In Saturday’s Saints @ 49ers fantastic Playoff match-up, sometime around the mid-third quarter; a quarter that was dominated by defense (& was also the lowest scoring quarter of this high scoring affair), an extremely well-respected (in come circles), a star columnist for several prestigious media outlets, Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports (who I have much respect for) made a strange tweet; a tweet that he deserves to be eating crow for).
I personally found this tweet to be somewhat controversial at best. It could be because I watched all 60 minutes of (both the 49ers and Broncos games) before determining the overall performance of the players he was commenting on.
Anyway, in this tweet, Whitlock concluded that his message was worthy of some responses and he clearly wanted a reaction. After all, reactions are what the man lives for). So, I have a reaction of my own.
But, first thing is first….The Tweet… What was it…?
Here’s what Whitlock Said (in the third quarter of the game)….
“Alex Smith is the reason John Elway is reluctant to commit to Tim Tebow. #take10minutesandthinkb4responding”
For you non-tweeters (or you guys new to social media), the end of the above message, where you see “#take10minutesandthinkb4responding” is basically telling is readers to think about the message and do basically what it says;
to wait 10 minutes to think about your response before sending in your opinion on the subject/topic.
My first questions to Whitlock is this;
Why only 10 minutes to think about it? Why not wait 30 or 45 minutes? Hell, why not wait until the game is finished out; or even the entire playoffs?? At least you gave Teebow an entire game to comment on his playoff performance, didn’t you?
Was it that Whitlock was just expecting the Saints and Drew Brees to finally get their offense going and take over the game (even though the Saints were losing 20-14 to the 49ers and down the entire game)?
At the same time, I guess Whitlock also didn’t think it was possible for Alex Smith and the 49ers to make some plays in the final 15-20 minutes left of play (as apparently he’s thinks Alex Smith is more like Tim Tebow then Drew Brees)? Silly him…..
But, back to the original ‘Tim Tebow / John Elway reluctance’ comment;
What Whitlock is basically saying is that Elway should be reluctant to commit to Tebow; and he’s using 49ers Quarterback, Alex Smith as the precedent for why it’s a risky move to invest the Broncos future with Tebow as their Quarterback. He’s using Alex as the worst case scenario for Elway if he commits to Tebow.
And again, he’s saying this while Alex is in the middle of a playoff game (that he is winning). Did he quickly forget about Alex’s 50-yard TD strike (to Vernon Davis) and his 4-yard TD Pass (on a slant to Mike Crabree) in the first quarter? As others may or may not know, a lot of defense took over in the 3rd quarter and Alex had another stalled drive that settled for an Akers Field goal (followed by twitter comments about the Niners offense not being able to score in the Red Zone).
But, it wasn’t just Alex who had stalled drives (Brees had quite a few drives that resulted in 3 and outs in that same quarter). This is called FOOTBALL Whitlock….where there is both Defense and Offense that contributes…
However, the home divisional playoff team and the NFC’s #2 seed starting quarterback, Alex Smith (ala; your “Elway/Tebow horror story” or “worst case scenario”), is still up 20-14 at the end of three quarters. But, the commentators and you are criticizing the winning team (rather than giving credit to the 49ers defense; who had been giving Drew Brees fits for the entire third quarter).
Meanwhile, Whitlock’s tweeting that a 13-3, Division Champion QB, and 90+ QB rating (top 10 in the NFL this regular season), leading in the NFC Divisional Playoff game, is John Elway’s biggest fear. If that’s the “worst case” scenario, what’s the “best case” scenario?
Did I say that I decided to take a little longer then just 10 minutes to think about my response? Guess what? I thought about it long and hard while I watched Alex Smith torch the Saints defense. In my conclusions, I determined that I think Elway would be lucky to get Alex Smith in a lot of ways (especially with a consistent coach and offensive coordinator to coach him) along with an expedited learning curve….
Anyway…I still held off on my reply to Whitlock, giving him the time that he requested (and a whole lot more) to #thinkbeforeresponding.
Here’s some Smith’s accomplishments this year; where I would want to keep any quarterback if I could get the same results from him (but I don’t think they can get these out of Teebow…even in his best season);
- Alex Smith has played 5 playoff teams this regular season with a 4-1 record Note: Tebow played 2 and was blown-out in both and was sacked 11 times
- Alex Smith has thrown twice as many passes as Tim Tebow has this season and has had 17 TDs with 5 INTs in 16 games (actually 19 TD’s when Whitlock made the comment)
- Alex has a QB rating over 95 this year, while Tim Tebow has a QB rating of under 73
- Alex Smith is 13-3 this year and has the same number of game winning drives (against better teams) this season.
Again, I decided to wait for the entire game to play out before voicing his requested response (not that he actually wanted my reply, it as I am sure it was just senseless Twitter banter from a “shock sports writer”).
In the end, I waited to see how it all unfolded before responding. I wanted to see a few things;
I wanted to see if Alex would throw some more Quality TD passes; such as the one on the opening possession to Vernon Davis 2.5 minutes into the game. I surely don’t have to tell you how Tebow looked 2.5 minutes into his playoff game against the weaker defense, nor do I have to tell you how Alex handled adversity in the biggest stage of his career.
Whitlock, on the other hand, didn’t wait; not even another quarter (the crunch time quarter) in one of the games to see what Alex (or even Tebow would do) before referring to Alex Smith as John Elway’s “Worst Nightmare” if he were to commit to Tim Tebow.
Whitlockjust assumed that we were going to continue seeing what we saw from Alex in the 2nd and 3rd quarters or in previous years (where he was working under 7 different offensive coordinators and had a shoulder surgery).
But, yea, your right Jason Whitlock (sarcasm); Tim Tebow is probably just as talented of a QB & Athlete as Alex Smith. Tebow throws just as good of a ball, and reads defenses as well as Alex Smith (again, do you sense the TOTAL sarcasm there??).
After watching that 4th quarter, if Elway knew he could get the Alex Smith today in two years, he’d sign Tebow to a 3-5 year deal RIGHT NOW. But, Tebow isn’t nearly the NFL ready that QB Alex Smith was out of college (and definitely isn’t close right now). That’s clearly obvious today and has been all season.
But again, this was just useless twitter banter by Whitlock where he was looking for reactions and controversy. Alex made him eat his words.
On that note: here’s what I also have to say about this game, Alex, Smith, and today’s performance against New Orleans (practical opinions). After all, this was the best game of the 2011-12 NFL season, by far and deserves some response. But, I want to respond to opinions of Smith.
First, the Saints….
The New Orleans defense played well in this game and made it hard on Alex. He was pressured a lot. The commentators even said they were going to blitz Alex all day. Alex’s receivers dropped a lot of passes (which killed a lot of drives).
Drew Brees also made some of his Houdini throws; the throws that make him one of the greats of all time (fancy words and extravagant vocabulary not needed). But, Alex never threw an INT in this game (as usual). Brees threw the ball to the 49ers defense twice (who by the way, played better than the Saints defense).
Alex Smith also got it done when it counted…TWICE (Yes, TWICE)
As for his career….You have to remember that he has been in the league for 7 years and Smith has had 5 different head coaches and almost double-digit offensive coordinators (including Mike Martz who changes EVERYTHING). Alex also had suffered through major shoulder surgery; not to mention that he’s had to deal with everyone saying he’s a bust his entire career. He’s also had coaches like Singletary who tell him that he could lose his job at any time (and he will always be competing for the position). It’s safe to say, he’s no longer a student of the game and as a free agent there are teams that would want Alex Smith (such as the Dolphins or Seahawks).
But, Alex proved the Jason Whitlocks of the world wrong; this season and once again today. At this point in his career, he’s seen it all (good and bad). He’s made clutch throws. He went 13-3 this year with the right coach and the right offense for his abilities. And now…he has also done it on the BIG STAGE (out-playing Drew Brees). He’s only going to get better under Harbaugh (and I guarantee you that he will be back in the playoffs several times). Alex could also use a more athletic receiver…which the 49ers have already said they plan on signing this off-season (think Mario Manningham added to this 49ers offense…with Dalanie Walker back next year to compliment Vernon Davis, Crabtree, and Gore).
But, just to sum things up….I am an Alex Smith fan….
Why am I an Alex Smith fan? It’s not for the same reasons people like Tim Tebow (ie; rah rah…look at me and Prey with me)…..
….but, because….Alex is the first guy EVERYONE points at when his team loses (and things go south), but he’s the last guy who gets the credit when they win. Does that stuff bother Alex? No, it doesn’t. Why? Because he’s a stand up guy with character and leadership qualities. He’s a do for others kind of person (see his charities). He’s also winner (as you saw today). His teammates believe in him and naysayers don’t mean squat to him. What’s not to like?
In 2011-12, Alex has also had; not 1…not 2…not 3…not 4…not even five…count ’em…. SIX….SIX GAME WINNING DRIVES THIS YEAR….
Oh YEA…He may even get to a Superbowl THIS YEAR!
Even if he doesn’t get to a Superbowl this season, you can bet your ass that 49ers fans will be hoping for one next year.
Should I order my #11 Jersey now….or should I wait to see what Elway thinks about Tebow’s future with the Broncos?? eh… Perhaps I should just “unfollow” Jason Whitlock. After all, There’s better sports writers who blog from their basement.