Saturday, November 5, 2011

Answering NFL QB Questions--Smith, Beck, Tebow 11/5

Is San Francisco 49ers' QB Alex Smith for real?

There are two schools of thought on this matter. One says that the Niners have a gaudy 6-1 record partly because Smith has finally polished his leadership and passing skills and learned how to read defenses and how not to get flustered in crunch time. Credit new coach Jim Harbaugh, who imported a comfortable, low-risk, QB-friendly system from Stanford along with a crew of smart coaches. This system stresses tough defense and relentless rushing. The weight of the offense isn't on passing or the QB. In this reduced role, Smith has blossomed. Expect this new and improved Smith to lead the Niners into the playoffs, a relatively easy task, by the way, in the lousy NFC West.

That's one school of thought. The other way of looking at Smith doesn't include rose-colored glasses. Hard-core, long-suffering, skeptical 49er fans--like me--swear that right around the corner is a Smith relapse, complete with interceptions, fumbles, boneheaded decisions, crumbled confidence and that old deer-in-the-headlights look in clutch situations. We can't savor the good times because we're so sure we're about to be submerged in heart-breaking bad times. Hope this doomsday outlook is wrong but I'm sticking to it.

How bad is Redskins' QB John Beck?

Really, really bad. In Sunday's 23-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Beck was a total bust, leading the offense to three first downs and a paltry 62 total yards in the first half. Shockingly, he was sacked ten times. Some were due to the bum blocking by the battered offensive line, but some were due to bewildered Beck hanging on to the ball too long. Under his guidance, the Skins' offense has hit a brick wall. It's officially a corpse. In garbage time--basically the entire second half--Beck beefed up his numbers to respectability. Look behind those numbers, though, and you'll see a stiff who's leading the Skins nowhere. This Sunday, in the 49ers game, when Beck is trying to pump some life into that dead offense, you'll hear these chants from frustrated, desperate fans--We want Rex Grossman, we want Rex Grossman!!...

Is John Beck worse than the Denver Broncos' QB Tim Tebow?

Tebow makes Beck look like Aaron Rodgers. Beck may be bad but Tebow has dragged NFL quarterbacking to a new low. Watching him is painful. A Tebow game is a clinic on how not to play the position. His passing mechanics stink, his footwork is terrible and he continually misreads defenses. In Sunday's 45-10 crushing by Detroit, the Broncos, with Tebow in charge, never had a chance. His totals were decent--18 for 39 for 172 yards with one interception--but they were enhanced when the game was out of reach.  He was sacked seven times and was fortunate the total wasn't bigger. Opposing defenses love to see Denver come to town. On Sunday in Oakland, the Raiders will welcome him. It's a chance to considerably increase their sack totals. Oakland should enjoy this opportunity while it lasts. One more klutzy performance and Denver may finally put Tebow where he belongs--on the bench.