Last week, Panthers linebacker Jon Beason took issue with comments from 49ers quarterback Alex Smith regarding the big stats from 2011 generated by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.
On Tuesday, Beason had more to say during an appearance on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio.
By way of background, here’s what Smith originally said: “I could absolutely care less on 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. Yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That’s great. You’re not winning, though.”
Here’s what Beason said on Tuesday: “When you read the comments it seemed like he used the Carolina Panthers as a way to take the pressure off himself, in the meantime taking a shot at us. Based on what he said I think couldn’t be any further from the truth, actually what happened this season.”
There’s more. “I think [Cam Newton] is way ahead of Alex was as a former first-round pick,” Beason told Evan Cohen and Steve Phillips. “You know, going into a situation where you’re on the worst team in football, or in an offense that finished 32nd in scoring last year, to an offense that finished fifth, I think you should at least take your hat off to him and understand the situation and the type of pressure that Cam Newton was under this year.”
The bottom line is that, while the 49ers went to the NFC title game, the Panthers offense generated big passing numbers last year, and the 49ers didn’t.
“I think 19 touchdown passes is, you know, not going to get you in a Super Bowl,” Beason said. “I think five interceptions is an amazing stat, but it is just like in basketball, if you don’t shoot you can’t score. So based on what they were able to do and the parts around him, the coach, the defense, I think they did a great job. You win 13 games you’re the best in the league. I think that’s the right formula for them but that wouldn’t have been the right formula for us. So do you take your hat off to Alex Smith? Yes. Should he feel good about himself? Yes. Should he get upset about having to answer questions about him finishing 29th in the league in yards per game? That’s a stat. If you don’t like it maybe fix it but, like I said, in the meantime don’t take shots at other people or other players because you are tired of dealing with that question.”
Beason’s ultimate point is valid. In defending his relatively bad stats, there’s no reason to knock down those who had better stats. Newton had the best rookie season of any quarterback to ever play the game. Regardless of the team’s won-loss record, that’s a fact.
For 49ers fans, it could actually be a good sign that Smith is starting to display a bit of a chip on his shoulder. And he definitely should have one after the team openly flirted with Peyton Manning before giving Smith yet another chance to prove that he can finally become the guy the organization thought he would be when making him the first overall pick in 2005.
Whether that shoulder-chip generates a better stat line for Smith will be one of the more relevant questions of the 2012 season.