Originally posted by Wubbie:
Alex Smith doesn't really have limited arm strength. Coming out of college, they said he could make all the NFL throws, and he would get stronger as he got older. Of course, he doesn't have a Michael Vick arm, but he's certainly capable of all those throws.
I think it's a couple things though that we haven't seen deep passes. For one, Alex doesn't like to throw those low-percentage passes too often. He'll throw them though, as evidenced by some of the ones he's missed to Crabtree and Ginn in recent games. Second, we run a smashmouth West Coast Offense. We throw short and intermediate routes the majority of the time. Third, we've had receivers in and out of the lineup. Those deep routes require a certain amount of chemistry, and it's clear why Alex keeps missing his receivers... he hasn't had too much time with them. I think they'll come though, but don't expect a lot in the future. Maybe every couple games, Alex will hit some deep balls.
As for screens.. No idea on that one. I would've thought that would be a staple for our offense, but I don't even remember if Stanford ran them that much. I think we're still kind of developing them. The couple that I've seen us try didn't have outstanding execution... but I think we'll get there.
In addition to what you've said, I'll add that I don't think the arm strength issue is particularly valid. In fact, yesterday he was putting some serious zip on his shots over the middle. My hunch is that the arm strength thing had more to do with his confidence than his actual arm strength. Now that he's throwing the ball with confidence and authority his passes are looking much crisper, perhaps not laser-like, but he can certainly do bullet-like. Besides, arm strength is pretty overrated-- after all, Montana didn't exactly sport a howitzer.
As for the screens, I think you're right. My uneducated guess is that screens were likely a fairly low priority given the bread and butter aspects of the offense that needed to be installed during the truncated preseason.