Alex Smith has developed into an elite NFL quarterback.
Throughout his career, there have been questions as to whether or not the Seattle native possessed the talent required to be at the offensive reins of the 49ers. Recently, however, Smith has demonstrated top quarterback attributes that have helped him stand out as one of the NFL’s best so far this season.
Here are five ways that Alex Smith has developed into an elite quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger is one notable quarterback that has failed to get his team to a 3-1 start.
When evaluating a quarterback, his team’s performances need to be taken into consideration.
Smith has found a way to acquire wins that he was previously unable to attain. This season he's been able to grind out wins, which is something that all elite NFL quarterbacks need to sometimes do.
Sam Bradford is the only other quarterback in the NFL who has thrown only one interception in four starts.
Alex Smith has started all four games for the San Francisco 49ers, and in those four starts, he has thrown just one interception.
No quarterback has thrown fewer, and only Sam Bradford can claim to be as efficient as Smith. Bradford has also only thrown one interception on the season; however, his Saint Louis Rams are a dismal 0-4.
At this time last year, Smith had already thrown seven interceptions, and the 49ers were 0-4. Alex Smith’s turnover limitation has been a key component that has enabled the 49ers to start the season so well.
His newfound ability to limit turnovers is another reason that he is developing into one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.
Alex Smith's stats so far this season are those of an elite NFL quarterback.
Numbers don’t lie, and Alex Smith’s numbers are impressive.
Smith has an interception percentage of .009 percent. The only player in the NFL with an interception percentage lower than this is Sam Bradford.
Smith’s passer rating of 97.7 is the league’s eighth best. He is rated higher than Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo and Phillip Rivers.
Smith has completed an astounding 72 of his 107 passes, which gives him a completion percentage of 67.3 percent. This makes him the fourth most accurate passer in the league, behind only Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers.
Alex Smith delivered an outstanding performance last week in Philadelphia.
Last week, Alex Smith led the San Francisco 49ers on an inspired third-quarter comeback.
His team claimed victory over the Philadelphia Eagles after being down 23-3 with just 23 minutes left to play.
In that game, which saw Smith face a defense that was heralded as the NFL's best during the preseason, the 49ers quarterback threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns.
It is also important to keep in mind that Smith did all of this in Philadelphia, so he did not benefit from home-field advantage.
An ability to lead that kind of comeback is a must-have factor in order to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. Smith demonstrated that ability in last week’s win, and it was a further indication of how he is stepping into his role as one of the NFL’s better quarterbacks.
Alex Smith has benefited from the appointment of Jim Harbaugh.
Alex Smith has finally reached a maturity level that is indicative of an elite NFL quarterback.
For too many years, the former Utah quarterback was forcing plays that he was not able to make. Smith was publicly criticized by his former coaches Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary, and he did not respond well to this pressure.
Now, with Jim Harbaugh—an offensive-minded coach—at the helm, Smith has developed into a mature passer. His passes are safe but effective, and he is limiting turnovers while playing effective football.
An elite quarterback needs to have an elite intelligence about what he, as a playmaker, can do. It appears that Smith has finally figured himself out, and his efficient play has helped him develop into one of the game’s elites.