Originally posted by dtg_9er:
I think Smith's inaccuracy is the result of the fallacy of common knowledge . You hear something so often that it becomes ingrained as the truth, whether accurate or not. Harbaugh stated Smith's accuracy as one of his greatest strengths...why would he say that if it were so obviously wrong? Watching Smith over the years I have always wondered how much was the scheme, coaching, WRs, etc.
When Smith and VD have a very good QBR together year after year I have concluded Smith is accurate when given a consistent target. VD is a workaholic who practices his routes and does a good job maintaining them on game day.
We started the year with Edwards and Morgan playing pretty well and now have played without either in a game Smith did not play well...not a coincidence. If and when we have a full receiving group for six or seven straight games I think you will see a very accurate QB.
I like Alex Smith, and even said we should bring him back (as a stop-gap though), well before Harbaugh became our coach. I think Alex Smith has pretty good accuracy, but he's not on the level of the ELITE quarterbacks in the league.
People who blindly defend Alex Smith will say that he's got one of the top completion percentages in the league, and thus is super-accurate. His accuracy plays a good chunk of that, but I think the real reason why he's got such great completion percentage is because of his decision-making. He doesn't force throws and throw low-percentage downfield passes. He throws in the short to intermediate range of the field and does a good job of that. (And that's a great thing! Coupled with our team's "formula" for victory, he's probably actually the best-fit for our team in the league)
I think though, if he threw balls a little more accurately and with timing, he could have some pretty monster numbers. Throwing a quick slant or a short hook route will yield some pretty high-completion percentages... but the BIG plays come from throwing the ball accurately so the receiver can run after the catch... How often do you see Aaron Rodgers hitting his WRs in stride in highlights, and they turn it into a big play? And then how often do you see wide receivers having to make a huge effort to catch a short Alex Smith pass? Often times, it's too high.
At this point in time, Alex DOES hit his receivers... but his ball placement needs improvement. Right now, he's doing a good job with it, but the offense would be so much more explosive if he had better ball placement. I think it's always getting better though. In particular, he's starting to get really good chemistry with Kyle Williams and Michael Crabtree. We're starting to see big plays through both short AND deep passes.