Tag:Alex Smith
Posted on: July 2, 2011 8:05 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 9:09 pm

Newton knows 90 percent of Panthers' playbook?

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton has a tough task ahead of him once the lockout's resolved -- he has to learn the entirety of Rob Chudzinski's insanely complex offense, and do so in a short amount of time.

But he's been working with some former NFL quarterbacks, including Chris Weinke, and it appears to be paying huge dividends for the rookie out of Auburn.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, these sessions have featured detailed learning of the Panthers' playbook, "about 90 percent of which Weinke has installed."

Essentially, Newton's mimicking the practices he'd be getting in the lost offseason by getting a play from Weinke, calling out the play like he was in the huddle, going through each play's cadence at the line of scrimmage, and then slinging passes to whatever receivers are there.


Per Person, some recent attendees include Michael Clayton, Alex Smith, Titus Young and a "couple small-college receivers."

Following the throws, Weinke and former Chudzinski protégé Ken Dorsey -- who we'd also mentioned as a Newton tutor -- make suggestions as to how Newton can improve his mechanics and individual tweaks and designs for each play that's being run.

"He wants to be great," Weinke said.

Newton probably does want to be great -- the issue will be whether or not he's capable of recreating the success he had at Auburn once he gets on the field for the Panthers.

But given how unsettled the NFL's situation is right now, it's pretty darn impressive to see Newton maximizing his offseason, especially when there's no enforced motivation to do so.

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 4:52 pm

Hot Routes 6.29.11: Carson's Cincy home: sold

Posted by Ryan Wilson
  • First the Bills get new uniforms and now Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly says that the team was wise to pass on a QB early in the April draft. Turns out, Kelly thinks incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick is more than capable.
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Posted on: June 16, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:07 pm

Harbaugh mum on Smith, calls Crabtree 'good guy'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

New 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been outspoken about his plans for quarterback Alex Smith, even though Smith will be a free agent once the lockout is resolved, and the NFL issued a memo last month to the team reminding them not to comment on players not on the roster.

Either Harbaugh just got around to reading said memo or he didn't give it much credence until now. Either way, he's toned down the Alex Smith cheerleading. According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Harbaugh avoided mentioning Smith by name during a Wednesday interview on "The Murph & Mac Show" on KNBR-680.

"On Sunday, Harbaugh, despite the memo, had spoken freely about Smith during an on-air interview with Padres announcer Dick Enberg during a Padres-Nationals game in San Diego," the Press Democrat's Eric Branch wrote Wednesday. "Harbaugh said Smith's decision to return to San Francisco, where he's been the subject of withering criticism, displayed 'a rare kind of character. It probably falls somewhere in the endangered and extinct range. So we can win with that.' On KNBR, however, Harbaugh was asked two Smith-related questions and, in response, spoke in general terms."

Harbaugh also spoke about wide receiver Michael Crabtree who, unlike Smith, is currently under contract with the 49ers:

"I've been around him a little bit," the coach said. "And Crab to me is a good guy and a good football player. Just some of the things lately kind of goes back to the analogy I gave a little bit ago, when you're kids and working it out and sometimes you get into some tussles and shirts get ripped and noses get bloodied, but that's part of figuring it out.

"I know he's a good guy. I know the other guys on our team are good guys. That's another interesting part of watching these guys figure it out. I know personally, when it comes to me, getting into quite few scrapes growing up. Most people I know and are friends with had some run-ins at some point in time. And, usually, you're better friends because of it. But, no, he's got the license and the ability. And from my experience begin around him, I think he's a guy who's about us and about the team being successful."

And we can't hold it against Crabtree that he didn't know that Alex is supposedly the 49ers starting quarterback in 2011. Last season, two Smiths -- Alex and Troy -- shared the starting duties, and both had run-ins with then-coach Mike Singletary. All that matters is that Crabtree isn't picky.

"Whoever the quarterback is, I'm 100 percent down with it and I'm ready to go," he said last week. "That's it."

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 5:34 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 7:19 pm

So, about Alex Smith starting for the 49ers...

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Maybe 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree misunderstood the question last week when he was asked if "throwing with the quarterback was beneficial toward improving chemistry." His response -- "Who's the quarterback?" -- was the latest slight in a career full of them for former first-overall pick Alex Smith.

Smith's six years in the NFL can kindly be described as underwhelming, a mix of bad luck and bad teams (and don't forget small hands). But new coach Jim Harbaugh stated in late April, shortly after the team drafted Colin Kaepernick, that Smith (who will be a free agent once the lockout ends), pretty much has the starting job sewn up.

"Well, Alex is going to definitely have the head start," Harbaugh said at the time. "He has played in the National Football League. He's won games in the National Football League. So if I'm a betting man, I'm betting on Alex Smith."

Technically, yes, Smith has "won games in the National Football League." So have Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell, two other QBs drafted at the top of the first round who will only get into Canton by purchasing a ticket. So realistically, what can Harbaugh expect from a guy who has played in 54 games in six seasons, and completed just 57 percent of his passes?

ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando breaks out his TI-35 in search of the answer. Specifically, going back to 1970, Sando looked at seasons two through six for every quarterback who had thrown between 40 and 55 touchdown passes, had no more than 45 interceptions, and had started at least 40 games during this period. (Sando excluded rookie seasons because Smith was so dreadful his first year in the league that it threw the analysis out of whack.)

The quarterbacks most similar to Smith through six seasons, according to Sando (scroll to the bottom for the statistical comparisons): Jim McMahon, Greg Landry and -- wait for it -- Jim Harbaugh.

No wonder Harbaugh wants to give Smith the job; Jim literally seems himself in Alex. (Another contributing factor: Kaepernick hasn't taken part in one organized practice with the 49ers.) 

Actually, Harbaugh doesn't have much choice. And while fans aren't typically a forgiving bunch, particularly after watching a player make the same mistakes for the better part of six seasons, Smith still has a chance to be a decent NFL starter. We mentioned Leaf and Russell above, but that was in response to "hey, this guy's won NFL games!", not a strict comparison of skills. Smith has shown glimpses of abilities, albeit brief. Either injuries or distractions have intervened, sidetracking any progress.

Whatever, unless Smith plays like Derek Anderson did with the Browns in 2007 (it's hard to believe now, but Anderson was a Pro Bowler that year), or Tommy Maddox did with the Steelers in 2002, he's probably nothing more than a one-season bridge to Kaepernick. There are worse fates than trying to salvage an NFL career. Smith, for instance, could be caught up in the sordid world of purple drank.

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 2:49 pm

Hot Routes 6.10.11: Getting it (not) right

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • The Eagle-Tribune, a small newspaper in Massachusetts, reported Thursday that the lockout was over (the linked story, BTW, has been amended). The Internet quickly poo-poo’d that report, though. Even NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted a Yogi Berra reference (It’s not over ‘til it’s over). I think it’d be great if the Eagle-Tribune actually was the media outlet which broke the lockout-is-over news. In fact, if it can’t be us here at CBSSports.com, I’m rooting for the E-T to be the ones leading this story. Go get ‘em, boys.
  • CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman explores how NFL players are talking trash about LeBron James on their Twitter accounts.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:11 am
Edited on: June 8, 2011 10:48 am

Players taking big risks by practicing

M. Crabtree had to sit out San Francisco's practice with sore feet (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

One of the biggest concerns – if not THE biggest concern – of players practicing with each other on their own during the lockout is the injury factor. Players aren’t covered by their regular team insurance during these sessions, so if somebody gets hurt, they’re on their own. There are no team trainers or  team doctors at the practices -- nobody.

It certainly has to be worrisome for the players who are taking an enormous risk without pay, and though there were no injuries among the 40 or so Giants players who participated in a workout Tuesday, players and agents haven’t forgotten what could happen if something goes wrong.

"It is dangerous," said Rich (Big Daddy) Salgado, the president of Coastal Advisors, an insurance company for players (via the New York Daily News). "It's dangerous especially if a guy is a free agent and doesn't have a contract. Each player is only covered for a certain amount of money and (to get a payout an injury) has to be catastrophic. It has to be career-ending. It's not just for loss of time. It's not for if you're out for six weeks.

"And it can't make up for everything they'd lose. It can't make up for those numbers."

Though none of the Giants were officially talking to the media, one of the players told the Daily News (off the record) that they had made sure that the players were covered in some way by insurance -- for example,  through COBRA, a family member’s plan or a short-term policy.

And while the Giants have escaped injury so far, the same can’t be said for 49ers WR Michael Crabtree, who had to sit out the second practice for San Francisco’s players Tuesday because of sore feet (this, a day after he made some controversial statements about 49ers QB Alex Smith).

Apparently, the cause of his injury is because the cleats he wore Monday were too new and he hadn’t broken them in yet, a problem compounded by the Fieldturf at San Jose State.

“Everybody's good. Crabtree's all right," WR Josh Morgan told the San Jose Mercury News. "His feelings aren't hurt. Nothing wrong with him. Just his feet were too sore to come out here. That's all it is."

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 12:24 pm

Crabtree on Alex Smith: 'He's the quarterback?'

Posted by Will Brinson

There probably aren't a whole lot of people who are confident that Alex Smith will return as the 49ers starting quarterback in 2011. And that's okay. Even if Jim Harbaugh is on board, fans have reason to question whether or not Smith can succeed.

But you would think that, at the very least, the team's No. 1 wide receiver might be on board with Smith's return. However, that might not be the case based on the conversation Michael Crabtree had with the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows.

Barrows reports on Tuesday that he asked Crabtree if thought "throwing with the quarterback was beneficial toward improving chemistry."

"Who's the quarterback?" Crabtree responded.

Barrows then told him that Smith was.

"He's the quarterback? I'm just asking," Crabtree said. Crabree later clarified his remarks at the practice. Well, kind of.

"I wish I could tell you that [Smith is the quarterback]," Crabtree said. "I know that you're all scratching at it. I wish I could tell you who is going to be the quarterback. I don't know. I don't know.

"Whoever the quarterback is, I'm 100 percent down with it and I'm ready to go. That's it."

Now, bear in mind that this was at a voluntary workout that Smith was kind-of, sort-of leading. And this is kind of a tumultuous time in the NFL with most players really sticking together.

So for Crabtree to almost laugh off (again) the prospect of Smith starting for the 49ers, well, it tells us that if we ever get the players back on the field, we're at the very least going to have some spicy drama by the bay.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:03 pm

Hot Routes 5.18.11: Reaching the summit

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • According to the Believe in Heroes web site, Titans coach Jeff Fisher and the rest of his traveling party have reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Which is pretty awesome.
  • Former Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser and Colts owner Jim Irsay are in a bit of tiff.
  • Now, everybody in the Raiders organization becomes a salesman/saleswoman. And that means you, new defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. (“So, how many season tickets can I put you down for, lady?”)
  • If you buy Jaguars season tickets, the franchise is willing to reward you for your faith. By giving you “Teal Deals” books with more than $3,000 worth of gift certificates for local businesses.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com