Alex Smith the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback made a comment in regards to passing yards that used the example of Cam Newton, which struck a chord with Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason. Appropriately enough Beason defended Newton with a tweet.
That tweet said “”Alex Smith, don’t hate on Cam, because your stats would’ve gotten you cut if Peyton decided to come to San Francisco.Truth be told… That’s after a 13-3 year.”
While Beason’s certainly had the back of his teammate, which is commendable and yet his example of the 49ers entertaining the thought of signing Peyton Manning didn’t really offer any true insight. The 49ers were never going to sign Manning and that’s because of the 49ers offensive line, the length of the contract Manning was looking for and the more importantly the amount of money.
Also, the 49ers since the arrival of Jim Harbaugh have made every effort to think outside the box. One example of that is at nearly every position there’s a competition for either the starting role or the backup role. The actual attempt to sign Manning may have just been to get Smith to re-sign with the 49ers sooner rather than later and it wasn’t shortly after Manning signed with the Denver Broncos that Smith signed a three-year deal with the team.
Now what did Smith say to get the attention of Beason? He stated, “this is the honest truth: I could absolutely care less on yards per game. 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.”
Like Beason mentioned the 49ers went 13-3 and the Panthers went 6-10. Smith threw for 3,144 yards, threw 17 touchdowns to five interceptions and completed 61.3 percent of his passes as opposed to Newton who set a NFL rookie record for yards with 4,051 yards and threw 21 touchdowns to 17 interceptions while completing 60 percent of his passes.
The difference between the two teams is that the 49ers made an effort to run the football with Frank Gore leading the way and Kendall Hunter as the backup and the two combined for 394 carries and the Panthers have two talented running backs in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart and the two combined for a total of 297 carries.
To expand on Smith’s point further is that when Newton threw for 225 yards or less the Panthers were 5-3, when Newton threw for 225 yards or more the Panthers were just 1-7 and Newton threw for 300 yards or more three times in 2011.
Smith on the other hand threw for 225 yards or less and the 49ers had a record of 9-3 and throwing over 225 yards Smith was 4-0 and yet did not have a single game of throwing over 300 yards and the most he threw for was 291 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles.
A quarterback may find success in the regular season, yet it may not translate well in the playoffs as illustrated by Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and with both quarterbacks having outstanding seasons throwing the football, neither went far in the playoffs. The main reason for each departure were because neither team respected the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints running game.
In the Packers loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions the New York Giants, the Packers running backs managed just 14 carries for 76 yards and the Saints running backs carried the ball 13 times for 32 yards against the 49ers.
Why is running the football important? The 49ers illustrated that importance even when a defense was looking for the 49ers to run the football. Being able to run keeps the clock moving while letting the defense rest and by having a great punter and kicker it allows for a field position game, which is why the 49ers led the NFL in opposing teams starting field position, which meant it was harder for teams to drive against the 49ers defense.
What Smith said was true and he really wasn’t trying to put down Newton he was just using him as an example. His point was just because a quarterback can throw for 300 yards it doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate into a victory or a playoff berth or even if the team does get into the playoffs it doesn’t mean that team will have success either.
“Like” Steven Resnick on Facebook
Be sure to follow Steven on Twitter @StevenResnick
Be sure to check out the Rant Sports