Freak out! He’s comparing Alex Smith to Matt Cassel. Settle…
Since the day that it was announced that the Chiefs were trading for Alex Smith, the comparisons have rarely ceased. I have argued against these comparisons. I’ve never looked at the two and seen the same quarterback. The key word here is looked. It’s hard to argue the numbers look very similar. The thing is, they don’t look the same on the field. Until now.
The main reason that I argue that Cassel and Smith are not similar is that, when faced with pressure, Alex does not typically panic when pressured while Cassel sometimes appears to deflate when facing heavy pressure. It’s almost embarrassing really. It helps that Alex can run better than Cassel, but it has also been true that he runs smarter than Cassel. Unfortunately, with a makeshift offensive line something has changed this year.
Thanks to the fact that he can run, it’s not always quite as dramatic, but Smith is bailing on plays entirely too early this season. It is understandable that he might be quick to pull the ball down since he knows what he has on the line, but it regularly looks much too soon. That is not the worst part. What really troubles me is that, when he gets stuck between “Do I run or don’t I?” or when he sees the pressure coming and wants to avoid it, he takes his eyes off of the field.
Besides leaving the ball prone or throwing an interception (which we’ve also seen a higher rate of from Alex so far) this is about the worst mistake that a quarterback can make. If he decides the opportunity to run is not there or is able to escape the pressure he has little to no chance to find a receiver open downfield.
Besides the first game of the season, we’ve gotten about what we would be expect from Alex Smith. He’s a slightly above average quarterback who can make plays on his own by running the ball. This ability helps bail out he and the team from time to time, but Alex could help this offense be a lot more consistent if he cleans up this problem. I believe he can.