season though is the shoulder injury. On the third play from scrimmage in the 4th game Rocky Bernard sacks Alex and Alex suffers a grade 3 separation of his shoulder he sits out the rest of this game and the next two games. The 9ers with their new high expectations are suddenly now 2-4 and Nolan pulls the ultimate weasel cop out job ever and blames his injured QB for their piss poor record saying in the media in different words that Alex wasnt tough enough, and called his leadership into question Alex still being young and the opposite of a me first player tried to play the next 4 games with a severely separated throwing shoulder. His gift of accuracy was totally wiped out. He was terrible and understandably so, they lost all four games and at that time the season was lost at 2-8 so the team and Alex finally decided to shut it down for the season. He has surgery on the shoulder and the Bust label was cemented in most fans eyes during this disappointing season its just too bad that more fans dont look beyond the surface. The best WRs in the 07 season were Arnaz Battle who led the team with 600 yards and Darrell Jackson both of whom would have struggled to be a WR4 on another team. They combined for 548 yards for the rest of their career lol the result a rate of 57.2 The combination of terrible coaching, terrible WR talent and a severely separated shoulder explain his terrible season and this 07 and his rookie 05 season are why its silly to compare his career stats vs other QBs
2008 Nolan realized he need an actual NFL Offense so he hires Mike Martz which was a pretty good move IMO considering Nolan new nothing about Offense and left it up to Martz. In training camp there is a there is a 3 way battle for the top spot JT O Sullivan wins it further cementing the bust label. Most fans thought this was because Alex wasnt talented enough or that JTO won the competition because of his knowledge of the Martz system, but Martz has said since then in interviews that he could tell that Alex still wasnt healthy and not as accurate as he needed to be, and that he wished he could have had a healthy Alex to work with. Smith had surgery a second time on his shoulder before the season and sits out the entire year rehabbing. The team under achieves drastically again and Nolan is fired Singletary takes over and decides that he wants to run an exclusively smash mouth offense. He doesnt want to hear from Martz about needing a QB that can make all the throws because he was going to roll with Hill. Hill was 5-3 after taking over like that was a great accomplishment, so he cans Martz.
2009 9er fans are stuck again with a HC that knows absolutely nothing about offense and he is the one selecting the OC (sigh) HE hires Jimmy Raye who started coaching when players still wore leather helmets. Sing Interviewed many qualified candidates including Linehan, Chudzinski, and Hue Jackson but they all literally ran out of the building when sing told them that their plan was to run power as our 1st 2nd and 3rd option and they only pass if they need to. Raye was too old and feeble to get away so he had to take the job. Linehan even took the same job with the lowly ( at the time ) lions after turning down Sing. The offense under Raye was very predictable and very out dated, the passing routes were from another era, very simple and unimaginative. and they tried to run power on virtually every play even with a light OL. After starting the season 3-3 Raye was able to convince Sing that a QB with a stronger arm than Hill was needed to loosen up the D for the run game. So Alex was reinserted into the starting line up. SF fans were beside themselves saying they couldnt believe the great bust was getting another chance. And Im thinking what chance exactly did he have before to be successful? his second season when he played reasonably well? The top WRs for the 09 season are the rookie Michael Crabtree who led the WRs with 625 yards despite having no training camp or preseason and holding out for the first 5 games. Its unlikely that they even got toplay catch many time together before they were in the games together. And Joshua Morgan who was a WR4 this year in Was. The result a rate of 81.5 a nice improvement and pretty decent considering the lack of overall talent to throw to and the fact he had to shake off nearly two years of rust after 2 shoulder surgeries.
2010 expectations part duex. Again the 9ers are supposed to be a pretty competitive team and challenge fo a playoff spot. there is even some renewed hope in Alex by the skeptical fans. For the first time in his career Alex will not have to learn a new offense in the off season because SF will have the same OC. Its just too bad that OC was an ancient man running an ancient scheme backed by a HC that has an ancient ideal of Offense. Raye makes it only thru the 3rd game of the season before he is fired and former QB coach Mike Johnson is hired to take his place. after Raye was fired there were reports that surfaced from players that opposing defenders would literally repeatedly call out every play the offense had called and this happened on several occasions. Also it was said by anyone that watched the game film that literally 90% or better of the 9er run plays followed right behind rookie G Mike Iupati. There was also an issue during this season with an injury to Smiths non throwing shoulder allowing Troy Smith playing time. When the backup QB came in and had a couple big games on teams with no film against him by chucking wounded ducks deep all over the field Sing wasnt Knowledgeable enough to realize that wasnt sustainable and it took 6 games for Sing to have enough of that ridiculous experiment. Had Alex started some of those games its the feeling of many that that the 9ers would have made the playoffs that year and Sing could have kept his job ( thank god he didnt) when Alex did finally get his job back and Johnson had some time to form a real offensive plan of attack it was then contrary to popular belief that his play and stats started going thru the roof. For the first time since he was a 22 year old second year QB there was some talent and a real offensive philosophy around him.
2011 at the end of the 2010 season Alex was a free agent and after the way he had been disrespected by fans and management he literally laughed at a reporter that asked him if he would consider coming back, not being snarky just really amused someone would ask him that question. then Jim Harbaugh was hired Jim didnt have a QB on the roster and he viewed Alex as the best option of all the available talent Harbaugh pushed hard and was able to convince Alex to stay because deep down he wanted to be successful here and show everyone what he could be. They gave him a play book during the lock out and even though he wasnt under contract he personally reached out to the whole team and organized/conducted what the media called camp Alex. He had an excellent season the result a rate of 90.7 which is even more impressive because he yet again still didnt have top notch WR talent Crabtree is a borderline 1 but the niners second most yards by a WR was Kyle Williams with 241 still somehow he managed a shoot out victory vs the saints in the playoffs. Some critics like to point out that he didnt have a big game against the Giants but if you watch that game you know it was a windy miserable mess and Eli who gets credit for winning didnt play that much better and he had 3 fantastic WRs when Alex had Brett Swain as a starter lol.
2012 It begins with Peytongate When I think back on it now I wonder if the fact that Peyton could easily be ushered out even from a successful team because of his age when Kaep was ready had much to do with the whole secret private meeting. But beyond that word came that Alex was working on his mechanics with Tom House who was famous for working with Drew Brees. According to Alex there were some mechanical issues dating all the way back to 2007 when he tried to throw with a badly injured shoulder. and in camp he was pretty phenomenal according to reports that said repeatedly that there was NO question who the best QB was there was also excitement because Alex would finally again get to use the same playbook as the season before. they also addes more WR options to go with Crabtree they had Manningham and Moss no where near the best in the league but by far the best group he has ever had to work with. The results fantastic a rate of 104.1 Also take note that the 2 worst by far games of the 8 game season came after a finger injury on his throwing hand with out those two poor games his #s would have been astronomical.
Another Smith myth is that he has reached his talent cap excluding the 2007 season with the shoulder injury this is the ratings of all the seasons of his career in order 40.8, 74.8, 81.5, 82.1, 90.7, 104.1 ..... notice that it goes up each year? he is just 29 next year the best years for QBs are generally in their early 30s
Last Smith myth is that he is just a game manager. He has all the intelligence and the physical ability to put up huge #s as a QB but since his first day in the league he has only played for conservative run first coaches. this is even true about Harbaugh you just dont put up big passing numbers in his offense Kaep doesnt and wont either its still very much run first and sit on leads type of O so the efficiency numbers are all you can go by and figure they would likely translate if he just threw more often and those are off the chart good. also earlier in his career part of the struggles he had were because of being reigned in it wasnt something he was used to after playing in the spread in college he always looked great when the offense was opened up in more desperate situations because he was just more comfortable that way Andy Reid saw this first hand twice. One more point is that when the the game manager tag first became the in thing to call him last year in 2010 he was second in the league in 4thqtr comebacks and game winning drives only behind Eli