|Smith says he 'got carried away' calling out Newton this year. (Getty Images)|
In May, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was asked about his passing yards per game and pointed out that passing yards are overrated. He's correct in that sense. He was incorrect in calling out Panthers quarterback Cam Newton by name in comparing passing yards against victories.
And Smith apparently realizes that. He told reporters on a conference call recently that he "got carried away" by calling Newton out.
"Obviously, I got carried away there," Smith said, per the San Jose Mercury-News.
Smith also emphasized that there's no correlation between passing yards and victories in the NFL. I'll take this time to emphasize my opinion that he's partially correct. But he's not entirely correct because often passing yards do matter for quarterback victories.
To prove this point, I offer Exhibit A, your 2011 passing-yards-per-game leaders:
|Your 2011 NFL passing yards leaders. (CBSSports.com)|
All of those quarterbacks made the playoffs. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning are the "please don't bother trying to debate it" elite quarterbacks in the NFL. So clearly there's some correlation to passing yards per game and success.
It's not a hard-and-fast rule, though, so Smith is somewhat right. And it's easy to feel sorry for Smith, too, considering he has been under fire all offseason.
The reality is that some quarterbacks you want throwing the ball a lot. And some you want managing the game. Smith is the latter, and that's fine for what the Niners want to do.
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