San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith signed a new contract this offseason. It seems that this new deal has also brought with it a new-found sense of bravado for the 2005 Number 1 Draft Pick. Before last season’s NFC Divisional Round Playoff game versus the New Orleans Saints, skeptics wondered how Smith would be able to keep up with the explosive Saints offense with Drew Brees at the helm. Alex Smith responded by leading his team to a 36-32 victory behind his 299 passing yards (3 TDs, 0 INT). Speaking with reporters during OTAs this week, Smith spoke up about the focus on passing yards:
“This is the honest truth: I could absolutely care less on yards per game,” Smith said Wednesday, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “I think that’s a totally overblown stat. Because if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what? You’re like the Carolina Panthers and you’re going no-huddle the entire second half and, yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games, that’s great. You’re not winning, though.”
Well … damn. Was the Cam Diss really even necessary? Cam Newton won the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award last season behind his record breaking passing and rushing numbers.
His Panthers found themselves constantly behind in games, but you could argue that their poor defense (ranked 28th in the League) was the true culprit. The Panthers were forced to get back into games on the strength of Cam’s arm. This lead to him shredding defenses even though they KNEW Cam would be constantly stepping back to pass.
Alex Smith did a great job playing not to lose during the regular season last year, before finally stepping up to the big boy’s table in the Playoffs. In order for the 49ers to reach their goal of a Super Bowl title, Smith’s number just may have to approach Cam’s.
For what it’s worth, one of Cam’s teammates didn’t let that diss slide. Here’s Panthers’ linebacker Jon Beason’s take on the matter:
UPDATE: In his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback blog, Peter King touched upon some analysis that not only nullified my attempt to defend Cam, but also showed Alex Smith was even more out of touch on this subject than I initially realized:
Well, here are two stats that refute what Smith said. One: Newton threw for more yards in the first half of games last year (2,071) than he did in the second half of games (1,980). And, though this might be a misleading and/or selective stat, Newton passed for only 523 yards when the Panthers were getting waxed last year — when they trailed by between nine and 16 points. In theory, what Smith said sounds correct. But in practice, with Newton last year, I just don’t think it was true.