No. 1 overall draft pick fight!
Alex Smith always has been polite and mild mannered. In fact, he's been criticized at times for it. Mike Singletary once called him "meek." But some of his recent comments about Carolina quarterback Cam Newton have ruffled feathers on the east coast.
On Wednesday, Smith was asked whether his new stable of wide receivers should boost the 49ers' passing yards per game, which last year ranked 29th. Smith didn't exactly get angry at the comment. But he made it clear what he thought of passing statistics and it was a surprisingly forceful comment from Smith.
"This is the honest truth," Smith said. "I could absolutely care less about yards per game. I think that is 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."
That quote gained traction and prompted a Twitter reply yesterday from Carolina linebacker Jon Beason, who used the 49ers' flirtation with Peyton Manning this offseason to needle Smith: "Alex smith, don't hate on Cam Bc your stats would've gotten u cut if Peyton decided to come 2 San Fran. Truth b told ... That's after a 13-3 yr."
For the record, the 49ers averaged 181 passing yards a game last season, ranked 29th in the league in that category, but finished 13-3 and went to the NFC Championship game. Newton's Panthers, meanwhile, averaged 239 yards a game, ranked 13th overall and finished 6-10. Newton had three, 300-plus yard passing games; Smith's highest regular season total was 291 yards in a comeback effort against the Eagles. He had 299 yards against the Saints in the playoffs.
The 49ers and Panthers would only face each other this season if they met in the playoffs ....
-- Matt Barrows