FanPost

The Alex Smith Effect

Hello, I'd like to start off by saying that although I'm not a Chiefs fan, I have followed Alex Smith for years, and I have to tell you I believe that you Chief fans have essentially stepped onto an invisible pot of gold. I do not expect many of you to agree with what I'm saying, but there are things Alex Smith does that you will rarely see in the stats sheet, (except maybe the interceptions category).

Alex Smith is not generally a guy that a person would want on their fantasy football team due to his lack of passing touchdowns and passing yards. (However, his yards per game stat has increased since joining the Chiefs). There are several reasons why Alex Smith doesn't put up eye opening numbers, some are positive, some are negative, but almost all of them will give an idea of the kind of quarterback Alex Smith is.

When Alex Smith was new in San Francisco, the coaches asked him to do things that Alex Smith was never known for doing. Some quarterbacks make names for themselves by having these heroic moments that typically come when the play breaks apart. Alex Smith is not one of these guys. When Alex Smith throws on the run, he sometimes appears to be wildly inaccurate, but I believe this is largely because of the unique mindset of Alex Smith. This quarterback does not think like a gunslinger, he thinks more like a defensive coordinator. I'm not saying Alex Smith throws bad passes on purpose. I'm saying that his mental processes are different than that of a gunslinger quarterback, and I think this effects some of his throws. On a related matter, if Alex Smith sees a guy about seven yards away that he knows will get the first down following the catch, Alex Smith might not care about what happens down field, especially when his team is winning. (You will find that he's more likely to take chances when his team is losing). If you look at Alex Smith's quotations, you will find things that suggest he never tries to do anything excessive, such as "I was never the type of guy that runs around and makes plays. I play a different kind of football". Note that when Alex Smith says this, he's not implying that he doesn't run, he's implying that he doesn't try to be a super hero unless he has no other choice. Alex Smith also challenges quarterbacks who are known for their heroics. An example is this reference he made about Drew Brees' flashy passing statistics in 2011 before the San Francisco 49ers (his former team) met the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs; "He can throw for as many passing yards as he wants". The result of that game? Drew Brees had more passing yards, but Alex Smith did better in most other categories. Both quarterbacks scored several times, but one of the key differences was that Alex Smith didn't throw any interceptions. (Drew Brees had two interceptions). I would also like to note that before that game, Drew Brees made a comment that he admired how Alex Smith protects the football but still throws it confidently.

Early in Alex Smith's career, he had turnover problems. He was reckless with the football and forced passes into coverage. What few people realized was, the 49ers coaching staff was telling Alex Smith to take chances down field to avoid the sacks. Eventually, during the second half of the 2010 season, Alex Smith stopped listening to his coaches and stopped taking chances down field. When he did this, the 49ers started winning games. Despite the improvement, the 49ers missed the playoffs and head coach Mike Singletary was fired after that season. The following season, Jim Harbaugh was hired as the new head coach and the 49ers organization told him "we need a quarterback". Jim Harbaugh went quarterback hunting and the very first thing he did was resign Alex Smith to the 49ers. (He would later draft Colin Kaepernick in the second round, who would later be declared the starter after an Alex Smith injury). San Francisco was expected to have another poor season and they shocked everybody by winning 14 games and nearly appearing in the Super Bowl. In light of this unexpected success, the media chose to abandon Alex Smith's original title of "bust" and replace it with the new label "game manager". The majority said that Alex Smith would not be victorious in a shootout with Drew Brees, (he was). The bottom line of this paragraph is that Alex Smith discovered he could only be successful if he chose not to be what everybody wanted him to be.

Alex Smith would continue to have success in a similar fashion during the 2012 season. As the fans and media kept doubting and criticizing him, he kept finding victories. Eventually, however, his 2012 season would come to an unexpected end after an injury against Saint Louis. A uniquely gifted quarterback called Colin Kaepernick would impress the coaches enough to grant him the starting title. Alex Smith would play for one more drive after the injury. His final moment as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers was a touchdown pass.

Here is where all of this becomes important, there was one thing Alex Smith had in 2012 that he didn't have in 2011; a second year with the same system and a superior supporting cast of receivers. (He had Randy Moss among other names that year). His passing stats, which he didn't care about, started to increase, particularly his quarterback rating. Alex Smith would post a couple games with a quarterback rating of 150+. (The highest quarterback rating possible is something like 158.33 but I can't remember exactly what it is). Despite all of this, his tendency to favor the short passes still called for the "game manager" related criticisms. Now he is in Kansas City, where he is 8-0, and people are saying all of the same things about him and his team as they did when he was winning games in San Francisco. If you like Alex Smith now, you will only like him more in the future, because the more of a feel he has with his environment, the better he is. He's not the most physically gifted of quarterbacks, (although his physical qualities are often underrated, in my opinion). Unless under duress, he's generally very accurate except maybe on deep sideline passes, which are very difficult to execute. (By the way, I find that most of his incompletions on long side line passes are overthrows, almost never underthrows that are easily intercepted. I wonder if that's a coincidence). He is an excellent decision maker, and I believe he protects the football better than any quarterback in the league, including the great Peyton Manning. The benefits of Alex Smith do not usually show up on the passing stats. They show up on the stats regarding turnovers, the running game, and the defense. (Alex Smith gives field position benefits when he doesn't score. This makes life a lot easier for the defense). Your divisional rival Denver may have the best quarterback in football. But believe me, your quarterback is a lot better then the tag most people put on him.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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