Alex Smith raised some eyebrows this week when he used Cam Newton as an example of how great statistics from a quarterback don’t always translate to wins. Now one of Newton’s teammates is firing back.
It started when Smith got defensive about his stats, saying that he’d rather be judged by his team’s record than his passing yards.
“I could absolutely care less on yards per game,” Smith said. “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. Yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That’s great. You’re not winning, though.”
There’s some validity to what Smith said there: A quarterback’s passing yardage is often dependent on the score of the game, and in most of the 49ers’ games last season they were protecting leads in the second half. That’s part of the reason that Smith ranked 27th in the NFL with 196.5 passing yards a game.
But then Panthers linebacker Jon Beason took to Twitter with a valid point of his own. Beason told Smith to keep quiet about Newton, and he took a shot at Smith over the fact that the 49ers tried to sign Peyton Manning this year before settling on bringing Smith back.
“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,” Beason wrote.
Beason is blunt, but he has a point: The 49ers tried to sign Manning, and the Panthers didn’t try to sign Manning, and the reason for that is that the 49ers aren’t as confident that Smith is their long-term answer as the Panthers are that Newton is their long-term answer.
And when Smith says to Newton, “You’re not winning,” he seems to be suggesting that Newton is to blame for the Panthers’ 6-10 record last season, and that Smith himself deserves the credit for the 49ers’ 13-3 record. And that’s nonsense.
The reason the 49ers won more games than the Panthers last season was because the 49ers’ defense and special teams were better than the Panthers’ defense and special teams. It’s ridiculous for Smith to suggest that he did more for his team than Newton did for his team when the Panthers’ offense was better than the 49ers’ offense.
Smith did a fine job last season of playing not to lose by cutting down on his turnovers and avoiding mistakes on a team whose defense and special teams were among the best in the league. But Newton did an amazing job last season of arriving on the worst team in the NFL and instantly making it competitive. Beason is right: Smith shouldn’t compare himself to Newton.