Posted tagged ‘Alex Smith’

The San Francisco 49ers offense and Alex Smith will be dangerous this season

May 24, 2012

2005 #1 pick Alex Smith was looking like a bust heading into the 2011 campaign. Then new coach Jim Harbaugh comes in and look what Alex Smith did. He looked like Andrew Luck leading the 49ers to  a 13-3 record and an NFC West title. Not only are they winning, they added a ton of talent at the wide receiver position.

During mini camp, Alex Smith looked one way, then another, finding open receivers with such ease that the toughest part might’ve been deciding whose turn it was in the rotation.

Smith’s new choices at wide receiver are Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, They zipped all over the field during Wednesday’s pad-free practice, giving the quarterback options he never had last season.

“It’s like waking up on Christmas,” Smith said. “You have a lot of new toys out there, new presents.”

New expectations, too.

Smith ranked 19th in the NFL with a career-high 3,144 yards passing and struggled to find wide receivers in a 20-17 overtime loss in the NFC title game to the eventual champion New York Giants.

One thing the 2005 No. 1 overall pick out of Utah no longer seems to lack: confidence.

“This is the honest truth: I could absolutely care less on yards per game,” Smith said. “I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what? You’re like the Carolina Panthers and you’re going no-huddle the entire second half and, yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That’s great. You’re not winning, though.”

New receiver RandyMoss again declined to talk to reporters but has been Smith’s No. 1 target during the open portions of practice and, by all 49ers accounts, has dazzled.

“It’s neat to watch our players watch a guy like Randy that they’ve watched growing up,” Harbaugh said. “And we have two fields. The defensive field’s on the far right and then the offensive field is over here on the left. And I can always see the defensive players will be looking over.”

Said Smith: “The first day, it was surreal out there throwing balls to him. The physical skills everybody knows. The thing you appreciate a lot is the guy’s a true pro. He’s played a lot of football. He’s incredibly smart out there.”

From reading Alex Smith’s quotes and understanding what general manager Trent Baalke are trying to do, it feels like the 49ers are back and are ready to make a move. They realized that last year they could have won the Super Bowl and clearly were the second best team in the league besides the Green Bay Packers that finished 15-1.

Next year will be fun and interesting throughout the whole league but I hope this 49ers team doesn’t adopt the mentality of the Philadelphia Eagles and think they have become a “dream team.” They can be the best team in the NFC if they believe in Alex Smith and the offense.

Did you know QB Dante Culpepper was so instrumental in the 2005 NFL Draft?

November 15, 2011

Via Adam Schefter ESPN:

Even though Daunte Culpepper has not played in the NFL in two years, his mark on the game is still being felt. Culpepper affected the fate of the franchises in Minnesota, Miami, New Orleans and Green Bay as much as almost any player who has worn those teams’ uniforms.

Were it not for the success Culpepper enjoyed in 2004, Minnesota would have been more inclined to use one of its two first-round picks in the 2005 draft on a quarterback. But Culpepper was coming off a 2004 season in which he threw for 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns. Minnesota thought it was set at quarterback. So it used the seventh overall pick in 2005 on South Carolina wide receiver Troy Williamson. It used the 18th overall pick on Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James. And then, with the 24th overall pick, the Green Bay Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers.

The very next offseason, after Culpepper struggled at the start of the 2005 season and then tore up his knee on Oct. 30, the Dolphins traded a second-round pick to Minnesota for the then-disgruntled Culpepper rather than signing free-agent quarterback Drew Brees, who wanted to land in Miami. And so, with Culpepper landing in Miami, Brees had no choice but to go to New Orleans.

Rodgers and Brees, the men whose fates are tied to Culpepper’s, have combined to win the past two Super Bowls. Their success is an ongoing story, a reminder of how timing really is everything and why teams are wise to draft the proverbial best player available. Now Rodgers has the Packers unbeaten. Their march to perfection — going strong enough to make Mercury Morris and the 1972 Dolphins uneasy — is under way. And Rodgers is leading the Packers into Monday night’s game against a Minnesota organization that bypassed him twice in the draft.

Brees has the Saints in first place in the NFC South. He is leading the Saints into Sunday’s NFC South showdown against the second-place Atlanta Falcons. And Culpepper, who worked out for the San Francisco 49ers in August, is out of football while Minnesota and Miami still are trying to make up for multiple mistakes. It is a different form of fantasy football, detailing NFL hypotheticals that could have but didn’t happen. But it also is a glimpse of how much one quarterback helped change the way the league is viewed today.

…The reason I posted this is to let the football guru’s out there in the world realize that the 2005 draft could have gone differently. I mean imagine if Alex Smith didn’t go first? Or if Drew Brees was amazing in San Diego? Or if Dante Culpepper wasn’t as good as advertised? It is crazy to think that and the game of football is always based on luck and how much production you can get out of it. Brees is a Super Bowl winner in New Orleans, Alex Smith is on the verge of a playoff run, and Dante Culpepper is eating Doritos at home sipping on some Gatorade. No one expected that. That is why football is all about the unpredictable. You will never know what will happen. The final example I give will be the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles. My point is proven…

BCS Bustin’ – Why Boise St. and other mid-major powers deserve equal opportunities in the BCS National Championship

September 25, 2011

Here is an article written from our new writer, Nathan Rupe. It’s a great article and is very well done. Check it out…

(Photo By: Robert Beck/SI)

Although he’s an afterthought when it comes to NFL accomplishments, former Utah Utes quarterback Alex Smith led one of the most groundbreaking teams in college football history. The 2004 Utah Utes team was expected to be good, they began the season ranked 19th in the country. However, few expected the team to blast through 11 opponents en route to an undefeated regular season – and they did just that. The reason this season was so significant wasn’t just because of the perfect season, it was also because of the conference Utah was a part of. The Mountain West Conference is not an automatic qualifying conference, meaning that the conference champions do not earn a spot in one of the BCS Bowl Games, considered to be the biggest games of the post-season (Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl).

When the Utah Utes earned a spot in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl opposite the Pittsburgh Panthers, it was the first time in college football history that a non-AQ team made it into a BCS Bowl game. The question then turned to whether or not the Utes were a good football team, or the product of an easy schedule – they didn’t play a single ranked team all season. All doubt were put to rest when the Utes blew out Pittsburgh 35-7, proving their status as one of the best teams in college football.
 
Fast-forward to the present, four schools have now become “BCS Busters” by breaking into a BCS Bowl game from a non-AQ conference (Utah, TCU, Boise St., Hawaii). Against opponents from an AQ conference, BCS Busters are 4-1. Of all of the total seven BCS Buster appearances however, none have ever participated in the National Championship game. Last year’s undefeated TCU team, that beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl actually received some first place votes from AP voters at the end of the season, but it was for naught and the BCS title game winner Auburn remained the undisputed National Champion of the season.
 
However, despite TCU’s success the clear leader of mid-major conferences against the BCS is Boise St. Since 2004, Boise St. has four undefeated seasons and a one-loss season to their credit. They stunned the heavily favored Oklahoma Sooners in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, and have beaten fellow BCS Busters TCU twice in the Fiesta Bowl. During last season, Boise St. was a near lock for a BCS Bowl all year until an overtime stunner against Nevada knocked them out of contention.
 
There lies the issue.
 
Should a team with the impressive credentials of Boise St. be dropped from major bowl contention because of a single loss? A three-point loss in overtime at that, and against a ranked team in Nevada. Boise’s season was disregarded due to their conference – the Western Atlantic Conference, a non-AQ conference. It wasn’t Boise’s first snub from BCS selection either, in 2004 an 11-0 record and #9 ranking wasn’t enough to earn them a spot in a BCS Bowl, as well as a 12-0 season in 2008. In fact, they ended the 2004 season as the only undefeated team in College Football, yet didn’t earn a spot in the National Title game (which hosted a one-loss Florida Gators squad).
 
The common criticism against Boise St. and other successful teams from non-AQ conferences, is the lack of competition they face year-round. After all, a team that spends the year beating push-overs wouldn’t be able to hang with an SEC team used to playing the very best on an almost weekly basis, right? Not quite. Boise’s season opening blowout of SEC powerhouse Georgia seems to have finally opened people’s eyes to just how good mid-major teams can be.
 
Currently 2-0, and ranked 4th in the nation will this be the year that BCS polls finally invite Boise St. into the National Championship game? Or will the constantly underappreciated Broncos find themselves snubbed by voters once again?
 
Only time will tell, but at this point it’s hard to argue just how competitive non-AQ teams are capable of being.