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Alex Smith

Posted by Doug on July 17, 2006

Mr. Obvious: Alex Smith was bad last year.

Voice of Reason: Yeah, but he was a rookie.

Mr. Obvious: Yeah, but he was really bad.

Voice of Reason: Yeah, but he had no help at all. The 49ers were a total wreck last year.

Mr. Obvious: Yeah, but he was really, really bad.

Let's take a quick look at just how bad Alex Smith was last year. I will look at all quarterbacks since 1978 who threw at least 100 passes in their debut year. There are 85 quarterbacks meeting those criteria. Smith threw 11 interceptions in 165 attempts, for a rate of 6.7%. That's not the worst of the 85. Tommy Maddox, Dave Wilson, and Steve DeBerg all had higher interception rates in their debut years. But all those guys played in times when interceptions were more prevalent than they are now. When you divide each player's interception rate by the league interception rate, Smith's does look the worst.


Young QB YR TM IntRate LgRate Index
================================================
Alex Smith 2005 sfo 6.7 3.1 216.0
Tommy Maddox 1992 den 7.4 3.9 193.1
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2005 stl 5.9 3.1 192.0
Ryan Leaf 1998 sdg 6.1 3.3 186.6
Eric Zeier 1995 cle 5.6 3.0 183.3
Jake Plummer 1997 ari 5.1 3.0 167.2
Kurt Kittner 2003 atl 5.3 3.2 162.3
Dave Wilson 1981 nor 6.9 4.3 162.0
Mark Rypien 1988 was 6.2 3.9 160.0
Gus Frerotte 1994 was 5.0 3.1 159.6
Troy Aikman 1989 dal 6.1 3.9 159.2
Craig Krenzel 2004 chi 4.7 3.2 148.6
Peyton Manning 1998 ind 4.9 3.3 148.4
Heath Shuler 1994 was 4.5 3.1 144.5
Kerry Collins 1995 car 4.4 3.0 144.2
Eli Manning 2004 nyg 4.6 3.2 143.7
Craig Whelihan 1997 sdg 4.2 3.0 139.2

Index is the player's interception rate divided by the league rate and then multiplied by 100. Smith's 216 indicates that his intercpetion rate was about 2.16 times greater than the league rate last year.

If you look at yards per attempt (compared similarly to the league average), Smith ranks 75th of the 85 young quarterbacks. If you look at touchdown rate, he ranks 84th out of 85. If you add those ranks, you get 244, which ties him for the worst among the 85.


==== ranks =======
Young QB YR TM YPA INT TD TOT
================================================
Alex Smith 2005 sfo 75 85 84 244
Ryan Leaf 1998 sdg 79 82 83 244
Kurt Kittner 2003 atl 85 79 80 244
Craig Krenzel 2004 chi 71 74 73 218
Eric Zeier 1995 cle 73 81 63 217
Akili Smith 1999 cin 76 48 82 206
Eli Manning 2004 nyg 81 70 51 202
Jack Trudeau 1986 ind 80 38 78 196
Steve Deberg 1978 sfo 78 63 54 195
Dave Wilson 1981 nor 32 78 85 195
Kyle Mackey 1987 mia 74 51 66 191
Craig Whelihan 1997 sdg 60 69 58 187
Kyle Orton 2005 chi 82 45 60 187
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2005 stl 62 83 40 185
Steve Fuller 1979 kan 69 42 72 183
Troy Aikman 1989 dal 63 75 41 179
Chris Weinke 2001 car 70 34 75 179
Joey Harrington 2002 det 72 58 47 177
David Carr 2002 hou 57 40 77 174
Scott Zolak 1992 nwe 66 32 76 174
John Elway 1983 den 47 59 64 170
Steve Young 1985 tam 27 68 74 169
Scott Brunner 1980 nyg 77 49 37 163
Tim Hasselbeck 2003 was 59 57 45 161
Billy Joe Tolliver1989 sdg 64 41 55 160
Steve Walsh 1989 dal 53 35 71 159
Charlie Frye 2005 cle 44 53 62 159
Kyle Boller 2003 bal 61 60 38 159
Jeff Komlo 1979 det 48 64 44 156
Oliver Luck 1983 hou 52 66 35 153
Brent Pease 1987 hou 40 43 69 152
Mike Pagel 1982 bal 65 10 70 145
Rick Mirer 1993 sea 55 37 50 142
Quincy Carter 2001 dal 45 54 43 142
Boomer Esiason 1984 cin 83 9 49 141
Koy Detmer 1998 phi 67 17 57 141
Kerry Collins 1995 car 34 71 36 141
Tommy Maddox 1992 den 41 84 15 140
Neil Lomax 1981 stl 29 30 81 140
Tom Hodson 1990 nwe 51 23 65 139
Donovan McNabb 1999 phi 84 27 26 137
David Woodley 1980 mia 68 44 24 136
Gus Frerotte 1994 was 50 76 7 133
Heath Shuler 1994 was 37 72 23 132
Cade McNown 1999 chi 38 61 30 129
Kelly Stouffer 1988 sea 36 21 67 124
Rodney Peete 1989 det 7 55 59 121
Peyton Manning 1998 ind 30 73 16 119
Cody Carlson 1988 hou 20 67 28 115
Chad Hutchinson 2002 dal 35 33 46 114
Drew Bledsoe 1993 nwe 56 36 22 114
Vinny Testaverde 1987 tam 33 25 56 114
Mike McMahon 2001 det 58 1 52 111
Chris Chandler 1988 ind 18 62 29 109
Michael Vick 2001 atl 14 15 79 108
Byron Leftwich 2003 jax 16 52 34 102
Ken Karcher 1987 den 54 31 17 102
Jay Schroeder 1985 was 24 4 68 96
Tim Couch 1999 cle 42 28 25 95
Jim Everett 1986 ram 23 65 4 92
Ken O'Brien 1984 nyj 26 18 48 92
Jeff George 1990 ind 39 39 13 91
Jake Plummer 1997 ari 5 80 5 90
Bernie Kosar 1985 cle 43 7 39 89
Tony Banks 1996 stl 12 56 20 88
Bobby Hebert 1985 nor 31 3 53 87
Warren Moon 1984 hou 11 13 61 85
Patrick Ramsey 2002 was 17 47 21 85
Doug Williams 1978 tam 46 12 27 85
Phil Simms 1979 nyg 28 46 10 84
Jeff Garcia 1999 sfo 19 20 42 81
Mark Rypien 1988 was 3 77 1 81
Shaun King 1999 tam 49 16 8 73
Steve Beuerlein 1988 rai 21 11 33 65
Don Majkowski 1987 gnb 25 6 31 62
Ben Roethlisberger2004 pit 2 50 6 58
Dieter Brock 1985 ram 13 19 18 50
Neil O'Donnell 1991 pit 22 8 19 49
TJ Rubley 1993 ram 8 29 11 48
Charlie Batch 1998 det 9 5 32 46
Jim McMahon 1982 chi 15 14 14 43
Jim Kelly 1986 buf 6 22 12 40
Aaron Brooks 2000 nor 4 26 9 39
Marc Bulger 2002 stl 1 24 2 27
Dan Marino 1983 mia 10 2 3 15

As you can see, Smith is not in good company at the top of that list. But you don't have to scan too far down to see that some all-time greats appear in the top quartile of the list.

Two conclusions.

1. Smith wasn't just "rookie bad" last year. He was historically bad. Or at least his numbers were. Yes, the 49ers were a disaster last season, but there are a lot of quarterbacks on that list whose teams weren't very good and none of them posted numbers as bad as Smith's.

2. Despite that, I think the voice of reason is right. We can't write him off yet.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 17th, 2006 at 4:08 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.