Why San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith Isn't as Great as You Think

Jon BanksContributor IINovember 6, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 30:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass against the Cleveland Browns in the second quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 30, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

One of the surprising things of the 2011 season is the success of the San Francisco 49ers. Even more surprising than that, is the success of Alex Smith, QB of the 49ers.

I think most know the story of Alex Smith. He was the first overall pick of the 2005 draft by the San Francisco 49ers. What made the pick more controversial, at least years later, is that they passed over Aaron Rodgers.

In case you don't know, because he barely gets any attention and is unknown to people outside of Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers is kinda good with his league leading 20 touchdowns and one of the league's lowest interceptions with three. That's not even mentioning his record completion percentage (71.5 percent) nor his obscenely high QB rating.

So yeah taking Alex Smith, who has never cracked 3,000 yards, over Rodgers is considered a little controversial looking from hindsight.

However, Smith is having his best season so far. Well, how is that? Has he finally matured as a QB and will start living up to his draft status? Looking at what the 49ers are doing? No.

What they've done is something every team with a poor QB does. They have minimized his impact by having a strong running game, and a strong defense. When they do use Smith, they use him to his strengths; his strengths are short yardage passing and no huddle offenses. Both times, are exactly when they need him.

The short yardage passing helps the 49ers running attack become stronger by helping to keep opposing teams from stacking the box. Being good at no huddle helps when the 49ers do find themselves trailing in the second or fourth quarters. The team has found ways to get by in spite of Alex Smith, not because of him. That's not the sign of a good QB, so don't be fooled.